Nelson Mandela’s quiet legacy: Reproductive justice for women in South Africa
As the public mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and reflects on his legacy as a freedom fighter and fierce engine for radical political change, there is another -- often quieter in the international coverage -- fight Mandela took on as his own: reproductive justice for South Africa's women.
As Ilyse Hogue writes at the Nation, the country's constitution -- heavily shaped by Mandela -- included gender, sex and pregnancy right alongside race as impermissible grounds for discrimination. As Hogue notes, the addition of pregnancy in these terms was and remains unique, and its meaning was made explicit in South Africa's Bill of Rights, which reads:
Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right
a. to make decisions concerning reproduction;
b. to security in and control over their body; and
c. not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.
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