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Full reproductive and sexual health rights essential for maternal health goals

June 21, 2010

In order to realize international health goals aiming to improve maternal health, recognition of women's full reproductive and sexual health rights is crucial. In an editorial published this week entitled "Maternal Health: Time to Deliver," the PLoS Medicine editors argue that action on maternal health must focus on increasing access to family planning resources as much as it does access to basic medical care.

Family planning--the ability to choose the number, spacing, and timing of children--is vital to educational attainment and economic productivity, and reducing unwanted pregnancies and family size is associated with lower public spending on the health care system and social services, say the editors. Further, access to family planning services, including contraception and abortion, forms the basis of women's empowerment and control over their sexual and reproductive lives and is vital to women's health and dignity. The editors argue that recognition of women's sexual and reproductive rights is particularly essential to maternal health progress in regions where women's status is diminished and their inability to negotiate safe sex increases the risk of leading causes of death and disability such as HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, and sexual violence.
-end-
The editorial is published alongside two Policy Forum articles by Joy Lawn, Robert Black, and colleagues that launch the PLoS Medicine series on maternal, neonatal, and child health in Africa series.

Funding: Funding: The authors are each paid a salary by the Public Library of Science, and they wrote this editorial during their salaried time.

Competing Interests: Competing Interests: The authors' individual competing interests are at http://www.plosmedicine.org/static/editorsInterests.action. PLoS is funded partly through manuscript publication charges, but the PLoS Medicine Editors are paid a fixed salary (their salary is not linked to the number of papers published in the journal).

Citation: Citation: The PLoS Medicine Editors (2010) Maternal Health: Time to Deliver. PLoS Med 7 (6): e1000300. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000300

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000300

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/pmed-07-06-editors.pdf

CONTACT:
PLoS Medicine Editors
Public Library of Science
medicine_editors@plos.org

PLOS

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