Achieve reproductive justice NOW

In today's ever-evolving world, the call for breaking down obstacles and fostering inclusivity has never been louder. It's a plea for a society where every individual, irrespective of race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation, or economic status, should be granted equal access to fundamental rights like social, economic, and reproductive justice. The reality differs from this, though: we are still far from having achieved equality in many fields of our lives. Reproductive rights is one good example of this reality: even though this is a virtual right in many of the EU countries, we are still far from having achieved actual reproductive justice.

As the following testimony shows, many women are facing obstetric violence: “[...] Giving birth to the first child is the worst, probably because you are a first-time mother, and you don’t know anything, and they call you nasty names like, ‘Well, you f***** to make this child, so now you have to deliver it. And honestly, you Gypsies are just trash.’ [...] I said to them, ‘Try to give me something [to help me with the labor], give me some medicine, suppository or injection.’ [They said] no because a first-time mother needs to experience the pain. But I saw…how they gave a suppository and injection to a first-time mother who was white. But they made me suffer for two days, to make me deliver my child on my own…[...] white women are taken to their rooms in a wheelchair; they even lift them onto the bed. But not Roma women. When you ask, they say, ‘You want to be [treated] like a queen? You must walk on your own.’”  (Center of Reproductive Rights, 2017)

Obstetric violence is the other of the many examples of the violations in reproductive rights. There are so many illegalities happening to a woman's body, as up mentioned, for instance in a sample taken in Spain, 45.8% of women declared that healthcare professionals did not ask for their informed consent before every procedure and 38% perceived that they received unnecessary or potentially dangerous procedures during labourn.

While the right to abortion, one of the most disscussed and argued subject in the world, as well as in Europe, is legally guaranteed in 95% of EU member states, the reality on the ground tells a different story. Women in the European Union still face significant barriers when attempting to access abortion services. These barriers include long waiting times, limited availability of abortion providers, and conscientious objection by healthcare professionals. In Italy, for instance, 63,6% and 40.5% of gynecologists and anesthetists, respectively, were conscientious objectors (Ministry of Health, 2023). Additionally, stigma surrounding abortion persists in many societies, further complicating access to care. These challenges contribute to the continued inequity in access to reproductive healthcare across the EU, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to ensure that all individuals can exercise their reproductive rights freely and without undue obstacles.

Five European countries retain highly restrictive abortion laws still, and do not permit abortion on request or on broad social grounds.  These countries are Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco and Poland.  “ > Andorra and Malta do not allow abortion at all.   > Liechtenstein and Poland allow abortion only when a patient’s life or health is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence.  > Monaco allows it only when a patient’s life or health is at risk, the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence or involves a severe fetal impairment.  > The Danish jurisdiction of the Faroe Islands also retains a highly restrictive law” ( Center of Reproductive Rights Factsheet )

Unfortunately, in Europe, there are still hurdles on the path to achieving the effective exercise of reproductive rights. 

The LGBTIQ+ community is one of the most affected groups due to the social stigma related to raising children in families different to the ‘traditional’’ —heterosexual— ones.  The American Psychological Association Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children states categorically: “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children ( Patterson, 2000, 2004; Perrin, 2002; Tasker, 1999 ).”

The mobility of a child is intrinsically linked to the legal recognition of their existence by the state. When a child is denied documentation certifying their identity solely due to a country's non-recognition of same-sex partnerships, it fundamentally restricts the child's human rights from birth. “First it was Baby Sara. (the  At the end of 2021, the CJEU issued a landmark judgment in her case, stating that if one EU country recognises the child’s parental relationship, as Spain had done, then all EU countries should do the same, and so guarantee the child its freedom of movement across the region, which is a right of all EU citizens. The court decreed that Bulgarian authorities must issue an identity card or a passport to baby Sara, and that all other EU countries should recognise and follow this ruling.” (“Update: The Rights of Rainbow Families in the EU |,” 2022)

Is clear that the aim: to build a world where individuals have full autonomy over their bodies, where economic and social equality are not just ideals but lived realities. To achieve this, concerted efforts are required at all levels of society.

First and foremost, legislative reforms are imperative. It's time for EU member states to review and amend laws that perpetuate discrimination and deny basic rights to certain groups. By ensuring that legislation reflects principles of equality and inclusivity, we can lay the foundation for a fairer society. 

Be FIERCE and join our action to:

  • Institute universal health coverage and guaranteeing access to sexual and reproductive health care services (contraception, abortion, maternal health, accessibility to free medical care, cervical and breast cancer prevention, menstrual hygiene facilities and products etc.), regardless of nationality and citizenship.
  • Activate evidence-based decision-making processes based on research and specifically collected data at the European and Member States levels. Use this information to monitor and strengthen sanctioning mechanisms to protect sexual and reproductive rights.
  • Combat gender-based physical, verbal and structural violence in the healthcare system—e.g., gynaecological and obstetric violence, primarily including forced sterilisation , for instance, of Romani women, LGTBIQ+ people, as well as the denial of abortion care, that violates the universal concept "MY BODY, MY CHOICE."
  • Producing guidelines and design training programmes for healthcare professionals on intersectionality and gender-sensitive treatment, so specialists know how to address and help patients regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or identity.
  • Constitutionalizing reproductive rights at the EU level and modifying the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), in line with the European Parliament proposals. Ensure the EU is up-to-date with the latest reproductive issues in the Member States (MS) and that legislation is modified accordingly.
  • Encouraging Member States to focus on the implementation of a basic minimum health insurance (taking into account the socio-economic aspects) to prevent and treat cervical and other types of cancer among women and reduce the percentage of deaths occurring during childbirth and pregnancy.

While the right to abortion is legally guaranteed in 95% of EU member states, the reality on the ground tells a different story.

Our second claim: Social, Economic and Reproductive Justice - Part 1

2.1: Achieve reproductive justice NOW



Center of Reproductive Rights. (2022). European Abortion Laws A Comparative Overview. Retrieved from:

Written by Dr Loveday Hodson on behalf of ILGA-Europe. (2008). Available at:

¿Violencia obstétrica en España, realidad o mito? 17.000 mujeres opinan. (2019).doi:

Update: The Rights of Rainbow Families in the EU |. (2022, July 28). Retrieved from
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