Back to Dirty chopsticks or Ahead to Isabel Allende

The United Nations conference on population this September in Cairo, already marred by Vatican meddling (including warnings to Islamic nations that outside family planning services will lead to Westernization; see “Still ticking,” March/April 1993, and “The bomb ticks on,” Jan./Feb. 1994), will no doubt focus on populous and less-developed nations like China and India. But as the new book (and upcoming documentary) “World War III” details, the U.S. should hardly feel smug: Teens in Los Angeles have one of the highest birthrates of teens anywhere in the world. California’s birthrate in 1990 was 84.6 per thousand, vs. 21 per thousand in China; 31 in India. In 1991, Population Action International included the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Malawi, Haiti, and the U.S. as among the world’s least progressive countries in expanding access to family planning services.

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