Reproductive Rights

Working Paper
Lessons learned from Grassroots Organizations in Kenya and Zimbabwe . Initiative on VAW, Carr Center for Human Rights; Working Paper.Abstract

This presentation analyzes case studies from Kenya and Zimbabwe to determine the effectiveness of the Maputo Protocol on a state level. 

Ravindram TKS. An Advocates Guide: Integrating Human Rights in Universal Access to Contraception. Arrow. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract


This guide, as the name suggests, is meant for use by advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at the country level. The guide uses the recommendations made to national governments in the publication “Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations” published by the World Health Organization in 2014, with the aim of ensuring that “the different human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services”.

The guide takes into account recommendations made by the WHO Guidance document, elaborates on what the recommendations actually mean, and provides a checklist with series of questions that probe into the extent of which a government has implemented or complied with a specific (set of) WHO recommendation (s). There are 17 such checklists, which together constitute a ‘tool box’ for assessing whether human rights are ensured in the provision of contraceptive information and services. The guide also provides an illustrative list of indicators for tracking adherence to human rights norms by contraceptive programmes.

The guide can be used by SRHR advocates, this includes women’s organisations, civil society organisations working on women, young people’s health and SRHR. The tool can also be used by health professionals within the health systems at the national level, as a resource and assessment tool for provision of rights based contraceptive information and services.

This advocate’s guide is meant as a generic tool. It will have to be adapted to different national and even sub-national settings, depending on its history of population control and the ethos of adherence to human rights, health system characteristics and resource levels.We hope this guide will enable SRHR advocates to use these WHO recommendations as a basis for holding governments accountable to respecting and upholding human rights in policies and strategies related to contraceptive information and services, and in the actual organisation and delivery of contraceptive services to users.

Africa: Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in African Courts. University of Toronto Faculty of Law . 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

These publications include summaries and analyses of cases pertaining to reproductive and sexual rights, including gender-based violence, HIV discrimination, property and family law, abortion, and claims of fetal interests. They examine how African national courts interpret and apply regional and international human rights laws. 

Rodriguez P. Abuse and Denial of Sexual and Reproductive Rights of women with psychosocial disabilities in Mexico. Disability Rights International; 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Please see third publication, under "Twice Violated".

In Mexico there is very little information available on the situation of sexual and reproductive rights of women with psychosocial disabilities. This is in direct contravention of Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter ‘CRPD’ or ‘Convention’), according to which, “States Parties undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the Convention.2 is the first of its kind. Its main purpose is to lay the foundation for further advocacy efforts to guarantee the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities at the legislative and policy level in Mexico. In this regard, it should be noted that in September 2014, Mexico was evaluated by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) for the first time. The preliminary results of this research were presented before the CRPD Committee and were included in the Committee’s Concluding Observations and recommendations to the Mexican State. This research and the recommendations by the CRPD Committee will prove to be a valuable tool for further advocacy on this relevant but long ignored issue.

The present report is based on the results of a year-long study carried out by Disability Rights International (DRI) together with the Women’s Group of the Colectivo Chuhcan –the first organization in Mexico directed by persons with psychosocial disabilities. This research included the application of a questionnaire to fifty-one women with psychosocial disabilities who were either members of the Colectivo Chuhcan or received outpatient services at four different health clinics and psychiatric institutions in Mexico City. We recommend this research be extended to the rest of the country to gain a clearer picture on the situation of the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities at a national level.


Ngwena C, Durojaye E. Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights. Pretoria University Law Press; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights uses rights-based frameworks to address some of the serious sexual and reproductive health challenges that the African region is currently facing. More importantly, the book provides insightful human rights approaches on how these challenges can be overcome. The book is the first of its kind. It is an important addition to the resources available to researchers, academics, policymakers, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, learners and other persons interested in the subject of sexual and reproductive health and rights as they apply to the African region. Human rights issues addressed by the book include: access to safe abortion and emergency obstetric care; HIV/AIDS; adolescent sexual health and rights; early marriage; and gender-based sexual violence.

Violence Against Women in the United States and the State's Obligation to Protect. Center for Reproductive Rights; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Access document under "Download Resource" button

Despite legal and policy measures designed to protect victims, domestic violence remains a pervasive rights violation in the United States. Legal and policy developments in the criminal justice system over the past few decades have improved the protection scheme for victims of domestic violence, including the availability of civil protection orders, mandatory arrest laws for abusers and mandatory prosecution policies. However, these measures are not uniformly applied and can create additional problems for victims from marginalized populations. Domestic violence is greatly influenced by contextual factors such as poverty, legal status or residence.

Court E. Case of A, B, and C v. Ireland.; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A., B. and C. v. Ireland concerned three Irish applicants who, in their first trimester of pregnancy, had travelled to England to have an abortion because they believed they would not be allowed to have one in Ireland.

The Irish Constitution, unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, explicitly extends the right to life to the unborn foetus. Abortion is moreover prohibited under the criminal law by section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (“the 1861 Act”) providing as penalty “penal servitude for life”. However, this does not mean that abortion constitutes a criminal act in all circumstances in Ireland. The 1861 legislation needs to be read in light of the amended Irish Constitution, which states in Article 40.3.3: “3° The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right; This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state; This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state.”

However, no legislation or other regulatory measures have been adopted to clarify what is meant by the “equal right to life of the mother” and in which situations there is a real and substantial risk to that right to life such as to outweigh the right to life of the unborn foetus.

In A., B. and C. v. Ireland the Grand Chamber of the Court first distinguished between the circumstances of the first and the second applicant on the one hand and the third applicant on the other. It found that the first and second applicant travelled for an abortion for reasons of health and/or well-being, while the third applicant travelled for an abortion as she mainly feared her pregnancy constituted a risk to her life. Moreover, the third applicant complained that she required a regulatory framework by which any risk to her life and her entitlement to a lawful abortion in Ireland could be established, so that any information provided outside such a framework was insufficient. The Court consequently treated the complaint of the third applicant separately.