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'Worsening Plight of the Hungry'

April 24, 1985

I agree with Kostmayer that cutting U.S. aid to international family planning organizations would lead to more, not fewer, abortions in the Third World. However, I disagree with the statement that overpopulation is the direct cause of world hunger.

The UNICEF report, "State of the World's Children 1985," says that those countries and regions that have already achieved a revolution in child survival now have birthrates among the lowest in the developing world. For example, in the district of Matlab, Bangladesh, birthrates fell 20% in a decade as immunization and oral rehydration therapy reduced child deaths and parents grew more confident that their children would survive.

Congress has shown increasing awareness of childrens' health in recent years. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has just approved fiscal year 1986 authorizations of $55 million for UNICEF, $223 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development health account, and $50 million for the Child Survival Fund. The full House should approve these amounts.

The chance to save millions of childrens' lives at a relatively modest cost must not be missed. As UNICEF says, "It is unlikely that there will ever again be such an opportunity to do so much for so many, and for so little."

Solving the problems of hunger and disease requires an all-out multi-pronged attack, including famine relief, agricultural development, disease control, and, of course, family planning. The United States should be leading the attack on all fronts.

ALAN W. GOLD

Cypress

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