High levels of unmet need for contraception around the world have a very negative impact on women's and children's health and survival as well as on the prosperity of communities and nations. The benefits of meeting this need are clear.
The United Nations Population Fund states that reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of illness and death for women of childbearing age worldwide. To put it in stark figures: 800 women die in childbirth every day.
For most of us, a new baby coming into the family is ample reason for joy and celebration. But imagine a world where a new pregnancy means having to choose which beloved child to feed, clothe, or provide medicine to.
Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy. Even more tragic: many of these deaths could be prevented with a simple and cost-effective solution -- voluntary family planning.
This year we actually have something to celebrate on World Population Day. Foundations, NGOs, and donor countries, led by the United Kingdom, will come together for an international summit on family planning.
Providing women and their families with access to an array of effective, evidence-based programs allows them to select the approach that meets their needs and belief systems, is the best strategy to ensure the most lives are saved and families are lifted up.
Providing family planning information and services to millions of women and girls in the poorest countries in the world gives them the opportunity to determine their own futures, and the best future for their children. As a woman and a mother, I can't imagine anything more important.
While Rio+20 did not produce any major environmental breakthroughs, there is hope on another front: population. An international family planning summit will take place in London on July 11, World Population Day.
Both the Global Family Planning Summit and research published in The Lancet potentially obscure the fact that, to be blunt, a wealthy woman in a poor country is likely to have better access to care than a poor woman in a wealthy country.
And just like that, we say goodbye to all of it, say with certainty that we are done, we are parents to these three and no more, no longer getting to rewind the tape with each newborn, to relive that particular kind of falling in love.