Unpacking the Myth of Lack of Access to Contraception in the Developing World

Unpacking the Myth of Lack of Access to Contraception in the Developing World

Population Institute Canada (PIC) is the voice of Canadians concerned with global overpopulation and its negative human and environmental consequences.

 

A high level of unmet need in contraception for women in the developing world is widely interpreted as evidence of a lack of access to contraceptive supplies and services.

Yet an important new study from the Guttmacher Institute, a leading authoritative reproductive health and research organization, finds that of the approximately 225 million women not using birth control to prevent pregnancyin the developing world, only 5% (11.5 million) cite lack of access—prohibitive cost or a lack of supplier—as the reason for their non-use.

“Whether married or not,” the study finds, “women with unmet need rarely say that they are unaware of contraception, that they do not have access to a source, or that it costs too much.”

Instead, fear of health effects and personal, cultural or spousal opposition to contraception represent almost half (49%) of the reasons women give for not using birth control—despite their wish not to get pregnant.

Based on these statistics, women not using contraceptives due to informational and spousal/cultural barriers far outnumber those for whom access is limited by supplier or cost by a factor of ten.

PIC recognizes the vital importance of reproductive health education as a key means of protection and knowledge for young women and girls, especially in the developing world. It supports the Guttmacher Institute’s recommendation of “educational programs for adolescents… through the mass media to address common concerns underlying the non-use of contraception,” and it campaigns the federal government to make family planning a significant, integral part of Canadian external aid.

Such programs should help alleviate fear of using contraceptives and address falsehoods and myths about their safety.

Access a full summary fact sheet of the study here.

PIC is the voice of Canadians concerned with overpopulation and its negative human and environmental impact. Founded in 1992, it campaigns to increase support for reproductive health and education and for universal, voluntary access to family planning, which the UN notes “…could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology available to the human race.”

Fact: Continued global population growth, together with overconsumption, is incompatible with a healthy, sustainable future for humanity and our planet.
Patrons: Sir David Attenborough; Robert Bateman; Margaret Catley-Carlson; Drs. Paul & Anne Ehrlich; Robert Fowler; Dr. William Rees; Dr. David Schindler; Ronald Wright. See patron bios.

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