Family Planning is A Human Right

 

Today, marks the commemorations of world population day under the theme Family Planning is a Human Right. This day aims at spreading awareness on the ever growing world population and the importance of reproductive health. The pertinent issues regarding population include family planning and the use of contraceptives. However, family planning cannot be discussed in isolation and includes the right to health, gender equality, child marriage and sex education especially among young people.

 

The aim of the commemoration is to promote the uptake of family planning especially among young people who are denied these services for different reasons.  It is their right to freely enjoy any family planning services of their choice without fear of being judged by service providers or their society at large. Unwanted pregnancies among young women must be prevented. Another reason which deters young people from accessing family planning services is a lack of knowledge about family planning.

 

Clinics which are not youth friendly hinder young women from seeking family services. This is an infringement of their human right to access their preferred contraception method and to choose, when and how they want it. Family planning issues need to be addressed among young people. It is important that young women start families when they are ready as many unplanned pregnancies result in unsafe abortions which in turn cause health-related complications.

 

There are many taken-for –granted aspects of human life which play a role in the maintenance of a healthy and productive population and securing the future of generations to come. These include making decision on who and when to marry, when and how many children to have, amongst others. Unfortunately, many young people across the world, particularly Zimbabwe, are unable exert decisive control over these aspects of their life as their ability to do so is compromised. There are a myriad of social, economic and cultural barriers may often deter young people from making the right choices for their lives. Child marriages are still rampant in a number of Zimbabwean communities. The prevailing gender imbalances which are unfavourable to young women limit their power to make decisions in relationships, particularly intergenerational ones. Incidences of HIV are now higher amongst young people than any other age group. Judging from these trends, the future of our young people seems as if it is under threat.

 

However, equipping young people with the power to make wise and well informed choices for their lives and relationships is necessary if the current threats to their health and future are to be eliminated. The ability to make decisions is a necessary part of the growth of an individual. In the context of sexual and reproductive health, it is a right. To therefore deprive young people to make their choices regarding their lives and their relationships would not only leave them unfulfilled but it would put their health and safety at risk. The common saying “information is power,” has also proven to be true over and over again. Information is the key which unlocks their decision making powers as they gain a deep understanding of the family planning options that are available to them.

 

Ultimately ensuring that young people active and informed decision makers will go a long way in creating a youthful population which is healthy and successful. Young people should therefore not be denied access to contraception, reversible and irreversible. Young people must have the right to choose the type of family planning that they want because Family planning is a human right which everyone can enjoy without fear to be judged.

 

“However, equipping young people with the power to make wise and well informed choices for their lives and relationships is necessary if the current threats to their health and future are to be eliminated.”