Access to contraception

Contraception, sexual education and screening for sexually transmitted diseases are all components of family planning services. The WHO lists contraceptive methods as medicine essential to meeting the fundamental needs of a community. Access to contraception enables women to plan when to become pregnant, thus reducing the risk of early- or late-term pregnancy-related problems.

Although public knowledge of contraceptive methods has improved in developing countries, many women still face both cultural and financial barriers that limit their access. Gender inequalities are a major obstacle to family planning access. In some countries, married women must have their husband’s consent to access any contraceptive methods.

We believe access to contraceptive methods is a fundamental human right with positive impacts on women’s lives. It helps:

  • To improve maternal health by reducing the impact of early- or late pregnancies;
  • To plan intervals between births (3-5 years spacing decreases child mortality by 46% in developing countries);
  • To ensure the autonomy of young girls, enabling them to pursue education and a career like their male counterparts. This, in turn, reduces gender inequality and extreme poverty.    In some sub-Saharan countries, between 8% and 25% of young girls leave school because of an early pregnancy;
  • To curtail transmission of HIV and STDs.

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