UNITED NATIONS -- July, 1999 -- The U.N. General Assembly adopted new proposals Friday to curb the world's population growth - including calls for greater "access" to abortion.
The plan was approved despite reservations from several pro-life countries and the Vatican.
But pro-abortion groups praised the agreement, calling it a giant advance beyond what was agreed to at the landmark 1994 U.N. population conference in Cairo.
The three-day conference at U.N. headquarters was intended to review the progress of the Cairo program and decide on new proposals to implement it.
Argentina and Nicaragua made formal reservations to the final document, particularly over the abortion aspect.
But the Vatican-led effort to stymie agreement on the most contentious issues fell apart after the so-called Group of 77 developing countries failed to muster a cohesive position opposing the document.
Meanwhile, 70 organizations led by Catholics for a Free Choice are seeking to downgrade the Vatican's UN status from a nonmember observer state to a non-governmental organization, effectively curtailing its voting power. CFFC President Frances Kissling said, "The best thing that ever happened to us was when the Vatican opposed abortion for Kosovo rape victims. Support came rushing in" (Lewis, New York Times, 7/2).
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