The right to family planning

November 29, 2012

The UNFPA State of World Population Report 2012 focuses on people’s human right to family planning. Due to lack of appropriate information and services, a large portion of the world’s population cannot choose if and how many children they will have. Also, many women still die carrying their baby or giving birth.

According to UNFPA’s representative François Farah, “one-third of all maternal deaths could be avoided if all women and girls who wanted to control the spacing and timing of pregnancies had access to modern contraceptives”. The State of World Population 2012 explains why family planning is a right, examines the challenges in ensuring that all women, men and young people are able to exercise that right and suggests actions that governments and international organizations can take to give everyone the power and the means to decide freely and responsibly how many children to have and when to have them.

The report, By Choice, Not By Chance: Family Planning, Human Rights and Development calls on all governments to fulfill their commitments and obligations to the 222 million women and girls who currently want to control the spacing and timing of pregnancies but have no access to modern contraceptives.

Unintended pregnancies

According to a 2012 report by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, an estimated 867 million of women in the developing world need contraception, but only 645 million are currently using modern contraceptive methods. An estimated 80 million unintended pregnancies will occur in 2012 in the developing world as a result of contraceptive failure and non-use among women who do not want a pregnancy soon. Serving all women in developing countries who currently have an unmet need for modern methods would prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies, including 21 million unplanned births and 26 million abortions (of which 16 million would be unsafe), UNFPA states.

The full report is available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish at the UNFPA website, along with feature stories, video, photographs and other resources.