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Shadow Letter: Reproductive Healthcare in Brazil, CEDAW's 39th Session

The Right to Reproductive Health Care (Article 12, together with Articles 1, 10 & 16 of CEDAW)

Reproductive rights are fundamental to women’s health and social equality, and an explicit part of the Committee’s mandate under CEDAW. The commitment of States Parties to uphold and ensure these rights deserves serious attention. Specifically, article 12 requires that States Parties “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care,” and specifically requires that governments ensure access to “appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.”1 Article 10(h) requires that women have “[a]ccess to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well-being of families …”2 The Convention also requires States to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: …[t]he same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights” [Article 16(1)(e)].

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