Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights

What are my sexual and reproductive rights?

In Canada, you have the right to make decisions about your body. This includes the right to:

  • Decide whether to have children, when to have children and how many children to have.
  • Choose a birth control method that is right for you.
  • Receive non-judgmental and unbiased sexual and reproductive health care.
  • Receive accurate information about sexual and reproductive health.
  • Choose your sexual partner(s), and/or choose not to have sexual partner(s).
  • Decide for yourself when to have sex or not. This is called consent.
  • Choose not to marry or choose whom to marry.
  • Protect yourself and your partner(s) from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
  • Choose your health care provider.

What are my rights when it comes to my sexuality?

In Canada, you have the right to your sexuality and identity. This includes the right to:

  • Your sexual orientation.
  • Your gender identity.
  • Your gender expression.
  • Your culture.
  • Your values, as long as they do not hurt or control someone else. We cannot force our values onto another person.

What are my rights when seeing a doctor?

It is important to feel comfortable with your health care provider. You have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect.
  • Ask questions and get answers that you understand.
  • Have someone with you for the whole appointment if you want, including the physical exam.
  • Make decisions about your health without anyone else knowing about it.
  • Change health care providers.

What if my rights are not being respected?

  • If someone is not respecting your rights or is trying to pressure you into something you do not want, it is not your fault. Let a trusted adult know about what is happening. This could be a different health care provider, counsellor, or another supportive person.
  • If you have experienced sexual violence, it is not your fault. The Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line is free and available 24/7:
    • In Winnipeg: 204-786-8631
    • Toll-Free in Manitoba: 1-888-292-7565

What can I do if I don’t want to have children (get pregnant)?

  • If you are having penis-vagina sex, pregnancy is possible.
  • There are a variety of birth control options, including hormonal and barrier methods. See SERC’s Fact Sheet on Birth Control Methods or talk with a health care provider to learn more.
  • Condoms protect against unwanted pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • In Canada, if a pregnancy happens, there are 3 safe and legal pregnancy options: abortion, adoption, and parenting. The person who carries a pregnancy inside their body has the final decision of which pregnancy option is best for them. No one else has the right to decide this. Visit womenshealthclinic.org to learn more or speak with a counsellor about your options.

Where can I get more information?

  • From your health care provider, community health clinic, or public health nurse. If you need a regular health care provider, call the Family Doctor Finder at 204-786-7111.
  • From the Facts of Life Online: e-mail your questions to thefactsoflife@serc.mb.ca.
  • From a Teen Clinic if you are 21 or younger.
  • Our youth website, www.teentalk.ca.

Sexuality Education Resource Centre 2021

To view or download a PDF version of this information, click here: SRH Rights 2021