Access to Birth Control Methods Rises Worldwide

Article excerpt

Access to birth control - and choice of methods - has improved throughout the world since the early 1980s, says a new study by a population research group.

On average, between two and three methods of birth control are now widely available in developing countries, compared with fewer than two methods in 1982, says Washington-based Population Action International (PAI).

"US foreign aid has played a key role in the expansion of contraceptive choices," says Shanti Conly, editor of the report. In 1995, the US and the United Nations Population Fund accounted for more than half the cost of contraceptives donated to developing countries. Cuts in US funding for international family planning could jeopardize the gains nations have made, PAI warns. The Clinton administration has requested $400 million in family-planning money for the next budget, a decrease from 1995 but an increase over this year's budget. In recent Congresses, anti-abortion forces have reined in US spending on international family planning. The report says access to contraception rose fastest in Africa, because the baseline was so low; Africa still lags far behind the rest of the world. …