Fulfilling Contraception Needs Could Lower Maternal Mortality Drastically, Study Says
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows that fulfilling unmet contraception demand by women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third, a potentially great improvement for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The study, published on Tuesday in The Lancet, a British science journal, comes ahead of a major family planning conference in London organized by the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is an attempt to refocus attention on the issue. It has faded from the international agenda in recent years, overshadowed by efforts to combat AIDS and other infectious diseases, as well as by ideological battles.
In other words, if, by providing more and better contraceptives to Third Worlders, you can reduce maternity by 1/3rd that ought, all else being equal, to reduce maternal mortality by 1/3rd. So, this push by Bill and Melinda Gates to boost population control isn't about keeping nonwhite Third World babies from being born, it's about keeping nonwhite Third World women from dying! Are you in favor of nonwhite Third World women dying? Hunh? Hunh? Are ya? So, Melinda and I aren't racists, we are feminists, and anybody who says we're racist just wants nonwhite Third World women to die in childbirth.
The proportion of international population assistance funds that went to family planning fell to just 6 percent in 2008, down from 55 percent in 1995, while spending on H.I.V./AIDS represented 74 percent of the total in 2008, up from just 9 percent in 1995, according to Rachel Nugent, a professor of global health at the University of Washington, who cited figures from the United Nations Population Fund.
But population growth has continued to surge, with the United Nations estimating last year that the world’s population, long expected to stabilize, will instead keep growing. Population experts warn that developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility continues to be high and shortages of food and water are worsening, will face deteriorating conditions if family sizes do not shrink.
“Family planning kind of faded from the radar screen, and now it is coming back,” said John May, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of a book, “World Population Policies: Their Origin, Evolution, and Impact.”
“There is a realization from many different places that population issues are not going away,” he said.
The issue of family planning is fraught in the United States, where government assistance often gets caught up in political battles. Contraception has again become controversial this political season, though the United States remains a major donor.
The Gates Foundation and the British government are pressing the issue. About $4 billion is expected to be pledged at the London conference to provide family planning services to 120 million women from the world’s poorest countries over the next eight years. ...
Birth control reduces health risks, the researchers said, by delaying first pregnancies, which carry higher risks in very young women; cutting down on unsafe abortions, which account for 13 percent of all maternal deaths in developing countries; and controlling dangers associated with pregnancies that are too closely spaced.
Uh, and by cutting down on the number of births.
The authors of the Lancet study, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, found that the number of maternal deaths in those countries in 2008 would have nearly doubled without contraception.
... The lack of birth control in poor countries has become an important issue for Melinda Gates, who argued in highly personal remarks in April that birth control should not be controversial, because it improves women’s lives.
“Somewhere along the way we got confused by our own conversation and we stopped trying to save these lives,” she said. She added: : “We’re not talking about abortion. We’re not talking about population control. What I’m talking about is giving women the power to save their lives.”
Indeed, I suspect that much of the Gates Foundations' often disastrous interventions in American education are, at some level, intended as a triple bankshot plan to reduce NAM fertility by keeping NAMs in school longer.