Saturday, July 11, 2020
Today is World Population Day, an international day that focuses on the importance of population issues including family planning and human rights.
To mark this day, the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) wishes to draw attention to the human rights linked to sexual and reproductive health.
Sexual and reproductive health covers a broad range of topics, including family planning and abortion, sexually transmissible infections and HIV, sexuality education and health promotion.
Sexual and reproductive health, especially for women, is related to multiple human rights, including the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination.
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.
Family planning specifically – the right to plan one’s family – became a human right following the International Conference on Human Rights in 1968.
Today, family planning is not only a matter of human rights, it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty for all and achieving sustainable development.
“Today, as the world is getting back up on its feet after COVID-19, we need to uphold the right to sexual and reproductive health more than ever. If we fail to look after the needs of women and girls at this crucial point, we run the risk of undoing a great deal of progress that has been made on the health and rights of women and youth over the last few decades”, says Ms Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP, NZPPD Chair.
The United Nations estimates that the pandemic could cause an additional 7 million unintended pregnancies over the next six months if women lose access to contraception and reproductive health care.
“We know that this pandemic will also increase the risk for maternal death as currently modern contraception prevents up to 30% of maternal deaths yearly. Upholding the human right to family planning services must be prioritised if we want to avert some of the disastrous effects for women of COVID-19”, Ms Radhakrishnan says.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Committee (CEDAW Committee) is the body tasked with holding governments to account on their obligation to respect, protect and fulfil rights related to women’s sexual and reproductive health.
NZPPD is a cross-party parliamentary group which focus on population and development issues in the Pacific including sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s empowerment.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.