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Opinion Pieces Address Family Planning Issues On World Population Day

The London Summit on Family Planning took place Wednesday, July 11, also recognized as World Population Day. The goal of the summit was to raise money to improve access to family planning services to prevent maternal and child mortality. The following summaries describe opinion pieces that address these issues.

  • Jerry Large, Seattle Times: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “decision to make contraception a major agenda furthers” its goal of “saving the lives of children in the world’s poorest countries,” Seattle Times columnist Large writes. After reviewing data on how family planning services can improve the lives of women, children, and men, he continues, “Technologically, humans have the means not to be entirely ruled by biology, but socially, being ruled by men is still a major hindrance for women. That continuing dominance will be the Gates Foundation’s biggest struggle, and it is why this choice is a courageous one, especially for Melinda Gates whose church (she’s Catholic) takes a different position on reproduction.” Large concludes, “[I]t will take bold people like her to move reproductive control beyond political controversy” (7/11).
  • Babatunde Osotimehin, CNN: The number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth-related causes has dropped by nearly half over the past two decades, showing that “investments in improving access to reproductive health are bearing fruit,” Osotimehin, UNFPA executive director, writes, adding, “Although things are moving in the right direction, there is an urgent need to do more.” He notes that “expanding access to voluntary family planning” and modern contraceptives; “investing in health workers with midwifery skills and ensuring access to emergency obstetric care when complications arise”; reducing child marriage; and improving educational access for adolescent girls are all interventions that are proven to work. He adds, “With greater access to health and education, … new generations of girls will be empowered to delay pregnancy, advance gender equality and contribute to the economic development of society” (7/11).