World contraception day – support for contraception critical
(SPA media release 24th September 2020)
(SPA also contributed an opinion article to The Overpopulation Project for World Contraception Day. Link to the article: “Why global support for contraception is critical in the pandemic age” can be found here)
There are 214 million women worldwide who do not have access to modern contraception and are therefore unable to exercise reproductive choice, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Saturday 26th September is World Contraception Day. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the purpose of the day is to improve awareness of contraceptive methods, to enhance the availability of these, and to enable people – young and old – to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
SPA national president, Sandra Kanck, says access to affordable contraception and free reproductive health services is a fundamental human right.
“Around 61 per cent of unintended pregnancies end up in abortion,” says Ms Kanck, “often performed illegally using unsafe methods. As a result, 47 000 preventable maternal deaths occur each year. The other 39% bring into the world unplanned children for whom many parents are unable to provide adequate care.
“Access to contraception and family planning is a critical global issue no matter where in the world a person lives. Regrettably, under COVID-19, this access has declined markedly, notably in parts of West Africa where the provision of some contraceptives fell by nearly 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“This has resulted in tens of thousands of girls across Asia being forced into child marriage by desperate families plunged into poverty.
“Indeed, without a global commitment to reverse these trends, the world is at risk of creating a ‘COVID generation’ with children born into entrenched hardship and poverty, and into the intensifying complications of climate change, population pressure and a destabilised global environment.
“According to Project Drawdown, access to family planning, in combination with education and empowerment of women and girls, is one of the most effective means of lowering carbon emissions in the medium to longer term.
“It is important to emphasise that, in the absence of family planning programs, education alone is considerably less effective.”
Ms Kanck says that in those nations with higher rates of consumption, the ‘carbon offset’ of an individual choosing to have one child fewer is more significant than changes to lifestyle and consumption choices.
Ms Kanck says Sustainable Population Australia liaises with women from Australia’s Pacific neighbours, who have made it abundantly clear that women of the developing world are desperate for contraception and reproductive health services. Australia is falling well short in meeting its obligations in this regard.