Wikileaks Cable: U.S. Gov’t Largest Supporter of Philippines Population Control in Past 40 Years

Posted on Sep 8, 2011

A diplomatic cable recently published by the controversial website Wikileaks confirms the depth of support by the U.S. government for population control initiatives in the Philippines over the past 40 years, including support for the highly contested Reproductive Health (RH) Bill currently under consideration in the Philippine legislature.

“Landmark appropriations and draft legislation reflect increasing commitment within the Philippine Government to further expand and sustain programs started forty years ago with U.S. Government’s assistance through USAID,” former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny said in the cable. “The U.S. Government continues to be the largest donor in the Philippine population sector supporting efforts to improve local government service delivery and increase private sector contributions to family health outcomes.”

The cable, sent from Manila to Washington, D.C. in July of 2008, was released by Wikileaks at a time of intense debate within the Philippine legislature, and among the Filipino people, about the state funding of contraceptives, abortifacients and other “family planning” services through the RH Bill. As the cable notes, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has led the opposition to the bill with the backing of pro-life organizations across the country.

“The new bill and its previous versions have raised the volume of the vigorous public debate on reproductive issues among  between [sic] civil society, NGOs, the Catholic Church and legislators,” said Amb. Kenny. “The controversy has generated news media coverage and editorial commentary from all sides.”

Many Filipinos have openly questioned the international support of the bill by organizations pushing a population control agenda.

Philippine Senate Majority Leader Vicente Soto recently expressed concern over the “sinister” population control motives of some of the bill’s backers, saying, “We find groups, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies or business interests behind the bill or supporting people behind the bill, so this adds to our fears.”

“The same bill has been filed and re-filed since 1998’s 11th Congress (it is now the 15th), but as we have seen, its Western promoters have no intention of taking ‘no’ for an answer this time around,” said Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Regional Coordinator for Asia and Oceania for the international pro-life organization Human Life International (HLI), earlier this year. “Why, one might ask, does it keep reappearing, sometimes with different names or slightly revised content, if the people of the Philippines have so clearly rejected it? It reappears because it is fueled by mind-boggling amounts of money from international population control organizations, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who have long expressed their concern that there are too many poor Filipinos for their comfort.”

Rep. Kimi Cojuangco of the Pangasinan province in the Philippines, a co-sponsor of the RH Bill, actually admitted that the bill was a means of population control during an exchange with another representative, saying the bill was “definitely” a population control measure, and agreeing that to curb poverty, the country needs a smaller population.

Another pro-RH Bill legislator Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also admitted Monday that the bill still needs to be cleaned up of all references to population control, while acknowledging the influence in the bill of U.S. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 during Senate debate.

NSSM-200, authored by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “explicitly laid out a detailed strategy by which the United States would aggressively promote population control in developing nations in order to regulate (or have better access to) the natural resources of these countries,” according to Dr. Brian Clowes, Director of Research at HLI, in his 2004 publication Kissinger Report 2004: A Retrospective on NSSM-200.

“According to NSSM-200, elements of the implementation of population control programs could include: a) the legalization of abortion; b) financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates; c) indoctrination of children; and d) mandatory population control, and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless [a country] implements population control programs,” wrote Dr. Clowes. “[T]he U.S. government has never renounced NSSM-200, but has only amended certain portions of its policy. NSSM-200, therefore, remains the foundational document on population control issued by the United States government.”

While it is highly unlikely that parties involved in promoting the RH Bill in the Philippines, or elsewhere, are directly familiar with NSSM-200, it is clear that its goals and assumptions have now become fundamental to the human development policies of the U.S. and other international governments and non-governmental organizations.

“USAID technical assistance enables pharmaceutical companies to launch lower-priced contraceptive products,” Amb. Kenny said in the cable, later adding, “Within the past three years, annual funding levels for population and family planning from the US Government have increased from around $13M to $15M.”

Under a section titled “So far, so good,” the ambassador noted that, “The use of oral contraceptive pills has increased steadily among the poor (by 30% in the past five years),” adding, “The poor spend around US$0.40 for pills, and the rich pay about US$1 for the same method.”

Amb. Kenny also pointed out that USAID assistance is “expanding the availability of accurate information on modern family planning methods within grass-roots communities.” [emphasis added]. The RH Bill currently contains a provision to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill.

Dr. Acosta, a former pro-abortion Philippine health official, said in an excerpt of a soon to be released interview while visiting the U.S. last month, “The American people have to know that America, very sadly, has become the greatest exporter of the culture of death – abortion, contraception – all of these things.”

“There’s so much money…I’m so amazed. I know that America is in crisis, but why is it…that America is giving billions of dollars, not only to my country, the Philippines, but all over Asia, Oceania and all over the world, to promote abortion and contraception?”

“What is important to note is not so much the scary-sounding name of a forty-year-old document like NSSM-200 that very few people have read, but to note how this new cable shows that its policy recommendations have been so perfectly implemented, and how language has evolved to make it sound like a positive thing for poor nations to stop having children for the sake of wealthy nations,” said Dr. Clowes in response to the release of the Wikileaks cable. “Even a proponent of the Philippines RH Bill, Senator Santiago, admits the concerns about population control, and stresses the need to use less offensive language – women’s health, poverty alleviation, and the like – to achieve the very same ends.”

“The question remains unanswered,” added Dr. Clowes. “When did it become acceptable for rich nations to pour billions of dollars into poor nations, all in an effort to get the poor to behave as the rich would prefer?”