Your reproductive health rights

The human reproductive system is the system that is responsible for the way you and every person who is alive came into existence. Men and women have different reproductive systems that serve unique purposes in terms of procreation. Because of how important the reproductive system is, it ought to preserved and protected. That is whyN° 21/2016 of 20/05/2016 the law relating to human reproductive health exists.

Article 8 of the law relating to human reproductive health says that you have the right of access to education and medical services relating to human reproductive health. 

The reason why it is necessary to receive education on reproductive health is because there are some false beliefs that are likely to result in making wrong choices. For example, some girls are tricked into having sex after being lied to about circumstances under which they cannot get pregnant. Some of the girls end up with early pregnancies which can be harmful to their reproductive systems.

Some cultural practices are also harmful to the human reproductive system. That is why article 9 of N° 21/2016 of 20/05/2016 the law relating to human reproductive health says, “Every person has the right not to be subjected to any experiment or any other act likely to be harmful to human reproductive health.” An example of such a practice is female circumcision.

In regard to medical services, one important medical service relating to reproductive health is testing for HIV/AIDS. This is because HIV/AIDS, an incurable disease, is by and large sexually transmitted. Article 10 paragraph one of the law relating to human reproductive health therefore says, “Every person has the right to voluntarily undergo HIV/AIDS test and have his/her results in secret.”

You have the right to know your HIV status so that you can receive the necessary medical care and also live a responsible life. However testing for HIV/AIDS is voluntary. Nobody should be forced to do it unless it is required by law. This is according to article 10 paragraph two of the law relating to human reproductive health.

However, as a child, and according to article 10 paragraph three of the law relating to human reproductive health, your parents, guardians or caretakers can provide permission to a medical professional to perform HIV/AIDS testing. For example, testing is done to babies whose parents have HIV/AIDS in order to know whether or not they have acquired it so that they can receive the necessary care.

If you have questions about reproductive health, you have the right to ask your parents and/or teachers. According to article 14 and 19 of N° 21/2016 of 20/05/2016 the law relating to human reproductive health, it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to provide information and education about reproductive health. 

Article 14 says, “Every biological parent or guardian has the duty to discuss with the children about human reproductive health.”  Article 19 says, “The educational curricula of different categories of schools and literacy centres must provide courses on human reproductive health.”

Take care of your reproductive health. The survival of the human race depends on it.

Rwanda Decides