Catholic World News

American, Indonesian officials renew push for family planning

February 09, 2016

Government officials from the United States, Indonesia, and other nations renewed their push for family planning at 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, which recently concluded in Bali.

The Jakarta Post reported that 3,000 persons from 80 countries attended the conference, which was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia.

President Joko Wiwodo of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, pledged to “encourage local governments to raise awareness and make family planning a priority in every municipality and village.”

Since the 1960s, the Indonesian government has pressured families to have only two children, but some rural Muslims and wealthier Indonesians have begun to have larger families. The nation has more Muslims than any other country and is 87% Muslim, 7% Protestant, 3% Catholic, and 2% Hindu.

Father Hibertus Hartono of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia said after the conference that family planning “should not be reduced only to the issue of birth control, but must embrace a broad roadmap for married couples, including advice on how to raise healthy children, how to become integrated in society, and how to help families prosper economically.”

AsiaNews reported that the Church has won praise from the government for promoting natural family planning in its parishes.

The Church is “open to work[ing] with the government, but remains opposed to methods like abortion, sterilization and contraception,” according to AsiaNews.

At the conference, Ellen Starbird, director of the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health, described family planning as the “critical link” to achieving of the United Nations’ development goals and called for “strong outcome indicators” related to family planning.

“What gets measured, gets done,” she said.

The Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University promoted a number of “exciting events” at the conference, such as “Using Radio to Generate Demand and Promote Social Change for Improved Sexual and Reproductive Health, including Contraceptive Use, among Adolescents in Northern Uganda.”

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 10, 2016 2:43 PM ET USA

    Wikipedia lists Melinda Gates religion as Roman Catholic and I believe she is active in the work of the Gates Foundation.

  • Posted by: Faustina01 - Feb. 10, 2016 12:05 AM ET USA

    Children deniers! How sad. Perhaps it's time to say, "no thank you, " to Bill and Melinda Gates' money and "help."