Access to contraception is a universal human right, the United Nations has declared. The annual report “State Of The World Population 2012,” released today by the U.N. Population Fund regarding women and children in the developing world, is the first ever to describe contraception as a human right. By doing so, the Associated Press explains, the UN has declared that preventing a woman from access to family planning services (whether through politics, religion, etc.) is an abuse of her rights.
The report also asked countries to make safe, reliable contraception accessible to its citizens by 2015. To quote:
All countries should take steps to meet the family-planning needs of their populations as soon as possible and should, in all cases by the year 2015, seek to provide universal access to a full range of safe and reliable family-planning methods and to related reproductive health services which are not against the law. The aim should be to assist couples and individuals to achieve their reproductive goals and give them the full opportunity to exercise the right to have children by choice.
Unfortunately, this observation by the U.N. is not legally binding. But declaring the ability to plan one’s family as central to women’s rights does support the homegrown efforts within some of these countries that run afoul of it.
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