The Reproductive Rights Initiative at HRLN works toward the realization of reproductive rights in India as defined in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (1994), which “rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”
The Initiative uses the legal system to combat violations of reproductive rights, ensure implementation of reproductive rights schemes, and to demand accountability where implementation is left wanting. Through these efforts, the initiative is striving to establish, a human rights based approach towards reproductive health care.
Through its work, the Reproductive Rights Initiative has bought focus to the issues of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, the right to food and nutrition, discrimination against HIV positive pregnant woman, coercive population control policies, inhumane sterilization camps, unsafe abortion services, unethical surrogacy and sex selective abortion.
It does so by engaging in and undertaking the following:
LITIGATION Through the process of litigation, both individual and PILs, the initiative creates an alternative method to hold government accountable of their legal duties. It has moved the courts to set both a national and international legal precedent by ensuring accountability for a maternal death. The initiative actively provides pro bono legal aid for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable whose reproductive health rights have been violated. Links to sections
FACT FINDINGS The social activists’ team regularly conduct fact findings all around India to ascertain violations and discrimination on the ground which are converted into litigations and used for advocacy. The Initiative has coordinated fact findings on subjects as diverse as the international surrogacy industry, child marriage, unsafe and unlawful sterilization and medical services available to pregnant and lactating homeless women.
PUBLICATIONS The publications produced by the initiative, aim to bring the various aspects of the law affecting the rights and guarantees to women in the Indian legal system. It also aims to make accessible important developments in human rights and law in India. It also produces “know-your-rights” materials to increase awareness among Indian women and their partners about contraception, family planning and other reproductive health issues.
EDUCATION Through regular regional consultations we encourage dialogue and collaboration between women’s rights organisations, health groups, lawyers and judges to utilise the legal system more effectively. The unit conducts varied trainings and capacity building workshops with young lawyers, activists and grassroots organisation. It also conducts legal training camps within the communities, empowering people.
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