Nine Can't-Miss Quotes on Reproductive Rights from Strong Women Around the Globe

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It’s far too often that women aren’t in the room when decisions are being made about their reproductive health and rights. But all around the world, daring women are standing up to the status quo and speaking up on behalf of women everywhere.

With International Women’s Day 2014 approaching, we’ve collected some of our favorite quotes from bold women on family planning and reproductive rights below. We also hope you will share your favorites in the comments.

  1. “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion”

    – Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State
  2. “To be engaged in the economic sphere, to create income, to contribute to family health and well-being and to the country’s development, we must have family planning services.”

    – Roman Tesfaye, Ethiopia’s First Lady
  3. “No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.”

    – Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood
  4. “It is only when a woman is economically empowered that she can negotiate at household level with her husband about the number of children that body of hers can have.”

    – Joyce Banda, Malawi’s first female President
  5. “It's long been accepted as fact that the availability of family planning services saves lives. Where women have access to these services, children and families are healthier, and society at large benefits.”

    – Martha Plimpton, American actress and reproductive rights advocate
  6. “Young people everywhere have the right to the knowledge, tools and services they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and live full, healthy and productive lives.”

    – Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver
  7. “From the woman who musters the courage to ask her husband to wear a condom, counter to cultural pressures, to the woman in Parliament who demands access to affordable reproductive health services for women who need them most, daring knows no scale or status.”

    – Purnima Mane, President and CEO of Pathfinder International
  8. “When we talk about ‘reproductive rights’ this is what we mean. It’s the difference between people as objects, and people as agents: between regarding people as pawns on the policy chessboard and recognizing them as the players, the decision-makers, the drivers of policy; autonomous individuals intimately concerned with the direction of their own lives. Under these conditions women, especially, enjoy better health and live fuller lives.”

    – Nafis Sadik, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General
  9. “Contraceptives unlock one of the most dormant, but potentially powerful assets in development: women as decision-makers. When women have the power to make choices about their families, they tend to decide precisely what demographers, economists, and development experts recommend. They invest in the long-term human capital of their families.”

    – Melinda Gates, Co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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