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Many Women ‘Want And Need’ Gift Of Reproductive Health This Valentine’s Day

“[T]his Valentine’s Day, perhaps it’s time to celebrate with a gift many of the world’s women desperately want and need: reproductive health,” Robert Engelman, president of the Worldwatch Institute, writes in this Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” opinion piece. Engelman provides global maternal mortality statistics and notes, “Access to family planning and other reproductive health services safeguard the lives of women and their children and promote families that are emotionally and economically healthy.”

“Many women are not empowered to make their own decisions regarding if or when to have children, how many to have, and how long to wait in between them,” he writes, adding, “Some 40 percent or more of pregnancies are unplanned, with more than 21 percent of all births resulting from such pregnancies worldwide, according to estimates of the Guttmacher Institute.” He concludes, “Reproductive health is not about state-mandated family sizes; it is about freeing women to make their own choices about when and how often to give birth. When women are free to make their own choices, they improve their own health and that of their families” (2/13).

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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.