The recent commentary article in this journal by Chandra-Mouli et al. speaks of a never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception. We endorse the positive ‘can-do’ tone of the article, but noticed that at least four issues, which in our view are crucial, merit a comment.
First of all, the article suggests that there is some sort of shared interest, based on a presumed global consensus around the use of contraceptives by adolescents – which is not the case: sexual rights are controversial. Secondly, for real progress in adolescent contraception to occur, we believe it is critical to thoroughly investigate and mention the factors, including political ones, that would need to be overcome. Thirdly, new avenues need to be explored that allow for accurate and positive teaching of adolescents about contraception in socio-cultural and political environments that are ambivalent about the issue. Fourthly, barriers at the global level that we already know of should not be silenced. There is sufficient evidence to call upon donors and international agencies to choose position and stop obstructing women’s – including young women’s – access to a broad range of contraceptives. The ‘She Decides’ movement is a heartening example.
It is crucial to acknowledge the political dimension of sexual rights. It requires solutions not only at national levels, but also at the global level.
Chandra-Mouli V, Parameshwar PS, Parry M, Lane C, Hainsworth G, Wong S, et al. A never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it. Reprod Health. 2017;14:85. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-017-0347-9. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral
World Health Organization/Human Reproduction Programme. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/sexual_health/sh_definitions/en/. Accessed 26 Aug 2017.
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Rutgers. We all benefit. An introduction to the whole school approach for sexuality education. Utrecht: Rutgers; 2016. (available from: https://www.rutgers.international/what-we-do/comprehensive-sexuality-education/whole-school-approach-sexuality-education-step-step)
FP2020. http://www.familyplanning2020.org/. Accessed 26 Aug 2017.
Pugh S, Desai S, Ferguson L, Stöckl H, Heidari S. Not without a fight: standing up against the global gag rule. Reproductive Health Matters. 2017;25:49. https://doi.org/10.1080/09688080.2017.1303250. CrossRef
Peters, A. Fumbling with the female condom – hidden power in the global response to AIDS. Dissertation, Radboud university, Nijmegen; 2016.
Share-Net International. http://share-netinternational.org/. Accessed 19 Sept 2017.
She Decides. https://www.shedecides.com/. Accessed 19 Sept 2017.
The political dimension of sexual rights.
Commentary on the paper by Chandra-Mouli et al.: a never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it
Billie de Haas
- BioMed Central
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