- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GENEVA (AP) - The United Nations says access to contraception is a universal human right that could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in poor countries.

It is the first time the U.N. Population Fund’s annual report explicitly describes family planning as a human right.

It effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.

The report released Wednesday isn’t binding and has no legal effect on national laws.

The global body also says increasing funding for family planning by a further $4.1 billion could save $11.3 billion annually in health bills for mothers and newborns in poor countries.

The U.N. doesn’t count abortion among the measures.

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