Controlling fertility helps empower women

The Baltimore Sun | April 4, 2009

The column "Gender and U.S. aid" (Commentary, March 18) highlighted several important steps the Obama administration should take to improve the economic status of women in the developing world but failed to mention one important component in ensuring women's financial empowerment: Unless women have access to contraceptives, effective condom distribution and access to quality reproductive health care, unwanted pregnancies and high rates of maternal mortality will undo any other financial gains they might make.

President Barack Obama has taken the right steps toward women's empowerment by rescinding the global gag rule (which restricted U.S. funding to family planning programs abroad), restoring U.S. funding to the U.N. Population Fund and emphasizing that he will work to reduce unintended pregnancies, promote safe motherhood and increase education and economic opportunities for women and girls.

This comprehensive approach addresses the full scope of obstacles facing women's financial empowerment and ultimately their equality.

Carmen Barroso
New York, N.Y.

The writer is a regional director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.,0,466021.story

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