Essay about Reproductive Rights as a Historical and Feminist Issue

919 Words Sep 24th, 2012 4 Pages
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
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The stigma against female contraceptives is very interesting. Could this be a resurgence of the idea that women should not have sexual inclinations? Female condoms, diaphragms, and other barrier methods besides the male condom can be confusing and intimidating for a woman to seek out, and many resort to the pill or “being careful.” In this instance both information and availability go hand-in-hand to allow women the knowledge to make an informed decision about their body. In 1891, Harriot Stanton Blatch (daughter of famous Elizabeth Cady Stanton) spoke out about a new term “Voluntary Motherhood.” She claimed that the upheld idea of motherhood as the highest moral position woman should strive to achieve was a lie, and that women who mothered unwelcome children were scorned.[2] This creates another example of a double standard placed against women in society. The most notable of reproductive rights issues debated throughout history and into the present is the constitutionality of abortion. In 1973, the famous Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court case made all state laws against abortion deemed unconstitutional. However, lawmakers sought to impose regulations that still kept women from being able to control their bodies, defining who, when, and under what condition a woman could have the procedure. Many “pro-life” activists began criminal attacks on abortion clinics, 167 were reported between 1982 and 1997.[3] Feminists, especially in the second-wave

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