Reproductive Justice Program
To reduce the legal barriers between women and their reproductive options, Optio’s Reproductive Justice Program is developing legal tools to complement the work of grassroots organizations and reproductive health activists globally. Our projects include:
Developing a Reproductive Justice Scale: We are developing an internationally recognized scale that measures levels of discrimination in court decisions according to eight international standards of reproductive rights.
Legal Research Project: In this three-phase project, we are using the Reproductive Justice Scale to evaluate court decisions that violate women’s reproductive rights in countries with restrictive reproductive health policies. In Phase 1, we collect and systematize local judicial decisions from every province in the country. In Phase 2, we work with local and international activists to produce a comparative analysis of these cases, highlighting the advances or setbacks of national jurisprudence around the Right to Health and Reproductive Rights. In Phase 3, we work closely with lawyers from the country to develop strategies for litigating current and future reproductive rights cases at a national level, with the ultimate goal of liberalizing existing laws and policies.
Litigating National Court Cases that Violate Women’s Rights: Using the strategies developed in Phase 3 of our Legal Research Project , we are working with national lawyers to litigate cases of women who have been criminalized for terminating their pregnancies. We are also working with local and international partners to ensure that emblematic cases are widely publicized.
Improving Access to Reproductive Health
Optio’s Access program is working in close collaboration with grassroots organizations to create tools and to develop strategies that will give women in restrictive settings more control over their reproductive health. Recognizing that local organizations are at the forefront of efforts to improve women’s sexual and reproductive rights in their countries, our projects have evolved out of conversations with these organizations about their priorities for collaboration. Our projects include:
Supporting the work of reproductive rights activists. The lives of activists and organizations who work to improve the sexual and reproductive rights of women in restrictive settings are constantly under threat. To help address this, we are collaborating with these organizations to develop tools and protocols that will improve their security and the safety of the women they work with.
Improving access to reproductive options through technical platforms: We are working with select partners to provide information about women’s reproductive options via web-based platforms and mobile applications.
Over-the-Counter Birth Control in the US
Optio is now devoting resources to support the movement to make the birth control pill available to women in the United States without a prescription, and is actively fundraising to support research on women's ability to self-select and safely use the pill without the assistance of a health professional, with particular focus on first time users.