Most of the developing countries where fertility rates have fallen sharply in the last 20 years are places like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brazil, which have had relative political stability and solid economic growth. Because there are so many such countries, there's reason to be optimistic on the global population front. But in countries that aren't seeing political stability or sustainable economic growth, and where women are illiterate and repressedcountries like Afghanistan, or Yemenfertility is running disastrously high. In countries like that, opposition from religious and community leadersie, mencan easily torpedo any public-health effort. So common sense dictates that, in addition to providing counseling and access to birth control for women, advocates must also reach out to religious authorities.
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