Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

This page features disability news on Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.


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

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

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


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


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


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.'” (Jun, Politico)

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


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


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,’” (Mar, BehanBox)

Why It Is Hard For Disabled Women, Queer Persons To Leave Abusive Partners (Jun, 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. (Feb, Revival Disability Mag)


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


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.” (Jun, 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.” (May, Kenya Network of Women and Girls with Disabilities)


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.” (Jul, Kathmandu Post)


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

South Africa

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. (Apr, Sunday Times)

United Kingdom

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

United States

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

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

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.” (Jun, 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.” (May, 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.” (Apr, American Progress)

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

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." (Mar, Psychology Today)

Disability-inspired Valentines Cards "The illness may be chronic but together we're iconic" (Feb, 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. (Jan, NWCL)

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." (Feb, NYT)

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