Do you know someone whose choice was taken away?
Over the years, legislation has gone back and forth between pro-choice and pro-life. I’ve even picked a side once. However as I got older I realized that no one deserves to have their right to choose taken away.
If we lived in a perfect world reproductive rights wouldn’t be an issue. Our government would recognize this basic right that all couples and individuals should 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 reserve the biggest right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.
Instead, across the world, issues like money, population, religion and status dictate women’s rights to reproduce.
One of the biggest struggles in women’s human rights is sexual and reproductive autonomy, and the coercive and often violent ways that autonomy is suppressed.
For example, women and girls may be forcibly sterilized because they have HIV, were born with intersex conditions, or are a member of a repressed ethnic group, or they may be subjected to virginity testing. Sometimes coercion takes the form of a lack of access to basic health care and contraception.
I read about one case that a young girl’s boyfriend would literally beat her if she mentioned condoms or birth control. He was so against it and wanted her to have his child so she would be tied to him forever. Things like this happen everywhere, every day and in all parts of the world.
Everyone has their opinion about abortion and whether or not it’s appropriate. Is it murder? Is it up to the mother? What about difficult pregnancies that may cause the mother her life? What about cases of incest or rape? As of today, five states have enacted five measures that ban abortion after 20 weeks and do not provide an adequate exception to protect women’s health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest (AL, ID, IN, KS, OK).
Due to so many eyes frowning upon this issue, many women look elsewhere for the procedure so they aren’t judged. Abortion performed under unsafe conditions is a serious threat to reproductive health. The World Health Organization estimates that about 70,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortion, almost all of them in developing countries.
If all women had access to a range of modern, safe and effective family planning services which would enable them to avoid unwanted pregnancy the number of women that die each year would drop drastically.
Need more proof?
Only 17 states provide financial assistance to poor women seeking abortions; 14 of them do so under court order. Over 87% of the US counties do not have services forcing women to travel and delay their procedures while increasing the cost. 35% of women live in these counties. 8 of 10 residency programs don’t require doctors to learn abortion procedures. What’s more, 50% of chief residents have no clinical experience or training for a life-saving abortion. Over 54% of unwanted pregnancies are the result of failed birth control.
Healthcare professionals who try to help are being cut down by terrorists. With each year there are fewer doctors who know how to help… fewer doctors who are WILLING to help and, unfortunately, more women who NEED help.
How can you help?
Here’s one way…. Right now, a woman’s right to bear children when she chooses; the right to determine her reproductive life, and the right to have control over her own body depends on her ability to pay.
WRRAP (Women Reproductive Rights Assistance Project) is run by volunteers and the money they raise is spent on helping poor women with nowhere else to turn. More people need to know about them and their work. If you make a donation, that would be wonderful. You can also help by hosting a gathering of friends, telling them all about it and by advising foundations of our valuable work.
To make a tax deductible donation send your check, made payable to WRRAP to 2934 1/2 Beverly Glen Circle, #169 Los Angeles, CA 91403.
This post was written by Dani
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