Reproductive Rights And Human Rights

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Reproductive Rights as Human Rights “Throughout human history women have faced discrimination and violence and, despite significant progress, still do. But today, it is possible to help change that reality through the International Human Rights system that arose from the ashes of World War II”. There has been a lot of controversy regarding Reproductive rights all over the world. Defenders of women’s autonomy rights argue that “women can never be free to determine their own destiny in life if they cannot decide when and whether to bear children, a right ultimately guaranteed only by the right to choose abortion at any time” . On the other hand defenders of fetal rights argue that a “fertilised cell (zygote), an embryo, or a fetus, is an ‘unborn…show more content…
These rights are thus violated if the state makes it inaccessible or illegal. However the state can be held accountable for such practises under International law. “Article 12 of CEDAW protects women’s right to health and requires states parties to eliminate discrimination in the area of health care, including reproductive health care such as family planning services. In its General Recommendation 24, the CEDAW Committee states that it is the duty of states parties to ‘respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights to health care’. The Committee recognizes the importance of women’s right to health during pregnancy and childbirth as it is closely linked to their right to life. Article 6 of ICCPR recognizes every person’s right to life. Article 7 establishes the right to be free from torture and from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. In its General Comment 28, the Human Right Committee calls upon states, when reporting on women’s enjoyment of article 6 on the right to life, to ‘give information on any measures taken by the State to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies, and to ensure that they do not have to undergo life-threatening clandestine abortions’. The Committee also elaborates on the equality provisions in articles 2 and 3 of ICCPR. It provides examples to reinforce their applicability in various…show more content…
In R v Bourne , “the defendant gynaecologist performed an abortion on a young girl who had been raped. He had formed the opinion that she could die if permitted to give birth, and the operation was performed in a public hospital, with the consent of her parents” . The court held that abortion in such a situation was not unlawful because it was meant for preserving the life of the mother. Also, the right to abortion shouldn’t be valid only when the mother’s life is at risk. It should be a freely accessible right even without the threat to life. If a woman gets pregnant at a point in her career, where she feels she cannot sustain the pressures of parenthood, the right to abort should be guaranteed as an absolute human right. In the case of Achyut Prasad Karel v. Nepal , the question of consent of the father was considered with the equality aspect of Article 16(1) (e) in CEDAW. The question raised by the petitioner was whether granting a woman the right to abort her fetus without consulting her spouse, which was allowed by the local legislation in Nepal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy is valid or not. The main issue was whether the local legislation was in contravention to Article 16(1)(e) of CEDAW and hence ultra vires. The court held
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