For the first time, the U.N. Population Fund’s (UNFPA) annual report, released November 14, explicitly declares family planning, including access to contraception, a universal human right. In keeping with the UNFPA's mission to create “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” this report examines both the financial and social repercussions of decreased access to contraception.
The report identifies 222 million women in developing countries as having an unmet need for voluntary family planning. According to the UNFPA, an investment of $4.1 billion in funding to allow everyone in developing countries access to family planning would result in an annual $11.3 billion reduction in costs for maternal and newborn health. The UN also points out a correlation between accessible family planning, increased productivity and the resulting improvements to a region’s economy.
Increased voluntary family planning access is not just an issue of economics. Dr. Osotimehin states, “Family planning is not a privilege, but a right. Yet, too many women – and men – are denied this human right.” The UNFPA’s annual report identifies a number health and social factors impacted by this unmet need, including high rates of unintended pregnancy and HIV, increased infant mortality, decreased ability to attain an education and gender inequality. According to Dr. Babatunde, Executive Director of the UNFPA, “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.”
Planned Parenthood has always understood how fundamental family planning is to the wellbeing of women. In Minnesota, Planned Parenthood is proud to offer no-cost birth control for qualifying women through the 4NOW program. 4NOW also covers the cost of annual exams, emergency contraception, STI screenings and more! Planned Parenthood accepts most kinds of insurance, and our doors are open to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
Kelly, Web Correspondent, Planned Parenthood Minnesota,
North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund