10.12.15

The unmet need for family planning, an unmet human right

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On October 9-11, the University of Washington School of Law hosted the Human Right to Family Planning Conference. It explored the relationship between the right to health and family planning – globally and locally, bringing together advocates, doctors, nurses, lawyers, public health professionals, pharmacists, politicians, academics and researchers, among others.

Speakers included Marleen Temmerman, Sofia Gruskin, Nancy Northup, Rajat Khosla, Susan Cohen, Purnima Mane and Monica Kerrigan, as well as many other experts who are working across various disciplines to ensure that family planning services and information are guaranteed for all people.
Over the course of the weekend, speakers called attention to troubling statistics in the area of access to family planning:

And yet they also noted that women’s access to safe and voluntary family planning is a human right, which is grounded in: the right to life; the right to liberty and security of person; the right to health; the right to consent to marriage and equality in marriage; the right to privacy; the right to equality and nondiscrimination; the right not to be subjected to torture; the right to education; the right to decide the number and spacing of children; and the right to be free from violence.
A representative from the World Health Organization presented the priority actions that are needed to ensure that different human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services, namely:

  • Non-discrimination in provision of contraceptive information and services
  • Availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of contraceptive information and services
  • Informed decision-making
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Participation
  • Accountability

While the conference celebrated the important work that is currently being done across disciplines to ensure that the right to family planning is respected, protected and fulfilled for all people, significant obstacles remain to achieving this lofty goal. Until the global community is able to overcome these obstacles, the unmet need for family planning will remain an unmet human right, and continue to threaten the health and wellbeing of women, their families and their communities.

Posted in Global Health, Human Rights, WHO ; Tagged: , , , , , , .

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The views reflected in this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.

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