Le problème épineux de la fécondité

BOSTON – Il est sans doute inévitable que la contraception et la croissance démographique soient sujet de controverse, étant données les multiples perspectives qu’on leur attribue. Les activistes en santé reproductive concentrent leurs efforts sur la planification des naissances et sur le droit des femmes de disposer de leur corps. Les économistes étudient, pour leur part, les conséquences sur la croissance durable. Les autorités publiques s’inquiètent de la surpopulation et du chômage. Les effectifs médicaux sont, quant à eux, préoccupés par les maladies transmises sexuellement et la malnutrition. Il n’est pas aisé d’atteindre un juste équilibre entre tous ces points de vue différents – or, un grand nombre de choses en dépendent.

Les moyens modernes de contraception – le condom, la pilule contraceptive ou le stérilet – permettent des formes réversibles ou permanentes de protection. Toutefois, leur taux d’utilisation varie grandement – de 2,8 % des jeunes femmes au Tchad à 84,6 % de celles qui habitent en Chine – ce qui reflète les différences de coûts, d’offre et de normes culturelles.

La contraception comporte des avantages indiscutables sur les plans de la santé, de l’économie et de la société. Une étude de 2012 a d’ailleurs estimé que son utilisation avait prévenu 272 040 décès liés à la grossesse en 2008, un chiffre de 44 % inférieur à ce qui se serait produit autrement. L’utilisation des moyens de contraception a également aidé des économies moins développées à relever le taux de participation des femmes sur le marché du travail et à diversifier leurs sources de revenus.

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