Report Shows Growing Global Commitment to Family Planning
A report released Wednesday by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), "a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide, freely, and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children they want to have," details successes and progress made in international commitments to improving family planning since the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.
According to the report, titled Partnership in Action, 24 countries have committed to doing more to improve family planning since the 2012 summit. One-fourth of them have already launched detailed strategies, including Kenya, Niger, and Burkina Faso, among several others. One-third have increased their budgets for family planning, including Ethiopia and Indonesia. Half have also held family planning conferences. FP2020, supported by the United Nations Foundation, has developed tools to monitor the progress of these countries.
For family planning strategies to succeed, organizations and governments must listen to what women want and need, and integrate those responses into their strategies. "For FP2020 to succeed in spirit as well as fact, we must deliver for women on their terms," said Grethe Petersen, the Regional Director for East and Southern Africa at Marie Stopes International and a member of FP2020's Country Engagement Working Group. "Reflecting their choices: whether to use contraception or not; whichever method of contraception they like; whenever, wherever and from whichever provider they choose."
Barriers that often prevent women from getting the family planning services they need include the cost of services and products, inadequate medical professionals and supplies, and difficulty accessing services. Other underlying issues include gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence and coercion, child marriage, lack of access to education, and lack of economic opportunities for girls and women.
"Across the board, it's clear we need strong global leadership and enhanced understanding of these challenges in order to continue to make progress," said Anne C. Richard, US Department of State Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in her closing remarks at the third annual International Family Planning Conference in Addis Ababa that wraps up today. "Together, so much has already been achieved, and the incredibly positive spirit expressed during this conference convinces me that we can do so much more."
Media Resources: Family Planning 2020 11/13/13; US Department of State Remarks 11/15/13; International Family Planning Conference 2013; Feminist Newswire 9/5/13, 9/23/13, 10/31/13, 11/7/13
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The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
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This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .