Barriers to Family Planning: Challenges in Access Around the World

Created with research support from Stanback Fellow Theiija Balasubramanian

Safe and voluntary family planning is an essential health service and a basic human right. Family planning is a cornerstone of gender equality and is critical to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. And yet, physical, educational, social, and legal barriers prevent millions of people globally from accessing quality family planning services every year. By identifying the barriers, effective evidence-based solutions can be implemented to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to person-centered family planning services.

Explore this page to learn more about some of the barriers that exist around the world that prevent individuals from accessing the family planning services they deserve.

Read our brief report to understand some of the barriers to family planning services that people experience worldwide.

Download the brief here.


Watch this animation for an overview of why family planning is important and the types of barriers to family planning services experienced by people around the world.


Interact with this map to learn about specific examples of some of the barriers that prevent people from accessing family planning services. Hover over a highlighted country to read about one of the barriers that exists there.

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23Hulme, J., Dunn, S., Guilbert, E., Soon, J., & Norman, W. (2015). Barriers and facilitators to family planning access in Canada. Healthcare policy = Politiques de sante, 10(3), 48–63.

24Dansereau, E., Schaefer, A., Hernández, B., Nelson, J., Palmisano, E., Ríos-Zertuche, D., Woldeab, A., Zúñiga, M. P., Iriarte, E. M., Mokdad, A. H., & El Bcheraoui, C. (2017, October 17). Perceptions of and barriers to family planning services in the poorest regions of Chiapas, Mexico: a qualitative study of men, women, and adolescents. Reproductive health.

25Jourdan, D. (2021, December). The journey towards comprehensive sexuality education: Global report. In 4th IAAH MENA Region adolescent health conference: Adolescent care, Leaving no one behind. Paris, France: UNESCO.

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