Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives!

Women's Health Matters

May 28 is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, which for over 30 years, women’s* rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement worldwide have commemorated in diverse ways. Year after year, women, girls, advocates and allies have continued to take action and stand up for sexual and reproductive rights for what they are: an indivisible and inalienable part of our human rights.

Now, at a time when women’s human rights, and particularly sexual and reproductive rights continue to be systematically violated worldwide, mobilization both within and beyond our communities remains essential, in order to resist any rollback on our rights and advance sexual and reproductive justice for all. As the global geo-political context threatens to become increasingly regressive, it is more important than ever to denounce any attempts at curtailing women’s rights, including our human rights to decide freely upon all aspects of our bodies, our sexualities, and our lives, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

About the Campaign

Examples of Institutional Violence

Denial of abortion

The denial of the right to access safe and legal abortion services

The systemic denial of women’s right to access safe and legal abortion services, and/or the criminalization of abortion is one of the most severe examples of institutional violence in regards of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Forced sterilization

Forced or coerced sterilizations

Forced and coerced sterilizations are grave violations of human rights and medical ethics and constitute acts of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, as recognized by Human Rights Bodies. Nevertheless, women across the globe have been forced or coerced by medical personnel to submit to permanent and irreversible sterilization procedures.


Obstetric violence

Obstetric violence is a specific type of violation of women’s rights, including the rights to equality, freedom from discrimination, information, integrity, health, and reproductive autonomy. It occurs both in public and private medical practice during health care related to pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum and is a multi-factorial context of institutional and gender violence.

Denial of contraceptives

The denial of access to contraceptives including emergency contraception

Restrictions on access to contraceptives and abortion threaten women’s fundamental human rights to life, health and equality. Every woman has the right to decide when and if she wants to have a child. Denied access to contraception, emergency contraception and safe abortion services is a solid example of institutional violence.