Commentary

Population control group responds to PW commentary

[Editor’s note: The following post was submitted by Lauren Salmiery, National Field Director for the Population Connection Action Fund in response to an essay published by Policy Watch on Nov. 20 entitled “A 1960s population control organization rebranded in 2002. Now it’s recruiting UNC students.”]

In response to “A 1960’s population control organization rebranded in 2002. Now it’s recruiting UNC students.

Recently, NC Policy Watch published an article regarding the history of Population Connection without requesting a comment from a representative of the organization. We’d like to clarify our progressive values as an organization, which were misconstrued.

First and foremost, at Population Connection and its sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund, which runs the #Fight4HER campaign, we firmly believe in the right of every individual to make their own reproductive decisions, including the right of women to have as many, or as few, children as they desire. We work to ensure that every person, regardless of where in the world they live, has access to the resources they need to make their own health care decisions. We fight every day to lift harmful restrictions on U.S. aid that unjustly curb access to crucial reproductive health services in countries around the world, and we are grateful to have the platform to do so.

We also acknowledge that billions of people around the world are struggling to meet their most basic needs. Around the world:

  • 1 billion people lack access to safe water;
  • 3 billion don’t have basic sanitation;
  • 820 million people don’t get enough food to live a healthy, active life;
  • 15,000 children under age five die each day—more than half of them from preventable and easily treatable diseases

It’s no coincidence that people living in countries experiencing higher rates of population growth, in addition to a myriad of connected systems, including colonialism, income inequality, government corruption, racism, sexism, and misogyny, face the most serious challenges. We know that efforts to guarantee reproductive autonomy and investments in reproductive health programs save and improve lives, and that these investments bring returns to their communities and the world at large.

Of course, it is vitally important to understand that the population movement has a tumultuous history. We have condemned, and will continue to condemn, the troubling history of forced sterilization that touched far too many lives in the United States and around the world. While Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) never advocated for coercive population control policies, we know that we must recognize these past injustices to move forward in our fight to ensure access to reproductive health care for everyone, everywhere.

We fiercely support a wide range of progressive issues, including reproductive justice, environmental justice, LGBTQ+ justice, immigration justice, and racial justice. We condemn the efforts of ecofascists to use population as a veil for their racist, nativist, and xenophobic agenda.

We appreciate the author’s clear dedication to ensuring that people are able to make reproductive choices free from coercion, barriers, and judgement. In an era of near-constant attacks on reproductive rights and freedom in North Carolina, the United States, and around the world, this devotion is all the more imperative. We look forward to continuing the fight for these shared values as we work to lift barriers on access to comprehensive reproductive health care around the world.

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