Good sexual and reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. To maintain one’s sexual and reproductive health, people need access to accurate information and the safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception method of their choice. They must be informed and empowered to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. And when they decide to have children, women must have access to services that can help them have a fit pregnancy, safe delivery, and a healthy baby.
(Source: UNFPA – https://www.unfpa.org/sexual-reproductive-health)
What Is SRHR?
At the UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, sexual and reproductive health was defined for the first time.
According to the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission (2018), SRHR is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to all aspects of sexuality and reproduction, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity.
The World Health Organization defines SRHR as fundamental human rights that are currently being denied in many regions and countries worldwide.
“A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.” This means that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, and that they have the capacity to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
Good reproductive health requires, for example, good maternal healthcare, ie services for maternity and childbirth. This includes emergency obstetric care and knowledge of sexuality and reproduction, as well as access to contraception and safe abortion.
Reproductive rights are defined as the right to freely decide the number, spacing of children, and to have the information, education, and the means required to exercise this right.
So far, sexual rights have not been defined in international agreements. This is because issues surrounding human rights relating to sexuality are considered to be too controversial by some states. However, sexual rights are part of the human rights defined in the international framework comprised of UN conventions. This means that people, irrespective of sex, ethnic background, disabilities, gender identity, or sexual orientation, are entitled to make decisions about their own body and sexuality, and should not be subject to discrimination, harassment, or violence.