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World Population Report Focus on Family Planning Is Welcome

New York, NY, November 14, 2012—The Women's Refugee Commission welcomes the publication today of the United Nations Population Fund’s State of the World Population 2012 report, “By Choice, Not by Chance: Family Planning, Human Rights and Development.”

“We are pleased to see that this year’s report focuses on family planning,” said Sandra Krause, director of the sexual and reproductive health program at the Women's Refugee Commission. “Although family planning was recognized as a right at the 1994  International Conference on Population and Development, many women still do not have access to the means to control how many children to have, and when to have them. The situation is especially acute in situations of armed conflict or natural disaster.”

Women and adolescent girls in refugee and internally displaced settings struggle with unwanted, unplanned and poorly spaced pregnancies, due to a lack of access to counseling, contraceptives and information. Not being able to access family planning threatens their lives, their health and the well-being of their families.

Even where family planning services do exist, women and girls are often deterred from using contraception by partners, community leaders, peers—and sometimes even by health providers. In many areas affected by crisis, displaced persons are unaware of the benefits of family planning. For those who have heard about contraception, they often do not know where it is available or cannot access it because supplies at their local clinics are insufficient.

“Access to family planning is a matter of life and death,” said Krause. “Yet despite the great need, funding for family planning in countries affected by conflicts and natural disasters is desperately lacking. We hope that this report, coming on the heels of the commitment by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the British government and others to donate $2.6 billion to provide access to lifesaving contraception to a projected 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries, will also provide a boost to family planning in humanitarian crises.”

See here for more information on the Women's Refugee Commission’s work on family planning.