Is Access to Contraception a Human Right?

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Is Access to Contraception a Human Right?

U.N.: Contraception Access A Human Right

Do you agree with the UN that access is contraception is a human right? Why or why not?

GloriaInTX's picture
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It effectively declares that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women's rights.

legal = YES
cultural = NO
financial = NO

ETA: Also depends on what they mean by OTHER FAMILY PLANNING MEASURES. If that includes abortion than NO.

Joined: 08/17/04
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The article stated that the U.N. doesn't count abortion among the measures.

Access to contraception should be a human right. It benefits not just the woman, but a couple and also can benefit families. It also benefits societies and the planet to not have unwanted babies.

wlillie's picture
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Agree with Gloria.

KimPossible's picture
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Ugh, i don't know. I have a hard time classifying it as a human right. That is not to say that I am not acknowledging the huge beneficial impact of removing barriers to contraception for all people, but to me, that does not necessarily equate to being a human right.

I'm undecided really.

Ultimately, regardless of what I think defines 'human rights', i think it would be more important to see what else the UN defines as human rights. If it seems pretty similar in nature, than i guess it makes sense. Off to see if i can find that out now.

KimPossible's picture
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

To me it seems to be in line with a lot of the things in this list. And not an outlier of any sort.

I'm assuming this list is what this declaration would be added to?

Alissa_Sal's picture
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I haven't answered this yet, because I'm still not sure about it.

Using Gloria's format:

legal = YES - I agree that nowhere should contraception be against the law
cultural = Yes - I don't think it matters whether or not the culture at large agrees with contraception. I think that people have a right to go against cultural norms if they choose.
financial = This is the one I'm stuck on. I believe that everyone has a right to life saving care regardless of their financial situation. I don't think anyone should die of being poor. But, does contraception fall into that category? I don't know. I do think that having access to it no matter what your financial situation can help your financial situation and lessen the need for aid, so maybe? Hmmmm....

Spacers's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

The article stated that the U.N. doesn't count abortion among the measures.

Access to contraception should be a human right. It benefits not just the woman, but a couple and also can benefit families. It also benefits societies and the planet to not have unwanted babies.

ITA with this.

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I don't think anyone should die of being poor. But, does contraception fall into that category? I don't know. I do think that having access to it no matter what your financial situation can help your financial situation and lessen the need for aid, so maybe? Hmmmm....

And ITA agree with this and would add that no one should be born solely because their parents are too poor to prevent it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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There are a lot of things up higher on list of basic human rights before birth control. Basic needs are food, water, shelter, and some clothing. I do not think if you are too poor to buy birth control, that someone HAS to buy it for you. Sure, it would be nice, but no one HAS to do anything for you.

mom3girls's picture
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Access to it, yes
Other people paying for it, no

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

There are a lot of things up higher on list of basic human rights before birth control. Basic needs are food, water, shelter, and some clothing. I do not think if you are too poor to buy birth control, that someone HAS to buy it for you. Sure, it would be nice, but no one HAS to do anything for you.

I kind of agree with this, sort of, except that I think that without birth control, you are that much more likely to then need more food, water, and clothing (maybe shelter, maybe not) because you will have more children that need these things. Like, from a practical stand point, it seems so much cheaper and easier to provide birth control to those who cannot afford access to it and want it than to with hold it because they can't afford it and then turn around and have to pay to feed and clothe the children.

Spacers's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

There are a lot of things up higher on list of basic human rights before birth control. Basic needs are food, water, shelter, and some clothing. I do not think if you are too poor to buy birth control, that someone HAS to buy it for you. Sure, it would be nice, but no one HAS to do anything for you.

I've never understood this position. You would deny someone a few dollars a month in birth control, but you're happy to spend thousands of dollars on their prenatal care when they get pregnant and tens of thousands of dollars in support when they end up on welfare. That makes absolutely no sense. Or if you're not happy to spend all that money supporting an unwanted pregnancy, then IMHO that's an even worse position.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

I've never understood this position. You would deny someone a few dollars a month in birth control, but you're happy to spend thousands of dollars on their prenatal care when they get pregnant and tens of thousands of dollars in support when they end up on welfare. That makes absolutely no sense. Or if you're not happy to spend all that money supporting an unwanted pregnancy, then IMHO that's an even worse position.

