International Roundup: Let Contraceptives Live!

On 11 July 2012 the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with UNFPA and other partners hosted a groundbreaking summit for a global policy, financing, commodity, and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020. For this occasion, here are some news about reproductive rights, its relentless struggles, and the progress to be made.

Contraceptive use averts more than 272,000 maternal worldwide deaths from childbirth every year, a new study has claimed.

The Billionaire Melinda Gates Launches Global Crusade for Contraception

Aljazeera Opinion: Let them have contraception

Liberia: Baby Blues – No Policy for Pregnant School Girls

No contraceptives  available for 1.7 million Rajasthan women

Family Planning: A Great Return on the Investment

A new report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that development assistance for family planning services in developing nations is a pretty remarkable investment. According to the study, donor nations can see a 4-fold return on their investment if they support family planning services.

  • For 2007, donor countries should have contributed $3 billion of the $17.1 billion total estimated cost for contraceptive services. Yet the actual support provided by donors was only about $500 million – leaving a shortfall of $2.5 billion.
  • In a time of global financial difficulties, donor countries may want to avoid fulfilling such financial commitments. This would be a mistake. The cost of meeting the need for contraception is relatively modest, and an investment now will result in large future savings: Studies show that each dollar invested in contraceptive services will avoid between $1.70 and $4.00 in expenditures . . . but can total as much as $31.00 for each dollar spent on family planning.

Part of the problem is that the United States spent the last eight years neglecting to fund family planning services because of the Global Gag Order (aka “Mexico City Policy”), which prohibited US funds from being distributed to organizations that performed abortions, whether or not US funds were being used to perform them. This means that agencies which provided contraception options for women were woefully underfunded as a result. Thankfully the Obama administration has lifted this ban. But there is still a large financial shortfall that needs to be addressed. [Read more...]