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Hey there, first let me tell you that I love this site, especially the 'Ask Amy' part of it, it's full of information that have helped me a lot through this semester, and I recommended it to all my friends! I'm writing you about a research paper that I'm working on these days. The topic is 'population', and the question that is troubling me the most is: describe how you think some of the policies of governments that are out there today impact women in general or specific groups, and what changes would you make in these policies if you based them on the general definition of feminism? I would VERY much appreciate your help! Respectfully, MH

Thanks so much for your note and for being a frequent visitor to FEMINIST.COM. Thanks, too, for your note about me--it's great, and at the same time intimidating, to know that people are out there in the world listening.

Your question about population policies is interesting to me, because it is something that I have thought about off and on for the past five years or so, really since I attended the U.N. Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. Some of the policies--those employed by the U.S.--are very top-down and in many instances, leave me with a feeling that they are eugenic.

The biggest complaint I have is that we direct so much of our attention on other countries--specifically those that are non-western and poor. Research has consistently shown that a child born into a developed country does far more damage to the earth and its environment than one born in a developing country. Hmmm...the only conclusion I can make from this is that we are only after the "survival of the fittest."

I also have a problem with how much energy we direct toward other countries, when we can't even guarantee women in this country basic reproductive health care. If we guaranteed every women basic health care it would mean that we were then giving them the power to make their decisions. I entrust women with these decisions and wish that we could get to this place of equal footing. Also, by focusing so much energy on other countries, we are in further denial about our own situation. For instance, why is it that we are still using forced sterilization on southern poor women and why is it that we are forcing Norplant onto Native American women when we know that the side effects are especially dangerous for them? So to solve all of this I would propose a few things:

1.) That the U.S. look at it's own situation before it looks further at other nations.
2.) I think that we should guarantee basic health care--including reproductive health care to every person. Once we have this base line it's easier to measure where we are failing.


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