However, as the election heats up and religious-right attacks on women’s reproductive freedom continue it seems that a generation of women are forgetting (and forgoing) their rights. Here is a quick primer on reproductive freedom and what it means for you.
What is Reproductive Freedom?
Reproductive Freedom is the right to to choose freely and responsibly the spacing and timing of your children. It is the right to choose whether or not you have children and it is the right to safe and quality reproductive health care including safe and legal abortions, contraception and pregnancy care.
In the U.S. we have seen our reproductive rights challenged from abortion to the most recent firestorm surrounding contraception and health care providers obligation to provide birth control. It’s scary to think that something we’ve always had is teetering on the edge of being taken away.
For so many of us, our rights are something we don’t even think about. “Of course, we’ll have access to insurance subsidized birth control, abortion will always be legal” Maybe not. Can you imagine a world where women aren’t allowed to decide when and how to raise a family?
Exercising our freedom, as women, to choose our life’s path, whether that path includes children and how many children, is our birthright and we should be aware of the issues surrounding our most precious right.
Stats on Reproductive Rights
And if you take birth control pills and use other contraceptive you may soon find that access restricted as well. Here are some stats on reproductive health worldwide:
- One in three American women will have an abortion by the time she is age 45
- 58% of women having abortions in the US are in their twenties.
- Of women having abortions, 61% have one or more children; 85% are unmarried; 69% are economically disadvantaged
- In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control helps reduce the risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers
- The use and access to affordable contraception helps lower the need for abortions
- 5.1% percent of women 15-44 have been treated for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease ; a disease that can be prevented by the use of oral contraceptives
- 1000 women die a day worldwide from pregnancy and childbirth related complications
Attacks on our Reproductive Rights
Even with the major need for access to reproductive care, government has placed multiple restrictions on our access to abortions and contraception.
- Texas has instituted a Sonogram Law that requires women to have a sonogram 24 hours before having an abortion
- Blunt Amendment allows employers to object to specific insurance coverage for religious reasons
- In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered inside a clinic in Kansas. He was killed because he performed abortion services.
- The 2003 Federal Abortion Ban outlawed second trimester abortions and does not provide exception depending on a woman’s health condition.
- 15 states have unconstitutional bans on near-total abortions with some states having case-exceptions like rape or health
- The Hyde Amendment denies abortion services to Medicaid recipients; 33 states have similar laws restricting low-income women’s access to abortions
- Most states don’t have enforcement birth control laws, meaning pharmacies can refuse to fill your prescription
What are your thoughts on the war on women’s reproductive freedom?