“Saving the planet depends on women achieving full human rights, and that begins with reproductive rights,” writes the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (U.S.) Frances Beinecke in a new set of essays on reproductive health published by the United Nations Foundation and the Aspen Institute.
An emphasis on reproductive heath’s importance for women and girls’ empowerment and agency runs throughout the new essays, but each writer has different reasons for their support, drawn from personal stories that touch on sustaining the environment, overcoming inequality, and providing humanitarian relief, to name a few.
Robert Engelman, former president of the Worldwatch Institute, recalls coming to this realization while reflecting on his experiences reporting from Ecuador for the Associated Press in 1978: “When women can choose when to become pregnant, as so many in Panzos could not, they have families appropriate in size for their available resources. Children grow up better cared for and better educated. Women can be more productive outside the home, enabling their communities to become more prosperous and stable. Countries benefit in every way. And the growth of population slows.”
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