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Better access to birth control would reduce stress on global resources, report says

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3077 (Published 30 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3077
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1 London

The rich should consume less and the poor should procreate less, says the Royal Society in a new report.

Better access to family planning would reduce population growth by satisfying “a large unmet need for contraception” and would reduce stress on the world’s environment and resources, it claims. Voluntary restraint on consumption in the richest parts of the world would have the same effect. To aid the change, human welfare should be measured in different ways that lay less emphasis on purely economic criteria.

The report was produced by a working party chaired by John Sulston, who headed the UK part of the Human Genome Project, and took 21 months to research and write. Sulston said, “The world now has a very clear choice. We can choose to address the …

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