Family Planning is Your Right!

Apr 10, 2020 | Blog, Pakistan

Family is at the center of the Pakistani way of life, but many Pakistanis are unaware of their right to family planning and its benefits.

By the Research & Development Forum for Safe Motherhood, an affiliate of the global White Ribbon Alliance

You First Need to Understand Family Planning

A healthy family life becomes a support system for an individual. For a healthy family life, it is important for you to be aware of your right to family planning. Family planning is the practice of taking intervals between births. In Pakistan’s case, family planning was interpreted by the country’s Supreme Court as a part of right of life, which is guaranteed in the constitution.

Family Planning is NOT Birth Control

The right of family planning encourages couples to mutually decide the number of children they will have and when they will have them. It does not encourage birth control or policies that limit the number of children a couple could have like China’s one-child policy. Family planning is also not forced abortions, which are extremely harmful for the mother’s health. Rather, family planning encourages couples to practice birth spacing and empowers women to actively make decisions about their reproductive health. Many international conventions, as well as laws in Pakistan, have established family planning as a right.

Educate After Getting Educated

However, due to illiteracy, societal taboos, and inconsistency of messaging on family planning, many couples in Pakistan are unaware of their established right to family planning. In Pakistani society, especially in rural areas, it is believed that having a lot of children is a good thing. However, once you — an educated and responsible Pakistani — have learned about your right to family planning, it is your responsibility, along with that of other educated and informed Pakistanis, to spread awareness on this right to those who lack the same access to family planning resources and information.

The Size of Your Family is YOUR Choice

If you are a young Pakistani couple, then you need to realize that family planning is your right and the size of your family must be your choice. No one can force you to have more or less children than what you want. You have a right to access services, tools and information related to family planning, and it is the duty of the state to provide you with all these facilities.

Birth Spacing is Supported by Religion

It is noted that many of you face pressure to have a child soon after your marriage, and the right to family planning does not discourage you from doing so. If you have a child soon after your marriage, then family planning encourages you to space the birth of your second child. This is not only supported by our government, but also our religion.

According to the Holy Quran:

“Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period].”

Surah Baqara: 233

It is believed that as long as a woman breastfeeds, she should not conceive.

It is Crucial for Women’s Health

Birth spacing brings numerous health benefits, especially for women. Around 178 per 1,000 women die in Pakistan while giving birth. Many of these deaths are avoidable through birth spacing. Spacing can also put an end to the practice of women opting for risky abortions for eliminating unwanted pregnancies.

Birth Spacing is Good for Your Mental Health

Similarly, birth spacing improves a couple’s mental health as unplanned and unwanted pregnancies can be a source of stress and conflict in the family. The right to family planning encourages you to have children when you are mentally ready to do so. Pregnancy is a difficult time not only for the mother, but also the father. Taking a gap in your pregnancy will improve your mental health and enable you to maintain a healthy relationship as a couple.

Family Planning is a Great Financial Relief

Additionally, family planning adds a lot of economic benefits to a household. Planning a pregnancy will allow you to adequately manage the finances of the household, and it will allow you to handle your current expenses while saving for the cost of birth and items for the baby. Birth spacing will also allow couples to save enough money to absorb the new load of added finances after the baby.

Family Planning is Your Key to a Good Life

In a nutshell, family planning is important for you because it is your basic human right. You will observe drastic benefits in your life when you start practicing it. It is essential for young couples in Pakistan because it improves not only your mental and physical health, but also your financial standing. It does not force you to limit your family size, but it rather empowers you to actively decide the number of children you want.

Your family size is your choice, and this choice is, fundamentally, your right.

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