Browse By

Framing Reproductive Health

Reproductive health is a hot topic lately. Have you noticed that? So I’ve been giving it some thought and doing some reading here and there, and I’ve found some very nice pieces out there in the blogosphere. Here’s an example at Rockridge Institute.

We value responsibility and empathy. No woman wants to be pregnant without the means to raise a child. We empathize with these women and assume the responsibility to help prevent this situation from occurring. Because we value empathy and responsibility, we strive to reduce human suffering.

We value effective problem solving. The best way to reduce abortions is to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place. Making abortion illegal is not effective in reducing abortions. Making abortion illegal increases the numbers of women dying from pregnancy-related complications.

We value the lives of women, children, fetuses. We value health and safety, effective problem-solving. That’s why we support the measures that reduce abortion by preventing unintended pregnancies (comprehensive, accurate sex education, access to contraception and family planning services, emergency contraception, etc) and support policies that strengthen communities and make it easier for women to raise their children in healthy environments (social safety nets, health care, aftercare, family leave, improving public schools). Our goals are to make abortion rare by prevention and keep it legal to prevent the additional loss of women’s lives.

We value the importance of raising children. Women use contraception to delay having a child until they are in a position to provide a stable environment for their children. Women space their pregnancies so they can maximize the attention and resources they can provide for each child. Unintended pregnancy can be a threat to the ability to take care of their existing children and a threat to the ability to take care of the children she will have in the future

We value responsibility. It takes enormous responsibility to be a good parent. It is because women recognize this, value children, and want to be the best parent they can be that they use contraception to prevent pregnancies and turn to abortion if pregnancy occurs when they are unable to provide for a child. This is why they will risk their lives to do so even when abortion is illegal: Defending their children.

Because we value honesty, we state our goals honestly and transparently, and we use credible evidence to support our policies. We are not the first and only country to approach these issues. Because we value effective problem solving, we learn from the successes and failures of other countries as well as our own. There is overwhelming evidence that preventing unintended pregnancies reduces abortions and saves lives.

Preventing unintended pregnancy should not be a political issue; it should be a common goal. Because we value life, health and safety, we support the policies that are effective in preventing pregnancies. We oppose funding abstinence-only-until-marriage ed programs because they are not effective in reducing teen pregnancy. We oppose mandating parental consent for teens to obtain contraception because it would result in more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions. Preventing unintended pregnancies is too important an issue to support ineffective policies for political gain.

Our values on reproductive health are far nobler than the values of Conservatives. The facts and evidence support the effectiveness of our policies in reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions, not theirs. It is crucial that we communicate this clearly, loudly, and often.

I think this sort of framing is very cool and very effective. What do you think?

13 thoughts on “Framing Reproductive Health”

  1. HareTrinity says:

    Sounds good to me.

    That anyone can support the “abstinence only” approach is just crazy… People have the right to know about their bodies.

    And I don’t like the age issue; just how old do people have to be before they can be treated like people instead of accessories or potential people?

    Youngest couple in recorded history to be expecting a child were an 8 year old girl and a nine year old boy in an arranged marriage in China, and proper sex education needs to start before people become fertile…

  2. Kevin says:

    I think the first thing (not the ONLY thing, mind you) that should be taught is abstinence. After all, it is the only 100% fool-proof way of avoiding STD’s, pregnancy, etc.

    But let’s get back to the real world…

    I wouldn’t go outside in the freezing cold without a coat on.

    So, why would we sending kids into situations where sex may be a possibility without knowledge of how to protect themselves?

    But how arrogant for this institution to say, “Our values on reproductive health are far nobler than the values of Conservatives.” Sheesh.

  3. J. Matthew Cook says:

    Well, Kevin, they are.

    Religious conservatives would rather be prudes, pretending for their own comfort that the world works in ways it doesn’t, than actually solve problems. That’s not noble, that’s la-dee-da elitism.

    Religious conservatives would rather continue to act like the la-dee-da elitists they are than do something that has been shown to work.

    Worse yet, in order to preserve their belief in a pretend la-dee-da elitist world that doesn’t exist, they’ve decided to prohibit other people from actually doing something that works.

    Now THAT’S arrogant.

  4. Heretic says:

    I agree with J. Matthew. The progressive values of sex education are based on good science. There is no solid science backing up “abstinence only”, and so the Bush Administration ordered for a governmental scientific report to be rewritten to support “abstinence only”.

