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Statement About the Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future

May 05, 1972

THE Commission on Population Growth and the American Future has formally presented its report to me today, thus completing its 2 years of work.

The men and women on this panel have performed a valuable public service in identifying and examining a wide range of problems related to population, and have contributed to an emerging debate of great significance to the future of our Nation.

I wish to thank the able and energetic Chairman of the Commission, Mr. John D. Rockefeller 3d, for his tireless efforts, not only on this Commission but in other capacities, to focus the Nation's attention on these important issues.

The extensive public discussion already generated by this report clearly indicates the need to continue research in areas touching on population growth and distribution.

While I do not plan to comment extensively on the contents and recommendations of the report, I do feel that it is important that the public know my views on some of the issues raised.

In particular, I want to reaffirm and reemphasize that I do not support unrestricted abortion policies. As I stated on April 3, 1971, when I revised abortion policies in military hospitals, I consider abortion an unacceptable form of population control. In my judgment, unrestricted abortion policies would demean human life. I also want to make it clear that I do not support the unrestricted distribution of family planning services and devices to minors. Such measures would do nothing to preserve and strengthen close family relationships.

I have a basic faith that the American people themselves will make sound judgments regarding family size and frequency of births, judgments that are conducive both to the public interest and to personal family goals--and I believe in the right of married couples to make these judgments for themselves.

While disagreeing with the general thrust of some of the Commission's recommendations, I wish to extend my thanks to the members of the Commission for their work and for having assembled much valuable information.

The findings and conclusions of the Commission should be of great value in assisting governments at all levels to formulate policy. At the Federal level, through our recent reorganization of the Executive Office of the President, we have the means through the Domestic Council and the Office of Management and Budget to follow up on the Commission's report. The recommendations of the Commission will be taken into account as we formulate our national growth and population research policies, and our agency budgets through these processes for the years ahead.

Many of the questions raised by the report cannot be answered purely on the basis of fact, but rather involve moral judgments about which reasonable men will disagree. I hope that the discussions ahead will be informed ones, so that we all will be better able to face these questions relating to population in full knowledge of the consequences of our decisions.

Note: The report is entitled "Population and the American Future" (Government Printing Office, 186 pp.).

Commission Chairman John D. Rockefeller 3d and members Graciela Gil Olivares and Christian N. Ramsey, Jr., met with the President at the White House to present the report.

Richard Nixon, Statement About the Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/254752

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