“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the fund, said in a written statement. “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labor-force participation boosts nations’ economies.”
The report effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.
This comes hot on the heels of a scientific study of the affects of denying abortion. As it turns out, the longitudinal study found that women who are denied abortions are three times more likely to end up in poverty two years later, and that there are no mental health consequences associated with having an abortion as compared to carrying a baby to term.
That’s right — just like we’ve been saying all along, it is far more distressing to a woman’s physical, mental, and financial well-being to carry an unwanted baby to term than to have an abortion or, better yet, to not have the unplanned pregnancy in the first place. While I fully agree that abortions should be “safe, legal, and none of your fucking business” (rather than “safe, legal, and infrequent”), abortions are a last resort for family planning that grants a woman veto rights over what happens to her own body — as it absolutely should and must be if we are to call ourselves a civilized society. The only pregnancies that are borne to term should be wanted pregnancies. Period.
And now the UN agrees that being able to plan your family is a basic human right. This puts the religiously motivated opposition to family planning and abortion in direct opposition to human rights. Just like with homosexuality, just like with slavery, just like with treating women as chattel, just like with condemning people to death for disagreeing with their dogmas, just like every other civil rights fight religion ever finds itself engaged in. What a surprise that religion would be wrong yet again.