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Reproductive Justice Belongs to Everyone

Access to modern contraceptives is a universal human right—women everywhere, no matter their circumstances, deserve the dignity of controlling their own fertility. However, access remains uneven at best. 225 million women in the developing world who would like to delay or avoid childbirth are unable to do so. In the developed world, other barriers often force women into similarly difficult circumstances.

Here in the United States, African American women and other women of color are disproportionately affected by U.S. family planning regulations. The current administration is now proposing policies that will greatly exacerbated this issue. Threats from Congress to eliminate Planned Parenthood funding will heavily affect women of color, a group who already report low use of contraceptives due primarily to cost.  Just as the Global Gag Rule and its enhanced restrictions have illustrated this administration’s attitude towards marginalized communities abroad, attacks on access within our borders similarly targets societies most vulnerable people.

Within the history of the reproductive justice movement, women of color, particularly black women, have seen their voices marginalized within the mainstream, (white) feminist pro-choice agenda. African American women have been, at best, relegated to the sidelines in the reproductive rights movements of the last century.

And yet, the contributions African American women have made to the reproductive justice movement have transformed the way we discuss reproductive rights today. African American women have demonstrated that the discussion of reproductive rights neither starts nor ends at the right to abortion access, but encompasses a wide array of issues that have targeted minority communities, ranging from involuntary sterilization to access to public family planning services. African American women’s primary platform has long coalesced these issues into one platform: to provide black women with choices.

Historically, black women have embraced reproductive decision-making to rebel against racism, sexism, and poverty. In the early 20th century, with the advent of modern contraceptives, black women joined the mainstream feminist conversation that birth control can be utilized as a means for women to escape the financial and physical stresses of multiple pregnancies. Yet, during this time, eugenics became influential in discussions on public policy. These racist and unscientific theories led the United States government to wield anti-natalist philosophies to target vulnerable communities—most horrifically, through state-sponsored coerced sterilization. In response, Black women of the era widened their agenda to include not just access to family planning resources, but also to the fight to restrict the government’s access to their bodies.

African American women’s fight for body autonomy continued during the Civil Rights movement and the subsequent Black Power movement. Throughout this time, reproductive rights for black women came under attack on two fronts: within black movements and from the U.S. government.

In 1965, the provocative study “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” (informally known as “The Moynihan Report”) placed black women in the center of the failing of the black family. Single black women with children, a population statistically more likely to receive welfare benefits at this time due primarily to deep-seated structural issues, were blamed for the disintegration of the black community. Unfortunately, this lead to the “logical” conclusion that government involvement in black women’s reproductive decision-making would reduce welfare spending.

Within the African American community, black liberation movements struggled to adequately address reproductive rights for black women. The Nation of Islam, for example, argued against the eugenics-inspired agenda of forced sterilization—but then also argued that women’s sole responsibility was to procreate. The Black Panther Party’s leadership, while intimately aware of the inequities black women faced within their communities, nonetheless yet struggled to rein in their sexist and chauvinistic inclinations.

This rhetoric didn’t shift until Elaine Brown, a prominent figure in the Black Panther Party,, was able to overcome the party’s deep-seated misogyny and become chair of the party in 1974. Brown included reproductive rights for black women in the party’s platform.

Brown said: “I would support every assertion of human rights by women—from the right to abortion to the right of equality with men as laborers and leaders. I would declare that the agenda of the Black Panther Party and our revolution to free black people from the oppression specifically included black women.” Thanks to Brown’s leadership, the Black Panther Party, despite a history marred by misogyny, ushered in a new era for the inclusion of reproductive rights in Black liberation movements.

In the mid-1990s, a caucus of black women convened in Chicago and coined the term “reproductive justice” and to define the parameters of this movement. Calling themselves the Black Women’s Caucus of the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance, these women went to work ensuring that the concerns of women of color and women of limited means be accurately presented and defended.

