Family Planning Is ‘Global Priority’ To Be Recognized As Human Right

Improving access to family planning for the 222 million women who lack such services would bring many benefits, including helping to reduce maternal mortality and improve infant survival, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin says in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog, citing the recently released State of the World Population 2012 report. However, “[i]n many poor countries, contraceptives may not be available or families may lack the money to buy them,” and “social barriers and family resistance are also powerful barriers,” he says, adding, “So too is the lack of proper health or distribution systems or trained workers to give confidential advice.” He continues, “This huge unmet need comes despite the fact that there is almost universal agreement that access to family planning is a human right. By denying this right, we are putting other basic rights at risk across the world.”

Osotimehin says “financial support for family planning has declined in real terms,” meaning “that contraceptive use has hardly increased in recent years.” He notes “an additional sum of $4.1 billion is needed each year if we are to provide voluntary family planning services for all 222 million women who lack them.” He continues, “We need a concerted approach to remove all the barriers in the way of allowing women and families control over their reproductive health extending family planning made a key plank of the global development agenda that will follow the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 so it remains a global priority.” He concludes, “We now have a chance, by building on the momentum from the [London] family planning summit in July, to make significant progress” (11/14).

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