Can you imagine if we allocated $1 billion for global family planning programs? That’s exactly the kind of commitment John Seager of Population Connection is calling for, and given the alternatives, it’s a reasonable request.
The call to action comes on the final World Population Day before the 2012 elections and at a time when contraception and family planning services are under constant threat, both domestically and abroad. Seager points out some of the most apparent and obvious attacks, including:
• The U.S. House votes to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and for Title X family planning programs (created by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970.)
• The House convenes an all-male panel to decry the Obama Administration’s rule requiring insurance policies to cover contraception.
• Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke is publicly attacked as a “slut” and a “prostitute” after testifying in favor of the Obama Administration’s rule.
• A House committee votes to end funding for the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA, a development program that offers reproductive health care and voluntary family planning services to 500 million women around the world each year.
• At the recent Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Vatican succeeds in removing references to gender equality and reproductive rights from the final document.
These attacks couldn’t come at a worse time. At a rate of 80 million people added to this planet a year, there’s no reason to think the planet can sustain this kind of growth. According to the Guttmacher Institute at least 222 million women around the world want to delay or end childbearing but have no access to reliable and modern contraception. Quite simply, this has to change, not just for the health of women and families across the globe, but for our very survival.
Photo from hdptcar via flickr.