Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

This page has curated news on Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights. There are resources from 27 countries and regions, with a total of 95 links.

Highlights

From International News:

Disability, Sexuality and Consent: How Activists Are Reshaping the Narrative. Beautifully illustrated exploration of relationships, care, legal frameworks and community. (2023, NYT)

Disability & Sexual Violence: Women with disabilities’ global struggle for their right to intimacy (2023, HPOD)

Disability Inclusive Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights A guide signposting key concepts and resources. (2023, DCDD)

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. An evidence digest. (2022, SDD Direct)

From Europe:

Europe's hidden shame: documentary on forced sterilisation of women with disabilities. “They took me to hospital without telling me anything.” See also a feature article. (2023, Euronews)

From India:

Desire, Sexuality And Choice: Disabled Indian Women And Queer Persons On Their Experiences. “I never stopped to think whether I liked them or not. I was just glad that someone liked me. I didn’t feel I had the right to say no. I thought ‘I will figure out how to like them too,’” (2022, BehanBox)

From the United States:

Seeking Marriage Equality for People With Disabilities “When one partner is disabled and the other isn’t, getting married could mean giving up lifesaving health care and benefits from the government.” (2022, NYT)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

Disability, Sexuality and Consent: How Activists Are Reshaping the Narrative. Beautifully illustrated exploration of relationships, care, legal frameworks and community. (2023, NYT)

Sexual and reproductive healthcare must be disability inclusive. “With women’s rights being rolled back across the world, it is more important than ever for sexual health and family planning services to be disability inclusive” (2023, BMJ)

Statement on the challenges faced by LGBT people with disabilities and recommendations for government action. (2023, OHCHR)

Improving contraceptive choices and bodily autonomy for women and girls with disabilities:

“For example, evidence shows that women with disabilities experience lower coverage of modern contraceptives (44%) compared to women without disabilities (48%). The gap is even larger in South Asia: 48% versus 59%. Similarly, adults with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa are less likely to have comprehensive knowledge about HIV prevention and transmission (23%) compared to people without disabilities (33%).” (2023, Sightsavers)

LGBTQ+ Disabled Activists on Pride and Creating Their Own Representation. (2023, Tilting The Lens)

Disability & Sexual Violence: Women with disabilities’ global struggle for their right to intimacy (2023, HPOD)

The Right to Marry: Barriers to intimacy for persons with disabilities. (2023, HPOD)

Disability Inclusive Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights A guide signposting key concepts and resources. (2023, DCDD)

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. An evidence digest. (2022, SDD Direct)

Some experiences of sex workers with disabilities who find opportunities in their work. (2022, URevolution)

An evidence digest on LGBTIQ+ and disability inclusion (2022, Social Development Direct)

Between Vulnerability and Sexual Agency recent history discussion in the US and UK contexts. (2022, History Workshop)

Be inclusive: sexual and reproductive health. (2022, Inclusive Futures)

Evidence brief on promoting the sexual health of men and women with physical disabilities in low- and middle- income countries. (2021, Disability Evidence Portal)

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Asia-Pacific

Disability-inclusive Comprehensive Sexuality Education: An Assessment of Teacher Needs. (2022, UNESCO)

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Africa

Ghana

A town had banned deaf people from marrying each other one couple defied the decree for love. (2022, BBC News Africa)

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Kenya

Experiences of Women and Girls with Disabilities around Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. Surveys show women and girls with disabilities having faced a form of violence and that “the perpetrators of these heinous acts are mostly people known to the victims.” (2022, Kenya Network of Women and Girls with Disabilities)

Interventions around Menstrual Health and Hygiene Must Be Inclusive of Women and Girls with Disabilities:

“The most rarely spoken about is how menstrual product manufacturers overlook consumers with disabilities. Most sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cups are not a better fit for women and girls who use assistive devices or have no limbs (hands and/or legs).

For women and girls who use prosthesis legs, wheelchairs, calipers, or crutches, the sanitary pad cannot be properly kept in place, which in the process causes leakage or even worse falls off during movement. Those without hands or fingers also find it difficult to tear the packet and insert the sanitary pad into their panty or insert the tampon or menstrual cup correctly.

