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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Battling Poverty With Improved Contraception

Nicholas Kristoff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, has written a column about one of the things missing at last week's UN summit on ending poverty in the world--the broader use of improved contraception for women who want to space or limit their children. 

The situation is particularly dire in poor countries, where some 215 million women don’t want to get pregnant yet can’t get their hands on modern contraceptives, according to United Nations figures. One result is continued impoverishment and instability for these countries: it’s impossible to fight poverty effectively when birthrates are sky high.
Yet impressive new contraceptive technologies are in trials and should address this problem. These new products are expected to hit the market in the coming years, in the United States as well as in the developing world.
One is a vaginal ring that releases hormones. There is already such a ring on the market, but it lasts only one month. The new one lasts a year and is being developed by thePopulation Council, an international nonprofit that researches reproductive health.
He goes on to list several other new contraceptives for women--mainly improvements on current ones, as well as some new ones for men. He points out that there are several key ingredients that are promising in the next generation of contraceptives: (1) high effectiveness without requiring frequent renewals; (2) low cost; and (3) especially for women, lack of need for her partner even to know that she is using a contraceptive. 

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