Item Link: Access the Resource
Date of Publication: February 3
Year of Publication: 2022
Publication City: San Juan, PR and Seattle, OR
Author(s): Christopher Ketcham
How family planning lost its way
Contrast the blindness about human numbers now commonplace on both left and right with the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. In a speech upon acceptance of the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in 1966, King decried the “modern plague of overpopulation.” “Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical, and necessary,” he said. “What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims.”
During the heyday of family planning programs from 1960 through the mid-1990s — a progressive interregnum when pro-natalists seemed to lose the upper hand — much was made of the fact that handing out contraceptives and making abortion available did not lead necessarily to lowered rates of fertility. Such initiatives were necessary but not sufficient to reduce the number of children born in high fertility countries.
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