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Advocates Leave Rio+20 'More Determined Than Ever' To Secure Access To Reproductive Rights For All Women

“There is a direct correlation between access to voluntary family planning, women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability,” author Diane MacEachern writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, adding, “And though the official delegates to last week’s ‘Earth Summit’ tried to water it down, thousands of grassroots activists made it one of the biggest issues to rock Rio+20, as the event was also called.” She continues, “Women took these issues to Rio because more than 200 million women in the U.S. and around the world cannot choose whether or when to have a baby, simply because they don’t have access to voluntary family planning.”

However, she notes, “In the end, as Grist reported, the Rio+20 outcome document — though 49 pages long and consisting of 23,917 words — mentions women in less than 0.01 percent of the entire text,” and “only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning.” She adds, “Of the seven priority areas of discussion at the summit, none included language endorsing the idea that access to contraception is a basic human right,” and concludes, “Nevertheless, activists who left Rio seem more determined than ever to secure reproductive rights for all women and to draw a bright line between voluntary contraception and sustainability” (7/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.