Follow-Up: Reproductive Health and Development

A nice meeting on a rarely-discussed topic!  We had 17 people, too, including newbie Gail; and new semi-regulars Gwen, Phil and Barbara; returning old-timers (so to speak!) Jeff and Sharon; plus the usual suspects.  By way of follow-up, here is a little more information on some of the matters we discussed.

Global Issues –

  • The basic numbers:  “Surveys show that 200 million women wish to delay or stop the next pregnancy and over 100 million are not using any contraception because they lack access to it or face other barriers to its use.”  (source)
  • Reasons why so many women lack access to contraception.
  • A really good article on the enormous decline in fertility rates in most of the world (From The Economist in 2009)  This backs up what Bruce said about the strength of the relationship between income levels and fertility decline.
    Still, to support my point, in some countries fertility has declined by a lot at very low income levels.  For example, in Bangladesh, fertility rates fell by half during 1980-2000.  Surely, deliberate efforts to provide birth control access had something to do with that – not just the changing value of women in the marketplace in a richer society.  GDP per capita in Bangladesh today (2011) is only $2,039, ranking it 154th out of 187 countries. (Wiki).  I can’t find articles on it, but Bangladesh has been one of the biggest priorities for Western family planning assistance.  The decline in infant mortality there has been called the “Bangladeshi miracle.”
  • [Update]:  Did China’s economic development cause its sex-selective abortion problem?

U.S. Issues –

  • 2013 will be a really bad year for abortion rights. Restrictive abortion laws went into effect yesterday in five states.
  • In particular, Ohio’s new abortion law places, um, highly creative set of new restrictions on abortion providers.  Remember, the standard for state restrictions on abortion is supposed to be whether they impose an undue burden on women’s right to an abortion.  Also realize that every new idea for blocking access that is passed on one state will be copied in many or most of the other (20 or so) states that Republicans control.
  • Not a rebuttal to the point, but here’s an interesting point related to out-of-wedlock African-American births.

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