The Right to Reproductive Choice: A Study in International Law.

AuthorGilbert, Melanie A.

CORINNE A.A. PACKER, THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE: A STUDY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW; Institute for Human Rights; Abo Akademi University, Finland (1996); ISBN 951-650-546-5; 213 pp. (paperback).

The right to reproductive choice has gained recognition as an important international human right. The Right to Reproductive Choice discusses the issues surrounding the implementation of reproductive freedom contained in international, as well as national, instruments. It takes a critical look at the need for reproductive freedom and the inherent problems with current reproductive policies.

Packer begins by discussing the importance of reproductive choice as a fundamental human right. The freedom and power to control ones own reproductive capacities directly impacts many other contemporary problems. For example, reproductive choice impacts women's health, population control, gender equality, and attempts at sustainable development. Chapter two outlines the various policies and conventions that have been adopted which contain provisions for reproductive choice and gender equality. It outlines the sources for provisions such as family planning, education, and access to contraception. Although there are numerous international and regional conventions and charters, each contains differing provisions that provide for rights such as: the right to found a family; that right to decide the number and spacing of children; the right to family planning information; and the right to family planning services. Despite the fact that the instruments maintain a common theme, there is inconsistency in articulating solutions among the various documents.

Chapter three discusses numerous effects that can result from reproductive policies. Many states practice coerced sterilization and abortion as part of their reproductive policies. Of the countries that provide reproductive options, methods of implementation vary dramatically. The lack of uniformity enables states to use reproductive methods as a further control over women's bodies. Thus, states may have a duty to provide methods of obtaining reproductive choice; however, there is no method of regulating how these duties are fulfilled. This section also addresses the importance of technology and what impact it may have on a state's duty to provide reproductive options.

The book's next section begins to analyze reproductive choice from a perspective of the obstacles and challenges that face implementation. Chapter four...

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