GLOBAL POPULATION MEDIA ANALYSIS
September 1- 15, 2000
by Ketayoun Darvich-Kodjouri and Kathy Bonk
Communications Consortium Media Center,
1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20005
U.S. POPULATION ASSISTANCE
The New York Times reported Sept. 10 that "the widespread view among Congressional Republicans [is] that federal spending will rise significantly in the next budget" and that "this year's tussle will focus...as much over how the money is spent as how much is allocated." One of "the most notable battles" in this year's budget fight is expected to include "the perennial fight over whether the government can finance international family planning organizations that use their own money to perform abortions in foreign countries or lobby foreign governments on abortion policy."
Similarly, a Sept. 10 Associated Press story reported that international family planning funding will be one of the "major battlegrounds" in this year's budget fight because "the White House has said it will not renew this year's compromise in which it agreed to reduced family planning aid overseas in return for waiving restrictions on that aid," whereas "anti-abortion lawmakers want to retain the language."
POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT LINKAGES
The Sept. 7 Washington Post reported that "whether it is blamed on global warming, drought, a massive waste of precious resources, a population boom or desertification, China is facing a serious water shortage that experts say could hinder development and spark an environmental and political crisis in years to come."
The Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Sept. 5 that about 700 women called for "the inclusion of women's perspectives in environmental policies" at the United Nations Women's Conference on Environment in Asia and the Pacific. Participants in the conference "agreed that women tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation and that their reproductive health should be taken into consideration in tackling environmental problems."
GLOBAL POPULATION TRENDS
The Washington Post reported Sept. 12 on a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on global aging, which concluded that "as the proportion of retirees in the industrialized world soars...government spending on education, transportation and defense" will shrink in these countries.
"China is preparing to conduct the world's largest census in November," according to a Sept. 1 Agence France Presse story, which will include "for the first time ...the number of children born in violation of the 'one-child' policy." The Chinese government estimates that "its population will rise to 1.4 billion people by 2010, peak at 1.6 billion by 2050 and then decrease, with India then replacing China as the most populous country in the world."
Agence France Presse reported Sept. 7 that "India's industrial heartland, the western state of Maharashtra, plans to deny welfare cover to families having more than two children," because "the state's finances and resources were being overstretched by the growing population." Deutsche Presse-Agentur also reported on the story Sept. 4.
The Sept. 8 Middle East Economic Digest reported that "the rate of growth of the Egyptian population is continuing to slow down, but that on current trends, the number of Egyptians will almost double to 123 million by 2029."
A Sept. 1 Xinhua News Service story reported that "the Pakistani government plans to reduce the country's population growth rate from 2.1 percent to 1.9 percent by 2002."
INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
In Japan, "experts say they expect it to take a decade or more for pill use...to catch up with that of other countries," the Sept. 14 Los Angeles Times reported. The contraceptive pill was "grudgingly-and belatedly" approved last year, but "less than half of 1%" of women of childbearing age have gotten prescriptions, according to Japan's Family Planning Association.
United Press International reported Sept. 10 that Pakistan "launched a national commission on the status of women," with "education and reproductive health care being important priorities" because "social pressures...often force Pakistani women to have more children than they desire." Agence France Presse also reported on the story Sept. 1.
In Africa, "experts say that the high number of unmet needs still requires Africans to pursue family planning," according to a Sept. 4 Africa News Service story, and that "family planning should be integrated in HIV/AIDS programmes."
NEWS ABOUT ABORTION
The Sept. 11 Chicago Tribune reported on the "double standard" in many Latin American countries, where "abortions are banned in law but are administered anyway to middle- and upper-income women who can afford to pay for clandestine operations," while "poor women often have to resort to arcane and sometimes deadly abortion methods." The article described abortion debates in Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua, and noted that "it is estimated that upward of 5,000 women die each year in the region due to unsafe abortions."
InterPress Service reported Sept. 7 that "the Indonesian government is open to allowing 'limited legal abortions' to stem the alarmingly high rate of maternal mortality caused by illegal, back-alley abortions."
OPINIONS & EDITORIALS
Worldwide efforts to conserve biological diversity "have scored some important wins," according to a speech by World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn that was reprinted in the Sept. 1 Business Line. Overall, however, Wolfensohn added that "we are failing to stem the lethal dynamic of chronic poverty, growing population and unbridled consumption which is destroying all species a thousand times faster than ever before."
The Sept. 7 Anchorage Daily News printed a racist and anti-immigrant op-ed by Tom Fink, a former speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, that argued against "the U.S. government and the United Nations [from] spending millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to restrict the birthrates in the developed and in the developing world." His arguments centered around population growth rates in the United States and "Western-style" countries, where "the white population birthrate is not sufficient to even sustain the race" and "we have to wonder whether the age-old traditions...will be continued or to what extent they will be changed by the influence of the new immigrant populations" who have "much higher birthrates."
The above analysis was written by Ketayoun Darvich-Kodjouri and Kathy Bonk at the Communications Consortium Media Center, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005, 202/326-8700.
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