A new law in the Philippines that "requires the government to meet the unmet need for voluntary family planning information and supplies" and all public schools to teach age-appropriate sexuality education went into effect on January 16, Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), notes in a Huffington Post "Global Motherhood" opinion piece. "Advocates hail the law as a breakthrough for women's health and rights and say it will reduce maternal deaths and unplanned pregnancies, especially among teenagers, bolster development and enable all segments of society to decide freely and responsibly when, whether and how often to have children," he adds.
"Research shows that family planning can empower a woman and transform her life, through higher incomes and educational attainment, better health, and greater involvement in her community and in her own household's affairs," Osotimehin writes, adding, "Family planning is clearly one of the most critically important investments that we can make in health, in women's rights, and in the life trajectories of young people." He continues, "The new law in the Philippines will help tear down some of these barriers and enable the country to move closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goal target of universal access to reproductive health by 2015," concluding, "Family planning is here to stay. The next great challenge is to make it available to all, for the sake of equity, health, rights and empowerment" (1/23).