Twenty years later, the mainstream feminist movement still struggles to adequately address issues affecting women of color within their ranks. Black women’s ongoing struggle to maintain body autonomy and access to reproductive services is due in large part to both harmful public policies that have had lasting effects on women of color and the resistance within mainstream feminism to pull Black women and their unique circumstances into the center of the larger fight for reproductive justice and women’s rights. Educated decision-making and proper access to safe, quality healthcare for women helps to not only build stronger human communities but also affects the long-term sustainability of this planet. Supporting more vulnerable communities in this endeavor should never be seen as a mere option, but rather a necessity for the betterment of our entire planet.

 

Are Coercive Population Policies Ever Warranted?

How about I answer that question with a question:

Are you comfortable with your government deciding how many children you may have, and also how any births beyond that number will be prevented?

 

We aren’t either.

No government is ever justified in dictating the number of children its citizens may have. Freedom from reproductive coercion is a fundamental human right and must be protected for all people worldwide. Draconian, top-down policies result in horrific instances of coercive sterilization and abortion, and, in the case of China, the punishing of “extra” children through denial of healthcare, education, and employment.

In addition to being wrong on an ethical and human rights level, reproductive coercion is completely unnecessary for reducing population growth.

China is the only country in the world that has (until recently) had an official one-child policy, and its fertility rate is higher than many countries’ rates in East Asia that haven’t had such policies. Sovereign East Asian countries with lower fertility rates include Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea. Many more Asian countries have fertility rates below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman (see table).

Total Fertility Rate (2015-2020 medium fertility projection)
Singapore 1.26
Hong Kong 1.30
South Korea 1.33
Macao 1.34
Cyprus 1.42
Thailand 1.46
Japan 1.46
Armenia 1.51
China 1.59
Iran 1.62
Lebanon 1.71
United Arab Emirates 1.73
Brunei 1.82
Georgia 1.82
Malaysia 1.90
Bhutan 1.93
North Korea 1.94
Qatar 1.95
Viet Nam 1.95
Bahrain 1.98
Maldives 1.98
Turkey 2.01
Sri Lanka 2.03
Kuwait 2.04
Bangladesh 2.08
Nepal 2.09
Myanmar 2.13
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision.

Surveys consistently show that, on average, women in persistently high-fertility countries want to have fewer children than they actually have (wanted* vs. actual fertility). In Cambodia, the actual fertility rate is 2.7, but the wanted fertility rate is 2.4; in Indonesia, the actual fertility rate is 2.6, compared to the wanted fertility rate of 2.0; in the Philippines, the actual fertility rate is 3.0, but the wanted rate is only 2.2. You get the idea.

When women have access to family planning and other opportunities that increase gender equality (education, choice in when and whom to marry, employment prospects, etc.), the total fertility rate declines. When women can choose when to have each of their children (if they choose to have any at all), they ultimately have fewer than they would if pregnancy were the perennial consequence of being sexually active.

It is not the place of any government to control the bodies of its citizens, whether through forced sterilization and abortion or through the denial of access to birth control and safe abortion. The latter is the focus of most of our advocacy work, as there are still 225 million women in the developing world (and an unknown number here in the United States) who do not want to get pregnant but aren’t using contraception and are therefore at risk of unintended pregnancy. Each country has its own population challenges, and the aim of any government should be to address those challenges with respect for citizens’ preferences and bodily autonomy.

* In the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), wanted fertility is determined by asking respondents whether each birth in the five years preceding the survey was planned (wanted then), mistimed (wanted but a later time), or unwanted (wanted no more children).

Add another to the list—giraffes are now facing the consequences of human population

In a year filled with many…memorable…milestones, 2016 closed with a truly depressing one, as giraffes were added to a list of “vulnerable” species headed towards eventual extinction for the first time. Their numbers have declined precipitously over the last three decades, according to a report released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains endangered species lists.

The culprit? You guessed it—human population pressures.

Habitat destruction due to human activity—such as logging, farming, and armed conflicts—is pushing giraffe populations to the breaking point throughout the African continent. An ever-expanding human population, largely unchecked due to a huge unmet need for family planning, is having a frighteningly damaging effect on these majestic animals.

U.S. funding of international family planning programs has the greatest impact in the developing world, where women desperately want to limit their family size but lack the means to do so. All ten of the countries with the highest total fertility rates are currently located on the African continent. Home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife, these nations are struggling to meet the needs of their human inhabitants while protecting the natural habitats that these animals depend on.

