Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Basic Reproductive Rights of Women -- Including Abortion -- Must Be Upheld

By John Seager, President, Population Connection

Furor over the bizarre notion of “legitimate rape” has swept across the domestic political landscape in recent days.  Cooler, wiser heads have affirmed that “rape is rape” – a horrific crime which often involves violence and always includes coercion or one sort of another. Certainly, there is broad consensus throughout our society that rape is a serious crime.

In some other parts of the world, rape does not seem to be taken seriously, however, regardless of what the laws may say.
A girl and baby in Lake Albert, Democratic
Republic of Congo. (Martine Perret / UN)

Clearly rape laws need to be enforced. But there also needs to be recognition here at home and around the world that the basic reproductive rights of women must be upheld. This must include the right to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.  Yet, this basic right is not recognized in many places around the world, including by many here in the U.S.

In a perfect world, there would be no rape. In a perfect world, contraceptives would be available to all. In a perfect world, every form of birth control would be 100% effective. All pregnancies would be planned, welcomed, and result in the birth of healthy children who are wanted and loved.

But that perfect world does not exist. That’s why we must ensure access to contraception and make sure that women have the right to make their own independent reproductive choices whether they live in Missouri or Madagascar.

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