Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Progressive Vision for Reproductive Health and Rights

This lovely picture is from the cover of a new report by the Center for American Progress called "More Than A Choice: A Progressive Vision for Reproductive Health and Rights."

On Wednesday, I was one of the panelists at the launch of this new publication in Washington, D.C. About one hundred people from diverse organizations in D.C. attended the presentations. I joined Jessica Arons, the author of the report, Shira Saperstein from the Moriah Fund, Dr. Pablo Rodriquez, Planned Parenthood of RI, Malika Saaada Saar, Rebecca Project for Human Rights, and Rhonda Waller, from Adura to discuss various aspects of the report.

The Four Cornerstones of the report are:

The ability to become a parent and to parent with dignity.

The ability to determine whether or when to have children.

The ability to have a healthy pregnancy.

The ability to have healthy and safe families and relationships.

In this report, CAP affirms its commitment to reproductive health and justice, and although the language is perhaps not as clear as I might have liked, to sexual health and rights as well. As part of a broad policy agenda that stresses reproductive health and healthy pregnancies, they support accessible abortion services, comprehensive sexuality education, marriage equality, and the right of gays and lesbians to adopt children.

They also remind the reader that 60% of women who seek abortions are already parents, and that the same women need both prenatal care and parenting support and safe and legal abortion, just at different times of their lives. They also remind us that the average woman in the U.S. spends five years trying to become pregnant or being pregnant, but more than 30 years trying to avoid pregnancy.

In my comments, I suggested that our culture confusion about reproductive health and rights was really a proxy for our cultural confusion about sexuality, and that both must be addressed. I challenged the audience:

We need to articulate our own values, and we need to confront the moral values of those who seek to deny these rights to men, women and teenagers. We need to ask, Is it ever moral to coerce a woman to carry a pregnancy to term? Is it ever moral to deny young people life saving information? Is it ever moral to deny a loving committed couple the right to a union protected by laws available to heterosexual couples. Is it moral in a pluralistic society to privilege one religious point of view over another?

You can read the report or its executive summary at

I am honored and grateful that the Center for American Progress included me today. More, I am deeply appreciative of their commitment to reproductive health and rights. I hope you'll read it. Pass it on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed is no mention of choice4men in the report.