And sadly,  the implementation of the Global Gag Rule has thrown another huge obstacle into the path of slowing population growth throughout the developing world. It deeply undermines progress made towards smaller families and more sustainable communities. Humans and wildlife alike will suffer the consequences if we don’t keep fighting to make international family planning a funding priority.

Marching in Solidarity for Women (and ALL People) Everywhere

I had the unparalleled pleasure of marching with women (and friends of women) at San Diego’s Women’s March. I have never experienced a feeling of total solidarity and pride in my gender as I did that day. The moment I hopped in my Lyft to head downtown, my driver, an older woman named Marlene, told me that although she had to work, she was proud of us for marching and was with us in spirit. I was one of many people she was ferrying down to the march, and our conversation sparked that initial fire that burned steadily even after the march was over.

By the time I arrived, the crowd was too thick to get anywhere near the Civic Center. I could only vaguely make out the voices projected over microphone. We waited with anticipation for any sign that we could begin to march. I chatted with the people around me, and we all took turns taking pictures of each other and complimenting creative signs and outfits. It started to rain pretty heavily while we waited, and the ones who brought umbrellas generously shared with those who did not. Despite the poor weather and increasingly claustrophobic conditions, the sense of cheerful community was palpable. People broke out in to song, singing “We are family! I got all my sisters with me!”

Cheers erupted when we finally started to walk. Call and response chants were spontaneous and frequent, the most popular refrain being “Love trumps hate.” People of all walks of life attended: Men, women, and children of all races and age groups. The crowd was kind and respectful, making extra room for wheelchair bound participants and the elderly. The Kumeyaay – the native tribe indigenous to this part of Southern and Baja California – marched as well, resplendent in elaborate traditional garb, cleansing the air with burning sage. Their drums set the tempo for the march, maintaining a steady pulse.

The most notable aspect of the signage at the march was the unabashed references to female reproduction. Amongst the sea of pink pussy hats, it was variations on a theme: the female form was on proud display, a strange and startling sight to behold in a public space. If not being used for sexual objectification, our bodies are typically rebuked, painted as a source of shame. It was revelatory to see such open celebration honoring the sacred autonomous functionality of the female sex, claiming it as our own to both define and control. It was, in a word, liberating.

Some are saying this is the largest demonstration in American history. And while it originated here, there is a reason the march spread internationally – women’s rights are human rights. This is very much a global issue. Access to reproductive health care and family planning is not only an essential right to basic care and bodily autonomy, it is crucial to the fight for environmental justice. Deforestation, food and water shortages, and climate change are exacerbated by unmitigated population growth. Study after study has shown that the best way to combat overpopulation is to provide robust resources for women’s reproductive health.

Trump, unfortunately, appears to be making good on his promise to undercut reproductive rights with the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule. This is a threat to women everywhere, including Mother Earth. The women who marched on Saturday know this. There were many signs that proclaimed “I’m With Her” with an arrow pointing to Earth, and others that simply asserted the simple fact that “Climate Change is Real.” Environmental rights and women’s rights are inextricable.

The fight ahead will not be easy. But after witnessing the abundance of positive, proactive energy all over the world, I have great hope that we have the momentum necessary to push women’s rights to the fore, to expand reproductive justice, and to overcome the damaging policies sure to come our way.

It’s official–Donald Trump Just Imposed the Global Gag Rule

On Saturday, millions of women took to the streets around the world in protest. Their message was loud, and it was clear—women’s rights are human rights, and all elected officials should sit up and take notice that curtailing the rights of our nation’s and world’s most vulnerable people will not stand.

Yet today, Donald Trump and Mike Pence decided to use their first week in power to undermine women’s health, rights and security around the world by imposing the Global Gag Rule

This means that, as of today, it is now illegal for any overseas health clinic that receives U.S. aid to even talk about abortion. The Gag Rule creates a major dilemma for foreign organizations that rely upon foreign aid to empower women with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and services. By “gagging” their ability to even discuss abortions—even though no U.S. aid can be used to provide them—it forces providers to censor how the advise patients or risk going bankrupt. Moreover, documentation by a consortium of NGO’s has found that abortion rates (resulting from decreased access to contraceptives) go up when the Global Gag Rule is in place. Not only does this policy result in outcomes that directly contradict it’s supposed aims (to make abortions rarer), it directly hurts women and families already living in some of the world’s poorest places.

