REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND WRONGS: The Global Politics of Population Control and Contraceptive Choice by Betsy Hartmann

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND WRONGS: The Global Politics of Population Control and Contraceptive Choice

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A critique of the economic, political, health, and human-rights consequences of population control as practiced by the US population establishment and other government and international agencies. Hartmann, who writes for numerous journals and who coauthored Needless Hunger and A Quiet Violence: View From a Bangladesh Village, has here written a blistering assault on the population establishment. Her main argument is that the narrow goal of reducing birth rates has distorted contraceptive development in the US and undermined family-planning programs in the Third World. She argues that the real solution to the population problem lies not in coercive population-control measures, but rather in improving living standards and bettering the position of women in society and the quality of health services. This belief is based upon the presumption that if women's self-esteem and education are improved, they will always opt, from the stance of individual reproductive choice, to limit their fertility, as opposed to the current establishment bias of limiting families out of a rigid restrictionism. Hartmann's blatant biases make this a book not for all tastes. But those involved in women's health issues, Third World studies, and economic development should find food for thought.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Harper & Row