Roundup: Rapid Pace of Climate Change Renews Calls for Increased Support for Family Planning

Concern about the pace of climate change is increasing, and so is  concern about the role of population growth in driving it, reigniting or reinvigorating (depending on the viewpoint) calls for increased investment in family planning services for couples in poorer countries. 

Right now, the most important factor in climate change is the high rate of individual consumption in both high and middle-income countries and in densely population countries like China and India of fossil fuels and of other activities producing green house gases.  Ultimately, however, to raise living standards everywhere, we need to reduce both excessive consumption and the rate of global population growth.

Which brings in family planning.

Despite earlier progress in increasing access to basic reproductive health services, of which family planning is a core aspect, the "unmet need for family planning" remains high in many countries.  (Unmet need is estimated based on the difference between the number of children women or couples say they desire versus the number they actually have.  The need is "unmet" when couples are having more children then they desire but do not have access to or are not using contraception.) 

According to UNFPA:

Today, one in six women in the world 
Today, 63% of women in developing
countries use a method of family
planning. In 1960,
that number was just 10%.Despite this dramatic increase,
about one in six married women still has an
unmet need for family planning: that
is, she wants to postpone her next
pregnancy or stop having children altogether
but, for whatever reason, is not using
contraception. As a
consequence, 76 million women in developing countries still
experience unintended pregnancies each year, and 19 million resort to unsafe abortions.

The need to increase access for couples to the range of reproductive and sexual health services including basic family planning services was reflected in a commentary in the journal The Lancet last week by Leo Bryant, a lead
researcher on a World Health Organisation study on population growth
and climate change.

Bryant said that the stigma attached to birth control in both
developing and developed countries was hindering vital progress.

"We are certainly not advocating that governments should start telling
people how many children they can have," said Bryant, an advocacy
manager at the family planning group Marie Stopes International, who
wrote a commentary in the Lancet medical journal on Friday.

In an interview with Reuters, Bryant also underscored the fact that:

"The ability to choose your family size…is a fundamental human right.
But lack of access to family planning means millions of people in
developing countries don’t have that right."

Bryant’s study of climate change adaptation plans by governments in the
world’s 40 poorest countries showed that almost all of them link rapid
population growth to environmental impact, but only six had proposed
steps to tackle it.  "Acknowledgement of the problem is widespread, but resolve to address seems to be very much a minority sport," he said.

Bryant said 200 million women across the world want contraceptives, but
cannot get them. Addressing this need would slow population growth and
reduce demographic pressure on the environment.

In most
countries with good access to birth control, average family sizes
shrink dramatically within a generation, he said. But policymakers in
rich donor nations are wary of talking about contraception for fear of
being accused of advocating draconian ideas like sterilisation or
one-child policies.

The world’s population is forecast to
rise by one third to more than 9 billion people by 2050, with 95
percent of this growth in developing countries.



Daily Item: Revere school board to meet on contraceptive availability

Reuters: Contraception vital in climate change fight -expert

Catholic News Agency: Baucus health care bill would fund abortions, pro-life groups say

News Tribune: Commission says no to Planned Parenthood, yes to corn maze

California Catholic Daily: Zero Success of Bishops with Pro-abort Catholics

Argus Leader: State appeals abortion ruling

Notre Dame Observer: Jenkins announces pro-life Task Force

Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Reform and the President’s Faithful Helpers


Catholic News Agency: Survey: 48 percent of Americans want ban on abortion funding in health care bill

FOX News: Anti-Abortion Leader Says White House Meeting Doesn’t Ease Concerns

NYTimes: Religion’s Link to Teen Pregnancy

Catholic News Agency: Following Obama controversy, Notre Dame president announces pro-life initiatives

State News: Birth control coverage mandate not justifiable

Baptist Press: Baucus Senate bill at odds with Obama abortion pledge

Reuters: Obama Interrupted at University of Maryland by ‘Pro life Moderate’ Yelling: ‘Liar!’

CBN: New Polling on Abortion and Health Care Reform

LifeNews: Latest 40 Days for Life Campaign Against Abortion Begins Nationwide Next Week

LifeSiteNews: Philippine Bishops to Create Pro-Life, Pro-Family Coalition of Lay Groups to Support Politicians

Baltimore Sun: Is Catholic Maryland complacent on abortion?

Long Island Press: When Plan A Becomes Plan B

WaPo: Fact Check: Contraception for Married Couples

Reuters: Contraceptive Pill Named the Greatest Pharmacy Invention of the Last 150 Years in Chemist+Druggist Competition

BBC News: Egypt jails US ‘adoption’ couples

CBN: Shouldn’t Pro-Choice Groups be Mad at President Obama?


Truthout: Egg-as-Person State Law Campaigns Attract New Faces, Old Radicals

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  • crowepps

    We are facing a stark possibility that hundreds of millions of people, including children, are going to drown, die of thirst, hunger or exposure, or be killed in wars because the resources needed for all them to survive won’t be available. Allowing people to voluntarily reduce the number of children they have is being opposed on the grounds that allowing people to make their own individual choices about family size isn’t ‘Pro Life’. It sure will be ironic if we manage to wipe out human civilization because some people just can’t accept that quality of life sometimes trumps quantity. Of course, the tattered remnants who survive in the narrow bands of habitable land, reduced once again to primitive agriculture, will actually need large families to enable their subsistence level existence, which should please the reactionaries. If any of them are still around to care.

  • ahunt

    We could collaborate on the screenplay Crowepps.  Casting would be a hoot.

  • crowepps

    Can we have a scene where the heads of Big Oil and the politicians they’ve bought are staked out in the D.C. Tidal Basin to await the rising tide? After all, they insist that the sea level isn’t rising so they should be perfectly safe.

  • ahunt

    Absolutely. And in salute to the vanishing of arable lands, we should include a "Soylent Green" segment where those PTB in denial get to eat the people that have starved.

  • crowepps

    Seems more practical to ‘soylent green’ the people who caused and prolonged the mess and save the starving by letting the denialists be first on the menu.

  • paul-bradford

    Allowing people to voluntarily reduce the number of children they have is being opposed on the grounds that allowing people to make their own individual choices about family size isn’t ‘Pro Life’.


    I don’t know who’s making that claim, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Even in Humanae Vitae, which is the encyclical Pope Paul promulgated in 1968 banning the use of artificial contraception, there is a discussion of ‘responsible parenthood’ which refers to couples making sure that the size of their families doesn’t increase past their means to do a good job of caring for their children.


    If couples didn’t overpopulate their families we probably wouldn’t have to worry about the species overpopulating the planet.  


    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jeornom

    There’s just enough of Us, and way too many of Them.