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Opinion Pieces Address Global Family Planning, Reproductive Health Goals

World Population Day is recognized on July 11, as well as the one-year anniversary of the London Family Planning Summit. The following opinion pieces discuss issues surrounding global family planning and reproductive health.

  • Joy Lawn, Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog: “World Population Day on July 11 is a time for us all to focus on adolescent pregnancies and take action. This matters because of the impact on girls, the impact on their babies, and the impact on development and the economy,” Lawn, director of the Centre for Maternal, Reproductive, Adolescent & Child Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, writes. “There are three key gaps to close,” she states, including “[g]aps in action, intentionally refocusing service provision to be adolescent friendly and funding these programs”; “[g]aps in knowledge on how best to reach adolescents, especially if not in school”; and “[g]aps in data contributing to invisibility, especially regarding collection of data with the right age groups split out, and a notable lack of data for reproductive health service use amongst unmarried girls and for abortion and for violence.” She concludes, “As well as leadership by country governments all around the world to protect and provide for a healthy adolescence, we need academics and civil society to be more innovative in closing these gaps … so that we can work towards a day when every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and the potential of every girl is fulfilled” (7/11).
  • Julia Bunting, The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog: “[M]eeting the need for contraceptives for all women in the developing world would cost $8.1 billion annually — double the current level of expenditure. But the impact of this additional investment would be incredible,” Bunting, programs and technical director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, writes. She discusses the outcomes of the London Family Planning Summit and the potential impact of the FP2020 initiative. “Access to contraception must be seen as part of wider efforts on health and equity,” she writes, adding, “That means addressing early and forced marriages, preventing early pregnancy, increasing access to safe abortion, ending female genital mutilation, discrimination and sexual violence, improving maternal health, reducing HIV transmission, and increasing participation in education.” She continues, “Improving women’s and children’s health and wellbeing is central to creating more prosperous families, communities and nations,” concluding, “If we achieve the summit goal of enabling an additional 120 million women in the poorest countries to have access to contraception by 2020, it would be an achievement all of us in this field would be proud of” (7/11).