Facing the Facts

Resource date: Feb 2016

Publisher: UNFPA


Adolescent girls and the right to family planning

The importance of reproductive health, in general, and access to voluntary family planning, in particular, is well established. They are crucial to the entire, interconnected and transformative global development agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals, to which the world has newly committed, prioritize the needs of those who are most vulnerable and underserved, including young people. Their reproductive choices will have enormous repercussions for the trajectory of their own lives and for the future of their countries. Yet their unmet need for reproductive health services remains high. Demand for and use of contraception among adolescent girls has increased, but current levels remain remarkably lower than for other age groups.

• Of the 13 million adolescent girls with an unmet need for contraception, about half live in Asia and the Pacific and more than 30 per cent live in sub-Saharan Africa.

• Globally, 23 per cent of adolescent girls are married or in union, and 3 per cent are unmarried but sexually active. A substantial majority, 74 per cent, are not sexually active.

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