Women Continue to Face Barriers in Access to Contraception Worldwide

By Megan Abbot

September 26 was World Contraception Day, and Brigit Katz reports for the New York Times on the barriers remaining for women’s access to birth control, and the implications for human rights and development. Factors preventing women from fulfilling their reproductive rights vary across the world, and include a lack of resources, cultural attitudes, and misperceptions about the risk of infertility. Although access is increasing in many regions, especially with the proliferation of injectables and implants, real obstacles prevent women worldwide from getting the health care they seek. The article reports “867 million women living in developing countries want to avoid becoming pregnant, but around 222 million of them have unmet contraceptive needs.” The result can be disempowering for the human rights of women and their families, and the World Health Organization reports that 800 women die every day from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.