What are sexual and reproductive rights?
Sexual and reproductive rights are part of human rights. Human rights are written down in laws and international treaties, and have been signed by almost every country in the world. Belgium has signed them too and has to respect these rights.
Reproductive health is related to pregnancy, delivery and deciding whether and when to have children. When reproductive rights are respected, people can make free choices about becoming pregnant, taking contraception or having an abortion.
What are these fundamental sexual and reproductive rights?
The right to life
You have the right to get the best available health care during pregnancy and delivery. Healthcare professionals will do all they can to protect the life and health of you and your baby. You have the right to get the health care you need.
The right to personal freedom and safety
You have control over your own body and your sexual life. You have the right to enjoy your sexuality and are free to decide whether and when to have children and how many to have.
It also means coercion, sexually abusive behaviour and exploitation are forbidden by law.
The right to equality
You have the right to be treated equally and not to be discriminated against because of your ethnic or national origin, because of your religion or health status or because you are a man or a woman. Men and women have equal rights.
The right to privacy
You have the right to make your own choices about sexuality without fear of negative reactions or persecution. This means that health care and social services have to respect your privacy. It is forbidden to share the results of a HIV test with other people if the tested person has not given his/her permission for this.
The right to freedom of thought
You have the right to have your own opinion about sexuality and sexual health and you have the right to talk about it.
The right to information and to education
You have the right to receive all the information and education you need to take care of your sexual and reproductive health. For example: information on how your body works, on contraception, on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), on your rights.
The right to marry or not, and to start and plan a family
Nobody has the right to force you or to make these decisions in your name.
The right to have children or not
The right to health care
In Belgium everyone, including people without legal residence status, has the right to access health care.
The right to the benefits of scientific progress
For example: in Belgium everyone, including people without legal residence status, has the right to access the same type of HIV treatment.
The right to freedom of assembly and political participation
You have the right to gather with other people to talk about sexual and reproductive rights and to take action to make sure that these rights are respected. You have the right to raise awareness or ask politicians to make decisions to guarantee these rights.
The right to be free from torture and ill-treatment
You have the right to be protected against all forms of violence related to sexuality, such as sexual harassment, indecent assault or rape, human trafficking, child abuse or female genital mutilation.
If you are HIV-positive, the Belgian government cannot send you to a country where you cannot continue your treatment.