As the governments of the world convene this week to discuss them, they need to look at the evidence. But they also need to listen to the voices of the millions of girls and women around the world for whom access to contraception and safe abortion is integral to their survival, to their health and to their well-being.
Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision establishing a woman's right to an abortion, was issued 41 years ago. Despite consistent public opinion to the contrary, conservatives and the religious right have patiently and relentlessly campaigned against it for decades. And recently, their efforts are finding some success.
Some see WPD as a day to focus on the population "boom," or overpopulation, but ultimately this just distracts people from a universal truth: If women and girls can access contraception, they are more likely to finish school, they will have fewer children by choice, and they are more likely to prosper.