The WHO defines ‘health’ as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, going beyond the mere absence of disease or infirmity. Seen in this light, good reproductive (or sexual) health, which concerns the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages in an individual’s life, requires not only ensuring each person can have a satisfying, responsible and safe sex life, but also the right to decide if, when and how to reproduce. The clear implication is that men and women need to be informed about safe sex and have access to effective, affordable and acceptable methods of birth control. Equal access should be provided to appropriate healthcare services of sexual, reproductive medicine. This is not universally guaranteed; inequalities can and do arise according to people’s varying socioeconomic status, level of education, age, ethnicity, religion, and local resources.
Sexual and reproductive health: facts and figures about abortion in the European region / World Health Organisation (WHO), 2012
EU Member States’ Positions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Issues / The Family Federation of Finland – Global Development Unit, Väestoliitto, 2.4.2012 (22 p)
A mapping of the official sexual and reproductive health and rights positions of the EU Member States. The publication includes information about sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, legislation, availability and accessibility of reproductive health services and contraceptives in the EU member states. Special attention is given to the availability of youth friendly reproductive health services, sexuality education and youth participation. The data were collected through a Webropol (internet) questionnaire from European SRHR civil society organizations (members of the EuroNGOs and others).
Abortion Legislation in Europe / International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF), May 2012, 87 p.
A comparative overview about the legislation on abortion of IPPF European Network Member Associations: it covers 41 countries, among them 23 EU member states and 6 candidate member states. See figures on page 5: countries, where medical abortion is legally available; page 31: parental consent; page 50: gestational limit for abortion on request; page 66: mandatory waiting periods. Includes a glossary of terms on page 87.
The World’s Abortion Laws 2012: a Map / The Centre for Reproductive Rights
Click ‘Launch the map’, then browse a country. For each country, information is presented via the country icon key at the bottom left corner of the screen (i. e. abortion in cases of rape; required spousal authorisation; sex selective abortion etc). Choosing a country color key you will get a broader approach of cases when abortion is legal. There is also a possibility to compare countries: click on the country and then choose the box ‘compare countries’ in the top right corner. The page “In focus” identifies current issues.
Policies for Sexuality Education in the European Union: Note / Beaumont, K; Maguire, M; Schulze, E; DG IPOL Policy Dept C, PE 462.515; European Parliament, 2013
The note evaluates the state of play of the provision of sexuality education in the context of schooling and in the context of family planning facilities in 24 European Union Member States. The note compares the situation in the Member States and gives an overview of the points of reflexion in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2011 / European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2012 (101 p)
HIV continues to be a major public health concern for Europe. This report presents data on HIV and AIDS for the whole European Region, including the EU and EEA countries. Analyses are provided for the EU and EEA region, and also by geographical area of the WHO European Region.
Sterilization of Women and Girls with Disabilities / Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, November 2011, 4 p.
This paper gives a background overview of forced sterilization, which occurs when a person is sterilized after expressly refusing the procedure, without her knowledge, or is not given an opportunity to provide consent. Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to forced sterilizations performed under the auspices of legitimate medical care or the consent of others in their name.
Sexuality Education in Europe – A Reference Guide to Policies / Wellings, K; Parker, R; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.; March 2012
This is a guide to assist policymakers and governments to develop better policies and practices related to sexuality education. Additionally it is intended to help EU Member States to improve the exchange of information and best practices on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights and sexuality education.
The guide provides information about sexuality education in 26 European countries, and reflects the reality that policies and practices related to young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights – including sexuality education – vary from country to country. There are, however, similarities in the way many governments approach sexuality education, and in the challenges they face in implementing policies related to this topic. By providing information about the policies for, and challenges to, providing comprehensive sexuality education in diverse cultural, social and political settings, this guide can be a helpful resource for policymakers. (The guide is a component of the ‘SAFE Project: A European partnership to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth’ - involves IPPF European Network Regional Office and 26 Member Associations, along with Lund University and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. IPPF European Network is the lead implementing organization for this three-year project, which started in 2005 and aims to develop new and innovative ways to reach young people with sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services, and to inform, support and advance policy development.)
Power of the Pill or Power of Abortion? Re-Examining the Effects of Young Women’s Access to Reproductive Control / Caitlin Knowles Myers, IZA Discussion Paper No. 6661, June 2012
Recent research postulating that the diffusion of confidential access to the birth control pill to young women contributed to the dramatic social changes of the late 1960s and 1970s has not adequately accounted for the largely contemporaneous diffusion of access to abortion. Estimates using a new panel of data on state policies related to access to the pill and abortion indicate that while access to the pill may have played a role in the sexual revolution, it had little effect on the probabilities of entering into marriage and parenthood at a young age. In contrast, both the legalization of abortion and the enactment of laws permitting young unmarried women to consent to it led to substantial delays in marriage and motherhood.
