Congratulations to the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, whose recent Issue Paper contributes to debate and reflection on this important topic:
Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe (France: Council of Europe, Dec. 2017). 78-page Issue Paper.
This Issue Paper was prepared by reproductive rights experts Leah Hoctor, Adriana Lamačková and Katrine Thomasen, with assistance from Jessica Boulet, from the Europe Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. We are pleased to cite these paragraphs from its 3-page summary and the Table of Contents below:
Excerpt from Summary: Despite considerable progress, women in Europe continue to face widespread denials and infringements of their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Laws, policies and practices still curtail and undermine women’s sexual and reproductive health, autonomy, dignity, and decision-making and pervasive gender inequality continues to have profound effects on their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Moreover, in recent years, resurgent threats to these rights have emerged, jeopardising longstanding commitments to gender equality and women’s rights.
This Issue Paper addresses these concerns against the backdrop of the human rights obligations of Council of Europe member states, as enshrined in international and European human rights instruments and as elaborated and interpreted by human rights
mechanisms. It provides an overview of states’ obligations in the field of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights with a particular focus on comprehensive sexuality education; modern contraception; safe and legal abortion care and quality maternal health care.
Table of Contents:
The Commissioner’s Recommendations
SECTION 1 – Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe – Concerns, Challenges, and Deficits
1.1 Retrogression and backlash
1.2 Harmful gender stereotypes, social norms and stigma
1.3 Lack of comprehensive sexuality education
1.4 Deficits in health systems, data collection and financing
1.5 Barriers in access to modern contraception
1.6 Restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion
1.7 Concerns in the field of maternal health care
1.8 Intersectional discrimination
1.9 Shortcomings regarding effective remedies and access to justice
SECTION 2 – International Human Rights standards and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights
2.1 The right to health, including sexual and reproductive health
2.2 The right to life
2.3 The right to freedom from torture and ill-treatment
2.4 The right to privacy
2.5 Gender equality and freedom from discrimination
SECTION 3 – Specific obligations to ensure women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights
3.1 Guaranteeing the provision of evidence-based information
and comprehensive sexuality education
3.2 Securing the availability and affordability of modern contraceptive services
3.3 Ensuring access to safe and legal abortion services
3.4 Safeguarding access to health care in light of refusals of care
3.5 Respecting women’s rights in childbirth and guaranteeing access
to quality maternal health care
Bibliography and Endnotes
This 78-page Issue Paper, Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe is online here.
Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.