By Barbara Santee, Ph.D | 5 February 2013
In response to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, almost immediately the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) wrote a red-meat political plan called the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities. This document created a national anti-abortion political machine controlled by the bishops that would infiltrate and manipulate the American democratic process at all levels. As a part of their plan, the bishops immediately organized the National Committee for Human Life Amendment (NCHLA), and at the same time, plotted how to control that committee without losing the Church’s tax-exempt status.(1)
For example, to distance the Church from the appearance of any political activity, the wording in the Pastoral Plan was carefully selected and deceptive at best: “It is absolutely necessary to encourage the development in each congressional district of an identifiable, tightly knit and well organized prolife unit. This unit can be described as a public interest group or a citizen’s lobby.”(2) As finally adopted, the Pastoral Plan defined a “congressional district pro-life group” as “an agency of citizens operated, controlled, and financed by these same citizens” and added that “it is not an agency of the church, nor is it operated, controlled or financed by the church.”(3) This is laughable considering this disclaimer is followed by an extremely detailed list of political objectives the bishops say they intend to vigorously pursue.
The Committee for Human Life Amendment was a front group established by the Church to do its political dirty work. By denying its involvement and support of such political groups, the church is able to deflect attempts by the IRS to determine the extent of political activity it is really engaged in. In 1980, the church won a law suit mounted by pro-choice supporters who challenged its tax-exempt status.
Since 1973, more than 330 Human Life Amendment proposals have been introduced in Congress, and one actually reached the senate, where it failed. The Catholic church is behind all of these efforts; and yet it still has the same tax exemptions as other faith groups that do not engage in political activities.
The Church’s fellow traveler, the Christian Coalition, lost its bid for a tax exempt status due to the extremely biased and misleading voter guides it distributed in churches. Few Americans realize the influence the Catholic Church had in the creation of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. The Catholic Church knew it had a strong pro-life ally in the Religious Right, and all it had to do was to plant the seed and nurture it. This unholy alliance between the Catholic Church and the Religious Right was set out in the Pastoral Plan. However, the major player and leader in this scenario always has been and still is the Catholic Church.
The majority of Catholics disagree with church policy on contraception and abortion. But even without the support of its followers in this area, the Church has managed to insinuate its religious beliefs regarding reproductive issues into our national and international politics, thereby successfully sabotaging our population policy and undermining our national security that is heavily reliant on that policy.
How and why does our national security depend on population growth, not only in our country, but all over the world? No matter where people are located on this earth, human kind is now so interconnected internationally in so many ways that uncontrolled population growth is not acceptable wherever it is happening because eventually it affects all of us.
Very simply, if two drops of water are added consistently to a bucket, and only one drop is removed, the bucket eventually will overflow. In 1700, there were 682 million people on this earth. Today, a mere 310 years later, there are seven billion.(4) Current UN projections show a continued increase in population with global population expected to reach between 8.3 and 10.9 billion by 2050.(5) It should be apparent to the most rabid anti-abortion, anti-contraception ideologue that the current level of exponential growth in the sheer numbers of people on this planet cannot be sustained. But in the face of such indisputable evidence, it is predictable it will be disputed by the extremists who use politics, not science, to support their religious beliefs. If they can make us believe there is no population problem, then there is no contraceptive problem for the Catholic Church, and the infallibility of the Pope on this issue goes unchallenged. Thus, the Church has the green light to add even more billions to the world’s already starving population.
Wishing (or praying) this problem away will not make it go away. The only thing that will is an aggressive program to curb population growth; and that can only occur (excluding disastrous events) if we reduce the number of births either through the use of abstinence, contraception or abortion.
There are finite supplies of resources necessary for survival in today’s world — food, water, oil, and arable land. As the world population continues to grow and the poorer countries become more affluent and competitive, there will be a greater demand for these limited natural resources. Most people in developing countries want to have the same luxuries we enjoy in this country, yet the United States has only 5% of the world population, but consumes 35% of the world’s resources. It not only would be impossible for developing countries to reach our level of consumption due to the finite limits on supply, but it also will become increasing impossible for the U.S. to maintain that level in the face of fierce competition. The realistic possibly is that shortages of these resources and the increasing competition for them will cause widespread disruption of social institutions and that will inevitably escalate to armed conflict.
Since there will be constant and increasing competition for the natural resources, there will be constant and increasing armed conflicts. In order to stay at the top of the food chain, the United States will have to wage perpetual war to protect our high standard of living, not unlike what we are doing today and have been doing since the beginning of this nation. (Since the Revolutionary War, the United States has engaged in 393 military conflicts.)(6)
It is obvious that overpopulation is a serious national security issue for the U.S., but it is also a serious threat to our environment and to our very existence on this earth – the quality of air and water, the pollution of our soil, rivers and oceans, and the contamination of our food supply. If we are to survive as a species, we simply cannot continue to breed ourselves to death. But the Church is determined to scuttle any international, federal or state program that will permit or fund abortion or contraception.
