Next month in London, England, the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will convene a global summit on family planning. All Our Lives has endorsed two important human rights declarations created in anticipation of the summit.
Our experience, built over decades of work around the world, has taught us that the failure to take actions guided by women’s human rights – to health, to life, to live free from discrimination among others – can have devastating consequences. Policies that accept or tacitly condone forced sterilization, the coercive provision of contraceptives, and the denial of essential services to the young, poor and marginalized women that need them every day have violated, and continue to violate, women’s human rights.
Nearly twenty years ago, governments at the [1994 Cairo] International Conference on Population and Development agreed that respect for women’s reproductive autonomy is the cornerstone of population policy. Any return to coercive family planning programs where quality of care and informed consent are ignored would be both shocking and retrograde.
A global letter of support for the summit emphasizes a program of action to increase family planning access to the millions of human beings who currently lack it.
We applaud the London Summit on Family Planning for its commitment to work with poor and vulnerable populations to increase individual awareness, address socio-cultural barriers, and increase community acceptability of family planning, including comprehensive sexuality education. In particular, we applaud the initiative’s emphasis on empowering women and girls, and delivery through increased service provision. We encourage you to focus on providing information and services to those who have historically faced poor access to family planning, especially young people, poor women, people with disabilities; rural, indigenous, displaced and post crisis populations. Similarly, we encourage you to make linkages to other programmes including those for economic development, education (especially for girls), environmental protection, HIV/AIDS,maternal and child health, security and youth.
We commit to working with communities and reaching poor and vulnerable women and girls with evidence-based information so that they can make informed choices regarding their fertility and choice of contraceptive method.
Yes and yes. If we are the sole prolife group signing on to these statements, well, it’s got to start somewhere.