Background of the HR2FP Initiative
Millions of women die prematurely and suffer long-term health and social consequences because they experience unintended pregnancy. Many of these women do not have the freedom or opportunity to choose if and when to be pregnant. These challenges are greatest for the most impoverished and socially disadvantaged women in countries, rich and poor, all over the world. Inadequate access to scientifically accurate information, quality reproductive health services and reliable contraceptive supplies can adversely affect women’s health and well-being. For instance, 40% of all pregnancies (about 85 million) worldwide are unintended, resulting in 56 million induced abortions. Of the induced abortions, approximately 22 million are considered unsafe—almost all in developing countries. In 2008, there were an estimated 47, 000 deaths due to unsafe abortion. This is not only an unfortunate situation; it is increasingly seen as discrimination against women and a violation of women’s right to health.
The HR2FP Conference in October, 2015 was the first to be sponsored by a U.S. university in collaboration with civil society actors. It explored the relationship between the right to health and family planning and its application to improving universal access– globally and locally. The event brought together academicians, practitioners, and students in public/global health, medicine and law, NGOs, donor institutions, international organizations, pharmaceutical companies and others from the Global North and South.
There was consensus at the conference for continued collaboration among the various stakeholders on the human right to family planning. The HR2FP Initiative is the natural evolution of this collaboration.
Center for Law, Science and Global Health
University of Washington School of Medicine – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands