How would you feel if someone:
Told you what you could and couldn’t wear?
Told you what you could and couldn’t eat?
Told you who you could and couldn’t talk to?
Told you who you could and couldn’t love?
Wouldn’t that be frustrating? Wouldn’t you feel like your freedom as an adult was being taken away? Well that’s what’s happening to women’s bodies.
Women are losing their reproductive rights. Rights that were granted by governments and world health organizations as part of our human rights.
But what are reproductive rights?
Reproductive rights are:
“The recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right to make all decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion, and violence.”
Women’s reproductive rights include:
- Access to safe, legal abortions
- The right to birth control
- Freedom from coerced sterilization and contraception
- The right to access good-quality reproductive healthcare
- The right to education and access in order to make free and informed reproductive choices.
Reproductive rights are for everyone
Even if you dream of having kids and could never imagine having an abortion, reproductive rights still matter to you. They allow you to CHOOSE to have children, choose when to have children, choose how many and provide you a proper education on how to do it safely. Not to mention that many women seeking abortions are victims of rape or have serious health risks if they give birth. Now women are being forced to have unsafe, illegal abortions because they have NO CHOICE.
Being pro choice doesn’t mean you’re pro-abortin. It means you believe in a persons given right to choose what to do with their body.
What can we do to help stop the removal of reproductive rights?
- Join protests happening around the world right now
- Use your voice through voting for candidates that support reproductive rights
- Speak out online! Use your platform to spread awareness and understanding about this issue.
- Donate to family planning services and charities doing all they can to support women and girls to access education and health care.
- Talk about it! Talk to your family, friends, etc, make this topic normal to discuss. If we normalize it, we help to remove some of the shame and toxic ideas that surround reproductive health care.
Women and girls on the margins—particularly teenagers, women with disabilities, impoverished women, women engaged in sex work or who use drugs, and women living with HIV—are especially vulnerable to violations of their reproductive rights. We need to be engaged in efforts to protect women’s reproductive rights. Women and girls must be empowered so that we can be each other’s greatest advocates.
There are still many places in the world where women do not have the right to make reproductive health decisions. Instead, authorities get to make the decision on whether or not a woman should have children. She has no say over the path her life will take. Everyone except the woman or girl herself has the authority to decide what is best for her. She is either too young, reckless, incompetent, lazy, or poor to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy or have a child.
Giving women the right to control their own reproductive destiny helps to dispel the notion that women’s gender exists solely to care for others. Women are given the right to live their lives as they see fit, including going to school, to pursue a career, to stay at home, to start a family, to either not have children or to have a number of their choosing. This can only happen if reproductive rights are recognised as human rights rather than being sidelined to the margins of the movement.