By Dana Zillgitt, Regular Contributor
How does the United States, supposedly one of the most developed nations in the world with all the best bells and whistles, earn a C on reproductive rights and health? How can we claim greatness when we can barely protect uteruses and future generations? And how is that an increase from last year’s minimal score of a C-? But back up a minute. Why is this grade so important and who’s dishing them out?
Now, let’s back track. Who exactly gave us a C and how seriously should we take this rating? Every year, the Population Institute rates each state as well as the nation as a whole on nine determining factors (including teen pregnancy, access to emergency contraception, accessible clinics, etc) and bases potential courses of action to take from here. There were 17 states that scored at least a B+ and 15 that straight up failed, mostly in the Midwest and South.
So where do we go from here? Is there any hope? With the increased number of bills making it to both state and federal legislature attempting to ban abortions past 20 weeks as well as decrease funding for family planning services, not likely. In order to progress both in ratings and in reproductive health access, we need to ensure that the youth has full access to actually comprehensive sexual education, which has a proven track record of lowering unexpected pregnancies as well as more informed decisions both in and out of the bedroom.
Why on earth is this still an issue? I get the idea of wanting to prevent anything unwanted from happening but what if it does and we’re not prepared for the consequences? What if we’re not prepared for the children who weren’t planned yet were so focused on making sure they were born in the first place? Well, it’s institutes like Planned Parenthood and several grass roots organizations that still maintain the good fight to provide both access and information that’s absolutely critical to ensuring that once a child does come into the world, it’s coming into one that’s ready for it.
Reproductive health is such a hot button issue in the US. How can we help enact change for women in 2014 when this is still a politically taboo subject?
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.