Body Politics: A Primer on Criminalization of Sexuality and Reproduction
Sexuality is an intrinsic part of being human and we should all be able to decide how we express our sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity. We should be free to decide whether and when we become pregnant and if, when or who we marry. The ability to make decisions about our bodies, our sexuality and reproduction is essential to human dignity, to the enjoyment of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing; and to the realization of the full range of human rights.
The criminalization of sexuality and reproduction around the world is a major barrier to the realization of our rights and denies millions of us our human dignity. Sometimes direct regulation through laws and policies is used to target our sexual and reproductive actions and decisions, such as criminal bans on abortion, sex outside marriage or samesex sexual conduct. At other times, indirect regulations use a range of criminal, civil and religious laws and policies relating to public order or “morality” in order to police and punish particular sexual and reproductive choices or gender expression.