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Access To Family Planning Key To Economic Empowerment

Project Syndicate: The Economic Benefits of Family Planning
Natalia Kanem, U.N. under-secretary general and executive director of the United Nations Population Fund

“…[D]espite the many advantages associated with family planning services, too many countries continue to underfund this vital portion of their health care systems. … Fully funding the family planning needs of poor countries would lift millions out of poverty, improve rates of educational attainment, and help close the gender pay gap in the Global South. … By 2030, UNFPA aims to ensure that women everywhere can access family planning services without fear of consequence or cost. But we cannot do this alone. Leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society must join us in working toward this ambitious goal. … In addition to increased spending, new policies, laws, and implementation of existing regulations will be needed to help protect women and to empower young couples. … Fifty years ago, at the International Conference on Human Rights held in Tehran, the global community declared that ‘parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children.’ At the time, that idea was visionary; we now know that realizing it is a condition of successful development” (7/25).