Wednesday 27 June 2012

Save the Children 'family planning' claims are false, illogical and unfounded

SPUC has responded to the report "Every woman's right: how family planning saves children's lives", published today by Save the Children (SCF).

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media earlier:
"SCF claims that '222 million newborn babies’ lives would be saved if the unmet need for family planning was fulfilled.' This claim is false, illogical and unfounded. In fact, babies in the developing world die because of lack of good maternity and newborn care. This will continue whether young women use contraception or not.

SCF also claims that: 'For girls and young women aged 15-19, pregnancy and childbirth is the number one killer. It’s the cause of 50,000 deaths of teenage girls every year.' Yet it is misleading to say that pregnancy or childbirth are in general causes of death. Haemorrhage, sepsis and infection may cause death. In most cases, death and serious injury can be averted by good maternity care, such as trained birth attendants, blood transfusion, antibiotics, etc.

Other claims by SCF are simply not backed by the studies it references in its report."
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, also commented:
"The so-called ‘unmet need for family planning’ is a myth invented by the abortion-contraception lobby. That lobby arrogantly assumes that all adult women of childbearing age who aren’t trying to get pregnant but are not using contraception, have an unmet need for family planning. Yet even the Save the Children report has a whole chapter entitled 'Stimulating demand for family planning'. This is about pushing a decadent Western ideology of sexual liberation onto poor, vulnerable, culturally conservative societies. That’s not to deny that there are some cultural practices which should be addressed, such as coercion of teenage girls. But contraception doesn’t address that problem – it may even help to hide the evidence of abuse, help to enable it to continue etc.

The report relies heavily upon claims by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Population Reference Bureau, the Guttmacher Institute and the Population Council, as well as officials in the relevant sections of WHO, UNICEF and DFID. But these people are basically one group: the abortion-contraception lobby.

The report gives Somalia as an example of a country where (it is claimed) high fertility/population growth is linked to high child mortality. Yet Somalia doesn’t even have a central government, let alone a healthcare system. There are also big deficiencies in governance and healthcare provision in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Save the Children should not be exploiting the negative cultural practices which have been linked to those cultures (e.g. coercion of teenage girls) to promote population control."
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