Abortion advocate Jeffrey Sachs appointed to Vatican academy of social sciences

by Maria Madise

On 25 October, the Holy See Press Office announced that Pope Francis had appointed Professor Jeffrey Sachs as an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The announcement included a brief curriculum vitae, which described Sachs as a “distinguished Professor… an economist and public policy analyst with expertise in sustainable development, economic development and poverty alleviation; he has taught at Harvard University and was director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; he is currently president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he is also a professor”.

Pro-life groups reacted with shock and disbelief when Sachs was first invited to the Vatican in 2015. Since then, his growing involvement with Rome has led to an expectation that he will feature prominently at any Holy See event where sustainable development and climate change are discussed. And in today’s Vatican, that means dozens of events in the past six years.

Professor Sachs, who is not a Catholic, is an outspoken advocate of global population control and the architect of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); he has served as a special advisor to the UN Secretary-Generals Ban-ki Moon and António Guterres on the SDGs.

Also known as the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs set 17 goals with 169 targets which member states are expected to achieve by 2030. At the time of their adoption, pro-life leaders strongly objected to the stated targets for Goal 3 and Goal 5 which call for universal access to reproductive health services, a term understood by the UN and many world governments as a euphemism for abortion and contraception.

Professor Sachs has repeatedly called for a reduction in fertility levels to address overpopulation and combat urgent environmental problems. In his 2008 book, Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, he argues that legalised abortion is a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” and reduce a country’s total fertility rates “by as much as half a child on average”.[1]

In 2011, Sachs expressed horror at Nigeria’s rising population and called for the Nigerian government “to work towards attaining a maximum of three children [per family]”.[2]

In The Age of Sustainable Development, published in March 2015, Sachs states that the birth rate in Africa must be reduced by promoting birth control and providing access to free or low-cost contraception and family planning.[3]

Naturally many have wondered why would the Holy See accept to be associated with someone whose views are overtly in contradiction with the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life and the family. Archbishop Marcel Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences – apparently unaware of the words of St James that: “whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all” (Jm. 2:10) — has sought to justify Sachs’ frequent appearances at Holy See events by insisting that he does not express his pro-abortion opinions on these occasions but speaks about combatting climate change.[4]

Vatican endorsement of the SDGs

When Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, on the day the SDGs were formally approved, he said: “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope”.[5] He did not refer to the reservations issued by the Holy See delegation in New York prior to the adoption of the SDGs, especially with regards to the goals 3.6 and 5.7. Target 6 of goal no 3 states: “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”; and target 6 of goal no 5 asks member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences”.

A year later, on 1 September 2016, Pope Francis said he was “gratified that in September 2015 the nations of the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals”.[6] Since then the Pontiff has publicly endorsed the SDGs on several other occasions and his support for the 2030 Agenda has also been reflected in various organs of the Holy See. The Pontifical Academy of Science (PAS) and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), especially, have hosted regular events promoting the 2030 Agenda at which key proponents of abortion and population control, including Jeffrey Sachs, have played a leading role. 

Also, the publication of Laudato si (May 2015), Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical, was welcomed with great enthusiasm by Sachs who claimed that the encyclical “made possible” the adoption of the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015.[7]

Pope Francis’s commitment to the globalist agenda has been unwavering. In September 2019, during an inflight press conference on his return from an apostolic visit to Africa, Pope Francis said that the faithful have a “duty” to “obey international institutions”, such as the United Nations and the European Union.

Although some of the UN goals may seem laudable, if utopian – such as eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring good health and education for everyone, everywhere by 2030 – the decision to throw the weight of the Catholic Church behind the materialist strategy on poverty and climate change has lent her moral authority to global structures used to promote policies and practices which are antithetical to the teachings of Christ and destructive of innocent human life on an unprecedented scale. The UN does not need the Church to explicitly promote its reproductive health strategy. As long as Church leaders approve the overall agenda, the likes of Professor Jeffrey Sachs would readily see to the implementation of this strategy and ensure that its practical targets are met.

Regrettably, the appointment of Professor Sachs to a pontifical academy will strengthen his ability to advance his population control programme despite its incompatibility with the Catholic faith. The responsibility for empowering men like Jeffrey Sachs within the structures of the Church does not, however, lie primarily with those who seek this power but with the one who gives it to them.

[1] Jeffrey Sachs, Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, Kindle Edition (2011), pp. 189-90. 

[2] “Nigeria population: Sachs’ three-baby plan ‘tricky’”, British Broadcasting Corporation, 24 May 2011; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13530649

[3] Jeffrey Sachs, The Age of Sustainable Development, Kindle Edition, (2015), p. 159.

[4] Diane Montagna, “Speaker tells Vatican conference: Reducing population is best solution to climate ‘crisis’”, LifeSiteNews, 16 November 2017, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/speaker-tells-vatican-conference-reducing-population-is-best-solution-to-cl

[5] Address of the Holy Father, Meeting with the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, 25 September 2019; http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150925_onu-visita.html

[6] Voice of the Family, “Pope Francis ‘gratified’ by UN goals that demand ‘universal access to sexual and reproductive health’”, 2 September 2016; https://voiceofthefamily.com/pope-francis-gratified-by-un-goals-that-demand-universal-access-to-sexual-and-reproductive-health/

[7] Lianne Laurence, “Pope’s climate encyclical ‘made possible’ passage of pro-abortion SDGs: UN leader”, LifeSiteNews, 22 July 2016; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/popes-climate-encyclical-made-possible-passage-of-pro-abortion-sdgs-un-lead