To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations declaring family planning a human right, we asked our supporters to share why family planning was important to them.
“Every woman should be able to plan the number of children they have and at what times no matter what. Controlling fertility helps families stay out of poverty and maintain good health for the entire family. The stress alone of having children when one can’t afford it is enough to cause health problems for both the mother and child.
Besides, it’s just the right thing to do.”
“I grew up in a small farming town in southern Missouri, where my graduating class of 178 students had TWENTY mothers in 1984. That doesn’t count any of the fathers who might have been in that class as well. I’m guessing most of those young parents did not go to college. Maybe they wouldn’t have gone anyway, but with young children at home, it’s much more difficult. I always knew I was going to college, and I had my graduate degrees before I had children. That was my choice–and I wouldn’t have had a choice if it weren’t for access to birth control. Family planning means women can choose to get married when they want, even if the timing for children isn’t quite yet!”
“Family planning made my career as a physician possible. There is no way my husband and I could have afforded my education without it, since I had to work my way through college. I went to Planned Parenthood for it, as my insurance didn’t cover it and we could not afford to pay for it privately.”
– Ronda, M.D.
“It allowed me to postpone childbearing until my husband and I were emotionally and financially ready, and now it allows me to keep my number of children at two, the number we feel best able to support and care for.”
© UNFPA/Nordic Office
“Family planning has given me the choice to have kids or not. It has given me my health and therefore my life.”
“No woman is free unless she has control over her reproductive life.”
“Family planning allowed me to complete my master’s degree and maintain my professional life on my terms. As a human being, not “just” a woman, I believe it is imperative that I have as much control over my bodily well-being and my life circumstances as any man would have.”
© UNFPA/Jaime Jacques
“With family planning I give my children quality of life.”
© UNFPA Jordan/Elspeth Dehnert
“Family planning is a responsible right every person should have. Since men cannot get pregnant they should not dictate whether or not a woman has the right to choose when she is ready to bring life into this world.
Contraceptives have also been helpful for me personally as I have had a life-long battle with heavy menstruation, and had to have an emergency D&C due to hemorrhaging.”
“It allowed me to limit the size of my family to a realistic affordable number.”
“I gave my first daughter up for adoption, I knew I wasn’t ready. I have been reunited with her since but adoption does affect a child – not that it’s a bad thing but there are issues that come up. My second daughter was planned I was ready, settled, didn’t need to explore my freedom anymore, she is a gift and has become a beautiful young woman.”
“Women must be able to make the decision on child-bearing as they know more than anyone else when it is and isn’t time to have a child.”
© UNFPA/Meaghan Charkowick
“I wanted to give quality care to any children I may have in order for them to pursue the highest potential of their abilities to give their gifts back to their communities.”
“It helped me control my life. By that I mean finish college, start a professional career, get a Masters degree, and most of all not get stuck in an abusive relationship because of getting pregnant.”
“It has improved my finances, I am less stressed, I am more independent, and better able to pursue the things in life that mean the most to me.”
© UNFPA Myanmar
Photo: ©UNFPA Guinea