Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On the "unmet need" for contraception

I'm so glad that a pro-abort has confronted the problem with the typical understanding of the phrase "unmet need for contraception":

If women are sexually active, want to avoid pregnancy, and are not using a method of contraception, the thinking is that someone should make sure they have one. High unmet need has been a strong argument for increasing the availability of contraceptive supplies and improving distribution systems.(...)

The problem is with how it is measured. Never do the women themselves get to decide whether they need/want contraception. Instead, researchers use large surveys like the Demographic and Health Surveys to identify women they think need contraceptives (usually those who are sexually active and not actively seeking pregnancy). That’s the “need” in “unmet need.” In the classic formulation of unmet need, if women are currently using a method of contraception, their need is met.


Instead, unmet need should be defined as wanting to use contraception but not being able to. Taking the shortcut of not asking women what they want but instead presuming need is presumptuous, possibly paternalistic

The other major shortcoming of the typical measure of unmet need is that simply using a method of contraception does not mean one’s contraceptive needs are met. Examining how satisfied women are with the methods they use and the hardships they face in getting an adequate supply could improve the quality and effectiveness of family planning services. Even among women who have access to contraceptives, there is widespread inconsistent and incorrect use. Supplies run out and a woman may have trouble using a method even when she wants it. She may not have ongoing support if problems arise during use. Addressing these unmet needs is as important as the unmet need to adopt a method.

I don't wish to promote in any way the use of contraception.

I simply want to point out that demand for contraception is not nearly as great as many Westerners think it is.

I would also like to point out that one of the problems with contraception is that most of it is dependent on the existence of a good healthcare system.

If you use The Pill, you usually need a prescription. You need a doctor who knows the product and see if you are a good candidate. If you get an IUD, you need a doctor who knows how to insert it. (And that's besides the issues of distribution and availability.)

What if you don't have a good healthcare system?

But then again, if you have a good healthcare system, maternal mortality rate goes down by the very fact without contraception, because it would be able to deal with complicated pregnancies.

Natural methods do not rely on the healthcare system. All women are good candidates, although the more complicated cases may require more consultation with an expert (but not necessarily a doctor).

As long as you can read mucus, as long as you can mark notes on a piece of paper, you can track your fertility.

It would be far more benevolent to promote healthcare and natural methods that trying to foist methods that are alien to people's culture.