On November 14th, 2012, the UNFPA released its annual State of World Population 2012 report, titled: “By choice, not by chance: family planning, human rights and development”.
Family planning should be a human right
The ability to decide when to have children, and how many, is seen as one of the most significant social advances of recent decades. However, this quiet but profound revolution has not yet touched all parts of the world equally. Over half a century after modern family planning programs began to be extended widely across the globe, millions of women are still denied access to them.
Indeed, The State of the World Population 2012 report from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, published Nov. 14 highlights how around 222 million women, largely in the poorest countries, want to use modern family planning methods but can’t access them. This has a seriously damaging impact not just on their lives, but on the health and strength of their families and communities.
The evidence is now overwhelming that enabling women to have children by choice rather than chance not only dramatically cuts infant and maternal deaths, but also improves the health of mothers and children. Complications around pregnancy remain the greatest killer of teenage girls in the developing world.
It is no surprise that the Millennium Development Goal where there has been least progress is the reduction of maternal death. Without steep improvements in the availability of family planning services, it will not be possible for many nations to cut deaths by the target of 75 per cent by 2015.
To read the full op-ed, please click here: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1287360–family-planning-should-be-a-human-right