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State of World Population 2012

By Choice, Not by Chance - Family Planning, Human Rights and Development

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Family planning is a human right. Still, 222 million women in developing countries do not have access to contraception and are at risk of unplanned pregnancy that can cause health complications and financial hardship. The State of the World Population 2012 explains why family planning is a right that reinforces other rights, such as the right to health or the right to education. The report further documents the economic and social benefits accrued to households, communities and countries when the right to family planning is exercised by women, men and young people.

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Challenges in extending access to everyone

A large and unsatisfied desire exists for family planning around the world among people of many ages, ethnic groups and places of residence. Nations vary greatly in their ability to help their populations fulfil this desire and uphold individuals’ rights. In many countries national legislation exists to translate international rights commitments into reality (Robison and Ross, eds, 2007). But in far too many settings, the rights of some—not all—are guaranteed only in principle.

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