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Worldwide, pregnancy is the biggest killer of girls aged 15-19. Tens of thousands of children are left without a mother after an unsafe abortion claims her life and consequently, these children are significantly more likely to die in infancy.
On average, 285,000* women a year die from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. One third of these deaths could be avoided if women had access to family planning.
Access to contraceptive choices can also play a fundamental role in the reduction of poverty. The biggest threat to women’s freedom, health, education, livelihoods and mortality is that they cannot choose whether to become pregnant, or to access the services they need when they do.
When girls go to school, when women have control of productive assets like farmland and help decide how family income is spent, children are healthier and more likely to be educated. Communities are more likely to emerge from poverty when women play a greater role.
Family planning has a catalytic impact on women’s empowerment and can be a turnkey for other areas of development.
When women have the choice, they overwhelmingly decide to have fewer children. This means a greater ability to feed, clothe, educate and provide healthcare for their families. It means increased opportunity to work and participate in the economy. Women can elevate their role in family and community decision making, increase standards of living and help reduce poverty – helping ensure their human rights.
*World Health Organisation 2010
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