Family planning

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As family planning measures are considered by pairs, the number and timing of the birth of children to plan.

Starting point for family planning

Very different influencing factors are decisive for family planning. In addition to the general agreement of the attitudes of the people involved, this includes personal goals, values, desires, professional careers , childcare options and life planning in general. But also objective and subjective personal maturity and the social environment are important factors that play a role in family planning.

The separation of sexuality and procreation has become crucial for family planning . The methods of controlling conception are the most important means here. In particular, the hormonal birth control pill, which was introduced in the 1960s , but also other methods of contraception, sterilization of women and men, and modern condoms allow a more revealing and carefree approach to sexuality. At the same time, they give couples, and especially women, the opportunity to make decisions about reproduction with greater freedom.

However, this is not equally possible all over the world. 225 million women in the less developed regions of the world still lack access to safe and effective family planning methods. Around a third of the world's population growth is now due to unwanted pregnancies. This is leading to rapid population growth , especially in sub-Saharan Africa .

Poster from Ethiopia about the consequences of a lack of family planning
Poster from Ethiopia about the positive effects of family planning

In most societies, termination of pregnancy is only accepted in exceptional cases and, from a medical and psychological point of view, it is not regarded as a method of family planning.

In today's western society, unwanted childlessness is often no longer viewed as a god-willed fate, but as a medical problem that is combated with means such as in vitro fertilization and sperm donation .

The methods of natural family planning can be used both for conception control and when you want to have children. The already mentioned influencing factors of family planning such as values , personal maturity, socio-cultural background and also the professional career and life planning of the individual are so strongly connected with society and politics that family planning cannot be viewed in isolation from it. With the changed concept of family in Western society, however, the meaning of family planning has also changed in recent years. Today, a steady (heterosexual) partnership is no longer required for founding (or expanding) the family (see also Single Mothers by Choice , Rainbow Family ).

Family planning as a human right

Every couple is granted the basic right to freely and responsibly decide on the number of their children and the time between births. A corresponding passage was included in the Tehran proclamation adopted by the International Conference on Human Rights of Tehran on May 13, 1968 and confirmed in the programs of action of the World Population Conferences of 1974 (Bucharest), 1984 (Mexico City) and 1994 (Cairo). It was added that women, men and couples should also have the basic right to learn about family planning options, to be instructed in its use, and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable family planning methods of their choice.

In the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Women's Convention), the right to family planning was first made binding in 1979 .

But even today, not every couple has the opportunity to decide for themselves about family planning options. In some countries, such as China , men and women are forcibly sterilized , in other countries they are forced to give birth to unwanted children because there are not enough cheap contraceptives available. Surveys show that women in developing countries have more children than they would like. In many countries, however, bearing a child to term is still life-threatening. Around 1,000 women die every day as a result of pregnancy and childbirth; teenage women are particularly affected, as their bodies are in some cases not yet mature enough to carry a child to term. For girls of this age group, pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading causes of death in developing countries.

Religious Objections to Family Planning as a Human Right

Some religious communities object to the view of family planning as a universal human right and reject some methods of contraception (or in some cases all family planning). The Catholic Church only recognizes natural family planning as morally permissible.

Christians who describe themselves as quiverfull reject all family planning, including natural family planning. They believe that God alone should decide the number of children a couple will have.

On 10 January 2006, the City Council decided Kanab (in the State of Utah ) a controversial resolution : The Natural Family: A Vision for the City of Kanab, codifying the definition of a "natural family" ( dt .: The natural family: A vision for the city of Kanab that codifies the definition of a natural family . )

Family planning as a human duty

According to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Duties , every couple has a responsibility to plan their families properly.

Family policy

Lack of family planning

The indirect and direct parameters influenced by a state are summarized under the term family policy and set the mostly legal and economic framework conditions in which the individual decision for or against pregnancy can be made. This link between individual planning and state control or regulation mechanisms is mainly explained by the fact that in most states responsibility for basic social and infrastructural services has been transferred from the family to the state. The provision of these services requires a balanced population pyramid with today's common policy concepts .

Thus, like most politics, family policy is geared towards economic interests or necessity; But ideological interests and the religious background of a country can also be decisive.

In developing countries - especially in the African and Southeast Asian countries - family planning is primarily about the z. T. to curb rapid population growth. It is hoped that a decline in the birth rate will generate economic growth impulses , similar to the Asian tiger states .

On the Pacific island of Tikopia , given the limited living space, it was possible to keep the population constant for centuries through strict birth control.

The influence of changing values ​​and life planning

Just as crucial as the general conditions of the state are the cultural, social and religious background. In most industrialized European countries, these have been in a state of upheaval since the mid-1950s, which is accompanied by a change in values and a changed lifestyle. The desire to have a family of one's own is still at the top of individual life planning, but it collides with the need for freedom, economic security and subjective personal maturity and is thus postponed or limited to just one child economic risks can weigh heavily against a life without children, In Germany, for example, the state usually tries to cushion families with all kinds of aids such as guaranteed kindergarten places, tax relief, etc. In practice, completely different factors seem to play an important role, such as experiences with the first child.

See also

Web links


  1. ^ German Foundation for World Population (DSW): Voluntary Family Planning, accessed on February 21, 2017
  2. Section 16 of the Tehran proclamation : The protection of the family and of the child remains the concern of the international community. Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children.
  3. Irene Gerlach: Motives, instruments and actors. In: Family Policy: History and Models, Information on Political Education (Issue 301). Retrieved July 19, 2009 .
  4. Cairo Program of Action, Principle 8 : All couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and meens to do so.
    Quote from Finke, Barbara: Legitimation of global politics through NGOs, women's rights, deliberation and the public in the UN; Research Policy, 2005
  5. Irene Gerlach: Motives, instruments and actors. In: Family Policy: History and Models, Information on Political Education (Issue 301). Retrieved July 19, 2009 .
  6. ^ Paragraph 94 in the Action Plan of the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995
  7. Convention, Articles 12 (1) and 16 (1) e) (PDF; 152 kB)
  8. Jutta Lietsch: "Family Policy in China: Sterilization According to the Plan". TAZ
  9. "100 Years of International Women's Day - Realizing Equality Globally". Shadow gaze. March 16, 2011
  10. Africa's Demographic Challenge - How a Young Population Can Enable Development
  11., August 5, 2015: "The more dissatisfied parents are after the birth of their first child, the less likely it is that a second child will follow"