Marie Stopes International (MSI) plays an important role in shaping UK government policy on sexual and reproductive health through its campaigns.

Easy access to emergency contraception
MSI believes easy access to emergency hormonal contraception is vital. MSI is campaigning for the continuation of over-the-counter provision in pharmacies and would like to see the scheme developed, with a reduction in cost and ease of access for young people.

Voice for Choice campaign
MSI believes the UK should fall into line with the rest of Europe and make abortion available on request in the first trimester (up to 14 weeks). At the moment, women in the UK still have to secure the approval of two doctors before they can access an abortion. Abortion on request is key to the Voice for Choice campaign, of which MSI is a member.

Voice for Choice also campaigns for:

. abortion to be available with only one doctor's approval from 15 to 24 weeks, under the criteria of the current 1967 Act
. placing a duty on doctors to declare any conscientious objection to abortion that they may have, and to refer women immediately to another doctor who does not share that view
. extending this amended act to Northern Ireland
. placing a duty on the National Health Service to provide sufficient abortion services to cover local needs. - Publications

Sex education
MSI campaigns for early sex education in the UK to reduce the country's high rates of teenage pregnancy. In line with the Government's strategy to halve the rate of pregnancy in under-18s by 2010, MSI is producing publications and interactive multimedia materials to educate young people about sex before they become sexually active. MSI is also committed to protecting this vulnerable age group against sexually transmitted infections, which can lead to long-term infertility.

Take a look at our youth website,

The Marie Stopes International (MSI) Global Partnership plays an important role in shaping international policy on sexual and reproductive health through its campaigns.

Sex Positions
The MSI Partnership, in collaboration with Interact Worldwide, has launched a campaign to put pressure on the UK government to take the lead in ensuring that the international donor community fulfils promises made a decade ago to support global efforts to achieve sexual and reproductive health and rights for all by 2015; and to lead opposition to those political and ideological forces in the USA, Europe and elsewhere that are actively seeking to undermine and even reverse progress made in the last decade.

Members of the UK public are being asked to take part in our Sex Positions campaign by sending their MPs a special postcard. As your elected representative, your MP is duty bound to respond to your request and take action on your behalf. Your involvement is crucial to the success of the campaign and can contribute to efforts to end the dreadful waste of human lives, which every year sees over 500,000 women from the developing world die unnecessarily, simply as a result of being pregnant.

"Women are not dying because of diseases we cannot treat. they are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving." Dr Mahmoud Fathalla, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Assiut University, Egypt.

If you believe their lives are worth saving, order our action pack today and ask your MP: Sex: What position will you adopt?

To order a printed copy telephone: 020 7574 7421. The printed pack contains a postcard for you to send to your MP asking: Sex: what position will you adopt? Please allow 14 days for delivery of printed packs.

Overturning the gag rule
The MSI Partnership is committed to overturning the US Government's Mexico City Policy (also known as the Global Gag Rule). This was reintroduced by the Bush Administration in January 2001. The policy prevents any USAID money going to family planning agencies that provide or promote abortion or even give abortion information in counselling sessions.

The policy has resulted in the loss of more than $3 million to the MSI Partners in Africa, leading to the closure of three centres in Kenya, an outreach programme servicing poor communities in Ethiopia and further centres in Tanzania.

Keeping reproductive health on the agenda
The MSI Partnership welcomes European and international initiatives, including the Global Fund, to address the world's three most prevalent communicable diseases: HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. However, it wants to ensure that the focus and donor funding does not shift away from reproductive health. Family planning remains a basic human right and the lack of it already results in 600,000 needless deaths a year from pregnancy-related causes.

The Partnership will fight to keep reproductive health high on the health, development and human rights agenda.

Reproductive health supplies security
The MSI Partnership is working with the international community to ensure the long-term supply of contraceptives. Worldwide, there are at least 350 million women who want, but do not have access to, modern methods of contraception. That number will continue to increase as the world's population increases in size and a huge number of young people become sexually active.

The Guardian International Development Journalism Competition

MSI is delighted to be joining the Department for International Development as a sponsor of the Guardian International Development Journalism Competition 2009.

MSI has put forward two themes for the entry stage of this competition:
. Family planning
. Safe and unsafe abortion

For more information on the Guardian International Development Journalism Competition click here.