(PRESS RELEASE) On the 63rd International Human Rights Day commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects all people’s rights to equality and freedom from discrimination, the Center for Reproductive Rights is calling for all governments to recognize access to contraception as a fundamental human right.
Said Lilian Sepúlveda, director of the Global Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Women have a fundamental right to decide if and when to have children, yet more than 222 million worldwide are unable to access modern contraception when they need it.
“And history has proven that even well-intentioned efforts to provide women with increased access to contraception can result in coercive practices if women’s rights and empowerment are not at the center of such policies and programs.
“If women are to control their fertility, health, and lives, access to a full range of modern, woman-controlled contraceptives is essential.
“On this International Human Rights Day, it’s time human rights and reproductive health advocates join together to combat the legal and financial barriers to contraception women face and work to ensure contraception is recognized as a human right, not just a health or population policy.”
Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights alongside our partners led the charge in defeating a bill in Honduras that attempted to criminalize the use and distribution of emergency contraception. In Manila City, the Philippines, a devastating ban on contraceptives prevents women from controlling their reproductive autonomy. The Center has been documenting the grave human rights abuses resulting from the ban in Manila City and has taken steps to seek legal accountability for these violations in national courts and international human rights bodies.
The Center and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released ICPD and Human Rights: 20 Years of Advancing Reproductive Rights though UN Treaty Bodies and Legal Reform, fact sheets that examine progress since the adoption of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action more than 20 years ago—when 179 countries committed to ensuring women’s reproductive autonomy, including contraceptive information and services.