Here’s What You Need to Know about Reproductive Rights

Kamala said it best during her 2019 CNN New York Times debate, “People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives.” 

Senator Harris was correct—it’s time to stop telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, and it’s time to stop denying affordable sexual and reproductive health care and education.

Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and that is something that should never be up for debate.

We are living in a terrifying time full of division and violence, where women’s fundamental human and reproductive rights are on the verge of being eradicated, and pro-lifers are driving trucks into Planned Parenthood clinics. 

With the election just around the corner, let’s dive into one of the largest issues of social justice our nation is currently facing, abortion.

Abortion is the symptom NOT the problem.

First and foremost, abortion is the symptom NOT the problem. Without the problem of unwanted pregnancies, abortions would not be a neccessary choice. 

It is a very common myth among pro-lifers that pro-choice supporters simply want to get abortions. No one inherintly wants to have to face getting an abortion. In fact, pro-life supporters and pro-choice supporters share in their desire to decrease unwanted pregnancies. 

The difference between pro-life and pro-choice being, pro-choice supporters aren’t willing to tell other women what they can and cannot do with their bodies to reach that goal. 

In addition to abortion, there are a number of solutions for preventing unwanted pregnancies, including birth control and emergency contraceptives. 

Some pro-choice supporters have even brainstormed some radical ideas as to how to end abortions: if men were to get vasctomies. 

Tik Tok influencer and pro-choice supporter, Anna Johnson @marbledart asked male pro-life supporters, in one of her videos, if they would get vasctomies to end abortion, and they couldn’t provide an answer. 

Johnson explains in her video, “It’s almost as if they’re only pro-life just to control our bodies.” 

While vasectomies may or may not be a viable solution, she raises a very important point, the double standard. Where it’s okay to tell women what to do with their bodies but not men. Where it’s okay to blame women for making a decision about her own body in the face of an unwanted pregnancy but it’s not okay to hold men accountable. 

Nothing about the double standard is okay. A woman's body should not be legislated and controlled by anyone other than herself. 

Pro-Choice, here’s what it really means 

Pro-choice does not actually mean pro-abortion. Pro-choice is simply about supporting a woman’s right to her own body. 

Pro-choice means that no matter what your personal feelings or beliefs are about abortion, you understand and respect that it is not your place to make a decision about another woman’s body. 

If it’s not your body, it’s not your concern. Read that again. 

Making abortions illegal doesn’t get rid of abortions 

Since Roe v Wade was passed in 1973, abortions have acutally decreased significantly. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the only entity that strives to count all U.S abortions, the number of abortions have fallen 19% since 2011. Counting 862, 000 in 2017 which was greatly lower than the 962, 000 in 2014. 

Overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortions illegal again will not erradicate abortions, just safe abortions. 

What Planned Parenthood is and why we need it 

Planned Parenthood, contrary to pro-lifers beliefs, does not solely provide abortions. Planned Parenthood is one of this nation's largest providers not only for affordable sexual and reproductive healthcare, but for sex education. 

In addition to abortions their services include: 

  • Birth control

  • Emergency contraception 

  • General health care

  • HIV services

  • LGBT services 

  • Men’s services, which include: erectile dysfunction education, referral, exams and treatment, jock itch exam and treatment, male infertility screening and referral, premature ejaculation education, referrals , exams and treatment, testicular and prostate cancer screening, men's sterilization (vasectomy) and other men's reproductive health services

  • Patient education 

  • Pregnancy testing and services

  • STD testing, treatment and vaccines

  • Women’s services, which include: breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, colposcopy, cryotherapy, incontinence, infertility, LEEP, mammogram referrals, menopause testing and treatment, pap Test, sexual response education, UTI testing and treatment, vaginal infections testing and treatment and other women's health services

Pro-lifers would have us believe that defunding Planned Parenthood and overturning abortion laws will get rid of abortions when what this would actually do is increase unsafe abortions and deny Americans afforable access to sexual and reproductive health care. What this would actually do is deny Americans, especially women, fundamental human rights. 

The pro-choice movement is about so much more than abortion rights. It’s about sexual and reproductive rights overall. It’s about gender equality. It’s about choice. It’s about agency. It’s about breaking down this misogynistic idealism where a woman is not allowed agency to her own body.