Availability and high cost of menstrual products pauses a challenge to women and girls with disabilities in the rural areas causing them to opt for alternative solutions such as using rags, leaves, animal skins, and even cow dung that exposes them to multiple infections.” (2022, Kenya Network of Women and Girls with Disabilities)

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Nigeria

Tackling discrimination through design: “Communication materials relating to sexual and reproductive health don’t usually acknowledge the lives of people with disabilities or answer questions they might have.” (2023, Inclusive Futures)

‘You Can’t Legislate Attitudes’ Discussion on the Deterioration of Rights for Queer and Disabled Nigerians (2022, Disability Justice Project)

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Rwanda

Dative's Story "I am a role model for Persons with Disabilities" (2022, short video on Youtube, UNFPA)

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Senegal

A quest for dignified health care for women with disabilities: “a woman with disability talks about her experience giving birth and how it drives her activism today.” (2022, WHO)

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South Africa

Women with disabilities need better access to maternal, sexual and reproductive health services “Focusing specifically on their experiences of maternal health services, disabled women in the same study reported that nurses expressed visible surprise, and sometimes anger, that these women were sexually active.” (2023, Daily Maverick)

Addressing the psychosexual underrepresentation of people with disabilities a new book. (2023, UNISA)

How people with disabilities navigate sexual health and reproduction. (2023, Eyewitness News)

People with intellectual disability have a right to sexuality – but their families have concerns. (2022, the Conversation)

Sexual abuse of children with intellectual disabilities stems from poor education, false beliefs and poor safety structures. Article gives distressing examples of violence, incest, rape and abduction. (2022, Sunday Times)

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South Sudan

Why are persons with disabilities at great risk of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment? An infographic. (2022, RSH)

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Tanzania

Relational, Ableist and Gendered Sites of Violence: Perspectives of Tanzanian Girls With Disabilities on Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (2023, Forum for Development Studies)

Sexual and reproductive health and rights through the lens of belonging: Intersectional perspectives on disability, gender, and adolescence in Tanzania. (2023, JYX Digital Repository)

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Uganda

Ugandan Parliament Passes Extreme Anti-LGBT Bill:

“But one of the most egregious provisions – the bill calls it “aggravated homosexuality” – calls for the death penalty in certain circumstances, including for “serial offenders,” or for anyone having same-sex relations with a person with a disability, thereby automatically denying persons with disabilities the capacity to consent to sex.” (2023, Human Rights Watch)

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Zimbabwe

Chivis’ Story of Hope: To the future, with love “We can detect abuse and fall in love.” Support groups raise Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights awareness in communities where persons with disabilities are abused and shunned. (2023, UNICEF)

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Asia

India

Persons With Disabilities And The Idea Of Love “It is not uncommon for persons with disabilities to be haunted by questions of love due to the attitude of others” (2023, Outlook)

What Pride Month Means To Queer Indians With Disabilities (2023, Vice)

Autonomy, agency, choice: Yes these are for us. A panel discussing gender, sexuality and disability. (2023, In Plainspeak)

Online Dating; A More Accessible Option For Queer Disabled Folks (2023, Gaysi)

Why It Is Hard For Disabled Women, Queer Persons To Leave Abusive Partners (2022, BehanBox)

Desire, Sexuality And Choice: Disabled Indian Women And Queer Persons On Their Experiences. “I never stopped to think whether I liked them or not. I was just glad that someone liked me. I didn’t feel I had the right to say no. I thought ‘I will figure out how to like them too,’” (2022, BehanBox)

An impressive series of collaborations for Cripplentines Week 2022 "Cripplentines is rooted in the belief that all kinds of love should be celebrated". I particularly enjoyed picking out my favorite lipstick for you: "We deserve rough sex, slow sex, sex that makes us forget the ableist world for a while, sex that is loving, sex that values our disabled bodies." And the article on the space to dream of disability affirmative love:

"As single disabled young adults navigating (or trying to navigate) dating during a pandemic, there is so much despair and frustration. Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but most of the fish are ableist and would rather not wear a mask because 'the omicron wave is mild, ya'."

