The data is clear: Improved family planning worldwide could have almost incomprehensible benefits on many fronts:
- Family planning could prevent hundreds of thousands of maternal and child deaths.
- It could help save the planet, by slowing population growth.
- And it reduces poverty. Studies show that better health, reduced child mortality and the consequent reduction in birth rates also leads to economic growth in poor communities.
That last point — about how saving kids’ lives also reduces population growth and increases family incomes — may seem counter-intuitive to some, especially all you Malthusians, but it makes sense of you think about it.
Most poor families have kids to help out on the farm and have, say, ten because five will die. If kids stop dying, families have fewer kids. It’s a documented phenomenon worldwide.
So holy cow! What a three- or four-for-one deal this family planning could be for us!
Yet it appears hardly anybody in the media paid much attention.
AllAfrica.com ran an op-ed from Melinda and my former Seattle PI colleague Joel Connelly wrote about it as well — from the perspective of a devout Catholic (like Melinda) who thinks his church is missing the boat when it comes to contraception and family planning.
The aid and development blogosphere also covered Gates’ talk, such as at UN Dispatch — which noted how poorly the international community is doing on this front — and the PSI blog Healthy Lives. I watched the TED talk but didn’t write about it. Mea culpa. But I have written about Melinda’s message on this front many times before.
I’m curious to know if, as it appears by doing a Google news search, the mainstream media almost totally ignored the talk. And why?