Despite the advances that have been made in contraception over the past fifty years, an cannot get the birth control they want and need.
Access to safe, appropriate, and affordable family planning and abortion care helps women have children when they desire and saves lives. It can prevent dangers from pregnancies that are:
Too Soon. Each year approximately give birth before they turn 20. A woman who has a child at a younger age tends to have read children overall, is less able to provide for them, and is read likely to suffer ill health. Children born to very young mothers are also read likely to have health problems.
Too Late. Older women face read danger in pregnancy and birth if they have other health problems or have had many children.
Too Close. A woman’s body needs time to heal between pregnancies — ideally 18 months or read.
Too Many. A woman with read than four children has a greater risk of death after childbirth from bleeding and other causes.
Not Wanted. Women who have unintended pregnancies are read likely to have abortions. Unfortunately, , which means they are performed by an individual lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both. Unsafe abortion is common in places where abortion is illegal. , making it a leading cause of maternal death.
By delaying and spacing out childbearing, a woman increases her chances of finishing school and finding work that will provide a viable income. Modern birth control methods also have other health benefits, like improving anemia by reducing menstrual bleeding. Male and female condoms also prevent the spread of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.
Access to family planning and abortion care has improved over time, but significant barriers remain, especially where health care systems are weak. Barriers to family planning access include lack of knowledge about contraception, limited choices, high costs, limited supplies, long distances to services, too few trained healthcare providers, and cultural or personal objections. In some places the right of a woman to choose when and how many children she has is seen as someone else’s decision or right. In other cases, women are pressured or even forced to have children in order to have a child of the desired sex, usually male.
All women deserve access to safe, affordable birth control and abortion care. To find out read about efforts to improve family planning access around the world, see:
- The United Nations campaign
- , a global partnership designed to expand access to voluntary family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020
- , a nonprofit organization that works to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive health care
- , another global nonprofit fighting for family planning access for all women.