Every year there are 121 million unintended pregnancies globally, of which more than 73 million end in abortion. Of the 74 million unintended pregnancies in developing and low-income countries, a third happen when contraception has failed or cannot be accessed.
Rutgers believes access to safe and modern contraceptives is the cornerstone of a person’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, contributing to health, freedom, independence and gender equity.
Contraception means choice
Contraception empowers women to take control of their own bodies, their sexuality and their choice to have children or not.
But access to contraceptives or vital information about them depends on social, cultural and economic status and where people live in the world. Unmarried women, low-income groups and low literacy groups, are even less likely to have access. For many, contraception is too expensive, of poor quality or simply not available.
Everyone, including young people and vulnerable groups, should have access to correct and user-friendly information and quality care.
“Everyone should be free to make fully informed choices about pregnancy, contraception, family planning and reproductive health.”
Rutgers’ commitment to contraception
Early and unintended pregnancies are strongly connected to poverty, gender inequality, education, attitudes towards sexuality, taboos and weak health systems.
Rutgers is committed to promoting access to contraceptives for all and making a broad range of quality, effective and reliable methods available, affordable and accessible for everyone who needs it. Rutgers works with different groups to address societal and structural factors, to challenge harmful norms and taboos around gender and strengthen health and education systems.
We work in partnership to strengthen and improve reproductive health services and train NGOs, health providers and other professionals, so everyone can get reliable information, advice and tools and make well informed reproductive health choices. We give special attention to young, vulnerable and disadvantaged people and hard-to-reach groups.
Through our comprehensive sexuality education work, we help people to plan their lives, discuss contraception with their partner, use it effectively and be confident in refusing sex if there is no contraception or if it is faulty.
We provide skills to empower girls and women, but we know contraception and family planning are not only womens’ responsibilities. Engaging men and boys is also an important aspect of our work.
Rutgers supports the greater distribution of different contraceptives, to enable choice, including increased access to female condoms, as well as safe abortion products.
What more needs to be done
We advocate for increased funding for contraception in developing countries. To meet everyone’s needs, expenditure needs to be doubled.
We advocate for a multi-pronged approach to contraception and family planning – investment in education and girls’ empowerment, involvement of boys and men, strengthening a supportive environment, provision of correct information, access to a variety of contraceptives and user-friendly services.
Quality, culturally and gender-sensitive contraception counselling is needed. More research would identify the most effective strategies for preventing unintended pregnancies among vulnerable groups.