Feminism and the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls

The struggle for sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls has been the basis of global Feminist activism for many decades. The Feminist movement is again mobilizing to protect and further extend the rights of women and girls to safe, free and accessible abortion, access to safe contraceptives and to comprehensive information about all aspects of sexual and reproductive health.

The rights and access to reproductive and sexual health is key to women’s liberation. The basis for these rights can be found in the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and various other human rights instruments. Sexual and reproductive rights include the right to life, liberty and the security of the person; the right to health care and information; and the right to non-discrimination in the allocation of resources to health services, and in their availability and accessibility.

This also includes the rights to autonomy and privacy in making sexual and reproductive decisions, as well as the rights to informed consent and confidentiality in relation to health services. Issues that reflect systemic violations of these rights include for example maternal mortality, lack of access to procedures for safe, legal abortion, inadequate allocation of resources for, information about and access to family planning, forced pregnancies and coercive population programs, partner/parental consent to sterilization, abortion and the use of contraceptives, occupational discrimination of pregnant women and Lesbians, but also the coercive use of women and girls as “surrogate” mothers.

The Institute for Feminism & Human Rights works to promote sexual and reproductive health, rights and access to information and services for all women and girls, while opposing all attempts to limit these rights through laws, policies or actions by governments, organizations and individuals.