It seemed an obvious answer to the ills of the developing world. So how did the population control movement go so terribly wrong?
Of all the 20th century’s great humanitarian ventures, none appears to have accomplished more than the campaign to control world population. Fertility rates have declined in every region of the world, and women now bear, on average, half as many children as they did 50 years ago. At a time when poor people are rioting over rising food prices, one could well imagine how many more hungry people there would be if the world’s population had continued to grow at its old rate.
Yet few of those who work in family planning today—almost no one uses...