Gates Institute Director Publishes Op-Ed on Faith and Family Planning in U.S. News & World Report

An op-ed by Gates Institute Director Jose "Oying" Rimon II, "No One Should Have to Give up Faith in God to Embrace Family Planning," was published on February 3 in U.S. News and World Report

Early in my public health career, I learned an important lesson about faith and family planning.

I had led a Philippine delegation to Indonesia to learn about that country's family planning program and how it saved mothers' and infants' lives and, in the process, also curbed population growth. We met with and learned from Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, two of the largest Islamic organizations in the world. After we returned to the Philippines, one of my colleagues, an imam, invited me to speak at his Friday prayer. I shied away from addressing family planning – the topic that had brought us together in the first place.­­­­­­

I shouldn't have. After my talk, the imam proceeded to tell his congregants to have fewer children so they could stay handsome and their spouses could stay youthful longer. His message was so well received, he became fondly known as "Imam Pogi," local slang for handsome. As Imam Pogi knew, faith does not have to be at odds with family planning – and it shouldn't be if we want to improve global health, especially for women and children. Around the world, 225 million women want to stop having children or manage their births but lack access to contraception. No matter the faith or orthodoxy one follows, research shows that family planning saves lives ...

Read the full op-ed here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 12:00