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Birth control

May 09, 2008

Re "Debate grows with population," May 7

The population of the Philippines has increased 50% in less than 20 years, clearly exacerbating the food crisis there. Not long ago, the Philippines was an exporter of rice; today, it is one of the world's largest importers.

That too many women in the Philippines lack access to contraceptives is obvious. Sadly, this is true in much of the developing world. There are at least 200 million women in the world who want to space out or limit pregnancies but have no access to modern methods of contraception.

The United States was once a leader in helping to expand the availability of birth control, but under the Bush administration, we have gone backward. The administration's hostility to family planning has led to contraceptive shortages throughout the developing world. Even worse is the news that the U.S. is planning to stop providing contraceptive supplies in the Philippines at the end of this year. Given what's happening, that's irresponsible and shortsighted.

It's time for Congress to step up and reclaim the mantle of leadership by doubling the funding for international family planning programs to $1 billion next year. Such an investment will help buy security, stability and survival for families, communities and countries across the globe.

Brian E. Dixon

Vice President, Media and

Government Relations

Population Connection

Washington

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