    One side uses genuine knowledge. The conservative side just makes things up. Yeah, I think that honesty is more noble than lying, Kevin.

  5. Tom says:

    The quickest way to silence the anti-abortionists is to have them all collectively raise every unwanted baby. See how fast they change their minds and dance away from that.

  6. Kevin says:

    Tom says:

    “The quickest way to silence the anti-abortionists is to have them all collectively raise every unwanted baby. See how fast they change their minds and dance away from that.”

    Tom, that’s disgusting. A baby is not something you should use as a pawn in some sick, twisted game.

    I support abortion for rape cases and instances where the mother or child (or both) is in harm.

    I don’t some dumb ass who won’t take 5 seconds to “wrap his rascal,” or a female who won’t take the time to see a doctor about contraception.

    There are too many loving families who are unable to have children of their own who would LOVE to have a child, but have to wait through years of beauracratic tape to be considered “acceptable” to adopt a child. Give those “unwanted” babies to those couples.

    I work with a man who teaches 1st grade and is absolutely WONDERFUL with kids. His wife and he have have been trying for years to adopt a child (his wife can’t have children), but have been unable to because of red tape bullcrap.

    What was that you said about raising kids, Tom?

  7. random42 says:

    Kevin, one of the things I was taught in my excellent sex-ed classes in school (hooray for progressive private schools!) was that contraception does not work 100% of the time. One of the things I’ve learned in my life is that people make mistakes all the freaking time. In fact, one quote I heard said that if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t living. So, considering human fallibility and the fallibility of hormone pills and latex, do you really want to curse everyone who gets caught out in a mistake a “dumbass”?

    Tom does make a good point, too. Who is going to raise all these kids? What about the minority children? Disabled ones? They’re all going to get adopted? By whom? Daddy Wharbucks?

  8. HareTrinity says:

    That would be all the precautions trying to stop adopted children going to bad homes. There are also various other ways to have children if only one of the couple is infertile/unable to have children for other reasons, or in the case of same-sex couples, just that adoption doesn’t create new children.

    “Abstinence only” starts off by implying that sex is BAD. That’s not true. Sex is one of the few natural pleasures in life. Masturbation is entirely normal and healthy, and so is sex (though the latter is less common).

    Pretending that sex is somehow wrong or “dirty” will DISCOURAGE people from going to the Pharmacist or doctor about contraception.

    The best way to deal with it is to give them the facts early on, and in more detail as they get older, and let them make up their mind based on something other than “mights” and “maybes”.

    And besides, learning the facts about STDs and pregnancy will also allow them to learn that not having sex will probably protect them from both (and should also let them know about the exceptions, such as rape, or catching STDs through unclean medical equiptment or blood, etc).

    Sex education is a LOT more than “you should have sex” or “you shouldn’t have sex”, it’s THEIR bodies and what their bodies CAN do.

    It’s actually none of our business what they do with the information, and since all we should care about is their safety; all we need to do is let them know everything and they’ll know how to care about themselves too.

    Besides, humans are actually VERY infertile critters, and STDs aren’t THAT common, and many of them are cureable now anyway. Not that safe sex isn’t important, but giving people have unrealistic fears means that if they ever end up facing them, and learn that it’s exaggerated, they won’t know where the realistic level of precaution is.

    And, let’s face it; people are lazy. Letting them try to work it out on trial and error, though… That’s not likely to have good results.

  9. Kevin says:

    “Tom does make a good point, too. Who is going to raise all these kids? What about the minority children? Disabled ones? They’re all going to get adopted? By whom? Daddy Wharbucks?”

    Random42, there are people more than willing to adopt those children as well. Don’t assume that because some children fall into a category of “undesirable” (my term, not yours) that no one wants them. A white couple at my church has an adopted black child that seems to be quite happy and content with his family, as evidenced by his smiles and laughs before and after service. But don’t assume that ALL children, healthy, white, or otherwise, will ever get adopted. Unfortunately, not ever cloud has the proverbial silver lining… that’s a sad fact, but it’s true.

    And yes, mistakes happen. But standing in a field with a metal rod during a lightning storm has its risks as well, so we do the best we can. Anyone who engages in a sexual act without the intent of creating a child is risking a lot, one of which is the possibility of having a child conceived. You take the cards you are dealt; you don’t shoot the dealer when he deals you a bad hand.

