How to experience one’s own sexuality, and when and if to have children, are profoundly personal decisions that should be respected by societies and guaranteed by states. However, women are often deprived of their autonomy to make these decisions and discriminated against even in this particularly intimate sphere of life.
The clearest examples of discrimination against women are attempts to control their sexuality and reproductive life. This is the case particularly for women who, in addition to gender-based discrimination, face multiple forms of inequality based on factors such as race, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or migration status. Criminalization of abortion is an obvious example of this form of discrimination.
Our current work in the field of sexual and reproductive rights is focused on establishing legal standards and public discourse to make it clear that abortion is one of many reproductive health services that women may need at certain points in their lives, and as provided under many human rights instruments, this service must be guaranteed by states, at the very least when women’s lives or health is at risk (therapeutic abortion).
Similarly, we work to make sure that women’s right to safe motherhood is respected, including providing women with adequate information and quality services during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and close access gaps between women who are poor and/or marginalized and women who have access to resources, including information.
We work to ensure that women can lead their sexual and reproductive lives in a safe and dignified manner. We want to make sure women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, including abortion, safe motherhood, the freedom to decide when and whether to have children, sexual information and education, and access to contraceptives and assisted reproduction techniques, are guaranteed free of any form of discrimination.