Tackling “Population Control” Dangers Head-On

Laurie Mazur

We already have an agenda for women's health and rights -- the ICPD Program of Action -- that remains unfinished. The goals of the ICPD remain as urgent as they were 15 years ago when the document was hammered out in Cairo.

I agree wholeheartedly with Alanna about the difficulty — and
importance — of getting out of our defensive crouch and setting a
proactive agenda. At the same time, we already have an agenda for
women’s health and rights — the ICPD Program of Action — that remains
unfinished. The goals of the ICPD remain as urgent as they were 15 years
ago when the document was hammered out in Cairo.

The reasons why the ICPD agenda remains unfinished would fill quite a
few blog posts. But I do think we have new opportunities to reinvigorate
support for that agenda. Today, there is a remarkable alignment of
interests among those working for women’s rights and health, youth
empowerment, global justice and environmental protection. The ICPD
agenda is central to all of those concerns — and there is much to be
gained by building new alliances with these movements.

I know this is fraught; many of us in the women’s rights and health
movement are understandably wary of those who approach reproductive
health with other motivations. There is a real danger, for example, that
concerns about population growth and the environment could take us back
to the days of "population control." That is a danger we must tackle
head-on, but it should not deter us from making alliances with
environmentalists and others. The greatest danger right now is of not
going forward and accomplishing the critically important goals set forth
in the ICPD.

This post is part of the After the Gag Rule salon hosted by Rewire and UN Dispatch.

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