1. what does prochoice mean?
The pro-choice movement supports and works towards preventing unwanted pregnancies, reducing abortion, promoting contraception, educating women and youth, and ensuring families have the necessary resources to raise healthy, happy children. Despite a lot of negative press on the matter of abortion, most North Americans believe that the decision to have an abortion should be decided privately between a woman and her doctor. People who claim a pro-choice stance often include those who are personally against abortion or feel uncomfortable with it, but who would not impose their viewpoint by law onto all women. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. We do not advocate abortion over birth – we simply defend the right of women to decide for themselves. Unfortunately, most anti-choice groups oppose contraception and sex education. They want to return to the days of illegal, unsafe abortion, while naively trying to stop women and youth from even having sex.
2. how feminism is tied to reproductive rights- why is there no equality unless we have reproductive rights
The ability to birth and raise happy, healthy children is a very personal experience. A woman who is facing an unintended pregnancy must determine whether she can at her age, socioeconomic level, or emotional well-being or even life-circumstance be responsible for and to another human life. If, as a society, we undermine reproductive choices by blocking accurate and responsible sex education or access to pregnancy and STD prevention then we are taking away the community ability to raise those happy and healthy children. Because pregnancy is a condition of the female body, it is a feminist issue; that corporeal experience requires that women be ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not they are capable and willing to parent. Without the right to self-determination about one’s ability to parent, children are born into unhappy and often unhealthy circumstances.
3. the importance that reproductive rights make on someone’s life- examples of how women and families are impacted
Being able to make informed and medically accurate decisions about one’s healthcare is paramount to healthy families. In those states, like Arizona, where information and choices about healthcare options are limited, families cannot make responsible choices about how and when to have children, or even under what circumstances starting a very much wanted family would be best for themselves. A teenaged girl, facing an unintended pregnancy because she did not have medically accurate sex education, or access to birth control is far less likely to be a successful parent to her baby. Despite the popularity of television programs like “Teen Mom” or “16 & Pregnant,” the hard reality is that many of these very young parents do not have the support of their families. High school graduation rates amongst young mothers is very low and therefore access to economic security becomes a life-long struggle for survival for the whole family. For women who face an unintended pregnancy in later life, due to lack of access to contraceptives or birth control failure, the number and spacing (by age) of children can place a significant strain on the marriage and family security. The majority of divorces happen after the birth of children whether or not the pregnancy was planned or not; because raising children is a difficult task with responsibilities that can negatively impact a previously happy marriage. This is the reality of parenting that is little-discussed in the scope of reproductive freedom, but has a tremendous impact on the success of families in our society.
4. the current state in AZ and nationally- where are we at with reproductive rights and policy changes
Nationally, Pregnancy rates among teenagers and young women in the United States rose steadily from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, increasing by about 21% among all women younger than 20 and 17% among women aged 20–24 during those two decades. At the same time, the birthrate among these women remained relatively unchanged until the late 1980s, when it began to rise. From 1973, when abortion was legalized, to 1990, the abortion rate rose substantially. By 1990 or 1991, the pregnancy rate among teenagers and young women had begun a steady and consistent decline. A decrease in both birth and abortion rates among these women signaled that both intended and unintended pregnancy rates were declining among these age-groups. Recent research concluded that almost all of the decline in the pregnancy rate between 1995 and 2002 among 18–19-year-olds was attributable to increased contraceptive use. Among women aged 15–17, about one-quarter of the decline during the same period was attributable to reduced sexual activity and three-quarters to increased contraceptive use. But, for the first time since the early 1990s, overall rates of pregnancy and birth—and, to a lesser extent, rates of abortion—among teenagers and young women increased from 2005 to 2006. It is too soon to tell whether this reversal is simply a short-term fluctuation, a more lasting stabilization or the beginning of a longer-term increase. Preliminary data on births for 2007 show a further increase in the birthrate among all women, including teenagers and those aged 20–24. Other research has noted and seeks to provide additional explanations for the longer-term trends and changes, including shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of the population, increases in poverty, the growth of abstinence-only sex education programs at the expense of comprehensive programs, and changes in public perception and attitudes toward both teenage and unintended pregnancy. In addition to the increases in teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion rates, the data presented here indicate that there are still large and long-standing disparities in rates by race and by state.