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Over-protected and under-served: Legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services

Over-protected and under-served: Legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services

Over-protected and under-served: legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health servicesseries

contributes to knowledge about the legal factors that facilitate or inhibit access to SRH

explores the interaction between legal, social, religious and cultural barriers to SRH

compares different legal frameworks around the world

explores the experiences of service providers about what creates barriers to access

reveals the views of young people on the law, their rights and their ability to access services

"They (LGBTI people) are fighting to establish laws against violence. We do have laws that protect them but they are not always implemented. It is not illegal to be homosexual. But it is illegal socially.

 

Lack of access to SRH services for young people results in unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV infection, and maternal mortality. Barriers to access are economic and structural, as well as gender roles, religious conservatism, social taboos, policies, geographic inaccessibility, and legislation.

 

Research in El Salvador, Senegal and the UK explored the legal barriers that impact on young people’s access to SRH services; the different legal principles that facilitate or inhibit access to SRH services; and young people’s knowledge of the law as it applies to SRH services and in relation to sexuality and sexual activity.

UK: A study on legal barriers to young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services

The key legal barrier to accessing services in the UK is the almost total prohibition on abortion in Northern Ireland and the need to travel to England and pay for abortion which disproportionately disadvantages young women. Lack of legally mandated comprehensive sexuality education, and lack of legal recognition of people who do not identify within the gender-binary norms or are intersex, also represent significant barriers to access.