Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, Committee on Women’s Rights
Annually the UNDP ranks countries according to their level of gender inequality. The Gender Inequality Index is measured by gender-based disadvantage in three aspects of life reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market.1 This report focuses on the first element and its corresponding rights, not only as a human rights issue but also as a means to achieve gender equality. Being among the most developed countries in the world, Member States (MS) take the lead in the global ranking of countries according to the state of their populations’ reproductive health.2 However, the data available from MS reveal a stark disparity of women’s sexual and reproductive health across Europe. On various occasions, the European Parliament (EP) has expressed its support for investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). A strong EU position on SRHR will only be possible with a strong push from this institution. This report comes at a very important timing. The current political and economic context threatens the respect of the SRHR. Due to the current financial crisis and economic downturn and the related cuts in the public budgets there is a tendency among MS to accelerate the privatisation of health services and decrease access to and quality level of health services3. Additionally, very conservative positions regarding SRHR have arisen all around Europe. As clearly manifested in countries such as Spain and Hungary, and in regional forums such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Committee on Social Rights, and even at the EP, the anti-choice opposition is becoming stronger and more vocal. Given these attacks, it is more critical than ever that the EP stands up for sexual and reproductive rights as human rights and provides a useful summary of the current state of play of SRHR at the European level.