Conscientious Objection to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services : International Human Rights Standards and European Law and Practice / Christina Zampasa, Ximena Andión-Ibañezb, In: European journal of health law, 2012, v. 19, n. 3, p. 231-256
This article outlines the international and regional human rights obligations and medical standards on this issue, and highlights some of the main gaps in these standards. It illustrates how European countries regulate or fail to regulate conscientious objection and how these regulations are working in practice, including examples of jurisprudence from national level courts and cases before the European Court of Human Rights. The article also provides recommendations to national governments as well as to international and regional bodies on how to regulate conscientious objection so as to both respect the practice of conscientious objection while protecting the individual’s right to reproductive health care.
EU Institutions’ views
Cairo/ICPD +10 – Council conclusions / Council of the European Union, 15157/04, 24 November 2004
The EU called for more financing and support for sexual and reproductive health.
Millennium Development Goals: EU Contribution to the Review of the MDGs at the UN 2005 High Level Event – Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States Meeting within the Council / Council of the European Union, 9266/05, 24 May 2005
The EU recognises that sexual health issues, in particular maternal and child health, gender equality and HIV are key to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
European Consensus on Development / European Parliament, Council, Commission, 2006/C 46/01
To achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015 is also a goal of EU development policy.
EU financial support to developing countries for sexual health issues is mainly bilateral aid (sector budget support or budget support) for locally owned projects.
The European Commission is a member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition.
The EU has also taken positions such as condom use is a more realistic approach to preventing HIV than abstinence.
EU policies on sexual health in individual countries are negotiated with national governments and incorporated into country strategy papers and poverty reduction strategy papers.
EC aid (2007-2011) was financed under the health section of the Investing in people programme.
In 2007, the largest proportion of health funding under this programme was allocated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
World Health Organisation (WHO)
These recommendations are intended for health policy-makers, managers and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level. WHO hopes that countries will adapt and implement them to meet local needs. The recommendations were developed through a formal, structured process including a thorough review of available evidence.
40 years of Reproductive Research at the WHO / In: Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, Vol. 74, No. 3, 2012
Description of research to develop and guide interventions for improving sexual and reproductive health by the Special Programme for Research Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), hosted by WHO and co-sponsored by UNDP, UNFPA, WHO and The World Bank.
UNFPA programme of action (1994)
HRP – The UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction – has been the main instrument within the United Nations system for research in human reproduction, bringing together policy-makers, scientists, health care providers, clinicians, consumers and community representatives to identify and address priorities for research to improve sexual and reproductive health.
40 years of innovation in sexual and reproductive health / The Lancet, Vol. 380, Issue 9843, 25 August 2012, pp 705 – 706
Descriptio9n of the HRP programme.
HRP at 40: what they say: A history of scientific achievement to advance sexual and reproductive health / UN, 2012
Over the years, HRP has contributed in many ways to advancing sexual and reproductive health. This shares highlights of some of the landmark achievements. It is dedicated to all those who have contributed their time and effort to the work of HRP.
Case of I.G. and others v. SLOVAKIA, App. 15966/04, European Court of Human Rights (13 November 2012)
Case of A, B and C v. IRELAND, App. 25579/05, European Court of Human Rights (16 December 2010)
Case of R.R. v. POLAND, App. No. 27617/04, European Court of Human Rights (26 May 2011)
Case of Pichon and Sajous v. FRANCE, App. No. 49853/99, European Court of Human Rights (2 October 2001)
Case of Kontakt-information-Therapie and Hagen v. AUSTRIA, App. No.11921/86, European Court of Human Rights (12 October 1988)
Case of Tysiąc v. POLAND, App. No. 5410/03, European Court of Human Rights (20 March 2007)
World Adolescent fertility rate (per 1000 women aged 15-19 years), 2000-2010 (WHO: Global Health Observatory)
World Contraceptive prevalence rate (%), 2000 – 2010 (WHO: Global Health Observatory)
World Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births), 2010 ((WHO: Global Health Observatory)
EU programmes and projects
SAFE Project: A European partnership to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth; SAFE II Project
The goal of the projects is to enhance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all youth across Europe through better co-operation among EU countries, co-ordination among agencies and harmonisation of public health policies, health promotion strategies and programmes.
REPROSTAT 2 – Assessing the usefulness of a comprehensive set of reproductive health indicators designed for the enlarged European Union, with particular emphasis on the reproductive health of adolescents and young adults (Phase 2)
European Network on Endometriosis (ENE)
The ENE project seeks to raise understanding and promote awareness of the impact of endometriosis across the EU and to create an international network of expertise and opportunities for all professionals and individuals dealing with the disease.