Many of the 135 countries participating in the 1974 UN World Population Conference were far from accepting the basic human right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education, and means to do so. Considerable progress has been made since then, and the number of developing countries that provide direct government support for family planning has increased to over 60%. Many have liberalized laws and regulations which restricted access to modern contraceptive methods, and a growing number provide family planning services within their health care programs. A few have recognized the practice of family planning as a constitutional right. In late 1983 at the Second African Population Conference, recognition of family as a human right was strongly contested by several governments, particularly those of West Africa. in developed countries most of the women at risk of unwanted pregnancy are using contraceptives. Of the major developing regions the highest use level is in Latin America, wherein most countries 1/3 to 1/2 of married women are users. Levels in Asian countries range from up to 10% in Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan to up to 40% in the southeastern countries. China, a special case, now probably exceeds an overall use level of 2/3 of married women. Contraceptive use is lowest in Africa. There is room for improvement even among many of the successful family planning programs, as access to contraceptives usually is not sufficient to overcome limiting factors. To ensure the individual's free choice and strengthen the acceptability and practice of family planning, all available methods should be provided in service programs and inluded in information and education activities. Family planning programs should engage local community groups, including voluntary organizations, in all aspects of planning, management, and allocation of resources. At the government level a clear political commitment to family planning and population policies is essential as is administrative support. All government agencies concerned with socioeconomic benefit to the family and the community need to be involved in the coordinated planning and implementation.