Family Planning and Human Rights

AHO supports all girls and young women to make their own sexual and reproductive health choices. Because they have rich and complex lives. They have hopes and ambitions. And because it’s a human right.

In 2018 marks 50 years since family planning was globally affirmed to be a human right in the Tehran Proclamation, and yet millions of girls and women globally are still fighting to get access to the information and services necessary to be able to “decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children”. In fact, approximately 214 million women of reproductive age want to avoid pregnancy but are not currently using a modern method of contraception. This is approximately 23 million girls aged 15-19. (We currently do not even have global statistics on access to contraception for girls under the age of 15.)

We know that 308 million unintended pregnancies are prevented each year using modern methods of contraception, and if we managed to meet the needs of all girls and women we would be able to avert 67 million more unintended pregnancies annually. And yet, as of 2015, there were approximately 35 countries globally that had at least one policy restricting girls and young women’s access to contraceptive services.

These policies include:

  • the exclusion of unmarried women from accessing contraception
  • the need for parental consent to uptake contraceptive services

There are, in addition to laws, many other barriers that impede a girl or woman from accessing the full extent of her reproductive and sexual rights including (but not limited to) a lack of youth-friendly services, insufficient information, social stigma and financial resources.

Realising sexual and reproductive rights is vital for gender equality

AHO believes that girls should have autonomy over their own bodies. Ensuring all girls and women can realise their full sexual and reproductive health and rights is vital to achieving gender equality. What do we mean by realising her sexual and reproductive rights? Simply put it’s the right to make free, informed decisions. To have control over our sexual and reproductive health and lives, free from coercion, violence, discrimination and abuse.

Every girl and woman is different and our hopes and dreams reflect those differences. However, despite all our personal diversities, our human rights are the same. We each have the right to decide, freely and responsibly, the number and spacing of our children.

AHO is supporting local gender equality groups, and all girls and young women, to make their own sexual and reproductive health choices. Because they have rich and complex lives. They have hopes, ambitions and potential. And because it’s their right.