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Denver Journal of International Law and Policy

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This paper proposes that the U.S. begin to take a more positive role in advancing international human rights by reaffirming its historic commitment to international family planning efforts. Specifically, I suggest that we rescind the Mexico City Policy ("MCP"), repeal the Helms Amendment'and explicitly apply internationally accepted human rights norms to our population program. While the repudiation of the MCP and the Helms Amendment suggests a return to an earlier era in family planning, the focus on the human rights implications represents a substantial departure from our former policy. This reflects both the growing international sensitivity to human rights since the inception of that policy in the early seventies, and our own reevaluation of the "population problem" in the early eighties. Unlike Swift's scathing satire, this truly is a "modest proposal." I do not suggest that complex family planning problems can be solved by the availability of contraception, including abortion. But unless such contraception is available, it is difficult to even begin to address these issues.