CCIH Panel on Capitol Hill Print {sharethis label=}
Family Planning "Should Not Divide Us"
In a panel discussion on Capitol Hill on December 3, maternal and child health experts explained why family planning is critical to improving child survival rates, and why the current perception that Christians do not support family planning is inaccurate.
The panel, organized by CCIH, was moderated by Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. “I visited Eastern Congo, where complications from childbirth are as dangerous as militia in the countryside,” said Gerson. “Some women I talked to had had 13 children – sometimes only half of them survive – and each birth raises the risk of hemorrhage and infection. Those odds increase when births come early in life, late in life or in rapid succession. Family planning can be controversial here in Washington, but it should not be. In places like the one I visited, I regard family planning as a pro-life cause, and it should not divide us.”
“In the past we had an erroneous understanding of how certain family planning methods, like emergency contraception and IUDs, work. We now know they prevent conception and are not abortifacients,” said Dr. Anne Peterson, MD, MPH, public health program director, Ponce School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “We also know that family planning saves lives and reduces abortion rates.”
Peterson presented data on the reduction in child deaths when births are spaced between three to five years apart. Abortion rates also decrease when family planning use increases, including in post-Soviet countries where abortions decreased dramatically when modern contraception use increased.
Panelists included Susan Otchere, MSc, RN, project director, Mobilizing for Maternal and Neonatal Health through Birth Spacing and Advocacy (MOMENT), World Vision US; Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, chief of party, Management Sciences for Health, Nigeria; Dr. Tonny Tumwesigye, executive director, Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau; Dr. Anne Peterson, public health program director, Ponce School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Puerto Rico; and Rev. Richard Cizik, president, The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.
Above photo: Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist (left), and Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, chief of party, Management Sciences for Health, Nigeria, participate in family planning panel discussion on Capitol Hill.  
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Last Updated ( Friday, 06 December 2013 12:22 )