Minister condemns Vatican over birth control
Sarah Boseley
The Guardian, (UK), June 30, 1999

Clare Short, the secretary of state for international development, has condemned an "unholy alliance" between the Vatican, rightwing Catholic groups and Muslim countries seeking to thwart an agreement on controlling the world's booming population.

Ms Short, who describes herself as "a fully signed-up ethnic Catholic", says in an interview in today's Guardian that the Holy See is trying to block progress on wider access to contraception and measures to improve the reproductive health of the developing world.

"If it had its way, a million people could get the HIV virus, there would be more and more unwanted pregnancies, more and more illegal abortions, more and more mothers dying as a result of illegal abortions," she says.

Ms Short is today at the United Nations in New York for the meeting of Cairo+5, which is assessing the progress since consensus was reached between 180 nations in 1994 on steps to manage the world's population.

The Cairo strategy would allow the world's population to rise from around 5.9bn, where it is now, to nearly 9.8bn by 2050 and then hold it there.