South Africa: Your Body, Your Choice? Sexual and Reproductive Human Rights Get Sidelined During the Pandemic

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During lockdown, some facilities saw safe termination of pregnancy as an elective procedure and, as a means of preventing congestion in hospitals, cancelled their pregnancy termination services.

The right to maintain personal bodily autonomy; the right to have children or not to have children; the right to parent your children in safe and sustainable communities. This is reproductive justice - a term first conceptualised by SisterSong Women of Colour Reproductive Justice Collective in 1994. The concept has since been adopted by countless civil society organisations, fast becoming a global movement.

On 23 July, South African civil society groups held an open dialogue and discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on sex workers, clinical providers of contraception and abortion services, and LGBTQIA+ health services.

"I do not think any of us, wherever we are in the world, could have anticipated the impact that Covid-19 would have on the people that we serve," says Sharon Cox from the Triangle Project, a human rights organisation that provides direct services to LGBTQIA+ people in the form of psychosocial and health services.

Cox says the organisation's greatest demand has been on nutrition and therapeutic services, especially from people who, under lockdown, lived with family members...

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