Advertisement

Population Programs and Human Rights

  • Karen Oppenheim Mason
Part of the Population Economics book series (POPULATION)

Abstract

The issue with which this paper deals is how government population programs—in particular, programs designed to influence the rate of population growth by altering the birth rate—affect human rights. Unlike the issues treated in the other papers in this volume, the issue dealt with here concerns morality as much as it does scientific fact. Such questions as whether rapid population growth enhances or damages the success of the economy, or whether government-sponsored family planning programs advance or detract from the health of women and children, although involving moral issues at certain points, are primarily factual questions about the nature of cause-and-effect relationships in the real world. The question of whether population programs intrude upon or enhance human rights, however, not only revolves around the facts of population programs in different countries, but more importantly, around the issue of what constitutes a human right, and whether certain government actions invariably violate human rights. Because of its moral character, the question of whether population programs harm or enhance human rights cannot be answered objectively, at least in the absence of strong moral consensus. As I review in this paper, across the countries of the world, the moral consensus is anything but strong; the ethical issues surrounding human rights are tangled. Hence, it is impossible to provide a general, definitive answer to the question of whether population programs enhance or detract from human rights. At best, we can identify elements of population programs that lend themselves to the abuse of particular rights, and the conditions under which certain elements lend themselves to the protection of those rights.