    HareTrinity: Abstinence does not denote that sex is bad. (If sex is bad, you’re not doing it right!) Not at all. Never has, never will. However, it should be taught as a 100% tried and true way of avoiding STDs, pregnancy, etc. for those who wish to avoid having to deal with that sort of stuff.

    We may be infertile critters, and STD’s may be uncommon, but don’t forget we aren’t bullet-proof either. The cliche says, “I never thought it could happen to me.” But, sometimes it does. Be prepared for the worst, or avoid the situation altogether; it’s as simple as that. Sex Ed should merely be a guide, not a salvation or justification for irresponsible behavior.

    And masturbation, geez, I would have exploded 15 years ago had that not been available. Maybe if more people played with themselves instead of others (at least until they’re ready to take on the potential effects of having sex), we wouldn’t have to have this discussion.

  10. J. Matthew Cook says:

    Kevin, I notice, is not advocating “abstinence-only” sex education.

    Bush and the Republican politicians are.

  11. random42 says:

    Kevin, I wasn’t saying that the disabled or minority kids wouldn’t get adopted. There are saintly people out there. However, I’m not understanding how, if all unwanted pregnancies start ending in adoption, all those kids are going to find homes when that doesn’t happen now.

    And the thing is, I don’t know of any responsible person who isn’t telling kids to wait to have sex. The message we got at my school, besides all the statistics about the effectiveness of birth control, was that we were young and vulnerable, and we could get burned badly by jumping into sex before we were ready. Hell, “Reviving Ophelia” was practically required reading and “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” was on the 10th grade curriculum. So I get annoyed whenever anyone brings up how we must teach abstinence, as if the school administrators and Planned Parenthood want to rent every 14 year old a hooker.

  12. HareTrinity says:

    Promoting abstinence encourages keeping sex as a taboo (not titilation; sex). And, like I said; it ISN’T 100%.

    Not only is there rape, and the dirty medical equiptment, or bad blood in blood transplants; there are actually a fair few of STDs you can catch through just kissing. Admittedly, you’d have to swallow several buckets worth of a person’s saliva whilst it was still warm to have a GOOD chance, but the chance is still there.

    If people WANT to avoid sex completely, I don’t think how to do that is something too difficult to work out. Once everyone eases up around the topic, it’ll all be a lot easier.

    Besides, we’re all much more likely to get hit by a car than to catch a serious STD.

    Emergency contraception should be more widely known about, for one (NOT to be confused with the Abortion pill, the emergency contraception can be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and decrease the chance of pregnancy occuring by making the same changes as The Pill does).

    Ooh, and if the taboo was dropped; maybe sex toys would get a larger range of customers and become more reasonably priced (it’s a fact, Kevin, that it’s much easier for guys to masturbate with just their hands).

    There’s a thought; if sex ed classes and organisations gave out free sex toys instead of contraceptives, would that have a better effect? Ignoring the opinions of the parents and “sex is evil” Christians.

  13. Leila says:

    THE comment in the previous post is EXACTLY why we need sex education!!!

    “Besides, we’re all much more likely to get hit by a car than to catch a serious STD.”

    LOL, one out of every five people in this country has a sexually transmitted disease. What you mean by the word “serious”, I don’t know. But most STDs are not curable. They are treatable but you will live with it for the rest of your life. In addition, many times STDs do not present any symptoms so in fact you could be infected and not know. By extension, you could infect a partner (or many partners) and not know.

    Please, stop the moral bickering about sex. This is about protecting ones’ health. Abstinence vs. having sex is a meaningless dichotomy as well. The fact is most young people believe that sex is heterosexual intercourse. They therefore engage in oral and anal sex WITHOUT protection thinking they aren’t having sex.

    And, to the person who said you’d have to swallow buckets of someone’s saliva to catch an STD: true, but if you engage in oral sex you are just as likely to catch an STD as if you had sexual intercourse.

    I have worked at a women’s health center for five years and I hear comments like the one above frequently. In addition, the young people that take the “abstinence-only-until-marriage” pledges are statistically just as likely to get an STD as those who did not take the pledge (precisely because they had NO idea what “sex” meant and they happily engaged in oral and anal sex without protection).

    Please, my six year old son knows much of this already. 89% of Americans want their kids to be thoroughly educated about abstinence AS WELL AS contraception and STD prevention. Let’s get on it already!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psst... what kind of person doesn't support pacifism?

Fight the Republican beast!