See further in the collaborations with Feminism India and Gaysi. Featured on New India Express and Mid-Day. (2022, Revival Disability Mag)

“I am disabled, it doesn’t mean I have no dignity” (2022, The Lancet)

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Japan

Japan court awards damages to victims of forced sterilisation for first time three plaintiffs, in their 70s and 80s, receive payouts. (2022, the Guardian)

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Myanmar

Assessment of Services for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender-Based Violence, and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for persons with disabilities, in selected states. (2023, UNFPA)

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Nepal

Chhaupadi practice puts women with disabilities at higher risk On the practice of isolating women while menstruating: “Disabled girls and women are more prone to getting sexually violated while staying away in chhau sheds.” (2022, Kathmandu Post)

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Europe

Europe

A silenced truth: a briefing on stories of forced sterilisation in the EU (2023, EDF)

Despite Bans, Disabled Women Are Still Being Sterilized in Europe (2023, New York Times)

Europe's hidden shame: documentary on forced sterilisation of women with disabilities. “They took me to hospital without telling me anything.” See also a feature article. (2023, Euronews)

A book on LGBTQ+ People with Chronic Illness: Chroniqueers in Southern Europe. (2023, Springer)

New guide to raise awareness of issues around sex, gender and sexuality in dementia (2023, Alzheimer Europe)

EU Parliament wants to ban forced sterilisation to protect people with disabilities. (2022, Euractiv)

An Infographic on Female Genital Mutilation and Disability. (2022, EDF)

A campaign to end forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities in the European Union:

“The study of EU Member States’ legislation on sterilisation shows
widespread forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities, especially
women and girls. Forced sterilisation is authorised by the legislation of 14 EU Member States (even though the expression of “forced” is not expressly present in the legislation except for Hungary and Lithuania). The legislation of Czechia, Hungary and Portugal allows forced sterilisation of minors.” (link to pdf, 2022, EDF)

The Fight to End Forced Sterilization of Disabled Women and Girls (2022, Women's Media Center)

Disability rights activists fight for access to cities' Pride events “People with disabilities who face barriers accessing Pride events and LGBTQ+ spaces say they're made to feel like a 'double minority.'” (2022, Politico)

A petition to the European Union to End forced sterilisation in the EU now! (2022, EDF) See also an op-ed asking Who is allowed to be a parent?

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France

The consent dilemma: Why France is struggling to end forced sterilisation of women with disabilities. (2023, Euronews)

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Hungary

'Forced contraception is the rule': Hungary fails to end abuses against women with disabilities. (2023, Euronews)

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Malta

Forced sterilisation to become illegal in all circumstances Up until now, legal guardians can decide to sterilise people with mental disabilities (2023, Times of Malta)

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United Kingdom

This is how we do it: ‘His disability might change the sex we have, but we’ll adapt’. (2023, the Guardian)

Dating as a disabled woman made me miserable, so I'm building a life without romantic love (2023, iNews)

Do accessible sex toys exist? Podcast (no transcript, 2022, BBC)

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North America

Canada

Disability Justice in Queer Communities (2022, Rainbow Salad)

I'm queer and disabled. Pride isn't accessible for me. (2022, CBC)

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United States

Reproductive justice for disabled people post-Dobbs: A call-to-action for researchers (2023, Disability and Health Journal)

Inside the audio pornography boom that is revolutionising desire Feature on Press Play, Turn On: “From transgender and disabled performers creating their own erotica to the mum whose sexy voice-acting was interrupted by her kids, meet the podcaster diving into aural sex content” (2023, the Guardian)

How I Really Feel About Sex Work and Disability as a Disabled Client. (2023, Andrew Gurza)

How Accessible Sex Ed Helps Young Adults With Developmental Disabilities Form Healthy Relationships. Less than half of students getting disability services receive any reproductive health instruction. (2023, Mother Jones)

The Unique Joys and Challenges of Queer Disabled Relationships “Relationships between two disabled people can offer a profound level of mutual care and understanding.” (2023, Them)

Seeking a Lover, Not a Nurse “Disability shouldn’t make someone undesirable or impractical as a romantic partner.” (2023, New York Times)

