Reproductive CHOICE. What does it mean to you?
In an ideal world, we all hope that a woman becomes pregnant only when she is ready to start a family. Even in the best of circumstances, raising children is both challenging and wonderful – for many women, it’s the best and the hardest job she’ll ever have.
Do you think Mothers don’t have negotiating skills? Watch one cleverly maneuver her seven year old into choosing only one after school sport. Leadership qualities? Mothers (and Fathers) become highly skilled at leading their families through the minefield of school, friends, successes and challenges.
Never, ever, get between a Mother of any species and her child and threaten to harm the child. Mothers can produce a rage to rival Attila the Hun – and do so in an instant.
Not so long ago, however, women didn’t even have much choice about whether and when to have children. Birth control was marginally adequate well into the late 1960’s. Adoptions were primarily conducted in secret, the children often living in orphanages. Abortions were illegal and many times resulted in terrible consequences for the woman.
Because courageous women and men fought for reproductive rights, adequate birth control, legal abortion and open adoption, many more choices are available to women of reproductive age.
Let’s explore some of the choices available to women now, so they may take charge of their own body and choose the time and circumstances ideal for them.
- Birth Control
- The Pill
- Vaginal film
- The ‘Morning After’ pill. This pill actually prevents conception from occurring. It is available to any woman who may have had unprotected sex or otherwise feels she may be at risk of becoming pregnant (such as a broken condom).
- Adoption. Women’s Health Services, through Adoption Choices of Northern California, offers a wonderful open adoption program. Expectant mothers who feel their best choice is adoption can choose the parents for her baby. This service is done with compassion and dignity for all involved.
- Pregnancy Termination. Contrary to publicity by crisis pregnancy centers, abortion only comprises about 3% of total services by those clinics who offer them. (The Cinic! In Grass Valley does not perform abortions, but can refer to an affiliate clinic who will)
Men should be included in this conversation. After all, family planning affects their lives as well. The more involved they become in supporting reproductive choice and health, the more their voices will be heard. Although a male birth control pill is currently being tested, it is not yet ready to be marketed. In a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 71% of men stated they would consider some form of birth control. Of those, a surprising 66% said they would be willing to take an oral contraceptive. For those men who don’t wish to have children, or already have the family they want, a vasectomy is another available option.
Many of the young women who visit The Clinic! in Grass Valley are thrilled to find out they are expecting. For others, adoption or even termination is their choice. Access to education and accurate science-based information is the key to preserving the dignity and reproductive rights of all.
It is challenging enough to raise a family under the best of circumstances. Those who do have the support and gratitude of each of us. For others, starting a family may be something they are absolutely not prepared to do. It is still a woman’s body, and her choice. She should be treated with respect for her circumstance and allowed to use facts and education as a guide to her own informed decision about when or if she wishes to start a family.
An interesting read about how reproductive choice is the best way to move nations out of poverty – from Forbes Magazine, March, 2012.
Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/03/30/contraception-womens-earnings-martha-bailey-healthcare/ Magazine article March 2012.