Papuan Perspectives on Family Planning, Fertility and Birth Control
Papuan perspectives on family planning have historically emphasised political concerns that reflect the tensions between the Indonesian state and indigenous rights – Papuans have questioned both the need for them to limit their population size and the propriety of the state to intervene in their reproductive matters. Family planning in Indonesia is said to have stagnated, and rates of contraceptive use in Tanah Papua are considerably lower than the Indonesian average. A revived family planning agenda appears imminent, spurred on by new global commitments such as the Family Planning 2020 campaign and increased funding from international organisations. This paper draws on extensive ethnographic research conducted in two sites in Tanah Papua – Manokwari, a coastal city, and Wamena, a highlands hub – to explore how Papuans, particularly youth, are likely to react to family planning this time around. By discussing political, cultural, gendered, and religious facets of family planning, this paper corrects the notion that “access” to family planning in Papua can be primarily understood in terms of geography and infrastructure, and points to other factors that may shape Papuans' uptake of family planning. It reveals that while some of Papuans' political concerns have shifted, there remain important unanswered questions and opportunities for dialogue that define the ideological space of the family planning revival in Tanah Papua.
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