THE INTERIM

back January 1999

The UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and abortion

World financial institutions key leverage in de-population of Third World

John Henry Westen

On Oct. 15, the U.S. Congress decided to approve an $18-billion funding package for the International Monetary Fund - one that will, for the first time in three years, be accepted by President Bill Clinton.

U.S. monies to the IMF had not been approved of for two years previous to this, since pro-life members of Congress attached pro-life provisions to the funding proposals, thereby restricting U.S. monies from being used to promote abortion. Clinton consistently kept a promise to veto any funding proposals with language not in favour of abortion during this time.

In the latest development, Clinton "played puppet master and won," as the American Life League put it. No abortion-related restrictions were in the latest funding proposal.

Why would President Clinton care so much about promoting abortion in foreign lands? And why would international financial institutions promote abortion in the first place? Strangely enough, these two questions join perfectly in explaining population control around the world, particularly in the Third World.

The world's two foremost financial institutions, the IMF and World Bank, are completely entrenched in the provision and promotion of population control - and thus, abortion - in poor countries in which they operate. Their direction actually stems from the United States government itself.

A special division of the U.S. Treasury Department known as the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies has orchestrated the programs of the IMF and World Bank to fall in line with U.S. foreign policy, which officially includes population control.

NSSM 200

In the 1988 annual report to the president and Congress, the NAC described itself as "an advisory body, authorized, inter alia, to review proposed transactions and programs to the extent necessary or desirable to co-ordinate U.S. policies. With regard to the international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank and Fund, the Council seeks to ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, their operations are conducted in a manner consistent with U.S. policies and objectives and with the lending and other foreign financial activities of U.S. government agencies."

The official policy of the U.S. regarding population control in foreign policy is spelled out in U.S. National Security Study Memorandum 200, written by Henry Kissinger. The Memorandum became the official guide to U.S. foreign policy on Nov. 26, 1975 and has not been replaced since. NSSM 200, subtitled "Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests," warned that increasing populations in developing countries threatened U.S. strategic, economic, and military interests.

The Memorandum suggested that competition from new world powers would rise when developing nations had sufficient populations to utilize their national resources to their full potential. The Memorandum specifically targeted 13 countries in this regard. For example, it noted that Nigeria, one of the 13, was "already the most populous country on the (African) continent, with an estimated 55 million people in 1970," and "Nigeria's population by the end of this century is projected to number 135 million," which "suggests a growing political and strategic role for Nigeria, at least in Africa south of the Sahara."

Thus, NSSM 200 was about ensuring U.S. strategic, economic, and military interest, at the expense of developing countries, by proposing population control to address these countries' potential population growth. The report spelled out a plan to bring about "a two-child family on the average" throughout the world "by about the year 2000." Interestingly, NSSM 200 went into detail about avoiding U.S. responsibility for population-control programs by ensuring that the UN and international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank adopt population-control policies as prerequisites to their giving of aid. The report suggested furthering the camouflage by mandating that countries accepting aid from the UN or the banks form their own population-control ministries.

In establishing population control, NSSM said, "Involvement of the (World) Bank in this area would open up new possibilities for collaboration." The study also noted that the U.S. government played "an important role in establishing the United Nations Fund for Population Activities to spearhead a multilateral effort in population as a complement to the bilateral actions of AID and other donor countries." It added that "with a greater commitment of Bank resources and improved consultation with AID and UNFPA, a much greater dent could be made on the overall problem." Moreover, the report asserts that "mandatory programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now."

Hook, line and sinker

With the U.S. pushing behind the scenes, the World Bank, IMF and UN accepted the population-control agenda hook, line and sinker. These groups found that population-control propaganda was necessary since many countries were averse to the idea of foreign-imposed population reduction.

In a 1992 operations evaluation, the World Bank wrote, "Political sensitivities about population-control policies of foreigners made it difficult for Bank staff to breach the topic with governments ... The Bank's current approach in Latin America is to focus on reproductive health and safe motherhood as the rationale for family planning."

The report continued, "If the Bank wants to work in countries that do not accept population control as the rationale, it must base its population program on a broader and more flexible set of principles. This could start from a recognition that the overall objective is promotion of sustainable development in living standards ..."

