A group of people of diverse background and ages, smiling. Banner text reads: Sexual and reproductive justice. When all people have the power and resources to make decisions about their bodies, sexuality and reproduction.

Sexual and Reproductive Justice

Sexual and reproductive justice exists when all people have the power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality and reproduction. That means every person has the right to:

  • Choose to have or not have children.
  • Choose the conditions under which to give birth or create a family.
  • Care for their children with the necessary social support in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Control their own body and self-expression, free from any form of sexual or reproductive oppression.

The term "reproductive justice" was coined by a group of black women in 1994. From this group, a framework and SisterSong, a collective led by indigenous women and women of color, emerged.

NYC Standards for Respectful Care at Birth

You have the right to respectful, safe and quality care during your birthing experience.

The NYC Standards for Respectful Care at Birth were created to inform, educate and support people giving birth. These standards encourage you to know your rights and be an active decision-maker in your birthing experience. These standards are also helpful for providers, helping them respect and be aware of their patients’ rights during pregnancy, labor and childbirth.

The standards focus on six areas of respectful care: education, informed consent, decision making, quality of care, support and dignity and non-discrimination.


If you believe your right to informed consent has been violated, you should contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury. For help finding an attorney, call the New York City Bar Association's legal referral service at 212-626-7373.

If you believe you have been mistreated or denied care or services because of your gender, your pregnancy or any other protected category under the New York City Human Rights Law, you can file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights by calling 311.

Community Engagement Group

The Sexual and Reproductive Justice Community Engagement Group (PDF) is a collection of community leaders, activists and nonprofit organizations that work with the Health Department. The group meets monthly to plan and implement activities that encourage all New Yorkers to safely express their sexuality and gender identity with dignity. The group works to ensure everyone has the knowledge, skills and resources to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Video — Working Together for Justice

Our Sexual and Reproductive Justice video features community members and former Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett explaining the importance of working together toward undoing sexual and reproductive injustice in New York City.

After watching the video, download and use the Sexual and Reproductive Video Discussion Guide (PDF) [Español] to help lead conversations on sexual and reproductive justice within your community or organization.

Additional Resources

More Information