Reproductive Rights

For reproductive rights those are understood rights that seek to protect the freedom and autonomy of all people to decide responsibly whether to have children or not, how many, when and with whom. Reproductive rights empower all people to decide and determine their reproductive life . 1

Reproductive rights, like human rights , are inalienable and are not subject to discrimination by gender , age or race .

History of the concept of “reproductive rights”

The origin of the concept of Reproductive Rights in the framework of the United Nations and the World Health Organization appears in the Conference of Tehran in 1968 and in the definition of Bucharest (Conference on Population of 1974) as a fundamental right of both couples As of individuals . The inclusion and integration of family planning in the field of reproductive rights and reproductive health occurs for the first time at the International Conference to Improve the Health of Women and Children through Family Planning in Nairobi, Kenya , (5-9 October 1987 ). 1

The Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in September 1994 , gives this definition of reproductive rights:

Reproductive rights cover certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other documents adopted by consensus. These rights are based on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number of children, the spacing of births and the availability of information and the means to do so, as well as the right to attain Sexual and reproductive health. It also includes the right to make decisions regarding reproduction without discrimination, coercion or violence, in accordance with human rights documents.

Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development , Cairo, Egypt, 5-13 September 1994, UN Doc. A / CONF.171 / 13 / Rev.1 (1995)

Reproductive rights and woman

See also: Woman

Demographic context

Historically women have performed and still perform reproductive work – which includes both human reproduction and the care and attention that allow the survival of individuals and societies. 2 In historical contexts of high mortality it was necessary to maintain a high birth rate to guarantee a sufficient replacement of populations . 3

During the demographic transition, there was a radical reduction in the gross mortality rate , after which there was a sharp reduction in birth rates in what has been called the second demographic transition . To these changes must be added other, sociological, that basically affect the traditional role of women. In this new context where the demands of Reproductive Rights arise since the enormous population growth and the change of mentality would allow its exercise. 4 5 In addition, advances and the dissemination of contraceptive methods must be added . The reproductive effort made by women is reduced since the survival of the individuals would reduce substantially the number of children. In modern societies there is a high reproductive efficiency that frees women from much of the work they traditionally developed and allows them to enter the labor market by substantially modifying the social relations previously established and warning themselves of substantial changes: decline in reproductive work , collapse of Patriarchy , privatization of sexuality and reduction of social control over sexuality ; Disappearance of the punishability of non- reproductive sexual relations; High control over procreation with the use of contraceptive methods and very broad intergenerational support for children and grandchildren, reinforcement of deep family ties; Increase of years lived or maturity of masses; Centrality of the family and reinforcement of the ties and importance of the same. 6 7

Reproductive rights

Some of the Reproductive Rights are: 8

  • Autonomy and self-determination of one’s own body.
  • To life .
  • To procreation .
  • To reproductive health .
  • To be medically and adequately informed about human reproduction, without political or religious censorship.
  • Access to reproductive health and family planning health services as part of the public health system.
  • Access to scientific advances in reproduction.
  • To decide on reproduction without suffering discrimination, coercion or violence.
  • To interrupt the pregnancy in cases in which the law allows it.

Part of the reproductive rights would be the right to freely choose the sexual partner and to freely arrange the marriage; the family planning to decide on reproduction, access to contraception . Reproductive rights are also the right of women not to be dismissed because of their pregnancy , and the right to maternity leave paid.

In some countries ( Spain and other European countries ) the right to paternity leave is also recognized , since it is understood that in the first weeks the woman, even without working, may not be able to take care of her house and her Child, and the birth of a child is the responsibility of both parents .

Violation of reproductive rights

In this sense, reproductive rights are violated in societies where arranged marriages exist , women do not have the right to remain single, to choose a husband, or to separate from it. In Afghanistan , women’s groups are currently fighting the law that allows rape within marriage , giving the husband the right to have sex with his wife whenever he wants. However, there is no violation of reproductive rights when a society does not recognize the right to voluntary abortion. This is because there is no “human right to abortion” nor an absolute prohibition, depending on this issue of the domestic legal systems of States.


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b Antrazyt, Jyoti Shankar Singh, A new consensus on population: balance and proposals on the threshold of …, p. 65
  2. Back to top↑ See Silvia Federici , Caliban and the Witch, Women, Body and Original Accumulation, 2012, Dream Traffickers, p. 130 ff.]
  3. Back to top↑ The third revolution of modernity. The reproductive revolution . Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (Reis) No. 122, 2008, pp. 89-118, p. 109-114
  4. Return to top↑ The Second Demographic Transition in Van de Kaa and Lestahege, synthesis of Borja Domingo Fernández, in Notes of demography, of Julio Perez Diaz, consulted the 27 of August of 2011
  5. Back to top↑ Van de Kaa, DJ (2002). The Idea of ​​a Second Demographic Transition in Industrialized Countries. Paper presented at the Sixth Welfare Policy Seminar of the National Institute of Population and Social Security, Tokyo, Japan, 29 January 2002.
  6. Back to top↑ [ The reproductive revolution , John MacInnes and Julio Pérez Díaz , Sociological Review, 57, 2009 pags. 262-284. [1]
  7. Back to top↑ Bryant Robey, Shea O. Rustein and Leo Morris, The fertility decline in developing countries , in Scientific American, 269 (6), December 1993, p. 60
  8. Back to top↑ Sexual and reproductive rights, in ddeser, Mexico