should every woman have access to family planning?
Friend of Ricki Jennifer James: Last week I was in London covering the London Summit on Family Planning, hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government. The summit brought together donors, developing countries, civil society, the faith community, and the private sector to collectively put family planning on the global agenda. An all-day event held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster the London Summit on Family Planning set the global tone for what will be a future of increased family planning services for women in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Most people fail to realize that 120 million additional women in developing countries do not have consistent access to family planning education, services and contraceptives, yet these same women perpetually say they want to be able to space their children or make the choice to not have children at all. Family planning is estimated to be able to save the lives of 100,000 women who can space their pregnancies to healthy intervals as opposed to getting pregnant and having babies back to back, causing increased chances of maternal deaths.
Melinda Gates, the co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, raised the global family planning issue this spring in Berlin during her talk at TedXChange. There she introduced her life’s work to provide family planning around the world to women who want it. Last week, the global health community, NGOs, world leaders, experts, and developing and donor nations came together to pledge their support behind Melinda Gates’ efforts to finance and provide family planning options to women in developing nations. Out of the summit, 4.6 billion dollars was pledged to increase family planning options for women including 550 million dollars from the Gates Foundation. Twenty developing countries at the summit together pledged 2.0 billion dollars to provide family planning to its citizens and donor nations pledged 2.6 billion, ushering in a collective effort where developing nations and donors share resources to affect change.
Now that family planning is on the global agenda and massive amounts of money have been pledged to make it widely accessible in the developing world, resources are now in place to provide increased family planning services. A deadline year, 2020, has been established to reach the aforementioned 120 million additional women. With the framework and political backing set and money pledged, now the plans just need to be devised and implemented. I will keep you updated as new initiatives roll out.
Do you believe every woman should have access to family planning?
Jennifer James is an early pioneer of the mom blogging movement and founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, a global coalition of mom bloggers who use social media and blogging to advance information to their networks about pressing global issues. You can follow Mom Bloggers for Social Good on Twitter and Facebook.