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'Impatient Optimists' Blog Posts Address Family Planning Ahead Of London Summit

Leading up to the London Summit on Family Planning taking place July 11, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog published several posts addressing family planning issues. The following summarizes some of these posts.

  • Gary Darmstadt: “[T]he current global focus on family planning … [is] based on evidence, and thoughtful reasoning,” Darmstadt, head of the foundation’s Family Health Division, writes in this post. He says a newly published Family Planning Series in the Lancet “provides the rationale for why this [London] Summit is pushing for increased global commitments to family planning,” and he summarizes several of the studies in the series, which he writes “present critical evidence of the benefits of family planning from several different perspectives.” He continues, “The Lancet series shows strong evidence of the massive benefits of family planning programs and presents a compelling argument for increased investments and global attention” (7/9).
  • Mark Dybul: The “key themes” of the summit “align well with the policies of the last two Republican Presidents — George H.W. and George W. Bush. Preventing unplanned pregnancies saves the lives of mothers and children and allows women and their husbands to decide on the size of the family that they can love, clothe, feed, educate and nurture to create a better life for their children than they had,” Dybul, distinguished scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and inaugural global health fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, writes in this post. “There is broad agreement that birth spacing saves lives,” and “find[ing] common ground” on the many methods to achieve birth spacing will “prevent the most unintended pregnancies,” he states. “Working together with a shared vision to save the lives of women and children, to prevent as many abortions as possible, we can create a world of healthy, happy families,” he concludes (7/9).
  • Robert Greenhill: “Insofar as spending on family planning leads to lower fertility rates and smaller numbers of children, it can ease the crushing burden of youth dependency and allow the engines of economic growth to shift into high gear,” Greenhill, managing director and chief business officer of the World Economic Forum, writes in this post. “The potential for rapid economic growth that is created by lower fertility is known as the ‘demographic dividend,'” he states and notes that some countries in East Asia “offer striking evidence of the economic benefits of fertility decline, much of which was achieved through increased access to, and reliance on, modern contraception.” He concludes, “If world leaders are serious about helping Africa lift itself up economically, they would do well to pay greater heed to the compelling evidence on the economic benefits of investments in family planning” (7/9).
  • Jennifer James: In this post, James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, summarizes tweets using the #FPSummit hashtag in a Storify. She writes, “Thus far summit partners have consistently shared key articles, infographics, and supporting facts that prove the effectiveness and importance of family planning for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries” (7/9).

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