Wednesday, July 11, 2012

World Reproductive Justice Day

July 11 is World Population Day.,

July 11, 2012 is the historic Family Planning Summit in London, England.  Sponsored by The Gates Foundation, its goal is to develop and commit to new strategies to provide 110 million women around the world with contraceptive services they currently do not have.  It is estimated that 222 million women, mostly in the developing world, lack access to birth control.

I agree with my colleagues at Population Action International that family planning is essential but not enough.  These 222 million women need access to a broad array of sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion.  We need to be advocating for reproductive justice writ large not population control, an argument that I thought we had won in 1994 in Cairo at the ICPD conference.

Nevertheless, there are strong religious foundations for affirming safe, affordable, accessible and comprehensive family planning services.  Access to contraception allows for a fulfilling sexual life while reducing maternal and infant mortality, unintended pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted infections.  Every individual adult, no matter where they live, is a moral agent with the right and responsibility to make their own decisions about procreation, including family size and the spacing of their children.

There can be no question that in a just world, all people would have equal access to contraception.  We stand with and pray for those in London today to affirm reproductive justice for all.

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