HRC 43 Statement on Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities

28 February 2020

Statement by the Federation for Women and Family Planning

Thank you Madame President, the Federation makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s naming of ableism and the articulation of how tightly it is embroidered into current medical, legal, psychological and philosophical perspectives. Ableist, sexist and heteronormative frameworks are entrenched in political, economic, social, religious and technology institutions around the world and prevent women from exercising autonomy, choice and control over their bodies and their lives. We highlight the reaffirmation to center the rights of all women, including women with disabilities, to decide whether or not they want to continue a pregnancy and access contraception with evidence based information during prenatal screening and diagnostic processes

Yet, the report’s naming of “selective abortion” and “the cumulative effect of individual decisions” related to abortion shifts the scrutiny from State obligations to women and their right to bodily autonomy. It is important to distinguish between systemic discrimination faced by women who seek abortion and individual decisions which are often the result of discrimination. Restrictive laws, policies and practice limit access to SRHR services and constitute human rights violations. In particular, criminal laws and other restrictions on abortion violate international human rights law and are not the way to eliminate disability stigma or support women with disabilities.

We look forward to the continuing work of the Special Rapporteur, and to observing the cooperation of all states in this Council in addressing the impact of patriarchal ableism on the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

Thank you.