Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reproductive health round-up

YUHS is still working on that survey, which showed "mixed feelings" about health services at Yale and in particular points to the problems with EC distribution revealed by the survey.
...Edelman said he thinks UHS does not do enough to publicize the availability of emergency contraception. In addition, the process for obtaining the morning-after pill in advance is often lengthy and stressful, he said.
Also in the YDN, a rather feel-good article discusses abortion at Yale (reporting that 5-12 undergraduates annually have abortions in New Haven), and draws optimistic conclusions about the importance of choice for our university and the increasing availability of EC. The RALY-CLAY dialogue (or lack thereof) is interesting food for thought.

This all points to the fact that sexual health depends on our access to information and resources. The real way to be "pro-life"? Ensure that choices about our bodies can be made in informed and choice-rich environments.

This part of the abortion article bothered me, because it reinforces something we've discussed here before:
Hartmann's decision is far from common at Yale, and the increasing polarization between work and motherhood -- or at least the perception of such an increase -- remains an issue for young women. The issue was brought to Yale's, and the nation's, attention last September in Louise Story '03 SOM '06's controversial New York Times article "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," which suggested a disconnect between a modern woman's professional career and the responsibilities of a mother. With that perception comes the belief that the two are irreconcilable.
I know Story's article has become a catchy cultural reference, but it is out of context here. The article cites women whose life-plans involve being full-time mothers - and this involves reproductive planning. Also, the reference ignores the economic and social aspects of abortion; Story's sources were all planning to marry presumably financially-independent men, while students at Yale (younger, probably unmarried, and 'unemployed') who have abortions surely do so for more than professional reasons.

Moreover, the issue of parenting and reproductive health must not only be a young woman's issue (as the article states). The responsibilities of sex and parenthood are issues which affect individuals of all sexualities and genders. Secondly, "work and motherhood" is not a dichotomy. "Paid work and motherhood" - that's more like it!

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