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Opinion Pieces Address Family Planning Ahead Of London Summit

On World Population Day, observed on Wednesday, the U.K. Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will co-host the London Summit on Family Planning. The following are summaries of opinion pieces published ahead of the conference.

  • Melinda Gates, CNN: “[W]hen I travel and talk to women in developing countries, what’s universally clear is that they demand access to contraceptives. They want the power to determine their future,” Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes. “Simply giving women the means to space the births of their children three years apart would decrease deaths of children four and younger by 25 percent,” she continues, highlighting efforts underway to increase women’s access to contraceptives and noting “important research underway on new health products that offer women even more options.” She concludes, “On July 11, I hope you can tune in to witness the unprecedented commitments of all our partners and pledge your support for every woman and girl to have the opportunity to determine her own future” (7/9).
  • Josh Harris, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “Sexual activity and reproductive health needs do not disappear in the midst of emergency,” Harris, communications officer at the International Medical Corps in the U.K., writes, noting, “According to the United Nations, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant in a crisis or refugee situation.” “Too often, however, family planning is not highly prioritized among the myriad demands of an emergency response,” he continues, adding the “UNHCR has found that contraceptive use and awareness of family planning methods are generally low amongst refugees, access to information is difficult, contraceptive stocks are insufficient or unpredictable, and that emergency contraception tends to only be used in post-rape care.” He concludes, “International Medical Corps asks delegates to the London Family Planning Summit to ensure that they are not forgotten and that the initiative being launched addresses the needs of women in emergencies and disaster-affected states” (7/10).
  • Tonte Ibraye, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog: “The summit calls for unprecedented international political commitment and resources to transform the lives of millions of women and girls,” Ibraye, the Nigeria national coordinator at the White Ribbon Alliance, writes. The alliance “welcomes this key opportunity to promote the positive impact of comprehensive family planning services to empower women and save lives,” he continues. He introduces a video report in which he speaks with U.K. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development Stephen O’Brien, IPPF Director Tewodros Melesse, and youth volunteers working in Bangladesh and Zambia “about the importance of family planning services in reducing maternal mortality and empowering women around the world” (7/9).

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