Reproductive Rights

Reproductive Rights and Population control:

The right to reproductive choice means that women have a right to choose whether or not to reproduce, including the right to decide whether to carry or terminate an unwanted pregnancy and the right to choose their preferred method of family planning and contraception.

Women need some means to enforce these Reproductive rights:

  • Education: Education creates awareness among women and encourages them to adopt health family planning methods.
  • Financial Independence: Financial independence among women guarantees women the agency over reproduction. 
  • Access to Contraceptives reduces unwanted pregnancies  
  • Legal machinery: Strong laws to address the issues like Child marriages and vesting agency over their reproductive choices.
    • E.g., Prohibition of child marriages Act (2006), Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

The above-mentioned means not only ensures women enforcing their Reproductive rights but also reduces Total fertility rates and hence arrests population growth. Thus, guaranteeing reproductive rights to women is essential to control population growth. 

Reproductive rights and Gender justice:

India placed 130 out of 155 nations in the Gender Inequality Index (GII) 2020 released by the UNDP. One of the index’s measurement pillars is “Reproductive Health “. This implies that reproductive rights are important for ensuring overall gender equality.    

  • Maternal Health: Access to antenatal and postpartum care that is safe and of high quality will lower MMR.
  • Agency over reproduction: “Unwanted daughters” emerged in India as a result of women’s lack of agency about reproductive choices and son-meta preference. This illustrates how crucial reproductive rights are to achieving gender equality.
  • Maternity leave: Providing maternity leave entitlements would ensure that young mothers’ ability to participate in the workforce is not hindered because of childbearing and child-rearing responsibilities. 
  • Access to Contraceptives: High fertility is both a cause and symptom of poverty. Thus, the core causes of poverty would be addressed by making contraceptives and safe & legal abortion options accessible.
  • Menstrual leave: Menstrual leave and access to basic sanitation facilities for working women improve health outcomes and remove the stigma associated with the menstrual cycle in society. 

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