Offering aid on conditions that reduce the quality of family planning programs makes it impossible for organizations working on the ground to effectively serve their communities. Several countries whose family planning assistance was severely cut due to the imposition of the Gag Rule have revised their population projections upward. Kenya is perhaps the most jarring example: before the Gag Rule, Kenya’s population in 2050 was projected to be 44 million. In the latest revision, however, that figure rose to 97 million. This example illustrates the time sensitive nature of compounding population growth. Each generation creates a larger base upon which the next generation grows.

It’s easy to see that this policy is both deeply damaging to individual women all over the globe AND to the well being of our entire planet. We know that the most effective way to slow global population growth is to ensure universal access to modern family planning methods. The Gag Rule deeply undermines the progress we’ve made towards smaller families and more productive, sustainable communities. If you’d like to take action to fight back against the imposition of the Global Gag Rule, sign our sister organization Population Connection Action Fund’s pledge here.

 

Bracing Ourselves for Trump’s Post-Truth Era

Fake news played a hand in some of 2016’s most pivotal events—going so far as to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. The Oxford Dictionaries even made post-truth its 2016 Word of the Year.

So in other words…flat out lies.

After the recent emergence of an insane alt-right conspiracy positing that Hillary Clinton and campaign chair John Podesta were running a pedophilia ring from the basement of a DC pizza parlor (which does not even have a basement), a North Carolina man took it upon himself to “self-investigate” by entering the pizza shop with a rifle, pointing it at an employee, and firing a shot. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but the “Pizzagate” incident brought to light just how dangerous post-truth politics can be.

Clearly, flinging around stories, “facts,” and outright conspiracies untethered from reality holds the potential to erode public understanding of some of society’s most pressing issues.

Women across America have already become victims of post-truth nonsense. Anyone who watched the final presidential debate remembers Donald Trump’s jaw dropping “rip the baby out of the womb” at nine months gestation comment. Post-election, we’ve seen a striking increase in abortion restrictions. Many of the architects of these restrictive proposals proudly state that they were inspired by Trump’s anti-choice rhetoric. Here are a few of the most dangerous examples:

  • In November, Texas passed a law requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated after an abortion for no medical reason whatsoever, but rather out of “respect for the sanctity of life.” Fortunately, a judge issued a temporary restraining order before it went into effect on December 19.
  • Just last month, Ohio state legislatures passed a bill to make abortion illegal after 6 weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant. Using Donald Trump’s anti-choice fallacies, these Ohio legislators are feeding into the post-truth arena and deepening its damage. Although the bill was not signed by Ohio Governor Kasich, a 20-week abortion ban, just as harmful, was approved instead.
  • The new version of the booklet (A Woman’s Right to Know) that Texas requires all women to read before having an abortion links the procedure to breast cancer—a claim that has been unanimously debunked by doctors.
  • As Trump fills his Cabinet and staffs his White House, the public continues to face fallacies and threats to reproductive healthcare. Katy Talento, a new pick for Trump’s healthcare staff suggested that birth control can lead to infertility and miscarriages. This is not only wildly untrue, but harmful to the progress made by medical researchers around the world.

When they enter political debate, such lies no longer exist in a vacuum—they do real harm to real people.

Case in point, environmental issues have also already been touched by post-truthers, fueled by Trump’s baseless rhetoric asserting that climate change is a “hoax.”

We know, factually, that climate change is threatening the very future of human civilization, yet the incoming administration stands by its plans to increase the use of industrial oil and gas over the next four years. Post-truth “news” sites have appealed to these terrible policy suggestions, twisting meteorology and the words of climate scientists to support their own claims that climate change is “science fiction.”