I think it is nice to have BC, but I do not think it is a necessity. When answering the question (Is BC a basic human right), in my mind I was not thinking America. I was thinking some hut in the middle of Africa. While I think it would be nice if everyone in the world had BC, I do not think it is an obligation to provide the entire world with BC.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

I've never understood this position. You would deny someone a few dollars a month in birth control, but you're happy to spend thousands of dollars on their prenatal care when they get pregnant and tens of thousands of dollars in support when they end up on welfare. That makes absolutely no sense. Or if you're not happy to spend all that money supporting an unwanted pregnancy, then IMHO that's an even worse position.

Not providing something for free is not the same as denying something. There is a thing called personal responsibility. If you can't afford another baby and don't want to get pregnant, YOU are responsible for yourself. If nothing else, there is a free form of birth control called abstinence, or condoms aren't that expensive either. Sex without taking responsibility is not a human right.

Spacers's picture
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So poor people don't get to have sex. Gotcha! :rolleyes:

There is no point in providing access to a basic human right if the population you're providing that access to has no way to afford it. Legal representation when one has been accused of a crime is a basic human right, and we don't say, well, if you can't afford an attorney you probably shouldn't get yourself arrested. No, we provide an attorney if you can't afford one. Education is another basic human right, and we provide that for free. Housing is another; we provide shelters and housing assistance to those in need. Why would we NOT provide birth control to those in need?

KimPossible's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

There are a lot of things up higher on list of basic human rights before birth control. Basic needs are food, water, shelter, and some clothing. I do not think if you are too poor to buy birth control, that someone HAS to buy it for you. Sure, it would be nice, but no one HAS to do anything for you.

Yes but did you see that list that i linked to. It addresses far more than just the 'basics' of food water and shelter. It talks about education, being able to leave and enter the country.....the UN's list went way beyond the basics a long time ago.

Rivergallery's picture
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A Right.. nope. Unless you are talking a right to abstain, which some places, and some people do not have.

ETA- needs and wants are not the same as rights.

Spacers's picture
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"Rivergallery" wrote:

A Right.. nope. Unless you are talking a right to abstain, which some places, and some people do not have.

Really? You don't consider being able to control one's own fertility a right? You don't think that access to family planning information such as *when* to abstain if you don't want to get pregnant, should be a right? Why not? I can't imagine how we as a world can expect to get women out of bad relationships and bad living conditions and into good places like colleges, politics, and activism when these women don't have control over their own bodies, their own fertility, and most of them don't even have the information to know how to start trying. Welcome to the 1950s; if you have a uterus, you're expected to use it and nothing else.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

Really? You don't consider being able to control one's own fertility a right? You don't think that access to family planning information such as *when* to abstain if you don't want to get pregnant, should be a right? Why not? I can't imagine how we as a world can expect to get women out of bad relationships and bad living conditions and into good places like colleges, politics, and activism when these women don't have control over their own bodies, their own fertility, and most of them don't even have the information to know how to start trying. Welcome to the 1950s; if you have a uterus, you're expected to use it and nothing else.

First, are we talking about just people in the Westernised world? There are many people throughout the world that do not have access to basic things like running water and indoor plumbing. This is their culture. I do not necessarily think they are being abused because they do not have access to Birth Control.

If we are only talking about countries like the USA and CA, I do not think free birth control is a right. For example, if a doctor said "I will give birth control to all white people, but I will not give you birth control because you are black", I think that would be wrong. If a doctor were to say "I will give birth control to everyone. For white people it is $30, but for Black people it is $500", that would be wrong. If a doctor were to say "I will give birth control to everyone. It is $30", I do not believe there is anything wrong with that. If you can not afford the birth control, it is your responsibility to either get a job or find some sort of assistance program to help you get it.

I think there are a lot of people who think the government owes them a lot, just for breathing. Yes, social programs are nice to help people when they are down, but they are not a right.

mom3girls's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

Really? You don't consider being able to control one's own fertility a right? You don't think that access to family planning information such as *when* to abstain if you don't want to get pregnant, should be a right? Why not? I can't imagine how we as a world can expect to get women out of bad relationships and bad living conditions and into good places like colleges, politics, and activism when these women don't have control over their own bodies, their own fertility, and most of them don't even have the information to know how to start trying. Welcome to the 1950s; if you have a uterus, you're expected to use it and nothing else.

