The UN Population Fund has issued a new report that calls access to contraception and family planning services a “universal human right” because it is so crucial to empowering women and making it possible for them to have anything like equality and justice.
“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the fund, said in a written statement. “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labor-force participation boosts nations’ economies.”The report effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.
Hear, hear. This report doesn’t change the law at all, or even any international standards. But it’s absolutely true and it can’t be said often enough. Without access to contraception, equality for women is virtually non-existent.