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the lip crew on reproductive rights

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A little over a week ago, somebody kind of important said something kind of foreboding/worthy of an eyeroll (depending on which side of the political fence you sit on, really) about abortion and playthings and men in blue ties…

Today, Lip’s somebodies have their say.

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‘Reproductive rights’ are vital for a safe and equal society. While we have good access to contraception in Australia there is still a lot of stigma around it, for younger men and women. To tackle this, we need education that removes any embarrassment around buying condoms or getting other forms of contraception. Contraception prevents the spread of STDs and unplanned pregnancy but in my experience there is still awkwardness around the topic (when you’re a teenager). The other pillar of reproductive rights, of course, is abortion. I am pro-choice, and believe that all women should be able to control what happens to their body. I do believe that gender is a part of the ongoing battle for access to safe terminations in the developed world. As the line goes, ‘if men could get pregnant, abortion clinics would be like Starbucks. There would be two on every block and four at every airport.’
– Amy Nicholls-Diver, News Editor

‘I wholeheartedly agree with Julia Gillard’s recent statement that “we do not want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.” I agree and identify with this statement, particularly in light of the current debates that are occurring in my home state of Tasmania around reproductive rights. New proposed abortion laws would allow women to seek safe and legal terminations of unwanted pregnancies without fear of criminalisation and stigma. Although 86% of Tasmanians support these changes it is the vocal religious minority that seems to get the last say on an issue that largely doesn’t affect them. Though I am hugely grateful to the women who fought for reproductive rights before us, because we are still having these same debates it is clear that we still have a long way to go.’ – Ruby Grant, Writer

‘Reproductive rights are those of individuals and couples to decide for themselves if and when they wish to have children, and how many children they would like. Although they also extend to men, reproductive rights are ultimately those of women, because they constitute a crucial aspect of the basic right to bodily autonomy. Under no other circumstances is it socially acceptable to dictate and legislate what others do to and with their own body. Women’s right to exercise control over their reproductive system should be no exception.’ – Toby Newton, Writer

‘Women are entitled to do as they please with their bodies, especially if it benefits them or helps them to avoid something that might have otherwise hinder their life. Abortion and contraception are both clear examples of this; since many young women are unprepared for pregnancy, they should have access to these goods and services. Having said that, such services should also come with the educational information to teach people how to use them (for example, how to effectively use contraceptives) and the risks of undergoing certain procedures (for example, abortion). Reproductive rights are just that: rights. Things like the right to safe abortion, the right to contraceptives, and most importantly, the right to education about reproductive rights are important so that people can make informed decisions about things that could potentially affect them for the rest of their lives. These rights should be readily available to everyone, with clear instructions for usage. Not everyone needs them or wants to use them, but we should all have the option, at least.’ – Michelle See-Tho, Writer

‘Even though it seems ridiculous to many people, it’s not all that surprising that in 2013 many countries (developed or not) are struggling with the reproductive rights issue. Be it abortion, birth control, surrogacy – it shouldn’t seem complicated but of course it is. It really wasn’t that long ago that birth control was on the market and even more recently that it became such a common and mostly acceptable rite of passage. But people still have very complicated feelings about family and children. There’s this idea that there is a meaning to life that includes procreation and leaving roots. And of course, sexism and the belief that women’s bodies are the property (and therefore the business) of their communities. While I don’t agree with the arguments against recognising reproductive rights, I definitely understand where the resistance and ethical concerns come from. I think it will be a long fight but not a hopeless one.’
– Shannon Clarke, Writer

‘I believe that reproductive rights are about empowering people to take control over their own bodies. Just as we learn about good health practices and sexual health in school, I feel reproductive rights and the choices we may need to make in the future are natural extensions of this education. Couching what is essentially a decision about an individual’s body in terms of a debate of pro-this or anti-that completely takes the autonomy away from that individual, incorrectly making their health and reproduction a mechanism to further our own political or moral agenda.’ – Danielle Scoins, Writer

‘Sometimes, in all the excitement, we seem to forget that termination of pregnancy is a medical procedure. Does anyone judge you when you have a tonsillectomy? It should be the same for a termination. Somehow this has been turned into a moral issue when, for many people, it is an elective procedure and should be treated like any other. Some who decide to have a termination are no doubt concerned about the morality of it and the way it might fit into their religious values or ethics. Others might do it more casually. And no one should be judged for not feeling suitably ashamed about their decision, just as no one should be judged for that decision in the first place. I’m pregnant at the moment and it is an exhausting, uncomfortable, public, sometimes painful life stage, which carries with it a substantial set of risks. No woman should be forced to experience pregnancy, and the resulting parenthood, unless she (and, potentially, her partner) are certain that they are ready and willing to raise a child.’
Frances Chapman, Writer

One thought on “the lip crew on reproductive rights

  1. One thing that no-one seems to mention (and it’s probably understandable given that Lip is aimed at the youngest feminists) is that pro-choice doesn’t begin and end with access to abortion. While it’s a crucial part, we also have to make sure that women who *do* choose to go through with a pregnancy are given community and government support. I’m sure some conservatives think that ‘feminists’ are obsessed with abortion, when what is most important is that the CHOICE is available. (In fact, in the 90′s, an older female university teacher told me I could never be a ‘real’ feminist until I’d had an abortion.) Hopefully that attitude has died out, but we have to support reproductive choices of all sorts – same-sex couples who choose to have children, IVF for some, having the best ante- and post-natal care available to women who make a different choice.

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