Catholic World News

For women in poverty, contraception is not top priority, scholars argue

July 18, 2012

In a devastating critique of plans for a redoubled international drive to promote contraception in the Third World, Greg Pfundstein and Meghan Grizzle point out that women living in poverty have many more immediate needs: for food, shelter, security, education, and health care. The funds spent on contraceptives could be devoted to those needs, they argue. Instead:

A woman whose education has not been improved; whose access to essential healthcare has not been improved; whose very real and legitimate desire for children has not been met; whose economic opportunities have not been improved a whit. For this woman, Melinda Gates has one message: “Here’s twenty bucks; don’t have babies.”’

Pfundstein and Grizzle demolish the oft-cited statistic that 1 million teenage girls die each year from pregnancy-related causes. The actual figure, provided by the World Health Organization, is 50,000—5% of the propaganda claim. That number, they observe, could certainly be brought down by providing adequate nutrition, prenatal care, education, and medical assistance in childbirth.

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