Women’s Hard-Won Reproductive Rights Shouldn’t Be Up For Debate

The Trump administration has tirelessly worked to diminish women’s access to abortion and birth control, and the president’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court only advances that anti-woman and anti-science agenda. Should Kavanaugh be confirmed by the Senate, he would represent not just the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, but a staunch anti-abortion voice on the Court for decades and generations to come.

Women have fought too long and hard for their reproductive freedom to go back now—and in a new op-ed, Kathy Calvin, President and C.E.O. of the UN Foundation, and Natalia Kenem, Executive Director of the U.N.’s Population Fund, are putting their feet down.

In their essay, they make a bold declaration: “Family planning gives women a future. It shouldn’t be up for debate.”

Back in 1968, we thought change was coming for women everywhere, especially when, that same year, world leaders agreed that family planning was a basic human right… We wish we could tell you that the promises and declarations world leaders made half a century ago did become a reality for women around the world. But they didn’t—especially if you are someone who lives in poverty. Our basic human right to determine if, when, and how many children to have, is still at the center of political debates.

Today, we are seeing many governments roll back access to family planning, even while 44 percent of all pregnancies globally are unplanned. There are still more than 200 million women in developing regions who want to avoid pregnancy and are not able to use safe and effective contraception.

Our own careers are testaments to the transformative impact of being able to plan our families and our futures. We finished school, pursued career opportunities, raised children and are now global advocates championing the rights of girls and women around the world. We believe each girl, woman and family—no matter where they live—deserves the same opportunities we had, and the knowledge and tools to decide if, and when, to have children.

You can read the full piece at DevEx.


Anna Lipton is a former editorial intern at Ms. and a student at Occidental College majoring in Sociology with a minor in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. She enjoys watching reality TV and eating guac, usually but not always together.