One of their tactics is to cast suspicion on the motives of those providing abortion and contraceptive services by spreading hateful and deceptive propaganda calling into question the motives of groups like Planned Parenthood. But propaganda is not the Church’s only political weapon. Its supporters also introduce bills that support the church’s religious beliefs, especially in reproductive health services. Politically, the Church has fought every attempt made by the U.S. government to provide the means for families to control their fertility. It does the same in those countries where it has the power to influence national population policies.
The Church’s extremely effective propaganda machine has been able to successfully equate the use of any method of fertility control with genocide and eugenics. When advocates try to make their case for even a reasonable voluntary approach to controlling the grow of population, Church lackeys immediately redirect the discussion to accusations of genocide and eugenics as the real agenda, and not concern for humanity or the environment.
As of this writing, the Church is using its influence and millions in resources to defeat the new National Health Insurance Plan (disdainfully called “Obamacare”) because it covers the cost of contraception. It argues that the government is intruding upon its freedom of religion, and Catholic institutions should not be required to cover a service that is counter to the teaching of the Church and its moral beliefs. The church has continued to try to undermine the plan, even though President Obama has assured them that non-Catholic employees of Catholic institutions will not have to pay for contraception; that it will be provided free. But this was not adequate for the Church because its real concern is not freedom of religion, but rather, the preservation and expansion of its own power base. Women and their reproductive health are just collateral damage in this titanic struggle to protect the Church, the bishops, and the infallibility of the Pope.(7)
If we are to survive as a species, we simply cannot continue to breed ourselves to death. But how can we prevent this catastrophe, when the heart of our national security plan is being sabotaged and undermined by the largest and most politically powerful Church in the world that is fighting that plan with all of its resources? The Church defines this as a moral battle when, in fact, it is anything but. It is a fight for naked temporal power by the Catholic Church. If we continue to let the Catholic Church dictate our population policy to conform to their religious beliefs, how can we even pretend we have a national security plan?
Any time the Catholic Church is criticized for whatever reason, its attack dogs (like the Catholic League) always scream “Catholic bashing.” The League claims that any criticism of the Pope, the hierarchy, and the Vatican is religious bigotry. That’s a little like a wife beater complaining when his victim finally fights back. Fighting institutionalized and sanctified sexual discrimination is not bigotry. It is the highest form of self-defense.
Make no mistake about it. The Catholic Church’s Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities is an instruction book on how to abuse women. That abuse is carried out at all levels — by the church’s henchmen who harass patients at the clinics, Catholic politicians who write and vote for dangerous and degrading anti-abortion legislation, Catholic pharmacists who won’t fill prescriptions for birth control or emergency contraception, and those who claim to represent God’s view of the world yet spew hate-filled, anti-abortion propaganda from the pulpit and the TV screen.
But women have their own plan. It’s called “No Slaves, No Masters,” and we will never be ruled by religious tyranny disguised in a priest’s robe. Even if abortion is banned completely, women will find a way to assert that their bodies are sovereign territory. They always have and they always will. A woman’s uterus belongs to her, not to the Catholic Church. Women claimed that autonomy thousands of years before there was a Catholic Church or a Jesus Christ, and they will continue to claim it for thousands of years after that Church becomes a footnote in history.
The Church has sanctified sexism, and it will continue to discriminate against women and sabotage our country’s security unless enough people of good will, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, stand up to the church and say, “Enough is enough.” Until that happens, we are all living on a planet where the lives of one-half of the world’s population are not respected and an environment that is being degraded and destroyed daily by too many people. Much of that death and destruction can be laid directly at the feet of the Catholic Church.
The best solution for this country is for American Catholics to break away from the Vatican, and start a modern, more dynamic and loving church that will be dedicated to addressing the real needs of its people, rather than maintaining the status quo of a corrupt institution obsessed only with preserving its own power and influence, no matter the destruction of the environment or the price to be paid in women’s lives.
Barbara Santee, Ph.D, is a consultant and long-time prochoice activist who lives in Tulsa.
(1) For a verbatim copy of the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, the Bishops’ plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, go to: http://www.population-security.org/16-CH8.html
(2) Ibid. Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities
(3) Ibid. Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities
(4) World Population Growth Chart
(5) World Population
(6) Timeline Of United States Military Operations
(7) “Why the Pope Can’t Change the Church’s Position on Birth Control: Implications for Americans.” Stephen D. Mumford, Dr.P.H. Vatican Influence on Public Policy: a symposium. January 27, 1999. pg 7.
Professor Milton Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaks to Dr. Stephen Mumford in 1992 to reveal that although there was a consensus that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future, the Vatican successfully fought off the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.
Lester R. Brown interview with Rob Stewart
Professor Paul Ehrlich: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook