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UK SRHR Network responds to Guttmacher Institute figures showing the impact of UK family planning cuts

22nd October 2021

SheDecides and five Champion organisations, members of the UK SRHR Network, have signed the response to the new data and call on the UK Government to re-establish its position as a leading donor and invest in helping ensure women and girls can have control over their bodies and lives.

The Guttmacher Institute has today released new data showing the impact of the UK’s funding cuts on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

These figures show the devastating impact on the lives of women and girls around the world that together with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic threaten to undo years of progress towards gender equality and increasing access to reproductive choice.

They also show how much can be achieved through UK aid spending. We welcome the new Foreign and Development Secretary’s commitment to prioritise women and girls. She now has an opportunity to ensure that future spending decisions deliver on this commitment through increasing funding to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality.

Ensuring women and girls can access vital health services and are able to make their own reproductive choices is critical to ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. It is also essential for enabling all girls to receive a quality education. Currently, only half of women and girls in low- and middle-income countries are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception, and the ability to say yes or no to sex[i].

It is also not just the right thing to do, but a smart choice; achieving access for all to sexual and reproductive health services by 2030 and meeting the need for modern contraception by 2040 generates cost-savings, returning £100 for every pound spent[ii].

When women and young people can plan their families and futures, entire communities and nations thrive.

The UK Government has an opportunity to re-establish its position as a leading donor and invest in helping ensure women and girls can have control over their bodies and lives.

‘An average of £500 million per year would constitute only 4% of the aid budget - the same proportion as a year ago[iii] - but would make a huge contribution to supporting the 218 million women and girls who want to avoid a pregnancy access a modern method of contraception, help end the nearly 300,000 maternal deaths and 34 million unsafe abortions each year as well as helping to end AIDS among women and girls.

The forthcoming commitments round to the FP2030 partnership offers an excellent opportunity for the UK to renew its contribution for SRHR programming and supplies over the next 3 years as part of their FP2030 commitment.


  • Erica Belanger, Executive Director, SafeHands
  • Rose Caldwell, CEO, Plan International UK
  • Lois Quam, CEO, Pathfinder
  • Laurie Lee, CEO, Care International UK
  • Dr Edward Morris, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Simon Cooke, CEO, MSI Reproductive Choices
  • Karin Nilsson, Lead, SheDecides Support Unit
  • Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell, CEO, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
  • David Johnson, CEO, Margaret Pyke Trust
  • Jessica Woodroffe, Director, Gender and Development Network
  • Marianne Haslegrave, Director, Commonwealth Medical Trust (Commat)
  • Charlie Gamble, CEO, TackleAfrica
  • Adrian Brown, Chair, Maternity Worldwide
  • Jo Elms, Managing Director, Options
  • Alvaro Bermejo, Director General, IPPF
  • Christine Stegling, Executive Director, Frontline AIDS
  • Kay King, Executive Director, White Ribbon Alliance
  • Henry Pomeroy, Director, CHASE Africa

  • References:

  • [i] UNFPA State of World Population report 2021, My body is my own: Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination

  • [ii] Copenhagen Consensus Population and Demography | Copenhagen Consensus Center

  • [iii] The UK has consistently spent 4% of ODA on SRHR over past years and £500million per year is a continuation of this, adjusted for a 0.5% GNI for ODA budget

  • Originally posted on SafeHands.org