Posted on | July 10, 2012 by Lisa Correnti |
A one day conference meant to be a lead-up to the UK Family Planning Summit in London reporting the findings of a series of Family Planning studies by Lancet medical journal included an announcement by one researcher proclaiming that national and international law mandated by human rights requires all states implement family planning programs.
Paul Hunt, together with Jane Cottingham and Adrienne Germain co-authored the 5th article in the family planning research series, “Use of Human Rights to Meet the Unmet Need for the Family.”
Hunt announced that his presentation would be provocative as he set out to explain how the old model of human rights which only addressed violation(s) against individuals and offered redress, has given way to a new model for the last ten years in which human rights are used “to shape laws, policies, programmes, and projects in relation to contraceptive information and services.”
The study published by Lancet and partially funded by the Gates Foundation outlines “how human rights can be used to identify, reduce and eliminate barriers to accessing contraception…enhance laws and policies; and governments’ legal obligations in relation to contraceptives and services.
Hunt continued saying that binding international law requires accountability by all states including a public reporting on what they have done to fulfill family planning obligations.
Hunt, a former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health (2002-2008) has consistently promoted comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services as a human right. As Special Rapporteur, his report to the Human Rights Council drew a scathing denouncement from the United States for going beyond its mandate in several areas including the promotion of abortion rights.
Co-author and presenter Jane Cottingham continued reporting on their study stating “an unmet need for family planning is an unmet need for human rights.” She pointed out that successes have come from the public health and human rights argument including the overturning of abstinence-only programs in the U.S.
The third co-author of the study, Adrienne Germain was absent from the presentation. Germain was the former president of International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC). Past publications put out by this group under Germain’s leadership promoting a global access to abortion include how-to guides to eliminate laws restricting abortion and the administering of self-abortions for early and late pregnancies.