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POPULI. 1986; 13(4):14-22.The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and other concerned parties in the field of development see family planning as a vital and inherent part of development planning. In almost all countries, there exists a large proportion of women, particularly women in rural areas, whose need for access to family planning remains unmet. The UNFPA has supported efforts for the acceptability and adoption of voluntary family planning in 122 developing countries. For family planning programs to succeed, they must be responsive to the needs of the people and must win understanding and support. Uncontrolled, unwanted female fertility prevents women from being able to participate more fully in the development process of their communities and societies. To make a free and informed decision on family planning a woman must be aware of the powerful influence that her own fertility exerts on the family health and welfare. Inducements to reduce fertility range in degree of voluntarism from those that allow complete free choice to those that seem to place quite strong pressures on individuals. Governments have the responsibility to protect the interests of both individuals and society as a whole. Despite the problems that are faced in defining what specifically constitutes voluntarism, there is widespread agreement that couples' rights of choice should not be compromised.