The Problem

  • 225 Million Women
    225 million girls and women want to avoid or delay pregnancy, but face barriers or lack access to effective contraceptives.
  • Unplanned Pregnancy
    Many women become vulnerable to unplanned pregnancy which increases their risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications and seeing their children die as well, often from malnutrition.
  • 800 Girls & Women Die Every Day
    Every day, approximately 800 girls and women die from pregnancy-related causes.
  • 1/3 of Girls are married before 18 years old
    One-third of girls in the developing world are married before 18, and one-fifth become pregnant before 18.
  • Economic and Health Risks
    When girls give birth before their bodies are ready, not only are they more likely to drop out of school and earn a lower income, but they are at a much higher risk of dying.
  • A Leading Cause of Death
    Complications from pregnancy and childbirth continue to be a leading cause of death of girls in the developing world and AIDS is the leading killer of girls aged 15 – 19 in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Solution

  • Reproductive Health Services Save Lives
    Fulfilling the unmet need for family planning and providing quality maternal and newborn care would reduce maternal deaths by 67% and newborn deaths by 77%.
  • Family planning improves education and economic empowerment
    Young women who can delay and plan child birth are more likely to receive an education, raise their standards of living, and climb out of poverty.
  • Family planning is cost-effective
    Family planning is also a great investment. Every dollar spent on family planning can save governments up to $6 in averted health care and other costs.
  • Family planning improves environmental sustainability
    Empowering women to have the number of children they desire can improve environmental sustainability by allowing women to better manage natural resources such as firewood, water, and homegrown food for their families.
  • Slow or reverse CO2 Emissions by 2050
    Meeting the demand for family planning could slow and even reverse CO2 emissions by 2050 – equivalent to ending worldwide deforestation beginning today.
  • $7.8 Billion
    If all women wanting to avoid a pregnancy used modern contraception, the resulting decline in unintended pregnancies would greatly reduce the cost of providing the recommended standard of care by $7.8 billion to $2.7 billion.
The Universal Access Project works to implement the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, which has served as a comprehensive guide to people-centered development progress for more than 20 years. The Universal Access Project is guided by the definitions set by the ICPD Programme of Action.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its functions and processes. [i]

Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.[ii]

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.[iii]

[i] International Conference on Population and Development, Summary of the Programme of Action, paragraph 7.1 , (New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, March 1995) 

[ii] Ibid, paragraph 7.2: based upon rights recognized in international human rights treaties, declarations and other instruments.

[iii] Ibid.