Reproductive Rights 2000 Moving Forward

"With the new millennium upon us, we should take this opportunity to consider how recent positive developments can be replicated elsewhere to shape a future in which reproductive rights are recognized worldwide as basic human rights.

A woman's ability to plan her reproductive life depends upon her having access to the full range of contraceptive methods, provided in a setting in which she may make an informed choice. An estimated 350 million couples worldwide do not have access to the family planning services they need.

Restrictive abortion laws are a form of discrimination against women. Freedom from discrimination in the enjoyment of protected human rights is ensured in every major human rights instrument.

Every year, approximately 13% of maternal deaths worldwide are attributable to unsafe abortion. Laws that deny women access to safe abortion therefore pose a threat to women's right to life.

The impact on women of HIV/AIDS is one of the most pressing reproductive health concerns of our time. Because women's subordinate role in society heightens their risk of HIV infection, governments must approach this epidemic with a gender perspective.

Education is a prerequisite for fulfilling the right to reproductive health. Education enables young people to obtain information that they can use to exercise and protect a range of interests and rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights. Studies indicate that educated women are able to have a greater say in their reproductive lives than women with little or no education."

-From Reproductive Rights 2000.