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United Nations Human Rights Council Urged to Address Lack of Access to Contraceptives and Family Planning

(PRESS RELEASE) The governments of Argentina, Denmark, Ethiopia, and Morocco are leading a group of more than 60 states in an effort to draw attention to insufficient access to contraceptives and family planning services with the submission of a cross-regional statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council. These countries are urging all United Nations member states to ensure universal access to contraceptives and family planning in order to improve women’s health and advance gender equality.

This is the first time that a core group of member states have banded together to call on the Human Rights Council to address access to contraceptives and family planning as a human rights issue.

Said Rebecca Brown, director for Global Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Access to contraception is vital to women’s ability to participate fully and equally in their communities, their society, and our world.

“But today approximately 222 million women in developing nations who want to avoid or delay pregnancy still cannot obtain modern contraception. This has lifelong impacts on women and girls’ education, employment, health and ability to participate as equal members of society.

“We commend Argentina, Denmark, Ethiopia, and Morocco for their leadership in bringing attention to these major problems in access to contraception and family planning globally. We hope the Human Rights Council will continue to take affirmative steps to acknowledge access to contraceptives as fundamental to guaranteeing women’s equality and autonomy.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights has worked across the globe, including in the Philippines and Slovakia, to document the human rights violations that result from women’s lack of access to contraception. Recently, the Center and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) collaborated on the briefing paper The Right to Contraceptive Information and Services for Women and Adolescents. The paper examines the many barriers that women and young people face when trying to obtain family planning information and services—from high service costs to physical inaccessibility to discriminatory treatment by healthcare providers.  It demonstrates how access to contraceptive information and services is a fundamental human right that States are obligated to respect, protect, and fulfill.