Vol. 4, Issue 4 (2018)
Right to reproductive health: Barriers to realization of rights by women
Author(s): Anisha Bhattacharjee
Abstract: The aim of this essay is to examine the right to reproductive health and the effect of state policies on this human right. At the outset, the paper will lay out the responsibilities of States as broadly understood through the equality paradigm. The first part of this essay identifies the right to reproductive health as empowering in making individuals across borders both right-holders and addressees. However, it is understood that the application of this right is dependent on state policy. The second part of the essay will examine the effect of socio-economic factors on the realization of the right to reproductive health, including the essential component of menstrual health. The effect of availability and accessibility of contraceptives will also be briefly related. The last part of the essay will explore the highly debated topic of abortion. Through UN General Recommendations and General Comments, it will identify whether the right to abortion exists as a component of reproductive rights. Thereafter, adoption of conservative policies on abortion by states will be explored. The competing right of the mother and the foetus will be also be briefly explored. The themes of indirect discrimination and state obligation will be interspersed throughout the paper. Therefore, the recurring gap between guaranteed rights to reproductive health, presented as state obligations, and the realization of these rights by individual right holders living within these states will be highlighted.