To what extent have changes to Family Planning Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic been Transformative for Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights? Examining the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
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Introduction: With 1.1 billion women of reproductive age worldwide who need family planning, the COVID-19 pandemic threatened their sexual and reproductive health rights to accessing services. There has been little research carried out to examine the changes in family planning policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and impact these changes have had on women’s SRHR, in high income countries. To address this gap, this dissertation will look at the changes made to family planning services during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they have been transformative for women’s sexual and reproductive rights. The high-income countries examined in this dissertation will be the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Methods: A desk-based study was carried out to examine changes in family planning policy during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether these changes were transformative for women’s SRHR. A systematic search of the literature of articles which were published since 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Liberal feminism perspective and critical thinking theory will be utilised when analysing the findings. A conceptual framework will guide the analysis of the findings from the literature search. Findings: As a result of COVID-19, access to contraception was restricted, there was in increase in unplanned pregnancies and women experienced barriers when accessing abortion care in the UK, Italy and France. Conclusion: The literature contributes that policy changes have been more transformative for women’s sexual and reproductive health rights in some contexts more than others. There has been an exacerbation of existing inequalities.