Over 139 Million Women In India Are Now Using Modern Contraceptive Methods. This Is A Major Leap Towards Reproductive Freedom Of Women
It’s common knowledge that India’s population has been growing rapidly and unfortunately, our resources aren’t and nor is habitable land. Family planning seems simple but it isn’t for everyone. With lower-income groups and illiteracy in abundance in our country, contraceptives are often not rated as a priority. And then comes religious beliefs that see modern methods of contraception as sinister. However, India’s Family Planning Programme has been fruitful in successfully bringing down our fertility rate to 2.2 births per woman on an average as of 2017, with 2.1 being calculated as the ideal. But population control isn’t all that should be our concern as a nation, right? With so much taboo around sex, several women in India don’t have access to birth control methods as well as medical abortions. This has put many women at risk, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies and maternal deaths.
However, what comes as a refreshing and exciting update, in a report published by Family Planning 2020, over 139 million women and girls in India are now using modern methods of contraception. “Modern methods of contraception include: oral contraceptive pills, implants, injectables, contraceptive patch and vaginal ring, intrauterine device (IDU), female and male condoms, female and male sterilization, vaginal barrier methods (including the diaphragm, cervical cap and spermicidal agents), lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), emergency contraception pills, standard days method (SDM), basal body temperature (BBT) method, TwoDay method and sympto-thermal method,” defines World Health Organisation.
FP2020 is a global partnership striving for the reproductive rights of women and girls. Recently, they published a report which details the progress made over the past eight years. Across 13 low-income countries, the use of modern contraceptive methods has doubled and more than 121 million unwanted pregnancies, 21 million unsafe abortions and 1,25,000 maternal deaths has been avoided. That’s a few thousand less than the total covid deaths in India.
Speaking of India, thanks to this global initiative, more than 54.5 million unintended pregnancies, 1.8 million unsafe abortions, and 23,000 maternal deaths were prevented in the last year alone. “In 2017, India updated its FP2020 commitment with two very specific, data-driven pledges: to invest USD 3 billion of domestic resources in family planning by 2020, and to increase the country’s modern contraceptive prevalence for married women from 53.1 per cent to 54.3 per cent by 2020, with 74 per cent of the demand for modern contraceptives satisfied. Both of those commitments have been fulfilled,” according to a report by PTI.
Globally, there are 320 million women and girls in the world’s 69 lowest income countries that now have access to modern contraceptive methods, according to FP2020.
The report said 320 million women and girls in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries now have access to family planning, according to new figures released by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020).
‘India continues to be one of the countries with the highest levels of domestic government expenditure, reflecting the governments’ commitment to its family planning programmes,’ the report said.
Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan expressed, “The partnership has played a fundamental role in facilitating the exchange of knowledge among member states about latest contraceptives as well as best practices being followed to accelerate adoption of family planning services by the general population.”
Vardhan explained how the global collaboration has helped India help women exercise their reproductive rights. “Improving the quality of contraceptives, augmenting contraceptive demand through comprehensive IEC campaigns, and focused interventions in high fertility districts through Mission Parivar Vikas, have been few of the country’s notable achievements. As a result, we have witnessed an impressive decline in fertility and maternal mortality in the last few years.” He further added that they will continue to work towards this cause. “We continue to strive to substantially reduce the unmet need for contraception by 2030,” he said.
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While India has performed tremendously well when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, every year 4 million girls reach reproductive ages, which means that much more support needs to be made accessible to them. It’s not an easy goal to achieve, however, this is a human right that must not be ignored. Several women suffer due to lack of knowledge – they are not aware of modern contraceptive methods. Unmarried women fear availing any of those, just because of the sheer embarrassment and fear that people will find out they are sexually active. Many women don’t go for medical abortions out of the same fear, putting their lives at risk. In fact, several women are put through sterilization, which may or may not be done with consent.
With our socio-economic status, investing in women’s reproductive rights will not just empower women but also our society as a whole. Less economic struggles and more sexual awareness will mean that a woman can protect her interests, even if she is married to an asshole who doesn’t.
Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020, said: “The evidence is clear – when you invest in women and girls, the good deed never ends. Barriers are broken and opportunities open up that not only lift women out of poverty but can elevate society and bring about economic gains. No other single change can do more to improve the state of the world.”
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She continued, “25 years on from the first ICPD, the family planning movement has gained huge momentum. Yet big challenges remain. With every day that passes, millions are denied the right to choose their own future. As we look ahead to 2030, we must continue to push for progress, build on what works well, and ensure we leave no woman or girl behind.”