a resource for activists
As feminists, we recognize that no choice occurs in a vacuum.
We then must commit to action that tackles the constraints of real choice.
Women's reproductive health is a politicized issue. Advocates for reproductive rights must have access to current, complete, and correct information to combat the rhetoric and misinformation that characterizes too much of the public debate.
The following pages outline positions on these issues and provide links to organizations for more in-depth information, talking points, and possibilities for activism.
It is our hope that the resources found here will help inform a feminist's stance on the many problems and challenges that arise in women's reproductive health.
We support the stance of the American Psychological Association which disputes causal links between abortion and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the APA recognizes that keeping abortion safe, legal, and accessible is a mental health issue and a child welfare issue as well as a women's health issue.
We oppose the use of health-risk scare tactics to restrict abortion. We recognize the National Women's Health Network for their position on abortion and breast cancer and appreciate research by the National Cancer Institute disputing a link between abortion and breast cancer risk.
We object to the restricted rights of low-income women due to the Hyde Amendment. We support efforts of organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds to abolish this form of discrimination in reproductive health care. NNAF provides a number of fact sheets detailing the effects of reproductive restrictions on various populations.
facts for advocates
We accept that with advocacy comes the responsibility to be informed and educated. We appreciate the Guttmacher Institute for its widely recognized, comprehensive information about reproductive issues. Their site provides many abortion fact sheets, including detailed information on abortion demographics, and makes available presentation tools for public advocacy. Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals are also sources of current and accurate information on the safety of abortion methods, the difference between the "abortion pill" and Emergency Contraception (EC), access to abortion services, and other topics.
We believe that reproductive freedom means having the means to reliably, safely, and legally control our fertility. The following are some selected issues of current interest plus links to general information about and issues concerning contraceptive use and women's health.
Emergency contraception (EC) is recognized as an early, safe alternative to failed contraception. Many organizations provide fact sheets and other research about EC use, including SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, NWHN, and NARAL. Most of these organizations also publish information about legislative motions around the availability of EC over-the-counter for women over 18 and dangers of allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense this legal medication to women who seek it.
We oppose the agenda of the religious right to impose one set of moral values on all youth through the promulgation of abstinence-until-marriage sexual education programs. SIECUS provides an explanation and evaluation of abstinence-until-marriage programs for youth sexual education, including research on virginity pledges.
facts for advocates
The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals provides links to current news stories, information, and research on contraceptive use and availability. Planned Parenthood provides information about behavioral, over-the-counter, and prescription methods of birth control, and the Feminist Women's Health Center makes a comprehensive comparison of different forms of contraception.The Guttmacher Institute offers media kits, fact sheets, statistics, and overviews of state policies about contraceptives. To facilitate political action, the Center for Reproductive Rights collects fact sheets on legal advocacy for contraceptive issues, including EC, contraceptive equity bills, and contraceptive availability.
fertility and infertility
We recognize that reproductive freedom includes the right to health care for problems of infertility. We oppose discrimination in a woman's right to this health care on the basis of her income level, sexual orientation, or otherwise. We also note that many individual's decisions about childbearing and infertility treatments are made within a social and cultural context that can be overwhelmingly pro-natal and which can have a disproportionate effect on the decision whether to have a child or to remain child-free.
We agree with the American Fertility Association that access to infertility treatments should not be restricted to those who can afford it out of their own pocket. The AFA outlines how to determine what infertility treatments are insured in each state and has published a handbook about insurance parity for infertility treatments and with guidelines for activism (free registration required).
We agree with the American Society of Reproductive Medicine that denial of fertility treatments for lesbian or gay persons is unethical. Because not all states require insurance coverage for infertility, legal challenges for same-sex couples pursuing infertility treatment can be difficult. The Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) provides information and directions for advocates for same-sex couples and reproductive rights as well as a nationwide referrals system for reproductive and other health care practitioners.INCIID (International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination) describes how women may be illegally discriminated against on the basis of their infertility or pregnancy. INCIID also provides information about advocating for insurance coverage of infertility treatments.
For women without health insurance, Title X of the Public Health Service Act would provide basic infertility screening if it were funded as designed; however, Title X is routinely under funded.
We recognize that full reproductive rights includes promoting the value of an individual's or a couple's decision to remain child-free. While this decision may be arrived at after coping with an infertility diagnosis or never having sought pregnancy, it is not one that is easily understood by family, friends, and our larger cultural environment. Resolve provides resources for understanding and supporting child-free living for those making the decision and the important others in their lives.
facts for advocates
Resolve provides fast facts about infertility for press releases and position and policy statements for public advocacy.
menstruation and menopause
women's healthWe support the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research in the position that a woman?s menstrual cycle is an important part of a woman's reproductive health; because of this, more women-centered perspectives in research, policy-making, and advocacy are needed.
The SMCR has additional position statements on various topics, including menstrual suppression and hormone replacement therapy for menopause. Queries to the site can be used to locate experts on various issues pertaining to the menstrual cycle, including so-called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and issues with birth control.
menopause and politics of treatment
We agree with the National Women's Health Network (NWHN) that women deserve accurate information about menopause, including what treatments might be unproven, unnecessary, or dangerous.
facts for advocates
The NAMS makes available a useful short paper about menopause and charts about postmenopausal hormone therapy. The NWHN provides fact sheets about menstrual suppression, hormone therapy for menopause and related topics, as does the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) gives information on the four reproductive life stages for women, including adolescence, premenopause, perimenopause, and menopause.