Contraception and Infant Mortality

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Putting the first and last paragraphs of this New York Times story next to each other is rather illuminating:

More than four million newborns worldwide die each year in their first month of life, comparable to the number of babies born in the United States annually, Save the Children reported Monday. …

Another way to reduce deaths is to give women access to modern contraceptives, the group said. Birth control, it said, allows enough time between births to preserve the mother’s health and reduce the likelihood that their babies are born with low birth weights.

Yet another reason to oppose the right’s ongoing war on contraceptives (as if people needed another). The article also notes that many of those 4 million infants die because of a lack of inexpensive medical items—sterile blades, or antibiotics and knit caps to treat pneumonia. Now lots of critics are fond of saying that foreign aid “doesn’t work,” but it’s fairly obvious here that there are extraordinarily simple things that can save a lot of lives very cheaply. Knit caps. Sterile blades. Of course it would work.

But wealthy countries remain stingy. The Bush administration cut USAID’s maternal and health programs from $356 million last year to $323 million this year. That’s 0.0001 of all federal spending, and it still gets cut. On the other hand, the White House has somehow found hundreds of millions of dollars for abstinence-only programs overseas, which don’t work, and, as the quote above shows, are exactly the wrong way to alleviate infant mortality.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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