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Decide for Yourself on Having Children, Pope Tells Singapore

November 20, 1986|Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Pope John Paul II today told a crowd in Singapore, a country worried about a too-successful birth control program, that it is the exclusive right of married couples to decide, without governmental coercion, how many children to have.

Without mentioning Singapore by name at a rain-drenched open-air Mass before 70,000 people in the national stadium, John Paul said, "I wish to assure couples that the church supports them as they strive to exercise responsibly their fundamental right to form families, to bear and rear their children without any form of coercion or pressure."

"It is the right of the married couple to make a free, informed and mutual decision, in accordance with accepted moral principles, regarding the spacing of births and the size of the family," he said.

About 100,000 of Singapore's 2.5 million citizens are Roman Catholics.

Singapore launched a "two is enough" drive in 1966. It worked so well that the government is trying to remedy the declining birthrate.

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