Sexual and reproductive rights : A bridge to womanhood and society

Dr Ashwini Sirapanasetty Karache
In the Indian Judicial System, Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) are covered under the basic human rights. These rights are made for collective growth of humankind irrespective of their gender, which would further promote empowerment of the society. At every stage, the judiciary always takes a step forward to consider it as a “New Normal”. In the basic education system, discussions on sexual & reproductive health rights (SRHR) are not happily welcomed and most of us still consider it to be a social stigma. The real objectives to broaden our horizons and to follow these rights are still in developing stage. SRHR should be a normal affair rather than considering it to be “Crime and Gender Biased”. The true understanding of these rights will give us a panoramic view of a developed culture and society.
Improper knowledge & impractical approach towards SRHR had made this subject as a Pandora’s Box. In most schools, sexual education is restricted to closed class rooms and lesser prior subjects.
A study conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) titled “Effect of Sex Education on Young People’s Sexual Behaviour” has shown that sex education does not encourage young people to have sex at an earlier age or more frequently. On the contrary, the study shows that sex education delays the start of sexual activity, reduces sexual activity among young people and also encourages those already sexually active to have safer sex. Further, arguments of morality & culture cannot justify the denial of life saving information to adolescents & young people. Information may be presented in an appropriate & culturally sensitive way, but there can be no compromise on the content of the information.
What are Reproductive Rights ?
According to World Health Organisation “Reproductive rights” defined as-“Reproductive rights 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 information to do so and right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes the right of all to make decisions concerning reproductive free discrimination, coercion & violence”.
(To be contd)