Source: Site of Carta Capital Magazine Health

Family Planning - Omission and Hypocrisy

The birth rate among the poor people is one of the major problems of the country, hidden by statistics and perpetuated by ingenuity or lack of courage

By Drauzio Varella

The most serious problem of the country maybe is the birth rate among the poor population. In a time that we are provided with effective contraception methods, the number of undesired pregnancies in the most unprotected classes is so exaggerated that it must be questioned: why those responsible for the elaboration of public policies run from this subject like the devil runs from the cross?

In addition to the carelessness, I can find only two explanations for the omission, ingenuity or lack of courage to be contrary to the Church.

The ingenuity is in the hurry interpretation of the statistics that show a decrease of the average birth rates: 2.4 children per woman in the Census of 2000, in comparison with 6.2 in 1960. The distortion when analyzing average rates, however, is in the fact of not to perceive what happens with certain subpopulations.

Young people in the Febem (State Foundation for the Minor’s Welfare): many of them are not desired already at the time of birth.

For example, the Census of 2000 showed that the women with university formation have in the average 1.4 child (like in the developed countries), while the non-alphabetized women have 5.6 (the same rate of Namibia). Women living in houses with per capita income above five minimum wages have in the average 1.1 child, while in the houses where the income is of up to one-fourth of the minimum wage, such number increases to 4.6.

In 2002, the proportion of children born from mothers minor than 20 years, poor in the absolute majority, was of 20.75%. In the State of Acre, such number reaches 27%; in Pará, 26.3% and in Mato Grosso, 25.5%. Each child born as such takes the mother from the school and makes poorer the family of the grandparents, because the today’s men hardly assume undesired paternity.

Who already entered in a jail knows how much is difficult to find a prisoner who has been created by a working father; the huge majority is comprised of children of known, absent, dead in shooting or prisoner fathers, like them.

Those babies not desired by the parents come to the world as a consequence of the lack of knowledge and of the difficult access to the contraceptive methods. Although formally the Brazilian program of family planning is considered as one of the world’s most advanced, in the practice it reaches the low-income population in an improper manner.

The pills distributed in the health care stations are the cheaper of the market (and those that cause more side effects); the contraceptives in adhesive to be exchanged only once per week, ideal to face the indiscipline of the teenagers, as demonstrated by the studies, are not available and the intrauterine devices (IUD) are virtually absent; and condoms enough, only in the Carnival.

To make a vasectomy or sterilization by the Government Health System (SUS), therefore, is virtually impossible. Consultation must be settled with physicians, with the social worker and with the psychologist. It takes months of peregrination by the aisles of the public hospitals, which mothers or fathers of five children are obliged to do, to hear questions such as: “And if you separate from your wife and marry to another younger woman? And if your children die and you want to have others?”

In the booklet that the Ministry of Health distributes to the pregnant women, the access to sterilization is ensured to every woman more than 25 years old that have two or more children, free of charge, through the SUS. Does anybody know about it?

What insane ideology or hypocrite religious principle justify the fact of your daughters cross their adolescence without getting pregnant, while the daughters of the poorer people give birth at 15 years old? Why do we have one or two children, at most, while they have the double or the triple?

The lack of resources for comprehensive family planning programs is an irresponsible excuse! It is must more expressive to open schools, hospitals, health care stations, to serve food in the school, to give drugs and find physical space for all of those children. And, later, to build a jail after other to arrest the criminals.




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