Recently, Save the Children has announced that family planning 'saves lives' of both women and babies. It has called for aid money to be spent on contraception, claiming that it is a good investment, cheaper than saving children from death by disease or starvation after they are born. These claims are due to be rehashed in a letter to The Financial Times this week.
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications manager, examines in this video why money is being spent on contraception when people are starving:
In promoting contraception, Save the Children is echoing agencies that promote abortion and population control for poorer countries. The popular face of this campaign is a call to address the alleged 'unmet need for contraception' among the world’s poorest women. Although Save the Children says this would cost only one pound per woman per year, the UK government, the EU, the US, the Gates Foundation and others are proposing to give many billions of pounds more to stop around 0.2 billion poor women bearing children.
Save the Children make specious claims such as '570,000 newborn children will be saved if family planning needs are met'. In a forthcoming letter in The Financial Times, NGOs Beyond 2014, an alliance of pro-abortion organisations, plan to claim the summit will help progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4 (reduce child mortality). There are real and urgent needs that newborns and young child need help with, and these should be the priority of Save the Children, not pushing contraceptives to stop future children existing.
A report by The Economist (May 2012) concluded that the link between mortality and broader demographic change seems weak. This contradicts the claims of Save the Children and NGOs beyond 2014. 16 of the 20 African countries which have had detailed surveys of living conditions since 2005 reported falls in their child-mortality rates (this rate is the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births). 12 countries had falls of over 4.4% a year, which is the rate of decline that is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015. The report notes that countries which reduced their birth rates the most would be expected to have cut child mortality most. This is because such countries have moved furthest in the transition from poor, high-fertility status to richer, low-fertility status. But it turns out that while Senegal, Ethiopia and Ghana reduced both fertility and child mortality a lot, others like Kenya and Uganda also reduced child deaths, though their fertility declines have stalled in recent years. Lower birth rates are not the only factor. Liberia, where fertility remains high, did badly on child mortality—but so did low-fertility places such as Namibia and Lesotho.
Some further facts:
- Under-nutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries. (Source: Under-five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006)
- One out of four children - roughly 146 million - in developing countries is underweight (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
- 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
- According to charity Mary’s Meals, 78% of malnourished children live in countries that have a surplus of food and there is enough food being produced in the world today to feed every person 2,720 kcals each day
- According to the charity Nothing But Nets, malaria causes 200 million instances of illness per year and kills 600,000 people, mostly children under the age of five. Malaria is both preventable and treatable. Anti-malarial drugs, such as artemisinin and other combination therapies (if used early enough) can be used to treat malaria once it is contracted.
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