White Paper on Family Planning


World Youth Alliance Issues White Paper on Family Planning

(New York, Wednesday, March 28th) – The World Youth Alliance has published a new White Paper that examines the international legal implications of the term “family planning.” This is the second in a series of papers on reproductive health issues. The first White Paper on Reproductive Health is available here.

Family planning is a crucial topic as it is tied to the empowerment of men and women to determine the number and spacing of their children. The White Paper discusses the various treaties that call on States to ensure access to family planning information and services. However, as an analysis of the law makes clear, access to family planning does not necessitate access to contraceptives. The work of United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations suggests that contraceptives are the primary and often the only component of family planning. The White Paper highlights the importance of an accurate interpretation of international law, which preserves for States the autonomy to offer the methods of family planning that best suit the needs of their populations.

This paper begins with a discussion of the often-mentioned idea of “unmet need” for family planning. This argument, which suggests that many women around the world require access to contraceptives in order to satisfy their need for family planning, ignores that many women cannot or do not want to use contraceptives, whether for religious, moral, or health reasons. The paper then explains the difference between “family planning” and “contraception,” and follows with an analysis of international treaties. No treaty mentions contraception or guarantees access to a particular family planning method. The conclusion is thus that there is no specific right to contraception, regardless of the non-binding claims of treaty-monitoring bodies.

To view or download an online version of the White Paper, please click here.

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For more information:
Meghan Grizzle, Research and Policy Specialist
Email: meghan@wya.net | Phone: 212-585-0757 | Website: www.wya.net

About the organization:
The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy and culture and to building solidarity between young people of developing and developed nations. With approximately one million members from more than 160 countries, the World Youth Alliance is one of the biggest coalitions of young people worldwide. Regional offices are located in Brussels (Europe), Manila (Asia Pacific), Mexico City (Latin America), Nairobi (Africa), New York (North America and headquarters).