I do not see how not paying for bc is the same as taking away all control a woman has over her body. I think if you want power over your body then you need to step up and pay for it

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"mom3girls" wrote:

I do not see how not paying for bc is the same as taking away all control a woman has over her body. I think if you want power over your body then you need to step up and pay for it

I responded to this point here:
http://www.pregnancy.org/bulletinboards/face-off-debate-arena-205/access-contraception-human-right-701573/#post9019538

And to Bonita's point about culture: our own culture here in the USA used to involve legal slavery, prohibitions against interracial marriage, and virtually zero rights for women whatsoever. Cultures can and do change. One of the best ways to change them is to provide those people with information that things *can* be different, that they don't *have* to live the same way their parents & grandparents did, and to provide them with the resources to be able to do that. Clean drinking water is one of the basic human rights on the U.N. list. Do you really think that any place that doesn't have clean drinking water should just be forced to find a way to pay for it, or left to their own devices since they have obviously chosen this as a cultural attribute??? As a world society we should be committed to helping them get safe drinking water, and to educating them about why dirty water is unsafe and what they can do to make dirty water safer. Why should birth control, access to birth control, and education about birth control and safer sex practices be any different simply because it's "their culture"???

Rivergallery's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

Really? You don't consider being able to control one's own fertility a right? You don't think that access to family planning information such as *when* to abstain if you don't want to get pregnant, should be a right? Why not? I can't imagine how we as a world can expect to get women out of bad relationships and bad living conditions and into good places like colleges, politics, and activism when these women don't have control over their own bodies, their own fertility, and most of them don't even have the information to know how to start trying. Welcome to the 1950s; if you have a uterus, you're expected to use it and nothing else.

Need not a right. Long as women are not being forced to have sex, the rest is not a right. Availability of healthcare and fertility care are needs not rights.

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So the idea that others in the world who have little to no access to formal education and little to no access to clinics or a reason to pay for them are not able to get assistance in order to remain healthy and plan their families appropriately and such is something only available to those who can afford it. Gotcha.

mom3girls's picture
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Not speaking to other countries that have no education or free clinics, at what point do you guys expect woman to take care of themselves and their own bodies? I believe we are doing the poor a disservice by continually saying they are not capable of taking care of themselves.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

So the idea that others in the world who have little to no access to formal education and little to no access to clinics or a reason to pay for them are not able to get assistance in order to remain healthy and plan their families appropriately and such is something only available to those who can afford it. Gotcha.

It is unfortunate when other countries do not have the same luxuries that we have. It is a blessing and wonderful thing when people go in an help those that are less fortunate than we are. I do not however, think they HAVE to.

For example, lets say there was some remote country in Africa that was made up of hundreds of villages. The UN, Missions groups, and private organizations did their best to reach the people of that area, but only could get to a third of the people. Those groups are not doing a bad job because they can not get to everyone. It is not their responsibility to reach every person in the whole wide world to give them health care. Yes, what they do is wonderful. But it is out of the kindness of their hearts, not because they HAVE to, and those people have a RIGHT to have someone go to some village that takes 6 months to get to, just so they can have birth control. It is wonderful if they can have it, and I ache for the people who live in such a way, but it is not the Westernized world's job to try to change the way the rest of the world lives.

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If you have no access due to funding than no it is not a disservice. Do you know how much money is saved when we have proper funding to clinics, education for girls and women about their bodies and having healthy sex and helping them obtain birth control?

We have free clinics in this country and we still have issues with this due to women not being able to get to these clinics and if they can get to a doctor and maybe pay for a visit (if not a free clinic) they can't always afford the monthly prescription even at a low cost.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

If you have no access due to funding than no it is not a disservice. Do you know how much money is saved when we have proper funding to clinics, education for girls and women about their bodies and having healthy sex and helping them obtain birth control?

We have free clinics in this country and we still have issues with this due to women not being able to get to these clinics and if they can get to a doctor and maybe pay for a visit (if not a free clinic) they can't always afford the monthly prescription even at a low cost.

Even in this situation, I do not believe it is the governments responsibility to provide free birth control to everyone. Sure, free clinics are nice, but not a necessity.

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I think the opposite. I only think it benefits any country to have a goal of women obtaining routine care such as physicals , gyn exams and pap smears, having birth control and plan when and if they are having children and having only intended pregnancies.

Less tax money for those that have no money to have a child so there would be no welfare, no WIC programs needed etc. (yes a lofty goal but a goal nonetheless don't you think?)

Less elective abortions when women are only getting pregnant when they want to which I know you support.

The financial estimate I read is that they will spend 4 billion to do these services which could net 11 million in savings for medical bills. That seems worth it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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Worth it and a worthy goal, but not a human right. IMO.

wlillie's picture
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It's not even that IMO. How many people do you know that know darn well they can't afford another child who actively try to conceive? How many people do you know that have access to free birth control who choose not to take it, who only use it when they remember (doh!), and who use abortion instead of contraception?

