Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights as applied to sexuality and reproduction. This means that people have the right to achieve a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing in all matters relating to sexuality and the reproductive system, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.
Sexual and reproductive rights enable persons to make free and informed decisions about their sexuality, sexual health, and reproduction.
Sexual and reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents.
These include the rights to bodily integrity, privacy and personal autonomy; the right to freely define one’s own sexuality, including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression; the rights to decide whether and when to be sexually active and to choose sexual partners; the rights to have safe and pleasurable sexual experiences and to decide whether, when and whom to marry; and whether, when and by what means to have a child or children, and how many children to have; the right to access the information, resources, services and support necessary to achieve all of these, free from discrimination, coercion, exploitation and violence.
The IFPA is committed to promoting the rights of every person to a sexual identity and the rights of every person to access sexual and reproductive health services.
IPPF Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
The IFPA is a full member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The IPPF Charter is intended to promote and protect sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms in all political, economic and cultural systems. The rights contained in the charter are draw mostly drawn from four international conventions – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child– all of which Ireland has ratified.
The 12 Rights in the Charter are:
- The Right to Life, which means among other things that no woman’s life should be put at risk by reason of pregnancy.
- The Right to Liberty and Security of the Person, which recognises that all persons must be free to enjoy and control their sexual and reproductive lives and that no person should be subject to forced pregnancy, sterilisation or abortion.
- The Right to Equality, and to be Free from all Forms of Discrimination including in one’s sexual and reproductive life.
- The Right to Privacy meaning that all sexual and reproductive health care services should be confidential, and all women have the right to autonomous reproductive choices.
- The Right to Freedom of Thought which includes freedom from the restrictive interpretation of religious texts, beliefs, philosophies and customs as tools to curtail freedom of thought on sexual and reproductive health care and other issues.
- The Right to Information and Education, as it relates to sexual and reproductive health and to ensure the health and well-being of persons and families.
- The Right to Choose Whether or Not to Marry and to Found and Plan a Family.
- The Right to Decide Whether or When to have Children.
- The Right to Health Care and Health Protection which includes the rights of health care clients to: information, access, choice, safety, confidentiality, dignity, comfort, continuity, and opinion.
- The Right to the Benefits of Scientific Progress which includes the recognition that all clients of sexual and reproductive services have the right of access to new reproductive technologies which are safe and acceptable.
- The Right to Freedom of Assembly and Political Participation meaning, among other things, that all persons have the right to seek to influence governments to place a priority on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- The Right to be Free from Torture and Ill Treatment, including the rights of children to be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse, and the right of all people to protection from rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment.