The lack of “Access to Contraceptives and Information Services” : A case from Haryana

Himmat Mahila Samooh vs. Union of Inida & Ors., demands access to contraceptive information and services for women in Haryana. According to the 2014 District Level Household Survey (DLHS) for Haryana, the State has a 30% unmet need for contraceptives, meaning that 30% of married women in the state would like to prevent pregnancy, but do not have access to the information or services to do so. This public interest litigation prays for improved implementation of government entitlement schemes and services to ensure women’s fundamental rights to equality, health, dignity, and life.

The State has replied to the petition. HRLN has conducted field research and gathered data from Right to Information (RTI) requests and government reports to submit to the Court in January 2015.  HRLN filed a new PIL on behalf of Himmat Mahila Samooh in May 2015.

Inadequate information and access to contraception constitutes a violation of women’s fundamental rights to life, health, dignity, and equality under Articles 15 & 21 of the Constitution of India and a violation of rights enshrined international conventions and covenants including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Without contraceptive information and services, women cannot plan or prevent pregnancy. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies can cause mental and physical anguish and have been linked to unsafe abortion, domestic violence, severe pregnancy-related injuries including hemorrhage, infection, and fistula (a hole that develops between the birth canal and the urinary tract or rectum during a prolonged or delayed delivery), and maternal mortality – grave violations of a woman’s right to life. 

Contact: Sarita; sarita@hrln.org

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