Modern family planning is not only one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, it is widely recognized as a fundamental human right. That is why it is so important to invest money in interventions that address the most critical and onerous blocks to contraceptive uptake. Since 1998, PMC has scrupulously followed the evidence around these issues.
PMC has found, over and over again, that women with an unmet need for contraception rarely cite cost, convenience, or a “lack of access” as the reasons they are not using contraception. Rather, the major impediments to contraceptive uptake are rooted in apprehension, fear-inducing rumors, or antagonisms towards contraception – often grounded in fatalism or patriarchal social norms. In fact, in 2016, a new report on non-use of contraception in 52 developing countries found non-users who actually “lack access” measure out to only around 5 percent. Meanwhile, fear of health effects and personal or spousal opposition to contraception account for 49 percent of non-use. In other words, non-use of contraception related to informational and socio-cultural barriers out-numbered a lack of access by a factor of 10.