It’s no surprise that International Condom Day coincides with Valentine’s Day. What other day of the year overtly promotes love and sex? Here in the United States, we are fortunate to have ready access to family planning information, condoms to both prevent unwanted pregnancies and prevent STDs and HIV, and all of the other forms of contraceptives now available.
It’s every woman’s right to choose when and if to have children. A world where every child is wanted is the goal of Family Planning 2020 — to give 120 million additional women and girls both the right and the means to use modern contraceptives. But what about war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia — countries where political instability, social and economic upheaval, religious constraints, and large refugee populations significantly set back public health initiatives including family planning?
Often, in times of conflict, the right or ability to access family planning is one of the first things women lose. Clinics close, doctors move on, and despite such challenges, nonprofits and NGOs must step in to fill a growing unmet need, becoming critical providers of condoms and other contraception as well as training for sexual health care providers. Family planning organizations are at the forefront of what a battle to ensure women and girls have these opportunities.