Let’s face it. We live in a scary time right now. If you are a woman living in the U.S., Ireland, El Salvador, India, or anywhere else, you are probably concerned about your sexual and reproductive health rights—and you should be! It is a time like now that we need organizations in place to help advance women’s health and their basic human rights. The Human Right to Family Planning (HR2FP) Initiative, a new program under Uplift International, believes that every woman and girl has the human right to decide if and when she wants to be pregnant, no matter where she lives.
Dr. Beth Rivin, President of Uplift International, has a plan to help women. Beth, along with everyone else behind Uplift International and the Human Right to Family Planning Initiative, want to advance women’s health and their basic human rights. Here are some highlights from a conversation with Beth:
Why is the HR2FP Initiative important?
Our approach is interdisciplinary. We view family planning as a woman’s right, and this changes the understanding about family planning. Since it is a right and not a privilege, we should have policies and programs in place to reflect that understanding. This is particularly important now because of the context we find ourselves in: millions of women and girls around the world are dying because of unsafe abortion and lack of contraceptive access to prevent unwanted pregnancies. There is a clear relationship between access to family planning and abortion rates. If we want to respect women and girls and support their health, we need to address these comprehensive family planning service needs.
How did you decide to make the HR2FP Initiative a program with Uplift International?
Uplift International has a 20 year history of educating and advocating for the human right to health, which includes family planning. Its various programs over the years were mostly in Southeast Asia and focused on advancing the health and human rights of women and children. The HR2FP Initiative is a natural fit at Uplift International.
Where do you see the HR2FP Initiative in one year?
We plan to have at least one program in a low and middle income country, which would reflect our program model of interdisciplinary work with the health and legal sectors to educate professionals and policymakers so they can change family planning policy for women and girls. We also intend to expand our education and communication program in the United States because some states or parts of states are looking more and more like a developing country, in terms of access to contraception and abortion. It seems that all women and girls are at risk of having their reproductive rights taken away from them in the current political environment. There is a lot of work to do in the U.S. to protect women.
How about in 5 years?
We expect to have a successful model in place to assist health and legal sectors in their work to improve women’s health and rights and therefore be one of the driving forces behind a positive change for reproductive health and rights.
How can the community help support the work at the HR2FP Initiative?
The community can help by providing financial support for:
- The bi-weekly digest which focuses on important international and U.S. family planning news updates
- New communication tools to spread the word about the Human Right to Family Planning
- Family planning and reproductive rights education series in the Northwest U.S. and more education programs around the U.S.
- Interdisciplinary collaboration and action meetings locally and globally among doctors, lawyers, public health professionals and other professionals who work to improve women’s and girl’s reproductive health and rights. This is the model we used successfully at our 2015 Human Right to Family Planning Conference.
As we enter the season of giving, please think about the Human Right to Family Planning Initiative. By supporting the work that we do, you are helping women and girls all around the globe, including in the U.S., in the fight for their health and human rights. Please Donate.