Wednesday, June 09, 2010

International Family Planning Saves Lives -- Get Involved

I started my professional career 35 years ago this summer at the Population Institute, where as the Director of the Resource Center, I developed fact sheets on population and family planning.

Last night, I read two outstanding articles on how vital family planning services still are to the world's women and how much unmet need still exists.

Dr. Willard Cates, President of Family Health International, wrote in the new issue of Contraception that family planning is the essential link to achieving all eight Millennium Development Goals. Family planning will help end poverty and hunger; prolongs education; empowers women; saves infants lives; reduces the risks of abortion and childbearing and thus reduces maternal mortality; prevents HIV transmission by women to their babies; and promotes global partnerships. A "new" fact for me was learning that family planning is "five times cheaper than conventional green technologies for reducing CO2 climate change."

Susan Cohen wrote an excellent article, "Family Planning and Safe Motherhood: Dollars and Sense" for the Guttmacher Policy Review. that concludes that "doubling the modest, current global investment in family planning and maternal and newborn care -- to just over $24 billion combined annually - would reduce maternal mortality by at least 70%, half the number of newborn deaths and do so at a lower total cost than investing in maternal and newborn care alone." Her analysis also concludes, "the most effective way to reduce the incidence of abortion overall, including unsafe abortion, is to increase use of modern contraception - making it easier for women to avoid unintended pregnancy in the first place."

The moral imperative was clear to me that first summer I went to work after college. It's the same today. Family planning saves lives.

Get involved. Join our Faithful Voices Network to learn more or sign up to host a Rachel Sabbath in your congregation next year.

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