This section is where you will discuss briefly what the topic is trying to say or ask of us. Why is it important for us to think about in general? For women? And right now in time?

The topic is trying to ask us if access to birth control is a basic human right. It's important for us to think about things like this in general because our health is something we should all be concerned about. In addition to being concerned with our health, we should be concerned with family planning, as this is something very important to most people. Having an intrinsic right to access a contraceptive is a vital part of the ability to do this. Also, people should be aware of what their basic rights are. It's important for us to think about this for more specifically women because birth control is more centered around women. Besides, it's the women's reproductive system, not men's. We should be also be thinking about this in the present day because it's a more common occurrence for women to take birth control now rather than in previous years.

This section will talk about the access to birth control, and whether it is considered to be a basic human right. People often know the general and more well known rights' that they have but we will be looking at access to birth control in regards of it being or not being like any other human right. We will look at how women specifically view this because these are the people it affects more than anyone else. We will also be looking at the viewpoints of this topic in current time to focus on updated views that are currently affecting us.

In this topic, we are presented with the question of whether access to birth control is a basic human right. To truly understand what this means, we must understand that birth control encompasses not only the prevention of conception but also a woman's right to make her own choices in regards to her pregnancy after conception and throughout the entire process.

It is important for women to actively engage in this dialogue so they may make their voices heard. For centuries, women have experienced the effects of strongly patriarchal cultures that seek to diminish their value in a multitude of arenas and although significant strides have been made to improve upon women's rights there is still plenty of progress to be made.

A woman, once pregnant, can produce only so many children in a finite amount of time. Whereas, men are able to impregnate many women in the same amount of time. Not only are women saddled with the full responsibility of conception, but also the care of a child after birth while men are, in general, able to choose their level of responsibility regardless of actual need.


In researching the topic of reproductive autonomy, there was a scale developed that could be helpful for women to determine the level of autonomy they experience as they make choices regarding their reproductive health. This scale, called The Reproductive Autonomy Scale, developed and validated by Ushma D. Upadhyay, Shari L. Dworkin, Tracy A. Weitz, and Diana Greene Foster, can be useful as women make reproductive healthcare decisions (Upadhyay 36-37).

In Pieta’s work. There are a number of issues that come up outside of the “yes/no” question of whether access to birth control is a right. Judicial competence, resistance to positive rights, limits and abuses of informed consent, finding balance between individual and fetal rights where termination is concerned, and how to reconcile reproductive healthcare choices with social pressure to conform to countless expectations of womanhood and motherhood. Further discourse in these areas, while not relevant to common ground, and not the focus of “Today in the Topic” in this article, will be useful and necessary to grasp a deeper understanding of the issues affecting reproductive rights.

This section should begin with the research presented in your text but may (should) be supplemented with additional, relevant material you find. Some of this will be found by following the suggested readings at the end of your text materials. Appropriate citations should be used.

When it comes to the relationship between a woman’s reproductive rights and healthcare, it has been a long-time battle for years now. Both debating on the political aspect and the religious aspect. Those who oppose a woman’s right to use birth control and/or go through the process of an abortion are still today trying to expand and increase the limitations for those opportunities. In this day in age, legislatives have made it to where if you want access to those opportunities, women must undergo investigation of their homelife/lifestyle along with invasive medical testing. Here is an example; “Irish hospital officials faced the issue in 2012 when Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year old Indian woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, experienced complications from blood poisoning (Pogatchnick, 2012). Halappanavar ultimately died after the fetus she was carrying died. Irish laws against abortion and murky provisions for medical decisions making in the event of life threatening circumstances all seemed to contribute to a legal option” (Pienta, 2013). For that situation, because of the laws and restrictions set in place for abortion, the young woman lost her life. Even in the event of the mother dying, the laws didn’t seem to grasp the idea that this was going to be fatal either way for the child and the option of saving the woman’s life wasn’t immediate on their end. Halappanavar’s situation “illustrates how poorly defined the rights of women are in cases where the health of the fetus is in question” (Pienta, 2013). When you flip the argument over, then it looks at the idea of the rights of the fetus over the mother because of possible neglect or mistreatment of the fetus while the mother is carrying. “In the 2000s, the treatment of “meth babies” would become a public health concern. Alabama enacted a chemical-endangerment law in 2006. Since the law’s enactment, more than 60 new mothers have been charged (Calhoun, 2012)” (Pienta, 2013). This gives opportunity for the children to be protected when they are not able to protect themselves. It opens the door to “fetal personhood” (Pienta, 2013).


What are the key concepts of the week's discussion? Economics? Race? Education? (All of these…?) You are led to some of these from the readings, but some will require serious consideration from you.

The key concepts when discussing whether access to birth control is a basic human right or not are gender discrimination, autonomy for women and equality. However, economics could play a role in this discussion as well, as it may vary depending on economic status, how available birth control is. Also if the argument becomes pro human right, then it would be assumed that birth control would become a free resource and this can cause debate.

