Need of Sexual & Reproductive Justice
To Me, Sexual Freedom Means Freedom from Having To Have Sex- Lily Tomlin
Since 1987, every year International Day of Action for Women’s Health is celebrated worldwide on May 28. This is for over 30 years that women advocate for their rights in sexual and reproductive health. The reasons are several from right to access safe and legal abortion services, forced sterilization, Restrictions on access to contraceptives or emergency contraceptives or could be obstetric violence which includes the rights to equality, freedom from discrimination, information, integrity, health and reproductive autonomy.
The right to sexual and reproductive justice for all shall be obligatory.
The health of women and girls is prime concern, reason being, in many societies they are disadvantaged by discrimination imbedded in sociocultural facet. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some of the sociocultural factors that prevent women and girls from benefiting from quality health services includes unequal power relationships between men and women, social norms that decrease education and limited employment opportunities, an exclusive focus on women’s reproductive roles or actual experience of physical, sexual and emotional violence.
While poverty is a significant and major barrier to positive health outcomes for both men and women, it also tends to yield a higher burden on women and girls’ health. Gender-equity approach to health are needed to enable women’s full participation in the planning and delivery of health services.
Women today or in any era shall get sexual and reproductive rights to avoid many institutional violence.
What are institutional violence?
Institutional violence is structural violence which is expressed by institutions through gender inequality, racism, discriminatory laws and even religious ideologies based on their response to direct violence.
The following are the common examples of institutional violence resulting from violation of a woman’s right to reproductive health:
Denial of the Right to Access Safe and Legal Abortion Services: Criminalization and prohibition of abortion, No access to safe and legal abortion for women is factor which burdens women to carry unwanted child.
Denial of Access to Emergency Contraception. Numerous unwanted pregnancy occur every year and women adopt unsafe and illegal methods of termination, which at times results into the death for many women across the globe. Despite these facts, women in many countries and areas still do not have access to emergency contraception due to restrictions imposed by the State.
Forced Sterilization: Forced sterilization is an acts of cruelty which goes against medical ethics. Women are forced for tubal ligation in various parts of the world if they are suffering from HIV, physical or mental disability as a means of eugenics or population control.
Denying the right is a form of gender discrimination and the refusal of human right to life and health: The rights have been caged to an extent that even in rape case the abortion is not allowed in many countries. The stigma and burden of an unwanted pregnancy and practice of unsafe abortions are the ill-effects of the denial. Women are even jailed for the violation in some nations, adding to the injustice.
Obstetric Violence. This is the violence which occurs in both government and private healthcare facilities when a woman is not allowed for access to treatment, not offered the treatment of her choice, coerced into unnecessary medication/procedures to inhuman or rude behavior during obstetric care.
I believed that the Planned Parenthood and the reproductive rights movement are natural partners for my community. I believe that we can advocate for bodily autonomy, for self-determination, for reproductive justice for all”. – Janet Mock