Holy See Asks U.N. to Clarify "Reproductive Health"

Cardinal Sodano Proposes an Alternate Phrase

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 19, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- The Vatican’s secretary of state asked at the United Nations that the term «reproductive health» be clarified.

Speaking to the heads of state at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano proposed using instead the term «health of women and children.»

In his speech he strongly urged leaders to respect the commitments assumed by the international committee to eliminate poverty.

«To a world already exposed to pandemics, while others are at risk of breaking out, to the millions without access to basic health care, medicine and drinking water, we cannot offer an ambiguous, reductive or even ideological vision of health,» the cardinal said.

«For example, would it not be better to speak clearly of the ‘health of women and children’ instead of using the term ‘reproductive health’?» he asked.

The cardinal posed the question: «Could there be a desire to return to the language of a ‘right to abortion?'»

Before the U.N. summit last week, the Holy See had asked Argentina’s bishops not to support a campaign by the pro-abortion group Catholics for a Free Choice, which sought seeking signatures of religious to promote the concept of «reproductive health.»

«As you will observe,» the cardinal stated in the letter, «the concept of ‘reproductive health’ is very ambiguous.»

«It was used in the Beijing and Cairo conferences to include abortion as a means of family planning,» he said. «The expression ‘reproductive health’ inserted in the mentioned declaration of the summit of the Millennium+5 made reference only to the meaning given by the Cairo and Beijing documents and, therefore, would be unacceptable for the Holy See.»

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