Georgina Guedes

Bring on the condoms

2012-11-16 17:00

Georgina Guedes

Human rights is a term that’s bandied about by the United Nations with as much enthusiasm as a young teenager trying out a new swearword.

This is not to say that I am against the notion of having a whole slew of incontrovertible rights – heaven knows we need them – but that sometimes the allocation of an impossible-to-achieve ideal as a right dilutes the urgency with which we should be hastening to ensure all the others.

For instance, the UN would have internet access as a basic human right. I agree that it’s a fantastic thing to have, and it is an essential tool for bridging economic and educational gaps. But there are places in Africa and elsewhere in the world that don’t have, you know, electricity or comms coverage - making that whole internet access thing a bit tricky.

This being the case, I wouldn’t want any government to interrupt its efforts in ensuring that remote villagers have access to clean water or food in order to strap a massive satellite dish onto the back of a donkey to get them internet access instead.

Of course, the thing about human rights is that we should all be entitled to all of them – it’s not a pick and choose list. But perhaps there should be human rights and human nice-to-haves. Or maybe urgent human rights and long-term human rights.

That aside, a report has just been released by the United Nations Population Fund, calling for contraception to be made a basic human right. I’m all for this. In fact, I’m a little gobsmacked that it’s trailing behind the internet…

The ability to choose whether or not to bear a child is a gift from science. It supports women in being able to determine their own future rather than being subject to the whims of their reproductive system or the requirements of a partner.

As a woman with two children, a husband, a job and a home, I am delirious with excitement at the fact that contraception exists. The baby shop is shut, my body took strain, my health took a knock, my marriage had some dark patches, and now I have what I want in a family – because we planned it.

I am the woman I am today because of the things I have experienced and the relationships I’ve had in the past. If I’d had to shack up with my first boyfriend because we’d produced a child together, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today and I certainly wouldn’t have lead the life I have.

So, if a privileged, educated woman like me thanks her lucky stars every day that she can put a stop to the baby wagon, imagine what a difference contraception can make to a young rural woman who could be feeding multiple mouths with nothing, or making a difference in her life.

Those with a religious objection to contraception have very little faith in their God’s almightiness if he things that a little pill or wisp of rubber can stand between him and his desire for his people to multiply. Those who would preach abstinence over contraception can keep right on blabbing while the world’s population swells and disease is spread.

Never mind the environmental concerns of overpopulation and the fact that in the next 50 or so years, things are going to become a wee bit cramped on planet Earth.

I would like to add my voice to the United Nations’ call for contraception as a basic human right – because I believe it is that important, and it can make a difference to women, to families and to the population of the entire world.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

- News24


South Africa needs the arts

2014-10-24 09:02


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.