Pope Francis’ Comments on Contraception Are Not Good Enough
Statement from Elisha Dunn-Georgiou, Vice President of Programs
Pope Francis’ comments about access to abortion and contraception in the context of the Zika epidemic fail to recognize women’s reproductive rights as human rights, and the health and lifesaving benefits of ensuring access to contraceptives.
Pope Francis’ comments negate the work of the thousands of mainstream faith-based NGOs who are already working to expand access to contraception for the 225 million women in the developing world who need it. Faith-based organizations are key healthcare providers and advocates, delivering as much as 40% of primary health care services, including reproductive, maternal and newborn care in regions like sub-Saharan Africa.
Complications from pregnancy are a leading cause of death for women of reproductive age in the developing world, especially for adolescent girls. By reducing unintended pregnancies, it is estimated that access to contraception alone leads to as much as a 30% decrease in maternal and child mortality. These are lives that need no epidemic or “special circumstance” to be saved. Access to contraception is and should be a fundamental right—no matter where a woman lives.
PAI stands with the faithful who continue to be at the front lines of primary and reproductive health care and who see no conflict between the health and life-saving benefits of contraception and their faith.
PAI champions policies that put women in charge of their reproductive health. We work with policymakers in Washington and our network of partners in developing countries to remove roadblocks between women and the services and supplies they need. For over 50 years, we’ve helped women succeed by upholding their basic rights. To learn more, visit pai.org.