For the first time, the United Nations is taking a strong stance in support of global access to contraception, calling it a basic human right.

In the recently released U.N. Population Fund's annual report, the organization details how global access to contraception could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in poor countries, and save the world $5.7 billion in health care costs.

The report noted that inadequate family planning in developing countries was a major cause of poverty and poor health.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, had this to say:

"Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development. Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women's increased labor-force participation boosts nations' economies."
The report estimated that as many as 222 million women currently have insufficient access to contraceptives.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.