Digital Rights are
Women*s Rights

In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, DFF presents a mini-series to highlight the importance of intersectional feminism for digital rights. This collection of blogs, contributed by guest authors from our network, illustrates why we must embrace intersectional perspectives if we want to defend the digital rights of all. You can read the full series here.

Why digital rights are reproductive rights

Women everywhere need access to information on their sexual and reproductive rights. The availability of this information is crucial to women’s full enjoyment of healthy sexuality, prevention of unwanted pregnancy, access to prenatal healthcare, and access to safe abortion.

Many states, even those with progressive laws on sexual and reproductive rights, are still failing to provide meaningful access to accurate information, particularly on abortion. The internet has become one of the main sources of information on sexual and reproductive health, especially when governments fail to fulfill these obligations.

Human rights organisations strive to provide reliable, accurate information through their websites so that women can know their rights, and are not exposed to misinformation, barriers to access, unsafe abortion, or forced motherhood.

In early 2020, the Spanish government blocked the website of Women on Web, an organisation that offers information on access to safe abortion in multiple countries around the world. In Spain, Women on Web was using its website to provide information to women facing barriers to access abortion, including women who lived far from clinics and women with irregular immigration status.

It is alarming that a democratic government would block a website providing reliable information on sexual and reproductive rights, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when barriers to access to safe abortion have increased and this information is more necessary than ever. 

This case is a clear example of how attacks on digital rights, especially the free flow of information online, can negatively impact the lives of women and girls, a problem that must not be ignored.

By Estefanny Molina, Senior Attorney at Women’s Link Worldwide.