Concerns over global overpopulation have been around for some decades now. Researchers have singled out overpopulation as the cause of decreasing good living standards. According to Lien of Oz, living standards decrease and it translates to creation of more poor people and a poor and redundant society (Lien of Oz, p. 1). However, there is a paradox, embedded in the social virtue construct that women are solely to blame for over population. Today, women who have no knowledge about birth control knowledge are looked down for many unwanted births. It is an accepted principle that the woman, in the society, that a woman should have children which she can manage to rear. However, no law stipulates to any length that there is a limit of child bearing. In continuum, various dissenting proposals regarding birth control elicit controversy about birth control. From these contexts, we identify how birth control manages overall population control. The church, especially the Catholic Church has been strongly against abortion and artificial contraception (Hemminiki, Wu, Cao, & Viisainen, p. 1).
Population control and reproductive rights
Gender equality brought about the need to have women have a right to control the number of children they could bear. In the modern society, population control is essential in poverty reduction. The principals of female birth control enshrine an almost feminine vision of providing women with reproductive rights and gender equality. Petchesky argues that, this principal serves as guideline for modern woman through the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. This program was incepted in 1994. The program enshrines a feminist vision of reproductive rights and gender equality to provide an alternative to traditional population control measures while retaining the traditional model of development (Petchesky, pp. 152-160).
Sexuality and reproduction makes explicit the need for a social construct that respects women rights, especially when reproduction from a social development perspective is linked to macroeconomics. The need for materialization of reproductive and sexual rights for women across all Diasporas is dire (Petchesky, pp. 152-160). Research developing around population control has realized paucity of effective legislation. The weakness in policy and administration is encroached by traditional social values and varying literacy levels across Diasporas and global communities. Eager insists that, population control should be a global policy (Eager, p. 35). Internationalizing social development constraints that result from over population is important. Eager in his research points out poverty as the major outcome of population. Services cannot be delivered effectively in densely populated areas. Disease and illiteracy vile such regions and countries shrouding social economic goals and blocks the development of the society and structures that support education and social economic development.
Women are held responsible for over-population. Eager in his expose insists that championing women rights is important. Empowering women can cap the gap created by over-population in place of social economics. The rationale of pregnancies and personal fertility are delinked from the social construct through medical provisions. Enforcing birth/population control policies across the world is important. Various lobbies have attempted to provide a guiding viewpoint through various sittings that ended with members preaching to governments that population was and is a threat to their economic development.
Problems caused by over-population and the context of women
Family planning and use of modern contraceptives had achieved a remarkably high-level effectiveness. However, fertility rates still claim a level of effectiveness in encroaching social numbers. This trend collapses gains made, especially in areas of economic development. Many women today are suffering because of their fertility and social disparity. Social values have been ignored leading to more single mothers and polygamous families especially in indigenous communities.
Young and old women are striving to practice economic activities nowadays to achieve a range of solutions to many children they have born. With children born out of wedlock increasing in number and informal settlements housing hundreds of thousands of such desperate families, the effects of population have been evident and have become a huge burden to the economy. Women have been disadvantaged, something that denies them chance to become pillars of macroeconomics.
Health services are not available in informal settlements, which harbor very high numbers of disadvantaged women. These women are mothers who have been neglected and their rights have been downtrodden. Rape cases, prostitution, and illegitimate marriages have prompted a surge in population in informal settlements and within the poor and the society. Lack of proper legislation and effective champions of women rights downplays any attempt to make women economically and legally empowered. This creates a panacea for illegal births that can only be controlled through illegal means such as abortion.
Illiteracy is on the rise in informal settlements as more children born by economically poor parents fail to attain basic education. Sanitation, water, and service delivery is cushioned by poor infrastructure, lack of support structure and manpower, and high financial implication on the governments to manage such activities on such areas. Access to essential services like healthcare and schools deter enlightenment of informal settlement communities. Illiteracy downplays any benefit realized social economically as more children are born to poor and decadent families.
Women rights in reproductive health
Kaufman argues that academic isolation and the politicization of family planning in the country severely curtailed investigation into reproductive dynamics (Kaufman, pp. 14-18). Kaufman further argues that proper spatial planning is a fundamental challenge, and that emphasis on education on birth control as a core population control principal is vital. Kaufman insists that women rights in controlling fertility are essential in accelerating social and economic development. Achieving such, distinctive achievement will help achieve parity in the development of the different populations in any country (Kaufman, p. 15). Achieving a good fertility rate of no more than 2-1 children per woman of reproductive age to stem previous higher reproductively which saw women bear 4-10 children (Kaufman, pp. 15-16).
Women in rural areas and informal urban settlements have higher fertility rates wherein low socioeconomic level, generally rural, with high fertility rates are generative aspects of these areas (Kaufman, 15-16). Kaufman’s observation of reproduction lays blame squarely on men. According to Kaufman the reasons women give for having children, and the reasons for having more children, demonstrate the range of reproductive control they have (Kaufman, 15-16). Some women believe they have no place in making fertility decisions, others show an emergent self-confidence, and still others radiate an obvious sense of control and power over reproduction (Kaufman, pp. 15-16). The attitudes of men are central in accounting for these variations (Kaufman, pp. 15-16). Women talk a great deal about their partner is wanting children or not wanting children (Kaufman, pp. 15-16). The power of men in reproductive decision-making, however, is often discussed in terms of a mediating force (Kaufman, pp. 15-16).
The population control measures used do conflict with women’s rights as opposed to social welfare needs where rights are paramount. Lien of Oz singles out population controllers as culpable in creating increasing economic and welfare distress. This distress further is blamed for drastic population distribution (Lien of Oz, p. 1).
Women should have rights, especially in making reproductive decisions. In Kaufman’s observation, women are less in control when making fertility decisions, as such, cannot manage the number of children they want to bear. Abuse of women’s rights to reproduce and manage their fertility is also under threat by politically powerful bodies and organizations (Lien of Oz, p. 1). These politically powerful people and organizations alongside very wealthy foundations are affecting direly, women rights in pursuit of birth control and the greater population control efforts. According to Lien of Oz, the individuals, organizations and foundations are pursuing reproductive health programs to cut rate of population instead of consistently pursuing the same in tandem with providing basic healthcare, proper sanitation, water, and economic empowerment to make families self-sufficient (Lien of Oz).
In countries like China, there are regulations checking on the number of children a woman can have in her life (Hemminiki, Wu, Cao, & Viisainen, p. 1). Eager criticized population control programs projecting them as the most serious challenge. However, he points them out as culminating to activism against population control measures. Anti-abortion lobbies, family planning programs, and legislation on reproduction as observed in China (Eager, pp. 99-102).
Policies that enforce a controlled birth rate per area and per parent are vital tools of helping muscle over-population. Clinically approved abortion should be legalized while governments should legislate and control on birth rate and number of children a family should have. Championing women rights, especially to have them empowered to be self-sufficient.
- Eager, Paige. Global population policy: from population control to reproductive rights . 1. 1. Aldershot & Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company Ltd, 2004. 30-132. Print.
- Hemminki, Elina, Zhuochun Wu, Guiying Cao, and Kirsi Viisainen. “Illegal births and legal abortions – the case of China.” Reproductive Health 2.5 (2005): Online. Web.
- Kaufman, Carol. “Reproductive Control in South Africa.” Policy Research Division, Population Council 97. (1997): 18-40.
- Lein of Oz,. “Population Control.” Albatross. Albatross. Org, 2006.