Access To Contraceptives: A Woman’s Right?

–The correlation between family planning and development in the Third World is strong enough that it does lead one to ask if access to contraceptives ought not to be a human right– For the last few decades “population projects”, as they’re called among development professionals, have been like ping pong balls bouncing according to the policies of U.S administrations and whether or not they were in agreement with the views of right to life activists on the subject. Meanwhile family planning and development in the Third World seem to underscore a correlation long known in academic and women’s rights circles. The United Nations estimates there are some 200 million women in the world, mainly in developing countries, who have “an unmet need” for effective contraception. Demographers estimate that this unmet need leads to 70 to 80 million unwanted pregnancies each year, along with 150,000 maternal deaths and 19 million abortions—all of which could be changed through the availability of effective contraception.
President Obama has lifted the ban on aid for the Population Fund, and those running women’s or health clinics are learning that to offer effective contraception is more than just giving women a pill or an IUD. Not only must the right method for them be available, they need counseling, follow up, and most of all to be treated with dignity—all reinforcing what many already know, that the education of women is a basis for development.
It may be that access to contraceptives ought to be a woman’s right.