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This first programme in the second level social sciences course on statistical sources examines a situation where statistics did have an influence in a particular decision. What is examined is the ...introduction of a free family planning service in Birmingham in 1972. The relationship of free family planning to a population policy is commented on as are the statistical assumptions in a population policy. The statistics that were used in the argument related to the birth rate, the number of unwanted children and the population pressure on resources. What becomes apparent in the programme is that the argument about statistics is really an argument about value assumptions. The programme contrasts those who take the view that family planning is a right and should be obtained freely and those who believe that it should be available only for those willing to pay. Behind this argument lie different assumptions about how society should be organised and what constitutes basic freedoms. There is also a contrast between those who value a population policy because it eases the pressure on resources and those who argue that a population policy is a poor alternative to redistributing wealth and providing better environmental conditions. This is a conflict between those who argue for fewer children for the poor and those who argue for more resources for the poor. The programme thus not only describes which statistics were used in the argument, but places those statistics in the context of an argument and its underlying assumptions.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D291, Statistical sources
Item code: D291; 01
First transmission date: 23-02-1975
Published: 1975
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:18
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Producer: Francis Sealey
Contributors: Roy Jefferis; Caroline McCutcheon; Jane Fraser; John Charlton; Ian Jones; Jill Knight; Theresa Stewart; Charles Critcher; Margaret Parker; Margaret Simpson; Clive Hannaby; Barbara Coyne
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Birth control; Statistics; Family planning
Footage description: Shots of Birmingham. Sealey introduces the programme and outlines its purpose. Charlton briefly states why the Health Committee introduced the scheme. Jefferis looks at some of the specific problems of the Midland conurbation in terms of space. Charlton explains how the FPA and Brook were brought in as agencies. Jones and Fraser, from FPA, and Brook outline their work and involvement with Birmingham. Shots of a Brook Centre reception area. Stewart explains why she fought for the inclusion of Brook Centres. The role of family planning in a population policy is looked at by numerous people from various angles. Jefferis, Jouss, Knight and Stewart express their opinions. Handsworth, a deprived area in Birmingham is taken as a specific example of how the service is working. A member of the Handsworth Action Centre outlines other problems which lie behind population problems. Various mothers from the Action Centre discuss their attitudes to family planning. Hannaby outlines some of the housing problems in Handsworth. Shots of delapidated houses. A number of residents give vent to their feelings on the condition of the houses. The problems of having numerous children in a poor housing district are discussed. Action centre mothers continue to discuss their attitudes to family planning, their own experiences, their children's attitudes etc. Knight, Jones and Critcher express differing views on the relevance of a population policy. Credits.
Master spool number: 6HT/71683
Production number: 00525_2184
Videofinder number: 162
Available to public: no