Seriously, I know way more people who don't plan their families than I do those who do plan. All of whom are not to the point of giving up their smartphones even while applying for whatever assistance they can.

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I have to say those that I know that are and have actively tried for a baby can afford one. I don't run in a wealthy circle. Guess we just know different people. They either are ttc because they know they are ready for one or more or they take birth control and have access to birth control (you know because we all have insurance here and all).

Spacers's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Even in this situation, I do not believe it is the governments responsibility to provide free birth control to everyone. Sure, free clinics are nice, but not a necessity.

No one said it has to be through the government, but generally, yes, the entities that provide most basic human rights are the governments, one way or another. And most governments in the civilized world *do* provide health care to nearly all of their citizens; the U.S. stands alone with our health care model which doesn't work and costs too much and doesn't even cover close to half of our citizens. And I guess this is the underlying difference. Those of us on the other side of the debate generally believe that access to adequate medical care is a basic human right, not a luxury for the rich, and birth control is simply one aspect of that.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

No one said it has to be through the government, but generally, yes, the entities that provide most basic human rights are the governments, one way or another. And most governments in the civilized world *do* provide health care to nearly all of their citizens; the U.S. stands alone with our health care model which doesn't work and costs too much and doesn't even cover close to half of our citizens. And I guess this is the underlying difference. Those of us on the other side of the debate generally believe that access to adequate medical care is a basic human right, not a luxury for the rich, and birth control is simply one aspect of that.

I definitely will not argue that our currant health care system is not broken. I am experiencing a slew of health problems and it is costing a ton of money to get them taken care of. I just do not believe the currant health care law was the right way to go about it.

Rivergallery's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

No one said it has to be through the government, but generally, yes, the entities that provide most basic human rights are the governments, one way or another. And most governments in the civilized world *do* provide health care to nearly all of their citizens; the U.S. stands alone with our health care model which doesn't work and costs too much and doesn't even cover close to half of our citizens. And I guess this is the underlying difference. Those of us on the other side of the debate generally believe that access to adequate medical care is a basic human right, not a luxury for the rich, and birth control is simply one aspect of that.

This is exactly the trouble.. The government of the US was NOT created to give us rights. Our creator gave us rights, and constitution was created so that the government would stay out of the way of those rights.

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Creator as in God???? Really????

smsturner's picture
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"Rivergallery" wrote:

This is exactly the trouble.. The government of the US was NOT created to give us rights. Our creator gave us rights, and constitution was created so that the government would stay out of the way of those rights.

Hmm.... So if believe god not to exist does that mean we don't have these?

The Constitution was not created to GIVE us rights, but to protect them. We have these rights because we are human and live in a place that protects our human rights.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

Creator as in God???? Really????

"smsturner" wrote:

Hmm.... So if believe god not to exist does that mean we don't have these?

The Constitution was not created to GIVE us rights, but to protect them. We have these rights because we are human and live in a place that protects our human rights.

The Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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yes and "Their" creator can mean about 1 million things.

RG said "our creator" which is not so. We don't all hold the same belief in who our Creator is.

Alissa_Sal's picture
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A) The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution. The DofI neither gives nor protects rights, it was a historical document that declared indepence from GB.
Dirol I actually like the idea that the DoI sets forth that all humans have certain rights, simply by being human. It doesn't bother me that they say "by their Creator" because that's what they believed, but I think that the main point is not the "by their Creator" part, but the idea that all people have certain rights, no matter who they are or where they live, simply by virtue of being human. I like that. Way to go, Founding Fathers! Smile

Rivergallery's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

Creator as in God???? Really????

Yeah really.. seriously read it.

Rivergallery's picture
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"Jessica80" wrote:

yes and "Their" creator can mean about 1 million things.

RG said "our creator" which is not so. We don't all hold the same belief in who our Creator is.

Red Herring... definition of "is" "is"...

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So what are you trying to say? Tell me who your Creator is. I'm sure you and I give the same name but have vastly different versions of who he/she/it REALLY is.

Spacers's picture
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ITA with Jessica. I love that our Founding Fathers were so careful with their choice of language. Many of them actually wrote and spoke about "God-given rights," but the Declaration of Independence doesn't use that wording. It says, "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." This language acknowledges that every person, simply for the fact of being human, and with whatever belief system that person believes created him or her on this earth, has a certain set of basic human rights that cannot be surrendered, sold or transferred to anyone else -- namely, the government. And that doesn't mean the government can't be part of the process of protecting those rights.