The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a report today, State of World Population 2012: By Choice, Not by Chance, in which it calls family planning a human right:
“Family planning is a human right. Yet today some 222 million women in developing countries are unable to exercise that right because they lack access to contraceptives, information and quality services or because social and economic forces prevent them from taking advantage of services even where they are available.”
“The State of World Population 2012 explains why family planning is a right, examines the challenges in ensuring that all women, men and young people are able to exercise that right and suggests actions that governments and international organizations can take to give everyone the power and the means to decide freely and responsibly how many children to have and when to have them.”
The ability to decide on the number and spacing of one’s children is taken for granted by many in the developed world and among elites in developing countries. Yet, for a majority of people in developing countries, especially the poorest ones, the power and means to determine the size of their families are scarce or inadequate. An estimated 222 million women lack access to reliable, high-quality family planning services, information and supplies, putting them at risk of unintended pregnancy. In developed countries too, high levels of unintended pregnancy exist, especially among adolescents, the poor and ethnic minorities.
The huge unmet need for family planning persists, despite international agreements and human rights treaties that promote individuals’ rights to make their own decisions about when and how often to have children.
Today, family planning is almost universally recognized as an intrinsic right, affirmed and upheld by many other human rights. Because it is a right, voluntary family planning should be available to all, not just the wealthy or otherwise privileged. READ MORE OR READ FULL REPORT.