Access To Modern Contraceptives, Family Planning Services Is Human Right

“[I]n the developing world, an estimated 215 million women who want to delay or avoid their next pregnancy cannot exercise this right as they lack modern contraceptives, resulting in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and more than 100,000 maternal deaths,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin writes in this Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog post. He says that “[t]he United Kingdom government of David Cameron and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced plans for a summit in London in July to raise funds for voluntary family planning” and notes that “UNFPA … fully supports and is a partner in this historic initiative on an often-overlooked human right.”

“Providing for the unmet need for family planning requires not only tearing down the barriers that women and adolescents face in their homes and communities, but also expanding the availability of quality information, supplies and services,” Osotimehin writes. “The need for modern contraceptives is expected to grow by up to 30 percent over the next 15 years, and the needed investments to cover the demand are large,” he notes. But “universal access to family planning is a critical component for development and the expected returns and other benefits are much larger,” he continues, adding, “[U]ltimately and, most importantly, access to family planning is a human right.” Osotimehin concludes, “Denying women the power and means to control the number and spacing of their children would deny them of their human rights to health, life and equal opportunity” (4/9).