Reproductive Rights as a Historical and Feminist Issue

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Reproductive Rights as a Contemporary and Historical Feminist Issue Essay #1 / Final Exam
American Women’s History
H. June Laves
One of the biggest issues facing women in American society today has been an issue bouncing around in politics for decades: reproductive rights. Women can never have equal opportunity to men without equal opportunity to make their own decisions about their bodies. Reproductive rights for women not only include the right to abort a pregnancy, but it also involves any choice a woman may make concerning her body. She must have the right to choose when she wants to get pregnant, choose when she wants to have sex, have easy access to information about her body and reproductive system, as well as access to contraceptives and non-stigmatized medical care. Today’s women in American society still have to battle the right to information, the right to contraceptives, and the right to abortion.

Sex Education in public schools has always been a widely debated topic in American History. Determining what information to give out and how old the children need to be is constantly being argued. However, many programs are only preaching abstinence, especially to young women. Young men on the other hand get the “condom talk.” Very little information about female contraceptives, physical or medicinal, is ever discussed in these sex education sessions. Rebecca Walker, in 1995, wrote that young women must be treated as growing, learning, individuals, and need information concerning “sex and access to birth control and abortion” in order to nurture their self-esteem and protect them from violence.[1] With limited access to information, women are being denied the ability to make a fully cognitive decision about their bodies.

Even women who have heard about female contraceptives tend to still only know very little about their options. Most women have only ever heard or relied on “the pill,” which during long-term use can sometimes have negative...
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