Letter - A Need for Contraception

The New York Times | May 21, 2010

To the Editor:

Re “Poverty and the Pill” (column, May 20):

I am pleased that Nicholas D. Kristof raises the important issue of an unmet need for contraception worldwide. Family planning services and access to contraception have measurable health benefits as well as far-reaching socioeconomic benefits for women, families and their communities.

While the Pill certainly has helped curb the rate of population growth and has given many women the freedom to make choices about when and if to have children, around the world unintended pregnancy is a major public health concern that endangers the lives of women and children and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

Ten years ago, world leaders agreed on a set of concrete and measurable development objectives known as the Millennium Development Goals. This year, the United Nations will review progress made in reaching these goals. Goal 5b on universal access to reproductive health is the most off track of all the goals, and yet it is key to reducing maternal mortality; preventing unwanted pregnancies; curbing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including H.I.V.-AIDS; empowering women and girls; and contributing to a more sustainable world for all people.

Carmen Barroso
New York, May 20, 2010

The writer is regional director, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region.

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