Reproductive Rights

Women’s Health & Reproductive Rights – No Forced Pregnancy

I am a proud mother of five. Each time I got pregnant it was because I wanted to be pregnant. Pregnancy is a momentous life-event and childbirth can be difficult, if not brutal, on a woman’s body and her long-term health and well-being. When I gave birth, I was at a point in my life where I was both ready and excited to make the considered choice to start a family and I am also very grateful that my circumstances were such that I was able to experience the ineffable joy that comes from carrying each of my children to their healthy, long-awaited deliveries. To preclude other women of the same opportunities to organize and manage their lives as they choose seems unconscionable.

Family planning is important, not only because of the sheer number of American women who use contraception but for economic and societal reasons as well. Women’s ability to control their fertility through preventive care in the short term has long-lasting and far-reaching consequences. Whether through reducing the cost of unintended pregnancies or enabling women to advance their education and careers, family planning provides women with greater independence to make crucial life decisions on their own terms — decisions that affect not only their lives but also the greater society.

When women have reliable access to birth control, they are less likely to experience unwanted pregnancies. Historically, poor women and young women have had limited access to birth control and the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated insurance providers make birth control available at no cost. Unfortunately, many well-funded “religious” and “pro-life” organization who fought to get the birth control provision of the ACA overturned now continue to fight fiercely in States nationwide to impose roadblocks and inhibit women’s ability to access vital, legal family planning services. By limiting women’s access to family planning, Pro-Lifers paradoxically escalate to the number of unwanted pregnancies thus increasing the demand for abortions. Sadly, the most-ardent proponents of the rights of the unborn seem far more concerned about forcing their beliefs on others than in actually reducing unwanted pregnancies.

According to Alina Salganicoff, Director of Women’s Health Policy for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, “If your priority is to reduce abortions, one of the best things you can do is make sure that women have access to high-quality, affordable and effective methods of birth control.”

Legislatively constructing impediments to accessing women’s health care and family planning services, or worse, returning the US to a time where medically-safe abortion procedures are illegal – even in cases of incest, rape or the life of the mother — will not stop abortions. Unwanted pregnancies always have and always will continue to be terminated dependent on a woman’s dire-circumstance or desperation. Rich women will seek out and find competent doctors willing to perform the procedures, poor women will get butchered. There’s no nobility in such injustices.

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