The report, authored by Arnand Grover, explains that sexual and reproductive health are part of a woman’s overall health and, since people have a right to overall health, they should have a right to access abortion and contraception. It’s such a basic notion, it’s astounding to me that no one has taken this stance sooner.
Granted, just because this report has been issue it doesn’t mean that all U.S. states will change their policies as a result. But it’s something. At the very least, it’ll get the conversation going, especially during a time when some U.S. states are proposing or actually implementing ridiculous new policies that completely violate a woman’s rights.
Of course, there are religious and moral grounds to consider, which the UN report does address. Here’s a snippet of what they have to say:
Public morality cannot serve as a justification for enactment or enforcement of laws that may result in human rights violations, including those intended to regulate sexual and reproductive conduct and decision-making. Although securing particular public health outcomes is a legitimate State aim, measures taken to achieve this must be both evidence-based and proportionate to ensure respect of human rights. When criminal laws and legal restrictions used to regulate public health are neither evidence-based nor proportionate, States should refrain from using them to regulate sexual and reproductive health, as they not only violate the right to health of affected individuals, but also contradict their own public health justification.
The report also brings up other important issues such as the need for sex education (it’s a vital part of sexual health) and the rights of women to have access to contraception such as the morning-after pill. Grover also says that women should not be prosecuted for drinking or doing illegal drugs while pregnant, as this type of criminalization only succeeds in driving women away from the prenatal care they so badly need.