This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A World Class Demographic Valentine

A lot of stuff comes into everyone's inbox around an event such as Valentine's Day, but I have to hand it to The Worldwatch Institute for being very innovative and demographically relevant. Here's the pitch:
Valentine's Day has long celebrated love with caring notes, decadent chocolates, and romantic arrangements of flowers. But why not also consider a gift that helps to offer women around the world something they want and need: good reproductive health care and the capacity to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child?
What would happen if we could meet the family planning needs of all women in developing countries---women who don't want to become pregnant, yet who may not have access to contraception? The Guttmacher Institute estimates that this would prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies each year. That in turn would prevent 21 million unplanned births, 26 million abortions (16 million of them unsafe), 7 million miscarriages, 79,000 maternal deaths, and 1.1 million infant deaths. And all that would cost an estimated $4.1 billion per year---about what the U.S. government spent in Afghanistan every two weeks in 2011.
To be fair, U.S. tax dollars go to this effort through USAID, and the United Nations Population Fund is also very active in promoting family planning throughout the world, but every little bit helps given the continually increasing number of young women in developing countries whose lives may be ruined as a result of their not having access to reproductive health care.

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