Ideology, Faith, and Family Planning in Latin America: Studies in Public and Private Opinion on Fertility Control

Ideology, Faith, and Family Planning in Latin America: Studies in Public and Private Opinion on Fertility Control

Ideology, Faith, and Family Planning in Latin America: Studies in Public and Private Opinion on Fertility Control

Ideology, Faith, and Family Planning in Latin America: Studies in Public and Private Opinion on Fertility Control

Excerpt

We assume that national contraceptive service programs are not only desirable for philosophical and medical reasons but can be of great, if not major, importance in effecting declines in national fertility levels. This is not to say that such reductions cannot occur "spontaneously," or will not "eventually" occur without such programs. It means that given the existing levels of income and education in most Latin American countries, "eventual" declines are too far off to be acceptable. The only feasible short-run solution is birth control programs stimulated by the institution in Latin America with sufficient resources to do the task--government. The first step is to convince governments to introduce programs, but whether or not such programs succeed depends upon the receptivity of the target groups and the degree of adaptation of the programs to this receptivity. If the public receptivity is intense, the programs can be inconspicuous and innocuous and still be successful; but if public receptivity is less than intense, the programs will have to be imaginative, large, and expensive. The latter, in turn, requires deep commitment on the part of national leaders. As we see it then, there is a problem of commitment and appropriate action both at the level of elites and at the level of the public.

The importance of assessing both elite and public opinions should therefore be clear, and indeed provides the rationale for the content and organization of this book, Part 2 of which is devoted to studies . . .

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