February 21, 2007

Reproduction Choice and How to Defend It

Do we, the childfree, represent a movement or do we merely exist in growing numbers that are getting harder to ignore?
Thus far, I would say we fall short on both descriptions, but that may be about to change. The proof will be in our collective actions and the issues we rally around. The launch of the ezine Unscripted: A Childfree Life and childfree blogs such as the Childfree Issues are recent developments that may bring us together.

Reproductive rights are core issues for people who are childfree by choice. Men and women are affected equally. It is not a women’s health issue, it is a public health issue and it affects us all, your daughter, your niece, your aunt, your sister, your girlfriend, and your wife – and yes, you.

What’s at stake?

• Access to birth control for all who want it

• Right to abort an unwanted pregnancy

These are important topics to discuss in the childfree realm because, let’s face it, there would not be so many of us if not for the miracles of birth control and yes, control over our pregnancies. To learn more about these issues you can visit the website of The Center for Reproductive Rights, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization defending these rights on all fronts at home and abroad.

Title X was created by Congress in 1970 to provided safe, confidential access to contraception, non-biased reproductive education and care. It provides this care to 4.5 millions low-income individuals annually. The Bush Administration has not ensured enough funding for Title X to maintain current levels of reproductive care for millions who are below the poverty level.

A roll back on reproductive choice is happening in the United States. Evidence is the recent presidential appointment of Eric Keroack, a known proponent of natural contraception, now in charge of the Family Planning Division of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. We see further evidence of in measures being placed on state ballots.

What Can You Do?

Exercise your power as a member of the childfree community and vote when given the opportunity. In California, Proposition 85, which would have amended the state constitution to require women under 18 to notify their parents before they could access abortion services appeared on the November 2006 ballot and was narrowly defeated. This was the second time Californians have protected the privacy of minor women, but no doubt a similar proposal will appear again in the future.

Childfree men and women should identify themselves as a member of the childfree community when writing letters to their leaders. In the New Year, let’s stand up and be counted. We need to protect the right to have control over our reproduction and the right to safe, healthy contraception options and not least importantly, safe, legal abortions. The latter two go hand in hand. Access to proper contraceptive methods reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The access to contraception and reproductive choice is being challenged at all levels of government and in many arenas, including high schools and college campuses. In the U.S. it varies from state to state as we follow the tenet of self-determination. It should also be applied to individuals, regardless of their age.

What messages are your leaders sending you? Could the message be:
All women should be pregnant, and all women and their partners should be happy about it.
This is just not reality folks. I hope they don’t expect us to be barefoot, too.

[Blog Administrator's Note: This opinion piece was first published in the ezine Unscripted: A Childfree Life, January 2007 issue under a different title: Reproductive Choice or No Choice.]

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3 comments:

twiga92 said...

Wow, this can be a volatile subject! I'm all for birth control options, but I'm against abortion. My personal belief is that life begins at conception and as such is a human with human rights. I'm childfree but if I somehow became pregnant, I would not have an abortion. I would, however, give the baby up for adoption since I do not want children myself. I wonder sometimes how to reconcile being childfree and pro-life as they are often conflicting issues. We have the right to make our own choice on where we stand on these issues. I hope the government doesn't try to take those choices away.

Teri said...

I wish it was easier for women, regardless of age and marital status, to obtain a permanent solution.

Birth control has come a long way since the first offering in 1960. I just finished a round-up style article looking at all the non-device, non-permanent solutions out there. Look for it in the next issue of Unscripted.

twiga92 said...

Yes, I find it quite sad that a 20-something single woman has a hard time finding a doctor who is willing to sterilize her. No one should be able to make that choice but her. We were fortunate that my husband was able to get a vasectomy even though he was only 30 and I was 25. But if I'd been the one to try for the procedure it probably would have been a whole different ball game. I do wish that permanent solutions were more readily available.