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the EPA, has continued to prove his disbelief in the reality of climate change and its real impact on the planet. During his January 18th confirmation hearing, Pruitt denied that climate change is due to human activity, even though this a widely-accepted scientific fact. Maybe it’s his close ties to big oil, or his five failed attempts to sue the EPA to stop regulations on pesticides, but it has become clear that Pruitt will refuse to face the reality of climate change.

Fatalities at a pizza parlor may have been prevented, but legislative attacks on women’s rights and our planet won’t be spared if we don’t push back against the proliferation of fallacies standing in for facts. Our planet, and all of its inhabitants, depend on organized action grounded in empirical evidence—not convenient “truths” peddled by those with a hidden agenda. It is important that we expose the harm of fake news, especially on women and marginalized communities, as we enter the next era of American politics. As each day brings us closer to Donald Trump’s Administration, it is more important than ever for each of us to consume information critically and consider its source—and to challenge those who believe and/or propagate fake news.

How Large an Obstacle is Religion to Population Stabilization?

dreamstime_46278780

An Italian mother and baby in Rome. © Angelo Cordeschi | Dreamstime.com

Our members often ask us whether it’s futile and a waste of time to advocate for increased access to family planning for women and couples in countries with strong religious identities. Our answer is that it is absolutely not!

The preference for and pressure to have large families in religious settings is complicated, and it’s an element of many religions that’s being challenged, not only by parishioners, but also by some religious leaders. For example, imams in some Muslim communities in Africa are saying that family planning is acceptable, as long as it’s used for birth spacing, which improves the health of children and their mothers, and not family size limitation (which is, of course, a natural benefit of spacing births farther apart). As with Christianity, there are very substantial differing interpretations of Islam from place to place. Iran, for example, has been a leader in terms of voluntary family planning.

In the United States, 98% of Catholic women who have ever had sex have used some form of artificial birth control. And 73% of Mainline Protestants and 74% of Evangelicals are currently using highly effective artificial contraception (sterilization, hormonal methods, or IUDs).

The Catholic Church certainly hasn’t made things easier in very observant countries such as the Philippines, where bishops control policy matters to a large degree (although the total fertility rate[1] in the Philippines is declining consistently—it currently stands at 2.87, down from 6.54 in the late 1960s). But people’s desire to plan their families is often much stronger than their desire to be 100% obedient to the Pope’s interpretation of the Bible and Church doctrine on family planning. Most of the countries that we think of as staunchly Catholic have the lowest total fertility rates in the world, e.g. Portugal (1.24), Poland (1.33), Spain (1.38), Italy (1.49), Cuba (1.58), Puerto Rico (1.59), El Salvador (1.87), Ireland (2.00), and so on.[2] Clearly, the observance of religion does not have to lead to large families.

Wherever birth control has been made readily available and consumers are educated about how to use it effectively, family size and fertility rates have dropped. Countries that now have fertility rates below replacement rate (2.1 children per woman), but had very high fertility (over 5 children per woman) just 40 years ago include Albania, Brazil, China (although that’s another story entirely, for a different blog post), Costa Rica, Iran, Lebanon, Martinique, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, UAE, and Vietnam.

The real issue is a lack of affordable and appropriate methods of birth control in the countries with the highest fertility rates—also, typically, the poorest countries. In those places, access to birth control and clear instructions on its proper use can be difficult to obtain, due to lack of funding, too few medical professionals, and wariness of side effects. That’s why we’ll keep working toward a doubling of U.S. foreign aid for international family planning—so we can help get family planning services and supplies to the women and couples in aid-dependent countries who desperately want them. Unfortunately, as a direct result of last November’s elections, we now must defend current levels of U.S. investment in key programs.

Help us if you can, by taking the actions suggested on this page!

 

[1] The number of live births a woman would have if current age-specific fertility rates remained consistent throughout her lifetime.
[2] Fertility data from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/DVD/Files/1_Indicators%20(Standard)/EXCEL_FILES/2_Fertility/WPP2015_FERT_F04_TOTAL_FERTILITY.XLS

 

Our 2017 Action Plan

2016 was a year full of challenges…to say the least.

