Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back in Overpopulation Fight

Published on December 10th, 2010

People such as Al Gore are ready to call the overpopulation problem resolved. Gore’s book after “An Inconvenient Truth” gave a particularly rosy view. He wrote, “… the world’s effort to stabilize the growth of human numbers is actually an historic success story,” with the caveat, “albeit in slow motion.” However, such chipperness is tempered with news from countries such as Iran. We see that what may look like movement in the right direction on stabilizing population at a point in time can so easily be reversed, controverted by political agendas and fundamentalist ideology – meaning there can be no let up on keeping this issue in the realm of active discussion and action. In Iran, that wacky Ahmadinejad has been reported to have called family planning “ungodly and a Western import.” Iran in the 1970s began a family planning campaign that had the message, “Two children are enough.” After the 1979 Islamic revolution, the program was killed, but reemployed in the 1990s when population shot up and the economy declined. Now, Ahmadinejad seems determined to erase the positive impacts of what’s been deemed a successful family planning program. To goose his plan to grow the population, this summer the Iranian president announced that the government would pay families for every newborn. Iran’s population is estimated to be 75 million, but the president believes the country could support twice that number. Approximately 25 percent of Iran’s population is between the ages of 15 and 30 (the result of a 1980s baby boom – see reference above to death of family planning program). The country also has a high unemployment rate. In his quest for population, Ahmadinejad said, “We should take the age of marriage for boys to 20 and for girls to about 16 and 17,” adding, “The marriage age for boys has reached 26 and for girls to 24, and there is no reason for this.” Well, actually, there is good reason for it. Child marriage is a recognized human rights violation. An estimated 25,000 girls become child brides every day. If this trend isn’t reversed, more than 100 million girls in the developing world will become child brides in the next 10 years. The grandson of renowned family planning advocate Margaret Sanger and a longtime leader in the reproductive rights movement himself, Alexander Sanger has said that governments are not the best judges of whether and when to have children. Empowered and educated women – not children – are who should be determining when they should be marrying and having children, if they choose to have children at all.

You are donating to :

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note