When worlds collide - non-state actors, philanthropy, and the commercial promotion of fertility control options in low- and middle-income countries

Wale, J and Rowlands, S (2021) When worlds collide - non-state actors, philanthropy, and the commercial promotion of fertility control options in low- and middle-income countries. In: Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, 30 March - 1 April 2021, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK. (Forthcoming)

Official URL: https://www.slsa2021.com/

Abstract

Collective welfare concerns are often advanced to justify external intervention by state actors in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policies and programmes in low- and middle-income countries (for convenience, referred to as ‘developing countries’). Fertility related interventions are typically fuelled and justified by concerns about the sufficiency and/or distribution of global resources. On the one hand, intervention is aimed at controlling population growth and as the means to limiting resource demand from specific geographical locations. On the other, intervention using financial aid or other mechanisms to support or promote specific fertility options is rationalised as the fair redistribution of global resources to maximise the survival of the human ecosystem. The underlying assumption is that by ‘fixing’ or rebalancing the global human population, many of the world’s problems will be solved. This paper examines the developing role of transnational philanthropic and commercial actors in global SRH policies and programmes, specifically, in the promotion and implementation of fertility control schemes in the developing world. Whilst complex multi- stakeholder arrangements complicate matters, we argue that caution should be exercised in the ethical assessment of interventions supported or otherwise promoted by these non-state actors. It does not follow that collective justifications/ interests should be automatically extended to, or otherwise cover the activities of these organisations in this sphere. This is especially important in contexts, and for arrangements that do not fully prioritise and embed rights-based approaches to SRH. The scope for conflicts of interest and inequality in the power dynamics is all too apparent. The lack of genuine accountability and transparency of action also raises the question whether State actors should be openly facilitating and supporting philanthropic and commercial interventions in the developing world under the banner of the ‘global good’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Note:

Paper included as part of the 'Medical Law, Healthcare and Bioethics' stream.

Divisions: Bath Business School
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Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2020 15:41
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2020 17:30
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