Reproductive Rights

KC JOURNAL NO 20 November 2008

Giving a national voice to reproductive choice’ – the Reproductive Rights Alliance

Who is the RRA?

The Reproductive Rights Alliance is a national alliance of about 50 organisations committed to promoting, advancing, mobilising and ensuring that all South Africans, particularly women, can make choices about their reproductive health and lives.

The RRA’s members include organisations and activists who have a long history of working in the fields of human rights, women’s health, reproductive health, women’s rights, violence against women, ngos, worker and community based organisations.

The RRA’s key strength lies in pulling together a diversity of experience, knowledge and expertise within its respective members and its ability to use the collective voice to promote reproductive rights in SA. The RRA is the only cohesive, national voice advocating a pro-choice perspective.

What do we mean by being pro-choice?

RRA believes that choice is the cornerstone of making democracy a reality in SA. Through giving all South Africans the right to exercise political choices, post apartheid SA has saved lives and begun to restore human dignity. Being pro-choice means supporting the right of all South Africans, especially women, to take full control of their sexual and reproductive health and lives, and having the means, knowledge and confidence to exercise health choices.

Pro-choice means being:

Pro-woman supporting women to take control of their bodies and sexuality and to protect them. Pro-child contributing towards ensuring that every child is a wanted child that has access to all his/her needs being met. Pro-life saving women’s lives from the violence of back street abortions and other forms of violence against women.

Why was the RRa formed?

The Reproductive Rights Alliance was formed as an advocacy response to advance, protect and ensure that all women in South Africa could exercise their reproductive rights and to actively protect their health and lives. Several organisations came together out of their commitment to create and promote a liberalised, safe and legal framework for reproductive health and well-being. Whilst the RRA played a central role in successfully advocating for the passing of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, it continues to advocate for policy and legislation change around any issues that impact negatively on the sexual and reproductive health of all South Africans.

The RRA’s Work

Community Mobilisation through information, education and communication to root a pro-choice mass movement that mobilises communities to understand, protect and advance the basic human rights of all people to take full control over their own lives. Specific barriers to reproductive choice identified by communities with which RRA has been working include high levels of violence, cultural values and a lack of access to basic facilities such as clinics.

Advocacy Training to build the capacity of communities and specific interest groups such as health care providers, black working women, youth, and religious organisations to play an active role in advocating for choice as a key to democracy and the protection of lives.

Research and monitoring of policy legislation to provide cutting edge information to policy makers, implementers and civil society advocates which will serve to consolidate the gains that have been made and ensure that the rights set out in legislation become a real choice for ordinary women and men.

Litigation and Defence of the legislation to ensure that the values and rights espoused by the Constitution are upheld and advanced, specifically as they impact on sexual and reproductive choices.

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