Bits and Pieces on America’s Population Policies
Can you guess what the world’s human population was 200 years ago? In 1804, experts estimate, it was one billion people. That’s considerably less than India’s population today, at about 1.2 billion.
Human population took 123 years to reach the 2 billion plateau in 1927. The last billion – going from six to 7 billion between 1999 and 2011 – took only 12 years.
We here present you with some very interesting factoids about our own country in recent years. This information comes to you courtesy of Population Connection’s The Reporter magazine’s May 2011 issue.
– In the last decade, the U.S. population grew by almost 10 million.
– While the teen birth rate in 2009 dropped on an annual basis by six percent, and is now at an all-time low – 39 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 – the rate in the United States is as much as nine times that of other industrialized countries.
– The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010 (kudos to the person or group who came up with that clever and easy-to-remember moniker!) required a two-thirds majority to pass for reasons not worth going into here. An hour before the vote, House of Representatives Republicans received an alert that stated, “There are . . . concerns that funding will be directed to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that promote and perform abortions and efforts to combat child marriage could be usurped as a way to overturn pro-life laws” As a result of this convoluted reasoning 166 House members voted against the bill, killing it. This bill had already passed in the Senate unanimously. As a result, the vote prevented a law that would have included the prevention of forced child marriage from being a part of U.S. foreign policy.
– A few days before President George W. Bush left office, the government put in place a regulation that allowed healthcare workers to deny care based on moral or religious grounds. The government has now rescinded that regulation. Supporters of the policy argued that it would protect healthcare workers from being forced to perform abortions. But under existing law, healthcare workers already had the option to not participate in abortions or sterilizations. The Obama Administration’s case was that the regulation allowed healthcare providers to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, fill birth control prescriptions, provide fertility treatments, provide end-of-life care, and treat patients with HIV/AIDS
– On a positive note, in March Mississippi enacted a law that requires at least minimal sex education in public schools. As of July 1st curriculum proposals will be due in time for approval before the 2012-13 school year begins. Abstinence-only and abstinence-plus – which includes information about contraception – programs are both considered acceptable curricula. Evidently, “just say no” is still blooming in the Magnolia State.
To learn more about Population Connection, go to www.populationconnection.org.