THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS
NEW YORK CITY
On the eve of the annual UN Commission on the Population and Development, the UN Population Division (UNPD) issued a policy brief calling for heightened governmental action on fertility reduction in the 49 countries the UN General Assembly calls the “least developed.” The paper --- “What would it take to accelerate fertility decline in the least developed countries?” --- complains that, “Fast population growth, fueled by high fertility, hinders the reduction of poverty and the achievement of other internationally agreed development goads.”
The unnamed authors report that, “the fertility of developing countries dropped from 5.6 children per woman in 1970 to 3.6 in 1985 and reached 2.8 children per woman in 1995. In contrast, the fertility of the least developed countries dropped by just 0.4 of a child from 1970 to 1985 (from 6.5 children per woman to 6.1) and was still a high 5.4 children per woman in 1995.” The paper asserts high fertility rates inevitably result in higher rates of poverty.
The paper concludes that there is an enormous “unmet need” for family planning in the least developed countries. To UN agencies, family planning means exclusively contraception and availability of abortion. The paper says, “Data on contraceptive prevalence corroborate that the use of modern contraceptive methods among women in the least developed countries remain low, with just 24 percent of women…using modern methods.”
Demographer and economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute told the Friday Fax that the report is “infused with a statist, neo-Malthusian conceit that human preferences about family size are fundamentally malleable by government.” In a paper published in Great Britain in 2007, Eberstadt challenged the claim that high fertility automatically equals high rates of poverty. He pointed out that world population quadrupled in the 20th century yet global GDP per capita “more than quintupled.”
He recently described the new UNPD policy paper’s thesis as “dead ideas that died long ago” and argued that the single most accurate predictor of national fertility levels is the desired family size reported by prospective parents—not the scale or intensity of government programs for greater contraceptive use.
Eberstadt pointed out that Lant Princhett, a Harvard economist then senior economist at the World Bank, convincingly made the case that desire is the key determinant of family size a decade and a half ago, in a major 1994 study in Population and Development Review, the leading journal in the field.
After examining voluminous survey data, Pritchett concluded that “In countries where fertility is high, women want more children. ‘Excess’ or ‘unwanted’ fertility plays a minor role in explaining fertility differences. Moreover, the level of contraceptive use, measures of contraceptive availability…and family planning effort have little impact on fertility…”
Pritchett also punctured one of the main themes of the new UNPD paper: the concept of “unmet need.” Pritchett has pointed out that “unmet need” is defined extremely broadly; “…in calculating ‘unmet need’ all women not wanting a child immediately who report not using contraception (even for reasons other than cost and availability --- for example, infrequent sexual activity, dislike of side effects of contraception, or religious objections) are classified as ‘needing’ contraception.” Harvard’s Pritchett termed this definition “paternalistic.”
The UN Commission on Population and Development is meeting this week in New York and will focus almost exclusively on ideas related to contraception and abortion.
New UN Policy Paper Called
Neo-Malthusian and Statist
By Austin Ruse
As the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) meets at the United Nations (UN) this week to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held at Cairo, fault lines have appeared between states that see people as a resource to be promoted, and those that see people as a burden to be controlled.
On the one hand the Holy See and a number of Muslim nations in particular are defending a pro-people vision of development emphasizing poverty reduction, basic education and health care, while the European Union, Canada and the new Obama administration propose fertility reduction and broad “sexual and reproductive rights,” including contraception, “safe abortion” and “sexuality education”
The latter theme has been consistently stressed by UN agencies, radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and “progressive” nations throughout this CPD session. In her opening address, Hania Zlotnik, the director of the UN Population Division, called on states to applaud the “rapid reduction of fertility in most developing countries” which has been achieved “mainly by expanding access to effective methods of contraception. Zlotnik asserted that “if the evils of poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, disease and hunger are to be eliminated, population policies that ensure reproductive health and access to family planning have to be part of the arsenal.”
There have been some positive surprises. Japan made a strong statement recognizing the major demographic problem faced as a graying, aging nation, concluding that it was essential to encourage citizens to “get married, give birth and raise children.” Croatia and Bulgaria spoke of the measures they were taking to promote birth, such as maternity allowances and paid pregnancy, maternity and paternity leave. Russia, aware of its drastic demographic collapse, also took a pro-natalist position, as it did last year.
Latin American states have been a major disappointment. Brazil and Uruguay in particular have been pushing “reproductive rights” language. The contrast, for example, between last year’s Uruguayan statement, introduced by an objective, professional demographer who recognized the problems caused by an aging populace, and this year’s is striking. The Brazilian representative also stated the government was discussing the inclusion of specialized health services, including surgical procedures, for homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals. In comparison, Cuba has been relatively restrained, inviting criticism from feminist NGOs.
Pro-life Latin voices have been muted. It is rumored that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the pro-abortion NGO Ipas are pressuring pro-life Honduras to go along with a new Latin American “consensus” that does not challenge reproductive rights language.
Malta, however, made a strong statement defending its pro-life laws and stated that it “has consistently expressed its reservation on the use of terms such as ‘reproductive rights,’ ‘reproductive services’ and ‘control of fertility.’” Malta restated its reservation to the ICPD provision “In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe,” stating that the phrase “could lend itself to multiple interpretations, implying among other things, that abortion can be completely free of medical and other psychological risks, while ignoring altogether the rights of the unborn.” Saint Lucia stressed that the unborn should be included in promoting maternal and child health, and also spoke of the success of its abstinence-based programs. Throughout negotiations, the Holy See has been a constant voice in support of human dignity and development. It faulted the UN for “giving priority to population control and getting the poor to accept these arrangements” rather than on development issues such education, basic health care, access to water, sanitation and employment.”
The CPD session is to conclude on Friday. Given the apparent ideological gap, a failure to produce an outcome document – an extremely unusual occurrence, which is seen as a black mark on the presiding chairperson– is possible, though unlikely.
People as Resource or Burden Splits UN Population Meeting
By Samantha Singson and Piero A. Tozzi
CATHOLIC FAMILY AND HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE
Austin Ruse, President
Barack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetoro
is a usurper
because he is not eligible to be President of the United States
because he is not a Natural Born Citizen
as required by Article Two, Section One, Clause Five
of the United States Constitution regardless of
where he was born (Mombassa, Hawaii, Chicago, or Mars)
because he was not born of TWO PARENTS
BOTH OF WHOM WERE UNITED STATES CITIZENS
at the time of his birth. His father was a subject/ciitizen
of Kenya/Great Britain
and his mother was too young to pass on her citizenship
according to the law in effect when he was born.
Check it out:
His usurpation cannot be corrected by Congress,
it can only be corrected by his removal
by an amendment to the Constitution.