Thursday, April 5, 2012

Do you think you know where faith groups stand on family planning? Think again

This husband and wife are World Vision-trained community health workers in India who advocate birth spacing. They began using family planning when their son (right) was born.

NOTE: This blog was originally published on Impatient Optimists, the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on April 3, 2012.

Religious leaders from a diversity of faiths—Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and Hindus—have come together to profess support for family planning access around the world. This multi-faith support for family planning is something we simply don’t hear enough about in the United States. But we should.

Last year in Kenya, an interfaith meeting led by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) of the U.S., Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung of Germany, and Muhammadiyah of Indonesia resulted in an “Interfaith Declaration” unanimously endorsed by well over 200 Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist religious leaders.

The declaration expressed clear support for providing couples with the information and means to plan the timing and spacing of their children “consistent with their faith,” and called on others to support this initiative to influence government and donor policies and funding.

The truth is that faith-based organizations have been providing health care and even family planning for decades.