STORY: Unintended Pregnancy Crisis - UNFPA
TRT: 2 mins 31s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 30 March 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended, says UN Population Fund
Nearly a quarter of all women are effectively forced to have sex and nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended globally, new data from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) indicated on Wednesday.
“Today, in countries where data is available, nearly a quarter of all women are unable to say no to sex. Nearly a quarter of women are unable to make decisions about their own health care. Nearly 10 per cent are unable to make decisions about contraception,” said UNFPA Geneva Director, Monica Ferro.
She added that “of all pregnancies in the world, nearly half – half - are unintended. For the women and girls affected, the most life-altering reproductive choice – whether or not to become pregnant – is no choice at all”.
For the UNFPA, the problem is closely linked to a lack of development, gender inequality and stigma, among many other factors.
“It is a development issue,” Ms. Ferro insisted. “While every country continues to experience unacceptably high rates of unintended pregnancy, we see strong correlations between rates of unintended pregnancy and lack of development.”
The UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2022 report also highlights how the crisis in Ukraine prompted by Russia’s invasion on 24 February and other conflicts are expected to drive an increase in unintended pregnancy.
“We are that foreseeing that 265,000 women are pregnant in Ukraine and in next three months 80,000 will give birth” - many without access to critical maternal health care - said Ms. Ferro, her comments coming after the targeting of a maternity hospital in the stricken coastal city of Mariupol earlier this month.
As part of the UN’s response, UNFPA has shipped essential medicines and life-saving sexual and reproductive health services and supplies to the country.
“If there is no health facility for them to give birth, to have a skilled birth - skilled attendant’s birth - or if they don’t have access to healthcare, this is going to increase as we known maternal mortality and morbidity,” Ms. Ferro warned.
Given the “staggering number” of unintended pregnancies every year – 121 million, or 331,000 per day – UNFPA has urged governments everywhere to do more to tackle gender inequality and stalled development – two of the key drivers of the problem.
Among UNFPA’s other stand-out findings, an estimated 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe, modern methods of contraception.
“We must make pregnancy an aspiration not an inevitability, and we do that by empowering women and girls to make affirmative choices about sexual activity and motherhood,” said Ms. Ferro. “For this to happen, we must reduce gender inequality and empower women and girls.”
This includes rethinking what we know about contraception – including who should use it - the UNFPA Geneva Director said, amid a growing tendency for more women to question the health impacts linked to birth control medication.
“One of the questions that we are often asked is are men interested in having a role in reducing unintended pregnancies or in controlling fertility. And it’s quite interesting, because in most of the places where we have data, it shows that men are quite interested. They don’t see motherhood or family planning as a burden only to be carried by women.”