Contraception could save world $5.7 bn, says UN report

The world economy would be boosted by billions of dollars if all women had access to contraception, the United Nations said on Wednesday in its annual State of World Population report.

The report said inadequate family planning in developing countries contributed significantly to poverty and ill health, and that $5.7 billion (4.5 billion euros) could be saved by preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

"Family planning is not a privilege, but a right. Yet, too many women—and men—are denied this human right," said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

"The data that we have shows that access to family planning unlocks unprecedented rewards, both at the individual and national level," the former Nigerian health minister told a press conference in London.

"Women who have access to family planning can contribute enormously to economic development. The accumulated effect of these highly personal decisions can influence entire countries and regions."

Around 222 million women currently have insufficient access to contraceptives, the UN report estimated.

It described "an array of economic benefits" brought by family planning, including a rise in the number of women in the workforce and wealthier households as the number of children in each home decreases.

But it noted that global funding for family planning has declined and said an extra $4.1 billion would be needed each year to fund contraceptives for everyone who needs them in developing countries.

The UN cited one study that attributed a third of the growth in the Asian "tiger" economies to increased use of contraceptives, which caused a drop in the number of children dependent on every working adult.

If an additional 120 million women who wanted contraceptives could get them by 2020, the report said, an estimated three million fewer babies would die in their first year of life.

A woman's chances of dying in childbirth were cut by a third by access to birth control, Osotimehin added.

"Thirteen percent of maternal mortality around the world is due to unsafe abortion," he told journalists. "That, in many circumstances, occurs in people who want family planning and they don't get it."

The report said that access to family planning was a "fundamental human right" that governments had an obligation to protect.

Osotimehin described contraception as "one of the most effective means of empowering women", but he added that the right to birth control did not necessarily include the right to abortion in all countries.

"Abortion should not be promoted as a method of contraception. Where it is legal, we advocate that it should be done safely," he told AFP.

Africa and South Asia were the regions with the worst access to contraception, he added, "essentially because of poverty."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Maternal deaths cut by half: UN

May 16, 2012

Better care has cut the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth by nearly half in the past two decades, but there is still a death every two minutes, according to UN figures released Wednesday.

Family planning in conflict

Jul 13, 2011

Many areas of the world are at war and both the conflict and aftermath have dire consequences for the health of people affected. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Conflict and Health reports that w ...

Recommended for you

Energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness in athletes

58 minutes ago

A study analysing the positive and negative effects of energy drinks on athletes has seen that, although in principle their sports performance was seen to improve by between 3% and 7%, there was also an increase ...

Young Aussie women now fatter but fitter

2 hours ago

Young Australian women are fatter, fitter and more frazzled today than they were nearly 20 years ago, according to Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health researchers.

Healthy relationships help foster healthy eating habits

3 hours ago

There are few subjects more personal than an individual's weight. And for those people who are considered overweight, whether this is a scientifically accurate measurement or a personal assessment, the battle ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

joefarah
1 / 5 (5) Nov 14, 2012
Here it comes... the UN POPULATION CONTROL POLICE
The Agenda... Eugenics, Hitler style.
Let's suppress birth rates in the prosperous "black" communities. They're not white. We NEED ABORTION and CONTRACEPTION because before them look at how poorly the world developed, and now that we have them, we can kill at will!
When the earth's population reaches 1 Trillion, it will be time to START thinking about what happens when it doubles or triples. Before then, it's all World Order Propaganda. This is not science. This is PURE PROPAGANDA. BUT, IF YOU DON'T DO YOUR RESEARCH, You'll be sucked in.
nameson
4 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2012
>If an additional 120 million women who wanted contraceptives could get them by 2020, the report said, an estimated three million fewer babies would die in their first year of life.

Them ain't prosperous, @joefarah.
ziphead
1 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2012
"Contraception could save world $5.7 bn, says UN report"
...contraception could save the world; full stop.
Gino
3 / 5 (2) Nov 15, 2012
$5.7 bn seems a very small sum spread over 3.5 bn women
Sigh
5 / 5 (1) Nov 17, 2012
We NEED ABORTION and CONTRACEPTION because before them look at how poorly the world developed, and now that we have them, we can kill at will!


Have a look at http://medicalxpr...th.html. It is not rocket science. Even among married couples something like half of pregnancies are unintended. Reduce unwanted pregnancy and you reduce abortion.

There are limits to sustainable population, and in the long run we can only choose whether population is limited by increased death rate or decreased birth rate. Free contraception is a vote against increased death rate.

When the earth's population reaches 1 Trillion, it will be time to START thinking about what happens when it doubles or triples. Before then, it's all World Order Propaganda. This is not science. This is PURE PROPAGANDA. BUT, IF YOU DON'T DO YOUR RESEARCH

I've seen the trillion claim before, but nobody could ever justify it. What is your research?
madsam
not rated yet Nov 18, 2012
but nobody could ever justify it. What is your research?


You can't argue by using reason and logic when your opponent is a rock
Sigh
not rated yet Nov 26, 2012
You can't argue by using reason and logic when your opponent is a rock

Sure, but I have several reasons not to make that assumption:
1) I could be the one who is wrong.
2) I would like to contribute to making reasoned argument the norm, so that undecided onlookers judge arguments by reason and logic, not by how passionately each is being advocated. I don't doubt Joe Farah's passion. I want to know whether there is any reasoning behind his assertion.
3) If reason and logic can be established as the criterion for judging an argument, then if my opponent does display the intellect of a rock, I hope that undecided onlookers are moved against my opponent's point of view.