Keywords

Family Planning Family Planning Program Individual Freedom Rapid Population Growth Birth Control Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aird, John S. (1990). Slaughter of the Innocents: Coercive Birth Control in China. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press.Google Scholar
  2. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition (1992). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous (1993). “Population problem [sic] and family planning in China.” Paper presented at the Ministerial Seminar on Population and Development, Canberra, Australia, November, 1993.Google Scholar
  4. Banister, Judith (1993). “China’s family planning program: Successes and problems.” Speech to the Ministerial Seminar on Population and Development, Canberra, Australia, November, 1993.Google Scholar
  5. Berelson, Bernard and Jonathan Lieberson (1979). “Government efforts to influence fertility: The ethical issues.” Population and Development Review 5(December): 581-613.Google Scholar
  6. Blake, Judith (1972). “Coercive pronatal ism and American population policy.” In U.S. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, Aspects of Population Growth Policy, vol. 6. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  7. Bruce, Judith (1990). “Fundamental elements of quality of care: A simple framework.” Studies in Family Planning 13(2): 44–58.Google Scholar
  8. Chen Muhua (1979). “China sets ever more stringent targets for fertility reduction.” Population and Development Review 5(December): 723-30.Google Scholar
  9. Chesler, Ellen (1994). “Stop coercing women.” New York Times Magazine, Sunday, February 6, p. 31.Google Scholar
  10. Cleland, John and W. Parker Mauldin (1991). “The promotion of family planning by financial payments: The case of Bangladesh.” Studies in Family Planning 22(January/February): 1-18.Google Scholar
  11. Cleland, John and Warren Robinson (1992). “The use of payments and benefits to influence reproductive behavior”. Pp. 159-77 in J. F. Phillips and J. A. Ross, eds., Family Planning Programmes and Fertility. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cook, Rebecca J. (1993). “International human rights and women’s reproductive health.” Studies in Family Planning 24(March/April): 73-86.Google Scholar
  13. Dixon-Mueller, Ruth (1993). Population Policy & Women’s Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  14. Dixon-Mueller, Ruth and Adrienne Germain (1992). “Stalking the elusive ‘unmet need’ for family planning.” Studies in Family Planning 23(September/October): 330-35.Google Scholar
  15. Encyclopedia Britannica (1971).Google Scholar
  16. Freedman, Lynn P. and Stephen L. Isaacs (1993). “Human rights and reproductive choice.” Studies in Family Planning 24 (January/February): 18-30.Google Scholar
  17. Greenhalgh, Susan (1990). Review of Slaughter of the Innocents: Coercive Birth Control in China, by John S. Aird. Population and Development Review 16(December): 788.Google Scholar
  18. Greer, Germaine (1984). Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  19. Hardee-Cleaveland, Karen and Judith Banister (1988). “Fertility policy and implementation in China, 1986–88.” Population and Development Review 14(June): 245-86.Google Scholar
  20. Harlap, Susan, Kathryn Kost, and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest (1991). Preventing Pregnancy, Protecting Health: A New Look at Birth Control Choices in the United States. New York: Alan Guttmacher Institute.Google Scholar
  21. Hartmann, Betsy (1987). Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control and Contraceptive Choice. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  22. International Women’s Health Coalition, eds. (1993). “‘Women’s voices’ 94’—A declaration on population policies.” Population and Development Review 19(September): 637-40.Google Scholar
  23. Jain, Anrudh, Judith Bruce, and Sushil Kumar (1993). “Quality of services, programme efforts and fertility reduction.” Pp. 202–221 in. J F. Phillips and J. A. Ross, eds., Family Planning Programmes and Fertility. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kaestle, Carl F. and Maris A. Vinovskis (1978). “From fireside to factory: School entry and school leaving in nineteenth-century Massachusetts.” Pp. 135–85 in Tamara K. Hareven, ed., Transitions: The Family and the Life Course in Historical Perspective. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. King, Timothy (1993). “World population growth and social interests.” Unpublished manuscript, World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  26. Lee, Luke T. (1990). “Law, human rights, and population policy.” Pp. 1-20 in Godfrey Roberts, ed., Population Policy: Contemporary Issues. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  27. Maine, Deborah, Lynn Freedman, Farida Shaheed, and Schuyler Frautschi (1994). “Risk, reproduction, and rights: The uses of reproductive health data.” Unpublished manuscript, Columbia University, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Mason, Karen Oppenheim (1983). “Norms relating to the desire for children.” Pp. 388-428 in Rodolfo A. Bulatao and Ronald D. Lee, with Paula E. Hollerbach and John Bongaarts, eds., Determinants of Fertility in Developing Countries, vol. 1, Supply and Demand for Children. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. McNicoll, Geoffrey (1993). “Strategies of fertility control: Strong persuasion.” Canberra: Australian National University, Research School of Social Sciences, Working Papers in Demography, No. 41.Google Scholar
  30. Overall, Christine (1987). Ethics and Human Reproduction: A Feminist Analysis. Boston: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  31. Paxman, John M., Alberto Rizo, Laura Brown, and Janie Benson (1993). “The clandestine epidemic: The practice of unsafe abortion in Latin America.” Studies in Family Planning 24(July/August): 205-26.Google Scholar
  32. Ross, John A., W. Parker Mauldin, Steven R. Green, and E. Romana Cooke (1992). Family Planning and Child Survival Programs as Assessed in 1991. New York: Population Council.Google Scholar
  33. Salaff, Janet and Aline K. Wong (1978). “Are disincentives coercive? The view from Singapore.” International Family Planning Perspectives 4(Summer): 50-55.Google Scholar
  34. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (1977). Human Rights Aspects of Population Programmes, with Special Reference to Human Rights Laws. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  35. United Nations (1973). Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments of the United Nations. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  36. Warwick, Donald P. (1986). “The Indonesia family planning program: Government influence and client choice.” Population and Development Review 12 (September): 453-90.Google Scholar
  37. Warwick, Donald P. (1990). “The ethics of population control.” Pp. 21-37 in Godfrey Roberts, ed., Population Policy: Contemporary Issues. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  38. Westoff, Charles F. and Lorenzo Moreno (1992). “The demand for family planning: Estimates for developing countries.” Pp. 141-158 in J. F. Phillips and J. A. Ross, eds., Family Planning Programmes and Fertility. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  39. Whyte, Martin King and S. Z. Gu (1987). “Population response to China’s fertility transition.” Population and Development Review 13 (September): 471-93.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Oppenheim Mason
    • 1
  1. 1.Program on Population, East-West CenterUSA

Personalised recommendations