Defending reproductive rights
Synonyms: Protecting sexual rights
Securing autonomous decisions on individual reproduction
Redefining reproductive choice
Description: For women and men alike, this means the establishment and protection of equal rights to enable everyone to exercise control over their own reproductive and sexual choices. This includes equality and choice in sexual relationships; whether, when, and with whom to marry; joint decision-making over protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; and shared responsibility for childbearing.
Context: Reproductive rights means the right to: safe, effective contraception and sterilization; safe, legal abortion; safe, women-controlled pregnancy and childbirth; full information about sexuality and reproduction, about reproductive health and health problems, and about the benefits and risks of drugs, devices, medical treatments and interventions, without which informed choice is impossible; promoting and defending the right of women and men, including young people, to decide freely the number and spacing of their children, and the right to the highest possible level of reproductive health. Although in part such ends can be realized through women's economic empowerment, public education campaigns and explicit changes in services are also needed.
Implementation: Promote, in every country and for all people equally, the right to decide whether, when and how to have children - regardless of nationality, class, race, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, sexuality or marital status - in the social, economic and political conditions that make such decisions possible. Monitor trends in laws and policies adversely affecting the equal status of women and actively campaign for the repeal of and/or amendments to these laws and policies; Networking, building links and exchanges between new and existing groups and individuals; attending, supporting and initiating meetings on women's health and reproductive rights at regional and international level; ensuring that the views of women are represented at the national level and advocate that continuing priority be given to women's equal rights in development; organizing and participating in international actions and campaigns; responding to requests from network members for international solidarity; collecting and exchanging information on reproductive health issues, medical and social research, and laws, policies and services in every country; developing bill of sexual and reproductive rights as an ethical framework for the right to sexual and reproductive health.
Claim: The defence of reproductive/sexual rights helps people everywhere to lead socially and economically productive lives and to take control over their own destinies. It is time to eliminate all measures which assume the existence of a stable couple and which treat women as legal juniors by requiring their spouse's consent for the use of family planning methods.
Subjects: GrowthReproductive systemIndividualsSex-related questionsProtectionPolicy
Type Classification: C: Cross-sectoral strategies