Conceptualizing and Measuring Contraceptive Autonomy: A New Rights-Based Family Planning Indicator

Leigh G. Senderowicz , Harvard University

Though increased attention to quality and rights in family planning has been paid since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, these concepts have been famously difficult to operationalize and measure. This paper proposes the concept of “contraceptive autonomy” as the basis of a novel population-based indicator for family planning that is grounded in a rights-based framework. First, the paper explores the definition and conceptualization of contraceptive autonomy and then proposes a detailed methodology for its measurement. The concept of contraceptive autonomy focuses on concordance between a woman’s use(non-use) of a contraceptive method and her desire to use(not use) a method, using informed choice, full choice and free choice as essential components of autonomous decision-making. Aiming to increase contraceptive autonomy rather than contraceptive use/uptake may help reduce or eliminate various forms of non-rights-based care from FP programs, making them more women-centered and responsive to women’s needs

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 Presented in Session 116. Innovations in Measurement for Fertility, Family Planning, and Sexual and Reproductive Health