Family Planning and Birth Control For Everyone!

by Claire Thomas on March 27, 2014

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Having access to some form of birth control is a basic right of being a woman. Being able to control one’s body and make educated decisions about pregnancy are choices every modern woman should be able to make. However, approximately, “222 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception” (WHO). This is a problem that needs to stop for societies in developing nations to reach their full potential of productivity.

There are many benefits to the use of birth control among women. Birth control allows women to plan when and how big of a family they want. Women are more productive members of society if they can engage in family planning because they can delegate time to family and careers, instead of having to give up a career path for an unwanted child. Family planning can also help slow population growth because people are only having children when they want to and can support financially. If women cannot control how many children they have, they are constantly at risk for pregnancy complications and unnecessary expenses that could have been avoided if the woman was using contraceptives. There are also increased health risks for older women getting pregnant, so proper birth control can help keep these women safe and reduce costs to society from medical complications from older women giving birth.

Male and female condoms are a simple method of family planning that should be used worldwide that can prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS. In a two-year study between couples where one partner was HIV positive and one was HIV negative, “no uninfected partner became infected among couples using condoms correctly and consistently at every act of vaginal or anal sex versus 10 percent of those using condoms inconsistently” (CE). Condoms are simple to use and have the added benefit of preventing disease unlike other birth control methods.

The problem is not that birth control does not exist, but that it is not accessible to a vast amount of people in developing countries. In Kenya, a woman named Beatrice Shibunga gave birth to eight children by the time she was thirty, “After giving birth, I continued every year. I didn’t have a break and I didn’t know about family planning” (TRF). However, she started using injections for contraception from a local clinic, and now has more time to care for her surviving children. While injections existed in the world, Shibunga was not being treated until birth control was accessible to her location.

In order for family planning to be effective people have to have access to condoms and other contraceptives but also be educated about how to use them. In an example in class, Professor Moattari talked about people in Africa being given condoms, but eating them instead of using them properly and as a result women still became pregnant. If the woman has known how to use a condom, then she would have avoided the unwanted pregnancy. Fear of side effects of oral contraceptives can also limit their use, but fears can be calmed if women are educated about their medicine and how it affects their body. Education about birth control is just as important as the accessibility of the products themselves.

Women need to have birth control locally, access to modern family planning strategies, and education about contraceptive use to improve their lives and their societies. Birth control can increase women’s empowerment and quality of life and should be used around the world, not just a privilege of industrialized countries.

 

Sources:

(WHO) World Health Organization

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs351/en/

 

(TRF) Women’s access to life-saving contraception increases in Kenya

Thomson Reuters Foundation

http://www.trust.org/item/20131111112910-zgotv/

 

(CE) Condom Effectiveness

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/416

 

Image:

http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/emergency-contraception-and-birth-control/


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

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