Asuncion, Oct 17 (EFE).- Gender inequality and a lack of comprehensive sex education are among the main challenges facing reproductive rights in Latin America, the director of the region’s chapter of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) told EFE.
Esteban Caballero cited a report released by the UNFPA on Wednesday, which shows a decrease in fertility rates worldwide, possibly caused by a growing exercise of reproductive rights.
Caballero explained that, while Latin America and the Caribbean have moved toward lower fertility rates, “not all social groups have reached the desired rates,” as people in “rural or poor” areas have limited access to family planning services.
Latin America is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in the rate of teen pregnancy.
Caballero also said that gender inequality also affects women’s rights to “decide” about motherhood, highlighting the importance of giving them access to public programs that allow them to acquire the knowledge and skills required to demand access to such services.
Another obstacle that the region must surmount is the lack of comprehensive sex education in public schools, which, according to the director, is not only a question of giving teens access to reproductive health services, but also engaging in “dialog and consensus,” regarding the “moral judgment” around whether “teens should have sex.”
He also pointed to the fact that some countries limit access to contraceptives, and urged an evidence-based approach to health, rather than one stemming from “value judgments.”
“There is no ideal fertility rate,” he said, adding that policy should aim to afford women the right to “achieve their own desired fertility” through a “variety of options.”