Family Planning Bolstered Mexico's Middle Class, But Access Still Depends On Politics, Religion

Family Planning Bolstered Mexico’s Middle Class, But Access Still Depends On Politics, Religion

Victoria Vera González was born in Mexico. Birth rates in the country have dropped dramatically over the last 50 years, in part, because of a policy that made birth control free.

Let’s start 50 years ago when the United Nations declared family planning as a human right. Here’s what Mexico’s UN Representative, Antonio Martínez Báez, said back then: “México emitió su voto favorable, con profunda convicción, reiterando así su actititud de lograr una completa igualdad para la mujer en todos los campos jurídicos, económicos y sociales.”

He said that his country voted in favor of the resolution, and not only in favor, but with deep conviction, in the hopes that women could achieve full equality under the law and in every facet of life.

Mexico took that UN resolution to heart.

Gabriela Rivera is an OB-GYN in Mexico City. She is also with the United Nation’s Population Office in Mexico. The story of the women in her family is like a mirror image of the country, where the birth rate has dropped dramatically.

“My grandmother had 13 children and my mother had four and I don’t have any,” Rivera says.

In the 1960s, women in developed nations like the U.S. were, on average, giving birth to four kids, while the average woman in Mexico was giving birth to seven. Today, UN data puts the average woman in the U.S. and in Mexico as virtually tied, giving birth to about two kids. In addition to that 1968 UN resolution, Mexico amended its Constitution in […]

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