Contraception across Cultures: Technologies, Choices, Constraints

By Andrew Russell; Elisa J. Sobo et al. | Go to book overview

10
Family Planning or Reproductive
Health? Interpreting Policy and
Providing Family Planning Services
in Highland Chiapas, Mexico 1
Mary S. Thompson

Introduction

Since giving up its long-standing pronatalist stance on the family in the 1970s, the Mexican government has increasingly viewed population control as a facet of the economic and social development of the country (Singh 1994: 217–8; Merrick 1985: 1–3). The introduction of family planning services was intended to bring about large decreases in the national fertility rate which came to be seen as an impediment to the modernization of the country. Since the widespread introduction of family planning services a major disparity has developed in the uptake of these services between urban areas, where contraceptive prevalence rates are high, and rural, and particularly indigenous areas, where the uptake of services remains very low. After the development of an international consensus on reproductive health at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, which brokered a truce between reproductive health advocates and defenders of population control under the umbrella of sustainable development (cf. Hartmann 1995: 131), Mexico introduced a new programme of reproductive health in which it legitimized both concerns (Poder Ejecutivo Federal 1996: iii). In this way, population control is retained as a legitimate policy goal with respect to the modernization of the country (cf. Dirección General de Planificación Familiar 1995: 7), whilst at the same time the concerns of reproductive health advocates are also addressed through the adoption of an informed choice agenda. 2 This agenda, based upon respect for individual and cultural beliefs for the improvement of health and social

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