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Poor family planning and population growth set the stage for the rapid spread of the disease, and will for the next

Today Having Kids, the national child protection organization, petitioned U.S. Sen. Cory Booker to focus on changing the way Americans plan families as the most effective way to prevent pandemics. The science is clear: Overcrowding helps drive pandemics and worsens their impact. Insufficient family planning policies, both here in the United States and at the United Nations, exacerbate that threat, ensuring much more crowding in cities as world population is set to grow by billions of people in our lifetimes.

Read the letter here.


As the WHO has recognized, overcrowding exacerbates pandemics and is perhaps the most fundamental threat to public health. Overpopulation is a key factor in the spread of a variety of diseases including coronavirus, yet this driver is often ignored in policymaking. The U.N. has issued world population projections with massive variability. That variability is caused by the U.N.’s adherence to a dangerously outdated family planning model that ignores human rights and democracy. Governments in many countries are compounding the problem by pushing women to have kids they don’t even want. That variability will drastically impact the threat that diseases pose to humanity worldwide.

Stimulus packages provide a unique opportunity to stabilize today’s families while protecting future generations. Having Kids is asking Booker and his colleagues to align future stimulus packages with the priorities of a child-centered Fair Start model. We specifically recommend the following strategies:

  • Guaranteeing a sustainable child income through baby bonds 
  • Expressly protecting family planning services in stimulus legislation 
  • Expanding access to long-acting reversible contraceptives 
  • Considering measures to prevent child abuse 

“We can fight pandemics and other threats by promoting smaller and more equitable families,” Having Kids Executive Director Erika Mathews says. “We just have to refocus our family planning systems around what every child needs.” 
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.

Take Action: Add your name to urge Sen. Booker to pursue Fair Start funding in the next stimulus.

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