The State of the World Population Report 2021 reveals that nearly half of all women are deprived of their bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy refers to the power and agency to make choices about your body without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you. Based on the report released by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the title ‘My Body is My Own,’ 45% of the women from 57 developing countries, including the Philippines, are not empowered to make choices regarding their health care, contraception, and the ability to say yes or no to sex. Millions of women worldwide also experienced difficulties in accessing family planning information and services due to the imposed restricted mobility of people caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) fears, may result into a surge of unplanned pregnancies.

Thus, the celebration of the World Contraception Day 2021 still focuses on the promotion of various campaigns that will empower individuals to make wisely their choices and exercise their rights with regards to their overall well-being including their sexual and reproductive health (SRH). This year’s local celebration focuses on the theme “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning: World Contraception Day 2021.” Areas of concern such as contraception, sexual violence, love and sex, teenage pregnancy, sex education, and stereotyping are this year’s focus of the celebration.

To highlight the celebration, POPCOM Region I will feature on its Beshytaktakan episode on September 27, 2021 guests from the Private Birthing Home Association of Pangasinan (PBHAP) and Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) Pangasinan Chapter, two civil society organizations; Department of Health; and the Provincial Health Office of La Union. Other initiatives to highlight the worldwide campaign include the posting of social media cards about the celebration, continued FP information and service caravans in the localities, media guestings, etc.

The World Contraception Day, celebrated every 26th of September annually, is centered on the vision where every pregnancy is wanted. It aims to improve awareness on contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. (by: Mae Grace M. Ariola/ POPCOM Region I)