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Family Planning

The "second Contraceptive Revolution"

Claiming that the earlier contraceptive revolution was a major success, the international family-planning establishment declared the launching of a "second contraceptive revolution" and a "contraceptive 21 agenda" for the twenty-first century. This, like the earlier phase, upheld the biomedical model of mass female fertility management. In 2004 about ninety-four new contraceptive products were being pursued, of which many were variants of existing methods. Among these were four IUDs, seven hormonal implants, five hormonal injectables, five hormonal pills, six vaccines, and six methods for female sterilization.

The second contraceptive revolution also envisaged a greater role for private industry. Given the "latent demand" for new contraceptives, liberalization of trade, privatization of state-run enterprises, and other factors, contraceptive marketing in the Third World promised to be even more profitable for pharmaceutical companies than they had been in the past. The privatization of health sectors, increasing corporate mergers (such as the merger of Pharmacia Sweden and Upjohn of the United States), and the extension of intensive contraceptive promotional and marketing strategies further augmented the power and profits of transnational pharmaceutical companies in the south.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in the early 2000s was completely exempting more and more drugs and medical devices from review before marketing, a move that could have detrimental repercussions across the world. The ICPD and its "new" reproductive-rights agenda, however, did not address the need for strict guidelines to monitor contraceptive trials and the marketing practices of corporations. Calls for population stabilization in the context of GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) and other "free trade" agreements, could result in further easing of protocols for contraceptive trials. Feminist activists fear increased corporate dumping of dangerous and experimental contraceptives on the bodies of poor women. Their concerns are based on the history of experimentation of contraceptives such as Depo-Provera and Norplant on poor women in the north and the south without informed consent, the use in the Third World of the Dalkon Shield IUD and other contraceptive devices banned in the United States, and other unethical and dangerous practices. The FDA has, however, been stalling on making emergency contraception available over the counter, maintaining that it needs further testing. Planned Parenthood, NOW, and NARAL, among other feminist organizations, have long urged the approval of the drug.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Evolution to FerrocyanideFamily Planning - Origin And Evolution Of Family Planning, Family Planning In The Global South, The "second Contraceptive Revolution"