THE United Nations General Assembly last week rejected a controversial clause relating to support for birthcontrol programmes, which had earlier been passed by the General Assembly's Economic Committee (CATHOLIC HtiRALD, December 28).
The clause was contained in a resolution which has now been passed, with alterations, calling for an intensified study of the relationship between population growth and economic development.
Concern for the prestige of the U.N. played an important part in the selection of the clause. according to M. Maurice Viaud, a French delegate who voted against it. The deleted clause provided fur "United Nations technical assistance for national projects and programmes dealing with problems of population" and was generally interpreted as possibly providing for U.N. technical aid to birth control programmes.
Mr. Christie Doe. of Liberia. who also opposed the clause. commenting on the fact that some delegates were advocating birth control by artificial means, stated that this approach ignored the actual problem facing mankind— namely, the reason why ocople are poor.
"Most wanted to link opposition to technical assistance in this field to the Roman Catholic views." Mr. Doe commented. "Liberia is not a Catholic country and we did not vote because of those views but because we have a belief in the same moral principles.
"Apart from the moral aspects." he emphasised. "such a measure is an invasion of the privacy of every family."
Victor Belaunde, head of the Peruvian delegation and a former President of the Assembly, also appealed during the debate for the delegates not to endorse 'a provision that jeopardizes the honour and responsibility of the general assembly."
He pointed out that every human problem had a triple aspect — moral or religious, legal, and economic—"and when the United Nations undertakes to deal with a human problem it has no right to disregard any of these aspects. This is not prejudice. It is not sentimentality. It is not religious dogmatism. It is passe logic. a feeling for the whole of reality."