But despite setbacks, Population Connection made some amazing progress towards tackling the population challenge. All of it is thanks to YOU—our dedicated, generous donors, activists, volunteers, and supporters make all of our progress possible!

We reached some major milestones in 2016.

  • We built the first real movement on reinterpreting the Helms Amendment in more than 40 years. This backwards policy bars U.S. foreign aid from being used for safe, legal abortion, even when women’s lives are in danger, or they are pregnant as a result of incest or rape. We mounted a serious campaign last year with Population Connection Action Fund to raise awareness about the Helms Amendment—inspiring grassroots activism in key states and getting some major media coverage. Our biggest victory came when it became part of the Democratic national platform last year—demonstrating real buy-in from our nation’s leaders who are taking a cue from the wellspring of grassroots activism around the country. We’re shifting gears now and building support for a permanent repeal of the Helms Amendment.
  • 200 activists learned about population, the environment, and women’s health issues at our annual Capitol Hill Days lobbying event in Washington, D.C. Attendees personally lobbied 153 members of Congress for family planning funding. (Interested in attending our 2017 event? Find more info here!)
  • We engaged thousands of students and teachers internationally through our innovative online activities, available at Worldof7Billion.org and www.WorldPopulationHistory.org, where our famous World Population “Dot” video gained more than 600,000 unique views!
  • Our innovative and award-winning Population Education program trained 11,500 teachers in 700+ Population Education workshops nationwide.

But our work is far from done.

In short? People and our planet are suffering the brunt of rapid population growth’s most dire consequences.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by such a monumental challenge, but we’re here to tell you that YOU—yes, YOU—can help us meet it. Some truly impactful things you can do to help:

  • Stay up to date on legislative issues and news related to women’s access to family planning! Join our email list here. YOUR voice is extremely powerful—by staying informed, you’ll have the ability to be an effective advocate for population-related issues and push your elected officials to stand up for women everywhere…
  • …so you can contact your national lawmakers to urge them to invest in family planning programs. Don’t know who represents you in Congress? Find out here and here.
  • Request multiple copies of our magazine, Population Connection, at no charge, to distribute at your local libraries, coffee shops, or other public venues. Email Marian Starkey at mstarkey@popconnect.org to get some copies ASAP.
  • Sign up to attend our next Capitol Hill Days lobbying event in Washington, D.C. This annual event is a unique opportunity to learn more about our issue, receive training on how to effectively lobby elected officials, and meet and network with like-minded population advocates from all over the United States! Learn more here.
  • Distribute informational materials at your local Earth Day fair or environmental expo. We’re a grassroots organization and our strength lies in numbers. You can help by getting members of your own community on board! Get informational materials from our Field and Outreach staff by contacting Lauren Salmiery at lsalmiery@popconnect.org.
  • Are you a professional educator? Do you teach in a classroom, or know somebody who does? Visit our PopEd program’s website at populationeducation.org to learn about opportunities to attend a workshop in your area, become a volunteer trainer for the program, or request FREE, high-quality curriculum materials to use in your own classroom!

In short—stay informed, stay active, and stay committed.

As part of a grassroots network over 500,000 strong, we are uniquely placed to make a true and lasting difference on this most critical issue. Here at Population Connection, we’re optimistic about our ability to make headway towards ensuring a bright, sustainable future for the entire planet. I hope you’ll join us in 2017 to keep the momentum going forward!

 

 

The Twelve Days of Trump-Mas*

http://rackjite.com/donald-trump-comes-out-in-favor-of-christmas/On the first day of Trump-mas the THE DONALD gave to me A CON-MAN in the West Wing.

On the second day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me TWO tiny hands
and a CON-MAN in the West Wing.

On the third day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me THREE trade wars,
TWO tiny hands, and a CON-MAN in the West Wing.

On the fourth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me FOUR** meddling kids,
THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands, and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the fifth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES,
FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands,
and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the sixth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me SIX deplorables,
FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES, FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands,
and a CON-MAN in the West Wing.

On the seventh day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me SEVEN orange spray tans,
SIX deplorables, FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES, FOUR meddling kids,
THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands, and CON-MAN in the West Wing.

