Today, we invite you to discuss sexual and reproductive health from an intersectional feminist perspective. By sexual and reproductive health we mean having access to good information on sexual practices, freedom of choice for everyone regarding one’s sexuality and body, access to abortion, or care during pregnancy and childbirth. Undoubtedly, we must keep in mind that access to all of these is unequal in an unequal world.
More specifically, the question of abortion has been very important in the feminist movements and still is. Nowadays, there are still changes in its regulations because its vision is always contested and re-questioned. Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are frequently violated as a result of deep-seated attitudes and societal false ideas about women’s sexuality. Women are frequently valued primarily on their potential to reproduce due to patriarchal conceptions about women’s duties within the family. Early marriage and pregnancy, as well as repeated pregnancies spaced too closely apart, have a catastrophic effect on women’s health, with potentially fatal effects. Infertility is frequently blamed on women, who are then shunned and subjected to a slew of human rights violations as a result. Sexual and reproductive health is essential to eliminate preventable maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure high-quality sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, and to address sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer, as well as violence against women and girls and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health needs.
Finally, sexual and reproductive health and rights do not concern women only. In the abortion debate, there are also LGBTQ+ rights at stake. The question of queer couples on the topic of sexual and reproductive rights is often left aside. For instance, abortion is omnipresent in feminist discourses in defence of women’s rights. Although not only women can be pregnant as much as not every woman can be pregnant. In fact, ciswomen, if they are fertile, can be pregnant as well as non-binary and trans people.
In sum, sexual and reproductive rights are essential for the safety and health of people. But how can sexual and reproductive rights and health can be ameliorated? How to avoid going backwards? Who’s been left outside of the discussion?
Van Horn, C, (2019).” Trans and Nonbinary People Get Abortions Too”. https://www.allure.com/story/abortion-gender-neutral-language-transgender-men-nonbinary. Consulted on October 21 2020.
Tozzi, P. (2010). “International law and the right to abortion”. International Organizations Law Group Legal Studies Series, (1).
Vance, C. S. (1984). Pleasure and danger: Exploring female sexuality.
(UDHR) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Paris: United Nations General Assembly.