Published 13th November 2019
A woman’s body is her own.
Sexual and reproductive rights mean you should be able to make your own decisions about your body and have the right information to assist decision making around:
- Managing menstruation
- If you want children
- Who you want to have children with
- Contraception and family planning
- Aborting a pregnancy if it is your wish
In the UK thousands of women are being denied these rights. Their status as undocumented migrants means they are fearful of accessing healthcare services so many of us take for granted.
These are women who have frequently had traumatic experiences of trafficking, sexual abuse, relationship break ups, and ill treatment in their home countries or in the UK.
Every week we meet women whose sexual and reproductive health is being put at risk because they are too fearful to access healthcare.
For years, policies that impact migrants’ access to healthcare have become more hostile. Charging for non urgent healthcare is enforced and those with unpaid bills are reported to the Home Office. Plus systems are now so complicated that people are wrongly being denied healthcare they should rightfully be able to access.
Doctors of the World runs a specialist Women and Children’s Clinic, led by female clinicians, at our centre in east London. Here women can speak to volunteer nurses and GPs in confidence and without fear. We’re able to answer their questions, help registrations with GPs, offer free contraception and sanitary products and assess the health of women in the early stages of their pregnancy.