Table of Contents
In 1994 the Cairo Programme of Action was adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development. This reproductive health document was the first to be of international policy nature. It states:
Reproductive rights embrace certain Universal Declaration of Human Rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other relevant United Nations consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence as expressed in human rights documents. In the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community.
The Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, supported the Cairo Programme but also offered a broader context of reproductive rights:
The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behavior and its consequences
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) can be understood as the right for all, whether young or old, women, men or Transgender , straight, gay, Lesbian or bisexual, HIV/AIDS/AIDS positive or negative, to make choices regarding their own sexuality and reproduction, providing these respect the rights of others to bodily integrity. This definition also includes the right to access information and services needed to support these choices and optimise health.
The highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services. Other rights listed under sexual rights include, rights to sexuality education and bodily integrity, and the right to “pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life”.
Attaining the goals of sustainable, equitable development requires that individuals are able to exercise control over their sexual and reproductive lives. This includes the rights to:
- Reproductive health as a component of overall health, throughout the life cycle, for both men and women
- Reproductive decision-making, including voluntary choice in marriage, family formation and determination of the number, timing and spacing of one’s children and the right to have access to the information and means needed to exercise voluntary choice
- Equality and equity for men and women, to enable individuals to make free and informed choices in all spheres of life, free from discrimination based on gender
- Sexual and reproductive security, including freedom from sexual violence and coercion, and the right to privacy.
- Swedish Association for Sexuality Education
- The Beijing Declaration
- Cook, Rebecca J.; Mahmoud F. Fathalla (September 1996). “Advancing Reproductive Rights Beyond Cairo and Beijing”. International Family Planning Perspectives (International Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 22, No. 3) 22 (3): 115–121. doi:10.2307/2950752
- Reproductive Category:Health
- Sexual Category:Health
- Women's rights
- Centre for Reproductive Rights
- Sexual and Reproductive Rights: Amnesty International
- Fulfilling Reproductive Rights for Women Affected by HIV: A Tool for Monitoring the Achievement of MDGs
- UN Commission on Population and Development Resolution 2002/1
- Supporting the Constellation of Reproductive Rights: UNFPA
- Reproductive Freedom: ACLU
- Reproductive Rights: Feminist Majority Foundation
- Gender Responsive Budgeting and Women’s Reproductive Rights- A Resource Pack: UNIFEM
- Gender, Sexuality, Sexual Reproductive Rights and Health: PSBT