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World Should Not ‘Shy Away’ From Discussing Ethical Steps To Stabilize Population Growth, Including Improving Access To Contraceptives

Washington Post: Talking about overpopulation is still taboo. That has to change.
Frances Kissling, president of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy; Jotham Musinguzi, director general of Uganda’s National Population Council; and Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp professor of bioethics at Princeton University

“…Both feminists and population stabilization advocates now agree that providing reproductive health services to women is first and foremost a right in itself, as well as the best and most ethical way to slow population growth. … Yet population remains an unmentionable topic in international policy circles. … That should not be the case. … Today we should be able to safely broach the potential problems of population growth and ethical ways to respond to it. Melinda Gates has shown one way of doing this, by focusing on making contraceptives more readily available to the 214 million women who do not want to become pregnant over the next two years but do not have effective preventive methods. Equally important is providing women with access to emergency contraception following unprotected sex and making safe abortion available to women who need it. … Finally, a central part of every discussion about population must be educating girls and women and ensuring opportunities for their participation in work and political life. … We should not shy away from discussing what actions are ethically permissible to facilitate a stable level of population growth, nor should we leave this discussion in the hands of the affluent. The conversation about ethics, population, and reproduction needs to shift from the perspective of white donor countries to the places and ­people most affected by poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation” (6/18).

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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.