‘Why am I having to explain this?’: Seven stories of barriers to reproductive care for those with disabilities. (2023, StatNews)

Disabled Woman Seeks Marriage Equality From Social Security Administration – Files Religious Freedom and Due Process Complaint. “The law cuts off Long’s access to life-saving benefits if she marries. The complaint alleges that the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the U.S. Constitution.” (2022, DREDF)

Including Disabled People in the Battle to Protect Abortion Rights: A Call-to-Action (2022, UCLA Law Review)

‘People Think I’m a Project:’ he Unique Challenges of Dating With Chronic Illness (2022, New York Times)

Giving Birth While Disabled: “A Florida mother’s child was taken from her by authorities in 2018. Now her case could change things.” (2022, The Progressive Magazine)

Rethinking Guardianship To Protect Disabled People’s Reproductive Rights (2022, Center for American Progress)

Seeking Marriage Equality for People With Disabilities “When one partner is disabled and the other isn’t, getting married could mean giving up lifesaving health care and benefits from the government.” (2022, NYT)

For a Woman in a Wheelchair, Abortion Access Was One More Challenge (2022, NYT)

Statement on the Supreme Court’s Ruling Overturning the Right to Abortion “We are more likely to be sexually assaulted. Especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of us have complex medical conditions and pregnancy is dangerous. The government already tries to control our lives and our bodies. Disabled people need abortion.” (2022, DREDF) See also from AAPD and others.

How do people with disabilities feel about abortion? Ives-Rublee, one of the co-authors, says “I think it’s extremely important for us to expand the way we talk about the impact of having a bodily autonomy, to include abortion access, but to include all of these other issues that particularly affect the disability community.” (2022, 19th News)

Reproductive Justice for Disabled Women: Ending Systemic Discrimination. “As access to reproductive rights continues to shrink in the United States, disabled women struggle to gain visibility around their rights and needs.” (2022, American Progress)

Sex Workers and Persons With Disabilities: "Persons with disabilities are often taught by society to feel guilty or ashamed of asking for accommodations – seeing a sex worker may overcome that by explicitly focusing on the client’s needs and abilities." (2022, Psychology Today)

Book review of Eradicating Deafness? Genetics, Pathology, and Diversity in Twentieth-Century America. (2022, H-Disability)

What’s Next In ‘Marriage Equality’ For People With Disabilities?’ (2022, Forbes)

I’m Thankful Every Day for the Decision I Made After My Prenatal Tests

"Done right, prenatal testing could allow parents to prepare well for the birth of their children. But without broad social acceptance of people with disabilities, without a medical establishment that conveys the positive social situations of many people with disabilities, and without funding for accurate and up-to-date information in the face of a prenatal diagnosis, more and more women will face decisions about their pregnancies without the support they deserve." (2022, NYT)

Disability-inspired Valentines Cards "The illness may be chronic but together we're iconic" (2022, Squeaky Wheel on twitter)

Forced Sterilization of Disabled People in the United States: "Laws allowing forced sterilization exist in 31 states plus Washington, D.C." The latest were passed in 2019. (2022, NWCL)

With Roe v. Wade overturned, disabled people reflect on how it will impact them (2022, NPR) See also the dire cost of forced birth for people with disabilities (Huffington Post).

We Talked To People Living With Disabilities About Sex And Here's What They Had To Say (2021, BuzzFeed)

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Oceania

Australia

Parents with disability face discrimination in child protection systems a report finds that “parents with disability are over-represented as subjects of child protection allegations, investigations and proceedings.” (2023, Disability Royal Commission)

Meet Melanie and Chayse: The disabled woman and her sex worker. (2023, BBC)

Resource will help reduce prejudice against parents with intellectual disability (2022, University of Sydney)

We've Got This: Stories by Disabled Parents edited by Eliza Hull. (2022, Scribe Publications)

"I am on a mission to make dating more accessible and inclusive." (2022, Women's Agenda)

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South America

Chile

Government apologizes to woman for forced sterilization. “Doctors performed procedure in 2002 without consent while Francisca was under anesthesia because she was HIV positive” (2022, the Guardian)

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