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Family Planning for a Healthy Pakistan

Family Planning for a Healthy Pakistan

On need of protecting a fundamental human right

Family planning is the need of every married couple today. However, some people follow it while some dither on the issue and some even do not have access to proper facilities in this regard. So, balking at opting for the family planning methods and scant availability of requisite facilities has caused an unbridled growth in our country’s population. Huge population often carries along the menaces of privations and violation of human rights. It is every individual’s right to have access to education, employment, better healthcare facilities, adequate food, safe drinking water, security and other social and civic amenities. But, when available resources are not sufficient to meet the growing needs of the people, then a race between the haves and the have-nots starts. Hence, it is always wise to cut your coat according to your cloth for which allowing population growth only in accordance with available resources is imperative. It is also necessary to provide every individual with his/her fundamental rights. It is undeniably true that the provision of human rights is possible only when family planning is followed as a policy in a country because this ensures the sufficient provision of a number of other rights. In addition, easy access of married couples to family planning facilities is, in itself, a fundamental right that was acknowledged at the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed to be a human right. In this context, World Population Day 2018 is being observed on July 11 with the theme: “Family Planning is a Human Right.”

Every woman has a right that she is provided a violence-free environment, her decision on not getting married prematurely and getting pregnant and on determining the number and spacing of pregnancies for her better health is respected; she has access to proper diet and healthcare facilities in antenatal and postnatal periods, childbirth is handled by trained medics and both mother and child are provided with proper nutrition. She has also the right to get proper care, and to take care of herself, after childbirth. Similarly, every newborn has the right to be physically and mentally healthy at the time of birth, be breastfed by her mother, be vaccinated on time, be provided sufficient opportunities to play and learn, be provided access to quality education and, above all, be given an environment where (s)he may lead a safe childhood.

Here one may ask a very pertinent question: what all these things have to do with family planning?

If seen from this angle, we find that every couple that follows family planning methods is, in reality, fulfilling all these rights, one way or the other. For instance, a family having fewer kids will have sufficient resources to look after and rear them properly. Availability of sufficient resources also means less domestic violence, and it will also help eradicate the menace of child marriage the biggest reason behind which is economic compulsions. In addition, children will get quality education and there will be no dropouts.

Family planning also means respecting a woman’s decision on getting, or not getting, pregnant. It also keeps women safe from going through the laborious process of childbirth time and again. Moreover, avoiding frequent pregnancies results in better health of the mother as well as the baby. And, when a couple would intend to have another child, they would have all the resources required to provide better care to the expectant mother and the child in her womb. So, rights of every new child can be sufficiently fulfilled.

It is also to be noted here that there is absolutely no doubt that the real Sustainer is Allah Almighty but He has ordained it as a responsibility of parents to rear their children and provide them with as best of everything as they can. However, with more number of children, how would they be able to sufficiently fulfil their parental responsibilities in this regard? A person, who is already finding it difficult to provide shelter, clothing, education, medical treatment and to give proper time to his kids, as well as in fulfilling his responsibilities toward his spouse, gets further burdened when a new child is born to him. Resultantly, he is either crushed under this encumbrance or renegades on his responsibilities. And, both these situations are unacceptable in any case. In short, the only key to avoiding these onerous responsibilities is family planning because by adopting it, many other human rights can also be fulfilled. Family planning in itself is a human right that can be fulfilled from four dimensions: one, requisite facilities are adequately available; two, they are accessible to everyone without any physical or economic constraints; three, individually and culturally acceptable; and fourth, of high quality.

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