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70+ U.S. Organizations Launch the First‑Ever Global Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Justice

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Aug 5, 2019

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Image Credit: Pacific Press via Getty Images

Scores of women’s rights and related organizations have come together to create an unprecedented, sweeping policy blueprint to ensure and advance basic sexual and reproductive rights for women across the world. “This Blueprint is our agenda for [the] future,” the more than 100-page document’s introduction reads.

Titled “Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice,” the document seeks to address the fact that most women across the world only have a theoretical right to sexual and reproductive autonomy. Current laws and policies often restrict women’s access to services, information, and health care providers, which in turn affects their sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing. To this end, the Blueprint focuses on five key principles:

  1. Ensuring sexual and reproductive health care is accessible to all people.
  2. Ensuring discriminatory barriers in health care are eliminated.
  3. Ensuring research and innovation advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice now and in the future.
  4. Ensuring health, rights, justice, and wellness for all communities.
  5. Ensuring judges and executive officials advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.

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Recognizing that sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice intersect with other issues such as race, gender, class, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQIA+ community rights, etc., the Blueprint is “grounded in the belief that all individuals – no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they are from – have the right to sexual and reproductive autonomy.”

While it does not promise to lay down every single policy that will be needed to achieve sexual and reproductive justice, it does aim to be a starting point, a framework from which all additional policies can stem. Guided by its five key principles, the Blueprint details nine critical policy goals:

  • Access to sexual and reproductive health care services and qualified providers at no or low cost and without exception for all people, including immigrants, incarcerated individuals, and young people under the age of 18.
  • Unobstructed access to abortion care, including surgical abortion, medication abortion, and self-managed abortion.
  • Pregnancy and maternal health care strategies that prioritize the health care needs of pregnant and birthing individuals.
  • Non-discriminatory protections for patients, including protections that ensure providers’ religious or personal beliefs do not dictate patient care.
  • Transformation of health-care systems that prioritizes sexual and reproductive health care, including research and development, scientific integrity and transparency in sexual and reproductive health care.
  • Foreign policies that prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • A robust response to the global HIV/AIDS crisis.
  • Economic opportunity, freedom from violence, and healthy and safe environments for all individuals, families, and communities.
  • Selection and confirmation of administrative and judicial nominees who will advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.

The Blueprint has been created by nearly 80 diverse organizations in the U.S., from AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families, to the Center for Reproductive Rights, to Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, to Physicians for Reproductive Health.

While it is a commendable feat to have accomplished, and a useful resource for women’s rights organizations and policymakers across the world, the goals outlined remain very generalist and broad-stroked. The Blueprint, in theory, solves the global sexual and reproductive health crisis but does little to counter nuances — for instance, the deep-rooted socio-cultural preference for sons in India leading to rampant sex-selective abortions. To what extent this “global” blueprint is truly applicable to India’s reality and therefore, policy-making considerations remains to be seen, but as a Utopian ideal — which must be the starting point of all revolutions: to declare how things should be — it is visionary. “This Blueprint represents the future we want to live in where each individual has sexual and reproductive autonomy over their own body,” it reads. “It provides a playbook on how to get there…That future is coming, and we are ready.”

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Written By Pallavi Prasad

Pallavi Prasad is The Swaddle’s Features Editor. When she isn’t fighting for gender justice and being righteous, you can find her dabbling in street and sports photography, reading philosophy, drowning in green tea, and procrastinating on doing the dishes.

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