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Family Planning Should Be 'Cornerstone' Of U.S. Policy In Afghanistan

“Without attention to population, countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan stand a good chance of staying mired in poverty, conflict, and corrupt, repressive government. That is why sustained investment in family planning by the United States and other countries would do more to stabilize the political climate there than any other foreign-policy initiative,” Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba, former Defense Department consultant and the Mellon Environmental Fellow in the department of international studies at Rhodes College, writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece.

Afghanistan’s population of 31 million people could quadruple by midcentury, leaving “95 million more Afghans to govern, clothe, feed, and employ,” she notes, adding, “Smaller family sizes allow each child to receive a larger share of household resources, and mothers can seek employment outside the home. Education and family planning can reduce abortions, maternal mortality, and infant mortality, and break the cycle of poverty.” Sciubba states, “We need a comprehensive approach to building national security, one that addresses issues not only with military efficiency and effectiveness, but also with family planning, democratic accountability, poverty reduction, and education. Reproductive health and family planning should be a cornerstone of U.S. and international policy in Afghanistan and the region” (9/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.