MR: no advancement for women without access to family planning

7 March 2014

Media Releases 2014

There will be no positive change for women unless they have control over their own fertility, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). This requires ready access to contraception within the context of the full range of reproductive health and rights.

Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) and encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way.

SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says if women are to ‘advance’ through better education and meaningful employment, then they must be able to control if and when they have children.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most of the countries in the Pacific have a contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of less than 40 per cent,” says Ms Goldie. “Yet low CPRs are often associated with high maternal mortality rates.

“If we want to advance the cause of women we don’t let them die in child-birth. WHO estimates that around 25-40 per cent of maternal deaths could be eliminated if unplanned pregnancies are prevented.”

According to WHO also, the total fertility rate (TFR) in countries with a low CPR is usually high, as the case in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Papua New Guinea.

“Again, if we want to advance the cause of women, then lower fertility rates help a great deal. It is difficult for women to economically advance if for most of their child-bearing years they are giving birth and caring for young children.

“There is a strong statistical correlation between countries with high fertility and poverty,” says Ms Goldie. “Those countries that have escaped poverty, such as the so-called Tiger economies of East Asia, have first brought birth-rates down through widespread access to contraception.”

Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453

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