Family planning programs—organized efforts to provide contraception to women and men—were one of the major social and health interventions in the second half of the 20th century. These programs exist in most countries and in all world regions. As of 1998, 179 governments, representing 92 percent of governments where over 99 percent of the world's population lived, supported access to contraception.1 Governments provide substantial support for family planning, and most users of contraception in developing countries rely on their governments for contraceptive supplies and services, although the private sector, including pharmacies and private organizations, is also an important source of such services. Many of the family planning programs in developing countries have been carried out with considerable support from international donors.
Over the years, proponents of family planning programs have seen the benefits of these programs as similar to those of other development efforts—e.g., in education, or disease prevention through immunizations—in helping to bring about improvements in the wellbeing of individuals and societies. However, the international movement to promote and support family planning in developing countries as a way to meet the demand for fertility regulation and as a way to lower fertility and population growth has also generated____________________