New Guidelines To Decrease Population Growth In UK

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The United Kingdom should introduce a "stop at two children" or "haveone child less" guideline and review incentives that lead many teengirls to become pregnant to decrease the population growth in thecountry, according to a report released Thursday by the group Optimum Population Trust, London's Guardian reports.

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According to figures from the Office for National Statistics,669,531 infants were born in the country in 2006, and the UnitedKingdom had the highest teen pregnancy rate in Western Europe.According to John Guillebaud, professor of family planning andreproductive health at the University College Londonand author of the report, women living in England and Wales have anaverage of 1.87 children. He added that the "disastrous trend" of"primary care trusts to shut down community family planning clinics"has contributed to the population growth by subsequently increasingunplanned teen pregnancies.

Guillebaud said that voluntaryfamily planning programs in countries such as Iran have provensuccessful. "A voluntary stop-at-two guideline should be adopted forcouples in the U.K. who want to adopt greener lifestyles," the reportsays. According to the report, "Each new U.K. birth, through theinevitable resource consumption and pollution that U.K. affluencegenerates, is responsible for about 160 times as much climate-relatedenvironmental damage as a new birth in Ethiopia, or 35 times as much asa new birth in Bangladesh."

The report says that unless actionis taken, the population in the United Kingdom will increase by 10million by 2074. "No one is in favor of governments dictating familysize, but we need to act quickly to prevent" compulsory limits onbirths, Guillebaud said, adding that "those who continue to placeobstacles in the way of women who want to control their fertility willhave only themselves to blame as more and more regimes bring incoercive measures" (Vidal, Guardian, 7/11).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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