When the Millennium Development Goals were originally drafted, reproductive health was completely excluded. Of course, it did not take long for leaders to realize what a grave mistake this was, and shortly after it was added to the list. With the goals’ expiration coming in nearly a year, many battles have been fought in the realm of global reproductive health. However, we still have a long journey ahead of us.
When Bill Gates attended a business conference in Saudi Arabia, he was asked what the Saudis could do to become one of the top 10 countries in the world in terms of technology. Gates’ answer was simple and far more obvious than expected: “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top.”
Women play a major role in today’s society and have brought great growth to the political and economic success of many of the world’s countries. However, if they are not being protected accordingly, specifically in developing countries, the rest of the world will never be able to catch up. The choice for women to control how many children they have is not only moral, it is necessary for the world to thrive.
Reproductive health problems still continue to be the leading cause of ill health and death in women of child-bearing age. Teen pregnancy is the number one cause of mortality for girls between the ages of 15 and 19, and nearly 10 percent of all girls in low and middle income countries are mothers before they reach the age of 16. Impoverished women remain especially at risk for unintended pregnancies, maternal disability or death, sexually transmitted infections, and gender-based violence.
In order to truly combat the global health problem, reproductive health and reproductive rights must not cease to be addressed. Women need to both be educated about the risks of pregnancy and sexual interaction and understand that they have a personal choice in such situations.