U.N. Declares Contraception a ‘Universal Human Right’ for ‘Women and Adolescents’

(Photo: AP)

Before the spring of 2012, birth control was not often considered a heated political topic.  Turning on the television, one was far more likely to see an exchange over the Iraq war or the economy than impassioned protests for subsidized contraception.

That has since changed, however, and the “war on women” is now an acceptable talking point.  Not only that, but the United Nations has just solidified its own stance on the matter and declared access to contraception a “universal human right” for “women and adolescents.”

It marks the first time the U.N. Population Fund’s annual report explicitly describes family planning as a right, arguing it could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in impoverished countries.

Apparently the legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are infringements upon women’s ability to live freely.

It should be noted, however, that Wednesday’s report isn’t binding and has no legal effect on national laws.  However, many top figures in the current administration are supporters of the United Nations, and are much more likely to take guidance from such a body than many conservatives would like.

The global organization also says it plans to increase funding for family planning by a further $4.1 billion, which they think could save $11.3 billion annually in health bills in poor countries.

The United States is single largest contributor to the United Nations, paying roughly 22% of its $5.15 billion budget.

​The Associated Press contributed to this report.