Ellen Knickmeyer’s article “Egypt’s President Urges Family Planning” (June 11) effectively highlights the challenges that continued population growth can pose for countries’ development by increasing demands for jobs, food and education.
It has been shown the world over that investing in women is essential to the well-being of families, communities and nations. As Egypt’s president has recognized, voluntary family planning results in smaller families and is a cost-effective means to ease demographic pressures.
Although the United States has historically been a top donor of
international family planning, the Bush administration has repeatedly
proposed drastic cuts to family planning aid. This year, the
administration requested $7.7 million for family planning programs in
Egypt. This is a little more than half of what the United States
provided at the time of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development — held in Cairo by the way. This is despite the fact that Egypt’s population grew by 27 percent in the same period.
The U.S. government is long overdue to reaffirm its leading role in
providing this assistance. In an interconnected world, Americans stand
to benefit directly. The prospects for peace and economic development
in this century will depend, among other things, on meeting the most
basic family planning needs of couples in the developing world and
slowing population growth.