The political dimension of sexual rights. Commentary on the paper by Chandra-Mouli et al.: a never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it

Posted by Maria Codina on January 31, 2018 at 9:14 am



Plain English summary

The recent commentary article by Chandra-Mouli and colleagues speaks of a never-before opportunity to
strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception. It calls for five things that would need to be
done differently to improve access to and provision of contraceptive services to adolescents, and five things
that countries would need to do to expand equitable access to quality contraceptive services for adolescents. Four issues, which in our view are crucial, merit a comment. 
Firstly, sexual rights are controversial and this apparently precludes a definition at the level of the United Nations. Secondly, for real progress in adolescent contraception to occur, it appears critical to thoroughly investigate and mention the factors, including political ones, that would need to be overcome. Thirdly, we endorse the suggestion that Government-led school-based education and involvement of civil society organisations are suitable ways to support programme implementation, but the ambivalence towards adolescent sexuality requires attention. And fourthly, barriers at the global level should not be silenced, in particular the fact that certain agencies put ideology before evidence. By obstructing (young) womens access to contraception they deliberately undermine womens and adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, which negatively affects their health and wellbeing. A couple of international platforms and global movements acknowledge there barriers and combine research and advocacy in order to bring influence policy.

Background

The recent commentary article by Chandra-Mouli et al. calls for five things that would need to be done differently to improve access to and provision of contraceptive services to adolescents, and five things that
countries would need to do to expand equitable access to quality contraceptive services for adolescents. The article is well referenced and sends out some very clear messages, arguing that three critical factors make this never-before’ moment for action so unique. We endorse the positive can-do’ tone of the article. We noticed though that at least four issues, which in our view are crucial, merit a comment.
Read the article ‘The political dimension of sexual rights. Commentary on the paper by Chandra-Mouli et al.: a never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action on adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it’