This language of deceit has been successfully employed to lull unsuspecting recipients and the world at large into complacency about population control. The IMF clearly demonstrated just a few weeks ago that the use of misleading terms as a cover for population control is still practised. In a press release on Aug. 31 of this year, the IMF announced its approval of a $26 million (US) loan for the African country of Niger. In a section of the release on "social issues," the IMF stated that "the fundamental objective of the government is to improve the standard of living," and in doing this, "priority will be given to promoting family planning and women's programs."

The managing director of the IMF, Michel Camdessus, breached the issue of population control more directly in Geneva in 1995 when he addressed the high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council. Speaking at a meeting about Africa, Camdessus said that the continent must "adopt a more responsible approach to population growth." Expounding traditional population-control mythology, he said, "It is clear that in order to hasten the improvement in the living standards of the poorest, national policy agendas must include the priorities agreed at the Cairo (population-control) conference last September," he said.

These remarks from Camdessus fly in the face of evidence already admitted by the international banking elite. In a 1989 report on Africa, an official publication of the World Bank noted that "Africa is well endowed with minerals (including oil), and so far only a fraction of this wealth has been extracted." The report also said, "It is true that many areas (of Africa) are substantially underpopulated (and) could easily support much larger numbers," and that Africa might eventually accommodate several times its present population.

However, these facts never seem to change the incessant call for population control. The very same World Bank study that noted African underpopulation concluded that "exceptionally high population growth is compromising economic growth and family welfare, (is adding) to environmental degradation, and thus seriously jeopardizing Africa's long term development."

While the population-control terminology used in press releases, official addresses, and in initial aid contacts with various needy nations may be encouraging and supportive, back-up measures ensuring compliance are also practised.

In a September 1998 World Bank report evaluating its "Costs, Payments, and Incentives in Family-Planning Programs," the Bank wrote about the use of "incentives" and "disincentives" on fertility choices. The report said of "incentives" that, "First, payments are made to: (a) acceptors, (b) providers, and (c) recruiters, all focused on the act of accepting a method (usually sterilization). These payments may be in cash or in kind and are usually given immediately upon acceptance."

'Disincentives'

"Disincentives" are described in the report as, "Oriented directly to fewer births, as distinct from inducements to practise contraception. Some involve benefits (or penalties) ... salary level, tax exemptions, maternity leaves, eligibility for preferred housing, schools, and so forth."

As instructed by NSSM 200, international banks have tied financial aid to the the practice of population control. A clear example comes from a 1992 evaluation paper by the World Bank discussing "Population and the World Bank" in Senegal. The report described a rural health project in the country which focused on the provision of buildings and equipment for expansion of basic health services.

The study noted that the agreement to provide the buildings and equipment was contingent on family planning. The study added that the "failure to implement this element" resulted in a stagnation of the project. The report went on to say that in 1985-1986, the Bank concentrated on helping the government develop a comprehensive population policy. As a direct result of the acceptance of the population policy (a "condition of release") the Bank released the money (called a structural-adjustment loan) needed to complete the project. "This recommendation was accepted and eventually implemented by making the development of such a policy statement a condition for release of the second tranche of the third structural-adjustment loan."

Taking into consideration that the origin of the population-control agenda stems from some of the highest echelons of U.S. political power (as evident from Kissinger's NSSM 200), it is not surprising that President Clinton refuses to fund the IMF and UN unless the monies are used to promote abortion, an essential element in population control.

Interestingly, a campaign to pressure the U.S. Congress to drop abortion restrictions and allow U.S. monies to flow into the IMF was evidenced on Feb. 12 this year when a group of high-profile IMF supporters took out full-page ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. The ad urged members of Congress to approve the giving of $18 billion to the IMF and also called for the U.S. to pay its "dues" to the United Nations.

This group of more than 150 supporters included former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford; former secretaries of state Alexander Haig and Warren Christopher; former treasury secretaries Douglas Dillon, Henry Fowler, Michael Blumenthal and Lloyd Bentsen - and (surprise, surprise) Henry Kissinger.

Much of the research in this article comes from an excellent pro-life research paper, "Politics, Economics, and Coercive Lending," by the New York-based alliance of journalists and academics, The Reporter's Collective. The collective has an emphasis on demographic and monetary policies as they are enforced by Western-controlled multilateral financial institutions and social agencies.

The paper is available on the internet at: http://www.africa2000.com/RNDX/worlbank.htm.

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