The Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI) has urged the National Assembly to include family planning rights in the nation’s constitution to enable Nigerians determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday and signed by the CCSI Executive Director, Mrs. Babafunke Fagbemi, to commemorate the 2018 World Population Day themed: “Family Planning is a Human Right.”
According to her, the right to determine the spacing of children and access to information and availability of the full range of safe and effective family planning methods are fundamental to saving the lives of women and adolescents as well as a key factor in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Fagbemi said Nigeria still has 16 percent unmet needs for family planning saying this is a result of inability of many Nigerian women to access free and effective family planning method even though they would have wanted to.
According to her, other factors which lead to the increase in unmet needs include limited choices of contraceptives and lack of support from partners and even the community.
“These are the factors that have limited the vast majority of Nigerian women to access this right that is why we are calling on the National Assembly to look into the First Proclamation made at the United Nations International Conference on Human Right in 1968 which states that ‘Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children,’ and enshrine same into our statue laws.
“The theme of this year’s World Population Day is speaking to the many myths and misconceptions about modern family planning methods, it is a direct attack on norms and cultures that seek to criminalize or ridicule those who have chosen to plan their family. The government and our lawmakers must rise up and play a key role in ensuring the well-being of Nigerian women and ensuring their human right to family planning is one way to go,” Fagbemi said.
She noted that to enjoy this right, correct information in appropriate language and education about the various choices available to women to be in control of their own fertility must be made available nationwide.
“We need to let people know that modern family planning method is safe and people can actually return to their fertility once they are ready. The United Nations Population Fund said the best way to ensure sustainable development is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled; this is the goal we should work towards. But above all, we must tell them that it is their fundamental human right,” she said.
The World Population Day is celebrated every July 11 since 1989. The annual commemoration is targeted towards increasing awareness on world’s population explosion against provision of basic infrastructure and calling attention to the importance of reproductive health and the well-being of women.