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STATE OF THE WORLD POPULATION REPORT 2021

What is bodily autonomy?

 

Bodily autonomy means that we have the power and agency to make choices over our bodies and futures, without violence or coercion. This includes when, whether or with whom to have sex. It includes when, whether or with whom you want to become pregnant. It means the freedom to go to a doctor whenever you need one.

Yet women and girls—and indeed, all people—face constraints on their bodily autonomy. The consequences to their health, well-being and potential in life can be devastating. Intertwined with bodily autonomy is the right to bodily integrity, where people can live free from physical acts to which they do not consent.