May 28 2013 Call for Action

Full report of May 28 2013 - International Day of Action for Women's Health can be viewed here




Call for Action 


Contraceptives allow everyone to enjoy a healthy and pleasurable sexual life. Access to a wide range of contraceptives options - specifically women-centric contraceptives- accompanied by accurate information and affordable, quality and friendly services, enable women and young people to have full control over their bodies and their fertility.
Contraceptives methods are essential to prevent unintended pregnancies and pregnancy related complications. It is also the most effective way to reduce and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Numerous studies have shown that when the right to contraceptives has been upheld and access to information and services increased, people have benefited – through better health, higher incomes, reduction in poverty and greater gender equality.
Our governments have made commitments to ensure that individuals have the information, education and mean to freely and responsibly decide whether, when and with whom to have children, and agreed that modern means of contraception is a right, yet these commitments continue to be systematically neglected and forgotten.
As WGNRR’s enters its 30th year of campaigning to demand respect and recognition of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice for all, we would like to invite you to join WGNRR to call on demand that all 

governments provide a full range of contraceptive methods and options, and ensure access to accurate contraceptive information and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for all. Join us in seizing the opportunity at the Post2014/2015 processes to highlight the lack of access to – and availability of – universal sexual and reproductive health services
 This May 28, International Day of Action for Women’s Health, WGNRR is calling its members, sisters and allies to assert 
Access to Contraceptives is a Human Right!
Governments from all over the world have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to have access to contraceptive services and information, accordingly with the human rights treaties and international human rights standards and the consensus documents as well, such as the ICPD PoA and Beijing Platform of Action.
They also have the obligation to take the necessary actions to achieving progressively the full realization of these rights, to the maximum extent of their available resources.
[2] In this sense, they must ensure that other agreements, commitments, programs and consensus give a step forward in the realization of these rights.
Nearly twenty years ago 179 governments represented at the ICPD, endorsed the Programme of Action committing to ensure that individuals have the information, education and means to freely and responsibly decide whether and when to have children and agreed that family planning assisted by modern means of contraception is a right. In 2012, discussions began to consider the new development goals or New Development Agenda
[3] which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which end in 2015. As part of this debate, sexual and reproductive health and rights targets outlined within the MDGs and ICPD are being examined and proposals developed, relating to the extent to which SRHR will be included in the NDA.
WGNRR considers that this May 28th provides a unique opportunity to demand the full realisation of sexual and reproductive rights, including access to contraceptives and abortion services, be included in the NDA and that adequate financing systems are provided to enable these goals to be realised.

|Concerning Trends| 

While there is a gradual increase in contraceptive use over the decades however access to safe and affordable contraceptives remains to be an unmet need for millions around the world. 

  • Roughly 222 million women in the Global South rely on traditional contraceptive methods only or do not use any contraceptive method at all, despite their desire to avoid or delay pregnancy.
  • In 2012 alone, the lack of access to contraceptives will contribute to 80 million of unintended pregnancies. These unintended pregnancies will result in 30 million unplanned births, 40 million abortions, mostly unsafe and illegal, and 10 million miscarriages.[4] It is estimated that 47 000 women will die as a result of unsafe abortion due to their inability to access reliable contraceptive methods  and due to the denial of access  to safe abortion services.

According to the data from the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, satisfying the current unmet need for contraceptives could prevent approximately 150 000 maternal deaths, 25 million induced abortions and 22 million unplanned births worldwide annually. [5]

Around the world, social, religious, economic, and political pressures contribute to the unmet need for contraceptive services and information. These barriers specifically target and limit the access of marginalised groups such as young people, sex workers, indigenous peoples, persons with disability, people of diverse sexual and gender identities, migrants and those living in militarised and post-conflict communities. Efforts to advance the right to contraceptives services and information are negatively impacted, delayed or reversed by factors such as:

  • Gender inequality and patriarchal norms
  • Costs and affordability
  • Lack of knowledge and misconceptions
  • Cultural or religious reasons
  • Restrictive laws and policies
  • Spousal or parental consent
  • Limited availability
  • Negative attitudes towards young people seeking to learn about contraceptive services and information

As a result, access to the contraceptive services and information becomes a privilege enjoyed by a few rather than a right exercised by all. Ultimately, whether women and young people, and other marginalised groups are able to make decisions regarding their sexuality and fertility, depends on the governments’ commitments to uphold protect and fulfil its human rights obligations to its citizens.

It is time to end the violation of women and young women´s rights to have access to contraceptive services and information! We must make our governments accountable!
Register your voice and demand Access to Contraceptives Now!

|Take action|

This coming May 28, the International Day of Action for Women’s Health we call on the UN, international institutions and governments to take the following actions:

             Promote sexual and reproductive health as a right, the exercise of which enables the          
             attainment of a whole range of other rights.

