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IFPA Statement on the 40th Anniversary of the Right to Family Planning

By May 12, 2008News

– Release date: 13 May 2008

On the 40th anniversary of family planning being declared a human right, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is calling on the State to increase investment in reproductive health supplies, including contraceptives, to ensure that it is a right both men and women worldwide can realise.

Forty years ago today (13th May), at the International Conference on Human Rights in Teheran, the world declared that it is a basic human right to be able to plan one’s family. Today however millions of men and women do not have the means to access this right and as a result, they cannot decide on the timing or spacing of their children.

According to the United Nations, pregnancy and delivery-related complications are the leading cause of death among women in developing countries. More than one-third of all pregnancies in developing countries are unwanted, and two-thirds of those are the result of sex without use of modern contraceptives.

IFPA spokesperson Karen Griffin commented, “Today some 200 million women around the world lack access to safe and effective family planning. We know about one third of the half million maternal deaths each year could be prevented if all women had access to reliable family planning methods, something we take for granted in Ireland.

“Access to modern contraception also prevents 2.7 million infant deaths a year. In addition family planning is good for the economy, the environment and women’s empowerment in general.

“There is currently a massive gap between the demand for reproductive health supplies including contraceptives, and their effective availability, due to rising demand and falling support from donor governments. We call on the Irish Government to mark the anniversary of family planning as a human right and increase it’s commitment to reproductive health supplies, including contraceptives, as part of its overall development aid.” Griffin concluded.