Equal Rights — Unless You Are Pregnant

Delving into pregnancy discrimination, UNU-IIGH examines challenges and calls for equity.

Date Published
25 May 2022
Pascale Allotey Daniel D Reidpath

Seventy-four years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women's inherent rights to freedom and self-determination continue to face significant challenges. A recent BMJ article underscores that women's rights to their bodies are often suspended by law or custom, particularly in matters of pregnancy. The impending decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organisation case threatens to overturn the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, potentially endangering the health and well-being of women in the United States and undermining global efforts to expand women's reproductive rights.

The criminalization of abortions violates numerous human rights instruments, creating a hierarchy of human worth. This erosion of women's rights not only threatens women's equality but also has far-reaching repercussions across global health and international development. The international community must remain vigilant in upholding women's rights to make decisions about their own bodies and safeguarding their access to safe and legal abortion services.

Read the full article: Equal rights—unless you are pregnant | The BMJ 

Suggested citation: Allotey Pascale, Daniel D Reidpath. "Equal Rights — Unless You Are Pregnant," United Nations University, UNU-IIGH, 2022-05-25,