Monday, July 9, 2012

“Controversial”? Why?

By Amy Phillips Bursch, Media Relations Manager

Wednesday is World Population Day. It’s also the start of a family planning summit organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And even though women have been looking to avoid getting pregnant for as long as there have been women, for some reason, contraception has now become “controversial.”


It shouldn’t be. Family planning saves lives, as this great new video featuring Melinda Gates shows. In fact, a new report by the Guttmacher Institute finds that providing contraception for all the women around the world who don’t currently have access would prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies, 26 million abortions, 21 million unplanned births, 79,000 pregnancy-related deaths and 1.1 million infant deaths. What’s the controversy in that?

By providing access to contraception, we’re providing access for women to determine the course of their own lives. They’re able to have the children they desire and care for the ones they have. Each child can get the food she requires, the attention she craves, the education she needs, and the future she wants. Families, then villages, then entire nations can rise out of poverty – all because women have a choice. What’s the controversy in that?

Family planning didn’t used to be controversial. In fact, Richard Nixon – that hard-core liberal – once said: “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” In 1967, that other hard-core liberal, George H.W. Bush, said the federal government should “work even more closely with going private agencies such as Planned Parenthood” to provide contraception for every American woman.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for today’s lawmakers to say such a thing.

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