Choice not control: Why limiting the fertility of poor populations will not solve the climate crisis

This briefing paper argues that strengthening women’s and girls’ reproductive rights is a global imperative for equitable development, but it must be a priority in its own right, regardless of a country’s population growth and carbon footprint.

The paper is intended as a response to an emerging chorus of voices – predominantly from industrialised countries – which claim that controlling the fertility of people living in poverty should be a strategy of choice to address climate change. The paper argues that increasing women’s access to family planning information and services has to be done out of concern for women’s and girls’ reproductive rights and choices alone, regardless of how fast or slowly a country’s population is growing, and regardless of the volume of greenhouse gases a country is pumping into the atmosphere.

It is human consumption, fundamentally controlled and driven by the world’s elites, and leading to unprecedented levels of global warming and climatic change, rather than large families living in poor countries, that is putting the survival of our ecosystems and all of humanity at greatest risk.

  • Countries: Global
  • Published: December 2014

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