News story

Family planning: Historic breakthrough for 120m women

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An extraordinary global breakthrough giving access to family planning for 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries was hailed today.

An extraordinary global breakthrough giving access to family planning for 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries was hailed today by Andrew Mitchell at the London Summit on Family Planning.

The British Government and co-host The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation brought together representatives from governments, the private sector, donors and civil society groups who pledged to halve the number of girls and women in developing countries who want - but lack access to - modern contraception.

British support, which comes from the existing aid budget, will save the life of a woman or girl in the developing world every two hours for the next eight years by preventing maternal deaths.

Developing countries at the Summit made commitments to strengthen and promote women’s rights to family planning and increase access to information, services and supplies.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

“This is an extraordinary breakthrough for millions of the world’s girls and women. Thanks to the pledges made today 120m more women will be able to choose whether when and how many children to have. Being able to plan the size of her family is a fundamental right that we believe all women should have. Britain has put girls and women at the heart of our development programme and now others are following suit.”

Britain’s support, which comes from the existing aid budget, will provide an additional 24 million girls and women with family planning services between now and 2020. This will prevent the deaths of around 42,000 girls and women for whom an unintended pregnancy carries the risk of fatal consequences.

It will also help avert over 20 million unintended pregnancies - equivalent to one every ten seconds - by enabling women to decide whether, when and how many children to have.