Women’s reproductive rights include more than access to safe, affordable abortion and contraceptives. These rights are also about proper state care for any associated surgical procedure, for example, along with state obligations not to deny access to services that only women require, and to ensure the good quality of such services. The high court in Gaborone, Botswana, has just delivered an important decision related to this question, holding the state accountable for the shoddy treatment of a women who underwent a hysterectomy.
The woman in this case, GMJ, needed a hysterectomy and it was to be carried out in Serowe, at the Sekgoma Memorial Hospital. At the time, she was not yet 50, married and a senior secondary school teacher.