The International Humanist & Ethical Union views with alarm the continuing increase in world population and recognises this as one of the most urgent problems facing mankind. Malnutrition, starvation, poverty, lack of medical and educational services, pollution of the environment, underdevelopment, conflict and war are already, and will continue to be aggravated by excessive numbers of people.
The IHEU, in working to build a world where each child born should have an environment in which it may grow to reach its full human potential, and realising the impossibility of this if present population trends continue, calls on international agencies, national governments, humanist organisations and people of goodwill everywhere to co-operate in order to limit population growth.
The IHEU wishes specifically to endorse and support the following principles and programmes:
Education toward responsible parenthood and family planning should be encouraged, research into birth control intensified and scientifically sound contraception made available throughout the world.
Legal Abortion on Request
Since the children born should preferably be wanted children, and since many women are faced with unwanted pregnancies as a result of unavailable, omitted or failed contraception, medical abortion should be available to women on request as a fundamental human right and as an additional means of population control.
Voluntary sterilisation of men and women should be encouraged.
Legal restrictions against family planning, abortion and voluntary sterilisation should be removed in all countries.
Appeal to the Roman Catholic Church
The IHEU calls the attention of the world to the fact the traditional religious attitudes are often the major block to action toward population control. In particular, the attitude of the leaders of the Catholic Church regarding voluntary contraception, sterilisation and abortion leads to appalling social consequences.
The IHEU therefore, makes an urgent appeal to the Catholic Church to change its attitudes and to stop opposing effective family planning and the liberalisation of abortion legislation thus permitting freedom of conscience for the individual.
Board of Directors 1970
'Population control, family planning and abortion', Humanists International, Board of Directors, 1970