Family Planning


Family planning programs are a key component to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health. They provide essential and often life-saving services to women and their families. By enabling women to delay pregnancy, avoid childbearing, or space births, effective family planning programs are not only fundamental to women’s health, they also allow women and families to better manage household and natural resources, secure education for all family members, and address each family member’s healthcare needs. The best programs have also been found to increase equity between women and their partners and enhance communication and negotiation skills within couples.

Yet recent data shows that an estimated 225 million women globally have an unmet need for family planning: in other words, they do not wish to have a child at this time, yet are not using effective contraception. This lack of access to family planning methods is a contributor to the preventable deaths of 303,000 women annually due to pregnancy related causes. 

During the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), donor nations recognized the importance of family planning programs to broader development goals, and agreed to provide one-third of total funding needed in order to eliminate the unmet need for contraceptives. More than 20 years later, this commitment is still unrealized.

See CHANGE's Policy Brief International Reproductive Health and Family Planning: U.S. Funding Priorities and Funding Implications

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Source225 millionGlobally, 225 million women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for contraception.

Source0Emergency contraception (EC) is not distributed by USAID.

Source$6.7 billionFulfilling the unmet need for modern family planning methods would cost, in total, $6.7 billion annually.

Source20 millionWorldwide, there are over 20 million unsafe abortions every year.

Source16 millionEach year there are approximately 16 million births to adolescent mothers.

Source35In real terms, U.S. support for family planning is at the same level now as it was 35 years ago.

“I think she could have died” (Women’s Health in Chile)

In Chile, an 11-year-old girl named “Belen” is more than three months pregnant after being repeatedly raped by her mother’s partner. But she cannot get a legal abortion.

Posted on July 30, 2013

Government Shifts Focus from Birth Control to Spacing

New strategy free from taboos and coercion, and moves away from a camp-based approach, says health official.

Posted on July 12, 2013

AIDS Conference to Promote Fc2 Use

The female condom, known as the Fc2, will be among the many awareness issues that will be discussed at the 6th South African Aids Conference in Durban this week. Hundreds of people are expected to attend the conference at the Chief Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre (ICC) that beganon Tuesday.

Posted on June 19, 2013

Philippines contraception law signed by Benigno Aquino

Philippines President Benigno Aquino has signed into law a bill providing for free access to contraception and family planning.

Posted on December 29, 2012

What Do Women Need When it Comes to Contraception? The Freedom to Decide.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, June 12 -- What does it mean to have the freedom to decide, when it comes to contraceptives? Last week, I was honored to have conversations with a few women in Uttar Pradesh, India, to understand more about the decisions many women face when it comes to why and how they plan their families in particular ways.

Posted on June 12, 2012

Obama owes more on religious freedom, January 30, 2012 - One of Barack Obama’s great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.

Posted on January 30, 2012

The US is out of sync on contraception

The Guardian, January 10, 2012 - On the poor outskirts of Dakar, Senegal, we sat before six imams in an airy mosque. They are holy men, respected community leaders, and, lately, birth control champions. "Family spacing," they called it, as they cheerfully explained why Islam supports it.

Posted on January 10, 2012

UNFPA Latest Victim of House Republican War on Women

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are using smoke and mirrors to try to distract us all from their real intentions of being the most anti-woman, anti-life crusaders the U.S. Congress has seen in decades. But, we're not falling for their thinly-veiled hypocrisy. And neither should the U.S. public.

Posted on October 10, 2011

Impact of Global Gag Rule on Women’s Health and Rights

The global gag rule is a U.S. foreign policy that – when enacted – prohibits foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. family planning funds from advocating for abortion or providing abortion as a method of family planning. It does not prohibit activities around abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. However, it is unclear as to whether or not services are actually provided under the three exceptions.

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Female Condoms: A Tool for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Female condoms are currently the only available prevention method designed for women to initiate that provide effective protection against unintended pregnancy and STI and HIV transmission. They are also an important method of protection for people of all genders who engage in receptive vaginal or anal sex, as female condoms give them more agency over their sexual health. They should be a standard option in an array of available methods for contraception and STI/HIV prevention to meet women’s diverse needs and preferences.

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Creating Spaces for Youth-Led Advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

On September 24-25, 2013, CHANGE and 30 Guatemalan civil society groups welcomed more than 200 youth from all over the country as participants in that country's first youth summit on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH). The event marked an important benchmark for coordinated youth advocacy with political leaders on ASRH in Guatemala, and also offers lessons beyond Guatemala for improving meaningful participation of youth in debates about adolescent and youth sexuality.

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File Under: Country Profiles

Mainstreaming Female Condom Uptake: The U.S. Government’s Current and Potential Global Role

As a committed partner in the Life-Saving Commodities Commission and major procurer of female condoms for global distribution, the U.S. has a vested interest in making sure female condoms find widespread success. However, inadequate attention to investment in female condom programming creates a barrier to success.

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U.S. Global HIV Policy: Combination Prevention

This paper outlines why the U.S. must support a true combination prevention strategy, one that scales up proven biomedical tools, integrates sexual and reproductive health services into HIV prevention, and addresses social barriers to HIV prevention.

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Ficha técnica: ¿Qué tiene que ver la planificación familiar con el VIH? Todo.

La planificación familiar voluntaria es un componente indispensable de la prevención y el tratamiento del VIH.

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What Does Family Planning Have to do With HIV? Everything.

Voluntary family planning is an indispensible component of HIV prevention and treatment.

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Fact Sheet: Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2011

The Global Democracy Promotion Act of 2011 provides that the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act cannot impose eligibility restrictions on international recipients of U.S. aid that would be illegal if imposed nationally. Would constitute a legislative repeal of the Mexico City Policy, also called the Global Gag Rule.

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Family Planning Topics

Family Planning and HIV

Voluntary family planning is an indispensible component of HIV prevention and treatment.

Female Condoms: Dual Protection

The female condom is currently the only available HIV-prevention and family-planning method that women can initiate themselves. Yet, globally, female condoms continue to be underfunded and underused because of cost, stigma, and a lack of political will.

Infographic: Female Condoms

The female condom is better than ever!

Lights, Camera, Female Condoms!

Female Condoms Are short films