DCP3 Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health volume editor Dr. Marleen Temmerman delivered a keynote address at the University of Washington's Human Right to Family Planning Conference on October 9-11, 2015 in Seattle. The conference was an opportunity for participants to learn from experts and leaders in family planning care, research, law and advocacy. Dr. Temmerman addressed the conference on Friday, October 9 and provided a global perspective of family planning.
Millions of women die prematurely and suffer long-term health and social consequences because they experience unintended pregnancy due to lack of access to family planning information, services, and commodities. Many of these women do not have the freedom or opportunity to choose the timing and spacing of their pregnancies. These challenges are greatest for the most impoverished and socially disadvantaged women in countries, rich and poor, all over the world. Inadequate access to quality family planning services, including abortion, can lead to severe consequences. For instance, each year in low and middle-income countries, an estimated 74 million women experience unintended pregnancy; 36 million women seek abortions, and of these women, 20 million resort to unsafe abortion. This is not only an unfortunate situation; it is increasingly seen as discrimination against women and a violation of women’s right to health.
Our conference is the first to be sponsored by a U.S. university in collaboration with civil society actors. It will explore the relationship between the right to health and family planning and its application to improving universal access– globally and locally. The event will bring together academicians, practitioners, and students in public/global health, medicine and law, NGOs, donor institutions, international organizations, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and others from the Global North and South.