In October 2022, the Regional Gender Task Force (RGTF) published a report titled “Making the Invisible Visible: An evidence-based analysis of gender in the regional response to the war in Ukraine” describing the adverse impacts of the ongoing conflict on all genders and marginalized groups. The section “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” is dedicated to discussing SRHR issues that have arisen in the war, as well as solutions through the humanitarian response. While few restrictions are present in Ukraine for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services, many surrounding countries have strict policies that limit abortions and make contraceptive access difficult. Legal, language, and financial barriers have restricted Ukrainian refugees from seeking high-quality SRH, increasing the risk of adverse SRH outcomes. The conflict has also increased the difficulty in accessing SRH services in Ukraine or neighboring countries, due to the attacks on health-related infrastructure and disruption of health and SRH organizations.
According to the report, disruptions in health care services and medical supply chains have led to an increased risk for negative sexual health impacts among Ukrainians such as maternal mortality, unwanted pregnancies, and the spread of STIs. Certain groups are disproportionately susceptible to a lack of high-quality SRH care, such as LGBTQ+ individuals. Intersecting identities, such as ethnicity or race, may also lead to disproportionate outcomes when seeking SRH services. While promoting high-quality care through a humanitarian response is necessary, it has been challenging during this conflict as a result of political and legal restrictions. Financial support and response efforts must promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of all people impacted by the war.
“Moldova – People fleeing the military offensive in Ukraine” by UN Women/Aurel Obreja licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0