Saturday, December 17, 2011

Contraception prevents deaths

The topic is controversial to some people, but the truth of the matter is that contraception is a way of life for humankind - it always has been. Dating back to ancient Egypt, pre-christianity they attempted using crocodile dung and a host of unpleasant remedies to unplanned parenthood. As a preventative measure, we're better at it now than in any time in history. Well, if a population has access to it. From barrier methods to hormones, and even chastity - we've attempted to perfect the imperfect art of preventing the body's natural mechanism to procreate.

It turns out this is a good thing. Maternal mortality and morbidity is still a major problem in the world. Even in the United States! Giving birth is a dangerous endeavor for a woman. It puts a lot of strain on her body, her mind, and her health. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation talks about "20 maternal health facts" from a 20/20 special and some of the facts supports the health care need for access to contraception:

Maternal deaths can be decreased 32% with family planning, with contraception access saving 150,000 lives per year. So-called* family planning can also reduce infant mortality by 10%.

These statistics are startling in a world where we are still arguing over whether we should teach our children about natural biological instincts, and in turn increasing the teen pregnancy rate (by the way, pregnancy is 5-times as dangerous for young teens).

*What I mean by "so-called" is that it isn't the type of planning people attribute to, say, planning a birthday party. It means a process by which a couple, or individual, makes a conscious decision about whether they will have a child, either before pregnancy or during. Sometimes it's simply a matter of deciding to open the condom wrapper.

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