Fifty years ago, it became official: Family planning is a human right
Fifty years ago, on 13 May, the world declared family planning to be a basic human right.
Throughout all of human history, efforts to plan, avoid or delay pregnancy had been a private struggle endured by women and girls. But at the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, family planning became a human rights obligation of every country, government and policymaker.
The conference’s outcome document, known as the Teheran Proclamation, stated unequivocally: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”
Embedded in this legislative language was a game-changing realization: Women and girls have the right to avoid the exhaustion, depletion and danger of too many pregnancies, too close together. Men and women have the right to choose when and how often to embrace parenthood – if at all. Every individual has the human right to determine the direction and scope of his or her future in this fundamental way.