Saturday, 8 December 2012

The United Nations: Access to Contraception a Universal Human Right

The United Nations recently published a report stating that access to contraception for both women and men is a basic and fundamental human right.

The annual State of World Population report was published on November 14th through the United Nations Population Fund, a branch of the United Nations that promotes equality through the analysis of demographics.

The report states that approximately 222 million women do not have adequate access to contraception methods, and that contraception could help save $5.7 billion by preventing unwanted pregnancy. Not only that, but it would also ensure that fewer women and children are dying in childbirth in nations where access to medical care is severely lacking.

Former Nigerian health minister and executive director of the UN Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, stated that contraception is “not a privilege, but a right. Yet, too many women and men are denied this human right."

The report has no overreaching legal implications but is an important commentary on the state of contraception in developing nations. The status of women within those nations, and the lives of men, women and children can all be improved when a women is given the right to choose.

The world over, women are denied the ability to choose when to have children, facing barriers such as poverty and lack of access to birth control, as well as antiquated cultural ideas towards women and their status in society. However, when a women is able to choose the occurrence and timing of her pregnancies, families spend less money, women remain healthier and are given the freedom to contribute to the workforce, thus contributing to the economy.

Contraception is “one of the most effective means of empowering women,” Osotimehin said.
In order to provide this contraceptive access to women, the key is to increase funding for contraception from developed nations by $4.1 billion every year. This would help to ensure every woman in a developing nation is provided with the contraception she needs.

Amelia Clements

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