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Contraception: A Human Right

[ 60 ] November 15, 2012 |

Once again, large swaths of the Republican Party oppose international definitions of basic human rights:

For the first time, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) explicitly described family planning as a “universal human right.” In its annual report, the organization said that improved access to contraception and other methods of family planning could greatly improve the lives of women around the world:

“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.


Of course, no doubt this is just part of the secret UN-Obama mind control conspiracy to take over the United States.

Comments (60)

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  1. sharculese says:

    Once again, large swaths of the Republican Party oppose international definitions of basic human rights

    Yeah, but to them, that’s a compliment.

  2. Joe says:

    Background reading: The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World by Michelle Goldberg. (did she have her baby yet?)

  3. bradP says:

    What exactly does “family planning” include as a right?

    And for this:

    Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive.

    Which is cause and which is effect?

    • sharculese says:

      What exactly does “family planning” include as a right?

      Anything that allows people to choose if and when they want to start or expand a family.

      Which is cause and which is effect?

      They’re interrelated, but the bottom line is that women who don’t have to plan their lives around having children have much better opportunities to pursue education and social advancement, without being exposed to the myriad health risks that come with being pregnant.

      See chapter 4 of the report for more detail: http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/swp/2012/EN-SWP2012_Report.pdf

      • bradP says:

        Anything that allows people to choose if and when they want to start or expand a family.

        I just read that abortion is not one of the measures included. Have you read that too?

        • sharculese says:

          I haven’t had a chance to dive deep into the report yet, but a quick scan suggests that yes, they are making that distinction, which is unfortunate.

          • bradP says:

            Could even be counterproductive, as I wouldn’t be surprised to find out access to abortion would be more important than access to condoms.

            All the teaching and access to pre-conception birth control will never be as effective a family planning tool as abortion.

            I would be afraid that delineating abortion from other methods of family planning would give some creedence to abortion bans.

            • ajay says:

              All the teaching and access to pre-conception birth control will never be as effective a family planning tool as abortion.

              Wait, what? Surely I have misread this.

            • sharculese says:

              I don’t really agree.

              Abortion is a costly and invasive medical procedure that requires the right tools and a sterile environment. Condoms can be handed out by the thousands, and all you need is instructions on how to use them.

              Abortion is an important part of the family planning tool box, but condoms and birth control are the first, and best, method.

              • anonymous says:

                It’s not that costly and not that difficult. Have you ever heard of the Jane Collective?

              • bradP says:

                Let me clarify, because that sounded much different before lunch than it did after.

                Just the act having unprotected sex rather than no sex shows seriously poor decision making. That poor decision making is due to factors that are unrelated to condom access, and can only be countered by condoms to a degree.

                Stigma-free and easily accessed abortion seems to me to be better at combatting the poor decision making that causes unplanned pregnancies.

            • rea says:

              All the teaching and access to pre-conception birth control will never be as effective a family planning tool as abortion.

              All the driver education courses will never be as effective as a good body shop?

              • bradP says:

                All the driver education courses will never be as effective as a good body shop?

                For people prone to reckless driving, possibly.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Because there are bright lines separating reckless drivers, the sort who are never at all like us, from good drivers, who only get in collisions because of extenuating circumstances.

                  I think your analogy is proving something other than what you were hoping…

            • DrDick says:

              There are no fool proof solutions to any problem. Fools are simply far too creative. The actual data show that where women have ready access to affordable, effective birth control the abortion rate declines dramatically.

              • bradP says:

                How much does it drop with condom-only provision? I know that what I said would not hold true with IUDs, but the constancy necessary with using other methods is a big problem that is greatly exascerbated by both the social and economic environment of the people that are at the worst risk.

                • DrDick says:

                  Who the fuck cares? I did say effective birth control. A full range of birth control is available under the ACA and should be everywhere. However, condom distribution programs in India and elsewhere have also reduced abortions, though I do not have any precise figures.

          • Joe says:

            The report seems to speak in broad principles though focuses on things other than abortion since when setting forth guidelines for the rights of the world, dealing with more controversial matters is problematic.

            But, references to spacing children, health and so forth is broad enough to cover abortion, particularly in certain cases. At the very least, “emergency contraception” is covered.

            • Joe says:

              In particular, is there anything in there that specifically DOESN’T include abortion? A quick search shows “abortion” mentioned a few times, particularly as something family planning could avoid.

              • sharculese says:

                Right, that’s the thing. A lot of it’s written as if they’re talking about abortion in contrast to what they define as family planning.

                This may be strategic. I could see them operating under the assumption that some places will never accept ready access to abortion, and that the best approach is to highlight alternate methods.

  4. DrDick says:

    Of course they oppose such notions of human rights, since they define individuals other than rich, white, conservative, Christian men as fully human.

  5. Joshua says:

    I imagine that a lot of these people believe in American exceptionalism deep in their bones. When they hear that somebody wants to fashion American policy based on international consensus, what they hear is the rest of the world trying to drag the US down to their level.

    A small fraction of Americans have passports and even a smaller fraction have any interest in traveling beyond Canada and Mexico. When Rush tells them of the post-apocalyptic nightmare that is Paris or Madrid, they believe it.

  6. There is some fine comedy in that second link:

    It was emceed by Field Searcy, a local conservative activist who was forced out of the Georgia Tea Party in April due to his endorsement of conspiracy theories about the president’s birth certificate and the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7. The presentation also featured a special video cameo from conservative talking-head Dick Morris in which the former Clinton aide warns that Obama “wants to force everyone into the cities from whence our ancestors fled.”

    Just when you though Morris couldn’t humiliate himself any further, he finds a way.

  7. marc sobel says:

    Your closing line makes me think of Chuck Colson: When you’ve got them by the reproductive organs, their hearts and minds will follow.

  8. [...] Guns and Money’s Erik Loomis observes that the Republican Party stands out in not recognizing contraception as a human [...]

  9. cpinva says:

    once again, large swaths of republicans demonstrate their basic insanity in public. so what else is new?

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