Today in the Topic

The current state of debate concerning birth control and women's rights in America are immensely high. We have people who believe that when it concerns their bodies it should be a right for them to decide what goes in and out of it. Then we have opposing views that believe birth control is unnecessary and abortions should all around be abolished.

On an almost weekly basis, we see in the news the attempts to strip reproductive and healthcare rights from women. Far from a human right, reproductive choices- namely abortion- is now being threatened with legal punishments as extreme as life sentences and hanging. This extreme discourse is not the rantings of an anti-abortion extremist, but respected conservative writers and political candidates. According to Ilyse Hogue, these accepted attitudes allows lawmakers and politicians, including our current president Donald Trump, to promote the punishment of women who procure abortions. Even for those who personally would not consider getting an abortion themselves, consider the extreme consequences one could be met with should they choose to have a surrogate, en utero procedures, or any number of other assisted reproductive technologies. Can we afford to give up autonomy regarding our healthcare to appease those who disagree with our choices? Can we allow someone else, who likely will never have to face these choices, invasive procedures, health risks, responsibilities, and social ostracization, that women must face in order to pursue their healthcare and reproductive needs and wants?

Reasons for Controversy

Why is this a controversial topic? There's more to each of our topics than differences of opinion. What are the reasons? (You may find as you read the text that what appears to be opposition really isn't in all cases.)

There are many reasons why this is a controversial topic. One of which is because it prevents unwanted pregnancies. Similar to abortions this is a worldwide debate not just nationwide. Another reason why it's controversial is that Trump has tried to send out a bill to let employers tell employees that their insurance won't cover the contraceptive causing women to pay out of pocket.This could also lead to numerous amount of teen pregnancies. Some people feel as if this is how it should be, if the women wants to have a contraceptive, then they should have to pay for it themselves. On the other hand, there are people that believe it is a basic right to have control over when a woman decides she wants to become a parent and that birth control should be free to them. This could also give rise to religious controversy because many people believe in no sex before marriage, and that sex is only to reproduce, so why would you need birth control? The other side to the argument is that birth control is used for more than just a contraceptive. Birth control can be used for irregular menstrual periods, acne, and excess hair growth.

This can be a very controversial topic. A major reason of controversy would be regarding religious views on the matter. Many religious people don't support certain ways of birth control because it clashes with their beliefs. Numerous religious people also believe in abstinence and how it should be better educated among teens. However, teens who are sexually active may desire ways of birth control because they are not completely financially or emotionally ready to have a baby. Birth control would help teens who did not intend on getting pregnant not have to bare the responsibility of a child. People also argue that they should be able to do what they want with their bodies which includes use which ever methods of birth control that they desire.

Common Ground

There is some common ground between the two arguments presented for and against made by Professor B. Jessie Hill and Professor Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, respectively. Both understand the urgent need to address women’s autonomy in a meaningful way regarding their own healthcare and reproductive care (Pienta 11,16). The question becomes, “Should women have complete autonomy over their own bodies, even while carrying life or potential life?” or “Should there be limitations on women’s autonomy when considering the legal and social impacts of those decision? And who gets to decide what those limitations are?” Both are answering questions about autonomy. Also, both are addressing this autonomy issue in regard to assisted reproductive technologies. While most college age students are not familiar with or lived during times before access to prescription birth control, legal abortions, en vitro fertilization, surrogates, en utero surgery, genetic testing, designer babies and so on, these technologies are modern, and a framework to address the legal wrangling as a result of this fast-growing industry lags woefully behind. While societies across the globe play catch up, lives are at risk-physically, emotionally, and legally.

I feel when it comes to women reproductive rights, I do not know if we will even be able to find a common ground. The topic is very controversial and the argument has always split both ways. In the book, "Reproductive Rights: Who Decides" it explains that the debate for birth control dates back to 1873 when Congress made it illegal to use any materials that were designed for contraception or to induce labor. Through the years, the debate has only grown. However, in the book, "Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward For a New Generation", it discusses the MPCPA. The MPCPA is an organization for support and protection for mothers. The author describes the different things the MPCPA does to help women whether it be in the workplace, financially, and all the rights women are given. The author brings up that by supporting women as the MPCPA does, it will reduce the needs for contraception and abortion.

See Also

As the term progresses, you should be able to link to other topics on other pages and return to previous pages and insert those links retroactively.


Any references cited in your text above should be fully referenced here. Use APA 6th edition format please.
Wittenstein, V. O. (2016). Reproductive Rights : Who Decides?. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.
Camosy, C. C. (2015). Beyond the Abortion Wars : A Way Forward for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans.
Hogue I. Think abortion should be punished? Take a look around. [serial online]. 2018:Available from: Academic OneFile, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 30, 2018.

Pienta, R. (2013). Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Women's Studies . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Upadhyay, U. D., Dworkin, S. L., Weitz, T. A., & Foster, D. G. (2014). Development and validation of a reproductive autonomy scale. Studies In Family Planning, 45(1), 19-41. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4465.2014.00374.x

External Links
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For more on reproductive rights and womens aborition rights check out this book: