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Reproductive Choice v Reproductive Justice

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  • Create Date April 3, 2023
  • Last Updated August 16, 2023

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) work and advocacy in Africa and globally has been largely informed by rights-based frameworks, specifically that of reproductive choice. The reproductive choice paradigm embraces the expansion of SRH rights and services through the interpretation of several rights such as the right to privacy, bodily autonomy, dignity, and freedom from torture, among others. This focus on narrow, individual rights has been criticized for its inability to cause systemic, society-wide change, particularly in societies such as those in Africa, where the problem is not just the failure to realize or implement civil liberties and freedoms. As such the reproductive justice framework has been proposed. Reproductive justice is a radical framework that recognizes that SRHR cannot be fully realized outside its profoundly socio-economic, cultural and political context. It emphasizes systemic or holistic analyses to the barriers of achieving full reproductive autonomy. Reproductive justice departs from the individual-rights approach of reproductive choice and seeks to address the social inequities that influence the reproductive health decisions of many women and girls in Africa. Nonetheless, reproductive justice approaches remain underdeveloped on the continent.