RU-486 Linked to Population Control in Letter Found in Clinton Files

A pro-life legal organization has uncovered a letter written by a prominent member of the abortion lobby that urged the Clinton Administration to use surgical and chemical abortion as a tool to “eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of the country.”

The letter, written by Ron Weddington, who served as co-counsel in Roe v. Wade, was stored among papers at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR. Judicial Watch, which published the letter, described it as “chronologically and philosophically, the foundation document for the Clinton RU-486 files.”

In the letter, dated Jan. 6, 1992, Weddington told then-president-elect Bill Clinton that programs to assist the poor would not be effective for years to come, and that population control was therefore needed to end poverty.

“The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies,” Weddington wrote. “There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and … well, …so Republican.”

The letter urged Clinton to “use persuasion, not coercion” to convince people to have fewer children, and suggested that he involve celebrities to carry out the task.

“And, having convinced the poor that they can’t get out of poverty when they have all these extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths,” Weddington wrote. “. . . . It’s time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible.”

He said the government would have to provide not only condoms and contraceptives but also “vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortions . . . RU-486 and conventional abortions.” He also accused church officials, the military, and business owners of encouraging births in order to meet their own needs for “parishioners,” “cannon fodder,” and “cheap labor.”

“Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes,” the letter concluded. “We don’t need more cannon fodder. We don’t need more parishioners. We don’t need more cheap labor. We don’t need more poor babies.”

The Judicial Watch report documents the aggressive efforts undertaken by members of the Clinton Administration to pressure the French and German manufacturers of RU-486 to make the drug available in the U.S.

Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon said that population control advocates have long seen RU-486 as a tool for controlling the number and “quality” of births, especially in the developing world.

He pointed out that, while RU-486 is not safer, more private, or less expensive than surgical abortions when it is properly administered, it can be taken into with relative ease into developing countries, even when abortion is not legally available.

“Once it is brought into developing countries, RU-486 can be easily transported and distributed,” he said. “With a little training, it can be cheaply administered by midwives. To avoid trouble with the law, or the conscience of individual patients, these abortions can be disguised under the label ‘menstrual regulation.’

“Even if questions of safety arise, the deaths and injuries suffered by women in developing countries can then be blamed on ‘oppressive’ abortion bans that deny women access to ‘safe and legal abortions.’ For population control advocates, it’s a win-win.”

At least six women in the U.S. have died after taking the drug and hundreds of adverse effects have been reported to the FDA, which has come under fire from pro-life advocates for “fast-tracking” the approval process for RU-486. Reardon said that those concerned about the health and safety of women should continue to lobby the FDA to withdraw approval for the drug.

“In the absence of any rebuke of Weddington’s recommendations, this letter fuels our concerns that the key supporters of RU-486 have been more concerned with promoting population control than with protecting the health and welfare of women, especially poor women,” he said. “It’s not just pro-lifers who should be concerned about this, but anyone who cares about protecting individual rights and freedom.”

For more on this issue, see “The Hidden Agenda of Population Control Zealots.”

To download the Judicial Watch report, including a copy of Weddington’s letter, visit

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 14(2), April-June 2006. Copyright 2006 the Elliot Institute.

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