Why is the US still Debating “Life?”
For one who grew up in the second most populous country in the world, I have taken for granted that access to safe, voluntary family planning is a basic human right. I am confused why the most developed country in the world thinks this basic human right is up for debate. It is a key to women’s empowerment, reduction of poverty, maternal and infant mortality, improving safe and effective family planning methods, improving the standard of living and economic prosperity of countries.
According to UNFPA, there are more than 225 million women in the world who share the same goals as we do — of bringing up healthy children, plan their families so they can feed, educate and raise them as contributing members of society. But they don’t have access to safe and effective family planning methods for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of access to information, education or health services to lack of support from their partners, communities, religious groups or national policies.
Most of these women with an unmet need for contraceptives live in more than 70 of the poorest countries on earth. Developed countries like France, Netherlands, United States, the United Kingdom and NGOs and UNFPA have supported family planning globally by: providing grants, health professionals, and other resources for outreach, education, ensuring a steady, reliable supply of quality contraceptives; strengthening national health systems; advocating for policies supportive of family planning; and gathering data to support this work. If it weren’t for the support of these entities, the population of the world would have exploded and maternal and children’s health would have been seriously jeopardized.
So no matter which side of the issue you are at, remember, family planning does not mean abortion. By definition, people in the US are practicing some form of family planning whether natural, or use of contraception, sterilization etc., or else, the US fertility rate would not have fallen to the lowest levels in 2016 since record keeping started more than a century ago, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate was 59.8 births per 1,000 women.
So the next time you use labels “pro-choice,” pro-life,” or debate this issue or take to the streets and demand overturning Roe v Wade, or defunding aid to family planning clinics or poor countries, take a moment to think of the millions of women across the globe who need our support.
If it weren’t for our support, they will die because of lack of access to information, medicine, safe family planning methods and their children will become victims of hunger, infections, diseases, trafficking, slavery, crime, war, gender selection, or even gender mutilation. Donate generously to UNFPA, NGOs and other organizations and save the women and children of the world.