Aerial view of local people buying and selling colorful produce from wooden boats, Vietnam. Adobe Photos

Sustainable Development

Expanding access to reproductive health care and voluntary family planning services helps women realize their fundamental human right to control whether, when, and with whom they become pregnant. Empowering women also helps foster poverty reduction, sustainable development, and a more equitable society over time.

When people, in particular women and girls, gain access to health care and education, they also gain political, economic, and social power. This facilitates economic growth, improves health and livelihoods, and delivers higher levels of bodily autonomy. Because family planning enables women to autonomously manage whether and when they become pregnant, one significant outcome of providing access to contraceptives is increased education rates for women and girls. And because higher levels of education afford more options for sustained employment and improved livelihoods, women with higher levels of education tend to have fewer and healthier children. As individuals, families, and communities gain access to higher levels of education and quality health care, these tools are passed on to subsequent generations. Thus, the benefits of health and education compound over time.

When reproductive autonomy is realized, many social, economic, and environmental benefits follow, including reductions in infant and maternal mortality and improved livelihoods. Slower population growth also reduces pressures on natural resources, habitats, and food production systems. Within the context of climate change, the additional health, education, and economic benefits afforded through family planning would greatly reduce climate vulnerability and increase resilience for women and families around the world.

 

When women and families have access to the resources necessary in order to freely and intentionally choose the number, timing, and spacing of their births, a wide variety of health benefits ensue, including: lower maternal mortality & morbidity; lower infant and child mortality; reduced rates of unintended pregnancies; lower rates of unsafe abortions; and increased overall health outcomes.

Low Section Of Women Taking Water From Tubewell In Village Area Of Haryana, India

Access to sexual and reproductive health care can influence population dynamics through voluntary fertility reductions and lower infant and maternal mortality rates. Additional benefits include better health outcomes and higher life expectancies for women and children; greater individual rights; lower poverty rates; higher education rates for women and girls; and slower population growth.

People walking down main road in Jinka town, Naciones, Ethiopia, Africa

Rapid population growth inhibits sustainable development in low-resource settings especially. High fertility is positively correlated with extreme poverty: many of the fastest growing countries are also the poorest, with annual income per person averaging less than $1,000. Both conditions increase vulnerability to stresses associated with climate change.

 

Crowded Streets of Mumbai

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Solutions Through Reproductive Health Info Brief

Ensuring access to quality, comprehensive reproductive health care is an essential component of sustainable development initiatives worldwide. This info brief takes an in-depth look into the ways in which voluntary family planning services aid development, support women’s empowerment, and increase climate resilience at the individual, community, national, and global levels.

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Solutions Through Repro Health Slide Deck

This slide deck investigates the role of increased access to voluntary family planning services in global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, facilitate sustainable development, and increase health outcomes for women and their families.

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Recommended Readings

Browse literature on family planning interventions for sustainable development, climate mitigation and adaptation, women’s empowerment, and state stability. This resource includes academic sources, reports from NGOs and international organizations, and relevant news articles.

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