On the eighth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me EIGHT racist staffers,
SEVEN orange spray tans, SIX deplorables, FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES,
FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands,
and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the ninth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me NINE conflicts of in’trest,
EIGHT racist staffers, SEVEN orange spray tans, SIX deplorables,
FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES, FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars,
TWO tiny hands, and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the tenth day of Trump-mas THE DONALD gave to me TEN unwanted kisses,
NINE conflicts of in’trest, EIGHT racist staffers, SEVEN orange spray tans,
SIX deplorables, FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES, FOUR meddling kids,
THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands, and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the eleventh day of Trump-mas, THE DONALD gave to me ELEVEN grabby gropings,
TEN unwanted kisses, NINE conflicts of in’trest, EIGHT racist staffers,
SEVEN orange spray tans, SIX deplorables, FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES,
FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars, TWO tiny hands,
and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

On the twelfth day of Trump-Mas THE DONALD gave to me TWELVE Twitter flame-wars,
ELEVEN grabby gropings, TEN unwanted kisses, NINE conflicts of in’trest,
EIGHT racist staffers, SEVEN orange spray tans, SIX deplorables,
FIVE GOLDEN WEAVES, FOUR meddling kids, THREE trade wars,
TWO tiny hands, and a CON MAN in the West Wing.

 

* C’mon, you know he’ll rebrand it by next year.

** Well, three plus a son-in-law

Why Focus on Global Population Growth When Americans Are the Big Consumers?

Our members and supporters often take the time to send us their thoughts and questions about population issues. As Population Connection’s Director of Communications, I’ve answered countless numbers of these inquiries over the years, and realized that many of them come up frequently. In this monthly feature I’ll address our FAQs in detail to hopefully answer some of your own questions about population issues.

“Why does Population Connection focus on global population growth, which is occurring almost exclusively in the less developed countries, rather than on population growth in the United States where we consume so much more per capita?”

Consumption by the wealthy plays a huge role in the environmental problems we face today, especially at the global level. Poor people tend to degrade the environments where they live out of necessity (cutting down forests for firewood, lumber, and agricultural land; fishing until stocks expire; destroying wildlife habitats for their own use, etc.). Rich people, through their conspicuous consumption, degrade all environments everywhere with their carbon emissions and purchasing of products made worldwide.

Having acknowledged that, this is the reason we don’t focus on U.S. population growth:

Since the 1970s, the United States fertility rate has been at or below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. The latest data (from 2014) show that women are currently only having 1.86 children in this country. Of course there are plenty of families who have more than two children, dragging the average up from those who have none or one.

© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com -  American Family Sitting In Garden

© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com – American Family Sitting In Garden

Advocating for a further reduction in the United States fertility rate (although it would be an outcome we would welcome) doesn’t really make sense when it is already so low.

Advocating for a reduction in unintended pregnancies (45% of all pregnancies in the U.S.), however, makes sense for health, economic, and demographic purposes. There are an estimated 1.5 million unintended births in the U.S. each year (37% of all births), which account for half the net population growth we experience annually.

Population Connection works with our grassroots and on Capitol Hill to encourage efforts that will reduce unplanned pregnancies and births, lobbying to maintain Title X, the family planning program for low-income American women; to offer comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education in schools, as opposed to ineffective abstinence-only sex education; to ensure that pharmacists fill birth control prescriptions; to make the sale of emergency contraception available without age restrictions; and to keep abortion safe, legal, and accessible.

Small families are already the norm in the United States and have been for two generations. If we moved toward providing excellent sex education to all public school students, and made universal affordable access to birth control and safe and legal abortion a national priority, we would see our rate of unintended pregnancy and birth plummet.

Americans don’t need to be convinced to have fewer children—our politicians need to enable them to do so through increased funding for family planning and progressive policies for all aspects of sexual and reproductive health.

We Are Population Connection

Since 1968, Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth or ZPG) has been America's voice for population stabilization—we are the largest grassroots population organization in the United States!

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Your support helps us advocate for universal access to birth control, educate tomorrow’s leaders about global population challenges, and mobilize Americans who care about stabilizing population.

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