Modern contraception has played a key role in decreasing global fertility rates (the total number of children per woman). Having the freedom to choose if, when and how many children to have has enabled women in high-income countries to pursue education and career opportunities that were previously inaccessible.

Unfortunately, the majority of women still have insufficient control over their fertility and their lives. More than 230 million women in developing nations who wish to avoid pregnancy are currently unable to because they are not using modern birth control. Barriers to family planning include lack of access, cost, misinformation, and patriarchal religious and cultural norms.

Read our latest news stories and blog posts about family planning.

Contraception and lack of reproductive health

Sustainability Insights

Global perspective

Worldwide, 225 million women have an ‘unmet need’ for modern contraception. Having an unmet need is defined as wanting to stop or delay childbearing but not using any method of contraception1. 

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12 November 2018 to 15 November 2018

International Conference on Family Planning 2018

Every other year since 2009, the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) has brought together the family planning community to share best practices, celebrate successes, and chart a course forward.

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18 September 2018

Tanzanian president: “birth control is for the lazy”

President Magufuli was speaking at a rally when he called on people to ignore advice on using birth control as it was coming from “foreigners with sinister motives”.

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7 September 2018

Egypt seeks fewer babies: South Korea wants more

Egypt’s government has announced welcome plans to curb its rapid population growth. Meanwhile, South Korea is adopting policies to increase its birth rate.

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30 August 2018

China may move to end two-child policy

The Chinese government may be steering away from its two-child policy amid concerns over the economic effects of a shrinking birth rate. These rumours were sparked by a social media post from China’s state-run Procuratorate Daily.

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22 February 2018

Global Gag Rule – one year on

A year on, the effects of US President Trump's reinstated and expanded Mexico City Policy are starting to be seen. The most vulnerable countries, those for whom family planning saved lives and helped lift people out of poverty, are most affected.

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9 January 2018

Imams support family planning in Senegal

Public health officials and NGOs in Senegal turn to mosques to expand the provision of family planning, The Christian Science Monitor reports. A key first step, results indicate.

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17 August 2017

Global initiatives support smaller families

Accelerated population growth poses major challenges worldwide, especially for countries with high growth and few resources to cope. In response to these pressures, initiatives across the globe are underway to provide people with the knowledge and tools they need to help turn the tide of overpopulation.

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23 May 2017

Report: Population key to controlling climate change

Analysis undertaken for a comprehensive new plan to reverse global warming, Drawdown, has identified family planning and educating girls as among the top 10 workable solutions available today. Together, they would reduce CO2 emissions by 120 gigatons by 2050 — more than onshore and offshore wind power combined.

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5 March 2017

Is the Pope heeding warnings about population?

According to an unconfirmed report, Pope Francis has urged people to have fewer children in order to address environmental concerns. However, the Catholic Church’s opposition to artificial contraception remains in place.

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