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Poor family planning and population growth enabled COVID-19 and will enable the next pandemic

In preparation for Earth Day, the national organization Having Kids has petitioned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support dramatic changes in family planning policies that would substantially reduce the initial threat, transmission, and impact of pandemics such as COVID-19. Those changes will also halt the destruction of our environment, which heightens the threat and impact of pandemics.

Read the letter here.

The facts are clear: As the World Health Organization has recognized, overcrowding exacerbates epidemics and is perhaps the most fundamental threat to public health.

Human overpopulation is a key factor in the spread of a variety of diseases, and this now includes the novel coronavirus. Yet this fundamental driver is often ignored in policymaking. The U.N. has issued world population projections with massive variability. That variability will drastically impact the threat that diseases pose to humanity worldwide. 

That variability, and the projected population growth, represent missed opportunities to invest more in public health and specifically in the development and health of every new child born, which in turn exacerbate the initial risk, transmission, and impact of disease. That variability also  represents missed opportunities to eliminate economic and health inequities, which both exacerbate pandemics and are compounded by them. That variability represents the threat of further worldwide ecocide, which worsens the threat of pandemics in a variety of ways, including through the acceleration of the climate crisis. 

There exists a clear, and human right-based, pathway toward reform that the CDC is obligated, under its mandate, to support. 

“We can fight pandemics and change the direction the world is headed by promoting smaller and more equitable families,” Having Kids Executive Director Erika Mathews says. “We just have to start a serious conversation about ensuring the future we all want.” 

Having Kids is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming family planning by replacing parent-centered family planning models with the human rights-based and child-first Fair Start model

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