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Supporting those on the frontline of the climate crisis with choice

While navigating the climate crisis, we need to offer women and girls reproductive choice.

Globally, the communities that contribute least to the climate crisis are suffering the most, with women in low- and middle-income countries bearing the brunt. To support women on the frontline of the crisis to adapt, we need to protect access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights. 

It is an injustice that the communities that have contributed least to the climate crisis are suffering the most from its impacts. Water scarcity, rising sea levels, and increasing crop failures and flooding are disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income countries.

Evidence shows that women and girls are hardest hit. Facing gendered discrimination, lower incomes and poorer access to food and other resources, the UN has warned that women and girls will suffer for longer and more severely from climate shocks and disasters.

The World Bank estimates that climate change could displace more than 216 million people by 2050. In humanitarian settings, where one in five women and girls report experiencing sexual violence, the need for sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights becomes more acute, yet access to quality care falls.

14 million women at risk of losing reproductive choice

Analysis from MSI Reproductive Choices across 26 climate-affected countries found that since 2011, an estimated 11.5 million women have had their access to contraception disrupted due to climate-related displacement.

MSI's modelling indicates that this will worsen over the next decade, as we estimate that 14 million women are at risk of losing access to contraception due to climate-related displacement.

If access is not protected for these women, MSI estimates that this would lead to an additional 6.2 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 5,800 maternal deaths.

Read More on the Impact of Climate Change on Choice

Reproductive choice can support adaptation

When facing climate disruptions, like any humanitarian emergency, it is essential that women have access to reproductive choice, enabling them to prevent unintended pregnancies while navigating the crisis.

For many women accessing healthcare with MSI, the climate crisis is a daily reality. When drought hits, they need to walk further to find water and when harvests fail, they can struggle to feed their families. To support them to adapt, whether that’s re-locating or re-entering the workforce to support family income, women and girls have made it clear that they want reproductive choice.

In Senegal, we met a woman who tragically lost her home due to erosion, after the climate crisis caused local sea levels to rise. Facing homelessness, she accessed contraception with MSI, providing her with the ability to avoid unintended pregnancy while establishing a new home for herself and her family.

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Enable women to lead the fight for a sustainable future

If we are going to solve the climate crisis, we need to ensure that climate action takes gender inequalities into account and that women and girls can take part in finding the solutions.

With reproductive choice, girls are able to finish their education and pursue their careers, providing them with economic stability when facing a disaster, as well as take on decision-making roles at a community and national level. This means, with choice, women can have a seat at the table in finding climate solutions.

Binetou, pictured left, lives in Joal, a coastal town in Senegal, and is President of the Baba Yaye Association, helping to rebuild the local mangroves that have been impacted by climate change. "With contraception," Binetou told us, "we can support ourselves, look after our children and get on with everyday activities."

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Join us in protecting reproductive choice

At MSI, we are doing all we can to deliver reproductive autonomy to the women and girls most impacted by the climate crisis, while using these frontline stories to advocate for a global response.

It costs only £6 per year - or 2 pence / 3 cents per day - for MSI to provide a woman or girl with reproductive choice, giving them the power to decide if or when to become pregnant and determine the path their life takes. We now need your help to protect reproductive choice for women and girls on the frontline of the climate crisis.

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Protect women's futures

Reproductive choice keeps girls in school, supports women to lead, and helps communities to thrive.

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