In a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece, "Birth Control Over Baldness" Nicholas Kristof points out that research on contraception is "pitifully underfunded” and argues that family planning is treated less seriously than baldness. He further points out that new contraceptives will fight global poverty and “affect more people in a more intimate way than almost any other technological stride."
To be honest, we’re not sure how much funding baldness research receives so we won’t comment on that comparison. However, we agree that family planning research is underfunded and that new contraceptives have the potential to impact global poverty significantly.
The key issues when it comes to birth control are accessibility and providing options that people will actually use. According to figures from the United Nations, more than 215 million women in poor countries do not want to get pregnant, but are unable to get access to modern contraceptives.
Unfortunately, while the column points out a number of hormonal options that are in trial and may help address some of the access issues in the future, it does not highlight any non-hormonal options for women or talk about newer methods that are already having an impact.
Obviously we think CycleBeads should have been included as an innovative, modern family planning option that is being used by more than 2.5 million women in more than 50 countries – many of these in communities where access is a critical issue.
Still we can’t help but agree with Mr. Kristof in his summary of the situation, "Family planning has long been a missing – and underfunded – link in the effort to overcome global poverty. Half a century after the pill, it’s time to make it a priority and treat it as a basic human right for men and women alike around the world."