Everyone deserves to create new life. More specifically, anyone who wants to become a parenthood should have the opportunity to do so. That basic idea is commonly known as reproductive rights.
By definition, reproductive rights are the basic, legal rights of all individuals and couples relating to reproduction and reproductive health.
According to the World Health Organization, “Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion, and violence.”
In essence, it’s the idea that everyone deserves to create and raise a child if they so desire. Reproductive rights also cover abortion, birth control, and more, but we want to focus specifically on the right for every person to create new life.
Controversies & Issues Related To Reproductive Rights
Two common issues that arise during discussions of reproductive rights are women’s rights and gay rights. Undoubtedly, the issues are connected, but do they go hand-in-hand?
To explain, let’s think hypothetically. When a man and a woman want to have a baby, it is both legally and socially acceptable for them to pursue all options to do so. That includes having a child without being married, using a surrogate, adopting, or using a sperm donor.
But when two women, who are in a loving and committed relationship, decide they want to have a child, suddenly their desire to have a child becomes controversial. The same can even be said for a single woman who decides to have a child on her own, even if she finds suitable egg donors to help her create new life.
It seems more and more that the issue of reproductive rights isn’t one that stands on its own. Instead, it’s grouped by parties that deem it necessary to inhibit the desire of certain groups to have the same basic rights as individuals living the “ideal” lifestyle.
Debates over reproductive rights often transform into women’s rights, men’s right’s, gay rights, or similar rights issues by default, because it’s those more “popular” issues that effectively push the agenda of certain groups.
Do Men Have Reproductive Rights Too?
Whether or not men have reproductive rights is a frequently debated topic, especially in the United States. However, organizations like the national Center for Men (NCM) have made it clear that men do have reproductive rights when it comes to matters of adoption, paternity, abortion decisions, and rights over frozen embryos and more.
Even with several court cases having gone through the system, including a case known as “Roe v. Wade for Men” in which a biological father claimed to have the right to reject financial obligations of an unwanted baby under the Equal Protection Clause. In that specific case, the court rejected the father’s claim, even though the woman he impregnated claimed she was unable to get pregnant.
Additionally, just recently the World Health Organization changed its standard for infertility to include the inability to find a suitable sexual partner. Hopes are the new WHO ruling will encourage the NHS to change its IVF treatment policy. The new standards set by the WHO make it clear that infertility now includes the rights of everyone, including single men and women and gay men and women. The current NHS policy states that fertility treatments are only funded for patients who are proven infertile, under the old definition, which classified infertility as a disability where a couple is unable to achieve pregnancy after 12 or more months of regular unprotected sex.
Whether or not men have reproductive rights on their own seems to be an ongoing issue that may be hotly debated on an individual basis.
Reproductive Rights for the Infertile & Disabled
Is a disability reason enough to deny a woman access to reproductive services? Fortunately, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, women with disabilities are still required to have “meaningful access” to reproductive services without discrimination.
A woman with a disability should have the right, if she is deemed legally capable, to have a child if she so desires.
As with men’s reproductive rights, reproductive rights for patients with disabilities is another commonly debated topic.
Does Everyone Deserve To Be A Parent?
Sure, becoming a parent is undoubtedly a privilege, but should it also be considered a right? As with most issues concerning children, it should come down to the well-being of the child or future children. Yes, everyone should have the right to create life, but to remain a significant part of that child’s life is a privilege.
No matter your racial, socioeconomic, and educational background, if you want to have a baby, you should be able to do so. Just because a person’s lifestyle doesn’t match yours, that doesn’t give you the right to tell them they can’t be parents.
Whether you’re a married heterosexual couple, a single gay man, or any other type of family, if you desire to have a child, it should be considered a basic human right to pursue any and all options to make that happen.
Who are we to say whether someone can parent a child without even giving them a chance to do so? Yes, we all have the right to become parents, but it’s an absolute privilege to remain a parent.