India, a country where women are worshipped as goddesses, is also a place where a single day doesn’t go by when a woman is not killed, raped or forced to marry at an early age and become a machine for reproduction. They are even forced to abort a female fetus. In the male-dominated Indian society, females are not allowed to take decisions related to her body or reproductive rights are being curtailed, her decisions are taken by men folks and it is assumed that they should follow them religiously. Creating a life inside your body is not just a tedious and difficult process but also a uniqueness which is only possessed by women, if it wasn’t for the female species, we wouldn’t have had the human race.
When women are provided with the power to give birth they should have some rights over that but women are not equipped with the basic knowledge and services that are required for healthy living of mother and the baby. Many women die while giving birth to a baby due to unhealthy conditions, lack of nutrition and basic facilities. Infections like RTI/STIs and HIV are also a cause of their death which is transferred through their partners and are preventable otherwise. Women are not the same as men since they have the capacity to conceive an offspring. This in itself is a marvel yet women are not given rights over their bodies. As they have the power to reproduce an offspring, they are provided with some rights over that, these rights are known as reproductive rights.
Reproductive rights were supported globally in the Cairo program that rose out of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. They incorporated the privilege/right to choose the number, timing and spacing of kids, the right to willfully marry and set up a family, and the right to the most elevated feasible standard of wellbeing and health, among others.
What are Reproductive Rights?
Reproductive rights are a progression of rights to all couples and people to choose unreservedly the number, dispersing, and timing of their kids and to have the data and intends to do so. Reproductive rights are thought to be a subset of human rights.
Reproduction rights more often than not exclude the right to control one’s conceptive capacities, the privilege to get to quality conceptive social insurance, and the right of training and access with a specific end goal to settle on reproductive decisions free from compulsion, segregation, and savagery. Reproductive rights may likewise incorporate the right to get training about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, and opportunity from constrained disinfection and insurance from sex-based practices, for example, female genital mutilation (FGM) and male genital mutilation (MGM). In the exercise of this right, it should be taken into account the needs of living and future children and the couple’s responsibility towards the community.
Policies and Programs for Women’s Health in India
India has been battling with its population concerns and thus its projects and approaches have likewise mirrored the same. With a huge and assorted population spread crosswise over towns with low livelihoods and extending urban horizons, mindfulness on medical problems for a huge share of individuals has been a noteworthy test. Women’s’ wellbeing has been a disregarded issue and regenerative rights were unfathomable until off late. This is in spite of India being a signatory to different UN conventions and the Cairo program.
Post-independence different approaches and projects have been planned, yet issues like high maternal mortality, hunger, female feticide, contraception issues, and inaccessibility of human services for all were a portion of the significant attentiveness toward approach creators. The nation has gone from a Clinical approach in the 50s to the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) approach in the 90s. A portion of the approaches and projects that relate to women’s’ wellbeing are The Family Welfare Program, The National Population Policy, The National Health Policy, The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Janani Suraksha Yojana, Reproductive and Child Health Program RCH (I and II). In spite of such a large number of strategies and plans, there has not been much change in the status of women particularly in correlation with creating the country.
Issues in Reproductive Health
According to the health index, India is still viewed as an underdeveloped country, India accounts for 20% of maternal death worldwide. A woman in India dies every 8 minutes from childbirth and related complications. About 75% of these deaths are preventable if the women are provided with proper and regular obstetric care and family planning. Abortion also plays an important role in contributing to the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). Every hour, 8 women and girls die from unsafe abortions. A lot of women in India lack the ability and resources to exercise their reproductive right.
A lot of reasons can be accounted for it, such as poverty, malnutrition, poor access to contraception methods, access to safe adoption, healthcare facilities, unhygienic living conditions, poor sanitation, illiteracy, pre and postnatal care etc. After the birth of a baby, it is the right of its parents to choose whatever lifestyle they wish for their child to have.
The Constitution of India guarantees ‘Right to Life’ in Article 21, which has a very vide arena. For all parents, their life and happiness revolve around their children. Securing the future of their children is the whole sole purpose of their life. Reproductive rights are a major prospect for the people of our country. The condition of women in this country is a controversial issue, but as far as the reproductive rights go, there needs to be awareness and activism. Ultimately, legislation is not the only effective tool to ensure that women are aware of and have easy access to their reproductive rights. We have to move beyond the black letter of the law to address such an issue, which is so central to women’s rights.
Janani hai toh jag hai
Also read Laws for Indian Women