             Ensure access to a full range of contraceptive services specifically making women-centric
             contraceptives such as female condoms, emergency contraceptives, cervical caps and
                    the like, available, accessible and affordable for everyone. Contraceptive methods must
                    be voluntary, non-coercive, gender-sensitive, and provided on a non-judgmental,
                    non-discriminatory basis.

            Eliminate legal, economic, social, logistical and financial obstacles to voluntary
            reproductive health services so that everyone who chooses to use it has access
                   to it.

            Make sure that the services receive sustained and adequate public investment and
            support, be publicly accessible, and be available nationwide to full range of users,
                   including adolescents, unmarried people, and all others who need it, especially the
                   marginalised populations.

            Reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing availability,
            reliability and quality of reproductive health- including contraceptive- supplies and services.

            Guarantee and increase access to comprehensive non-formal and formal sexuality
            education for all and especially for young people. 

            Eliminate cultural, religious, legal and social barriers to this access, such as parental or
            spousal consent requirements, restrictions on particular contraceptive method (for
                   example emergency contraception), restriction based on marital status, or requirements
                   that women have a minimum of children.

            Promote and uphold UN and regional human rights frameworks, and emerging rights
            frameworks that affirm sexual and reproductive rights including access to contraceptives.

|Actions We Can Take|

            Send a letter to your Ministry of Health asking for the fulfillment of its obligations to ensure
            access to free or affordable sexual and reproductive health services including
                   contraceptive services and information.
            Occupy the social media on May 28 with hash tags #May28DayofAction
            Contribute to the WGNRR crowd-sourcing video that will highlight concerns, views,
            statements, opinions on Access to Contraceptives. 
            Create safe places for discussions about your experiences: Develop strategies to
            mobilise and organise locally for access to contraceptives to be affirmed as a human
                   right, and to confront violations you have experienced.
            Hold local forums and public meetings to raise awareness about the urgent need to
            defend sexual and reproductive rights as universal, indivisible human rights.
            Organise public actions with banners, leaflets, music, dance, photo exhibits and other
            creative forms of expression to raise the profile of your local demands for the respect of
                   reproductive and sexual rights.
            Demand that sexual and reproductive health services (SRHR) are included in the new
            development agenda targets. SRHR is required to reduce poverty, increase health and
                   well- being for all people and promote gender equity.


 Make a stand. Take action. Insist that your government recognises and protect SRHR! 
Demand for Access to Contraceptives Now!

This Call for Action can:

  • Spur local campaigns and actions to demand access to contraceptive services and information
  • Connect local campaigns with global initiatives for recognition of SRHR as human rights.
  • Be translated, adapted, copied, or redistributed without permission for action to ensure that local, national and international actors are held accountable.
  • Strengthen our organisations and our networking

WGNRR thank the following organisations for their contributions to the Call for Action: Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), Blue Mountain Clinic Family Practice USA, Tajik Family Planning Alliance Tajikistan, Dandelion Kenya, CAGWEESA Cameroon, PONTON Health Group Poland,PACOPA asbl Democratic Republic of Congo, Generation Initiative for Women and Youth Network Nigeria, Samsara Indonesia, and Rowun Nepal as well as WGNRR intern Babette Verdult, WGNRR Volunteers Cris Cadano, Ana Carillo and Johanna Svoboda
  and other dedicated individuals who helped to shape this Call for Action.



[1] Guttmacher Institute & UNFPA, Adding it Up: The Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (2009),
[2] Center for Reproductive Rights, Briefing Paper “The Right to Contraceptive information and services for women and adolescents” (2010); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted Dec. 16, 1966, art. 2, para. 1 G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), U.N. GAOR, Supp. No. 16, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966) (entered into force Jan. 3, 1976).
[3]In early 2012 Rio´20 took place to start framing the post 2015 agenda. In September 2014, the UN General Assembly at a Special Session will discuss the ICPD+20 review process and the subsequent reports and in September 2015, the new development frameworks will be discussed at what is called the MDG+ forums.
[4] Guttmacher Institute & UNFPA, Fact Sheet “Costs and Benefits of Investing in Contraceptive Services in the Developing World” (2012),
[5] Ibid.


Download full text:

Call for Action

Appel à l'Action 

Llamado à la Acción 

Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network (LACWHN) Call for Action



Download May 28 materials

Call for Action Flyer: English

Poster:  English

Stickers: English - Access to Contraceptives

English - for healthy sexual life

Buttons: Access to Contraceptives

For healthy sexual life


List of Members' Actions planned for May 28: the International Day of Action for Women's Health.

To view the details of actions, please click HERE

Members from these countries will have an event on May 28:

WGNRR at Women Deliver


Democratic Republic of Congo








Puerto Rico

Planning an action in your community? Don't forget to tell us about it!

Action Alerts


Access to Contraceptives is a Human Right



Full report of May 28 2013 - International Day of Action for Women's Health can be viewed here