The Rights to Contraceptive Information and Services for Women and Adolescents

Briefing Paper

Resource date: 2011

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This briefing paper examines the right to access contraceptive information and services for women and adolescents. It provides practical guidance for activists, scholars, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, governments and other actors working in the area of sexual and reproductive health to integrate human rights into programmes and policies on contraceptive information and services.

The paper assesses the benefits of contraceptive access, lays out the human rights framework underpinning this right, identifies the normative elements of this right, and provides an overview of how to apply a human rights-based approach to the provision of contraceptive information and services.

Women’s and adolescents’ right to contraceptive information and services is grounded in basic human rights. The Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development recognized “the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice.” Additionally, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has indicated that “States parties should provide adolescents with access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy, the prevention of HIV and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).”

Applying a human rights-based approach to the provision of contraceptive information and services can facilitate state fulfillment of these obligations and promote the full realization of women’s and adolescents’ fundamental rights.