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Conservatives Should Support Family Planning Programs

Saying conservatives historically supported family planning programs but recently have argued against contraception, John Seager, president of Population Connection, writes in a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece, “But what if I told you that there are a number of really good conservative arguments for supporting and even increasing family planning funding — particularly internationally — even in a tight fiscal environment?” He presents “four reasons why conservatives should rekindle a romance with birth control.” Seager says “birth control saves money,” noting “expanding access to contraception is a crucial step toward achieving all eight of the Millennium Development Goals, according to a report produced by a panel of 53 experts and international agencies.” He adds that “birth control boosts economies” and “stabilizes nations,” using international case studies from Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Pakistan as support. Finally, he says “birth control reduces human suffering” by reducing the incidence of maternal and infant mortality, as well as abortion.

“An estimated 222 million women around the world who want to delay or end childbearing don’t have access to contraception,” Seager writes, adding, “In fact, we’re spending 30 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars on international family planning now than we did in 1995.” He continues, “I know that I’ll never persuade some conservatives that international family planning deserves their support. But when a single investment can save money, boost economies, stabilize nations and reduce human suffering, thoughtful people of all political persuasions should give it a second look” (10/7).