The World We Want: Discussion Guide

Document Date: January 22, 2007

ACLU and Reproductive Rights >>PODCASTS
Anthony D. Romero and Louise Melling on the ACLU and reproductive rightsSondra Goldschein on the real-life impact of reproductive freedom

>The World We Want: Statement from Louise Melling
>2007 Federal Legislative Update: New Year, New Congress, New Possibilities

>The World We Want: Action Alert

> Roe v. Wade: 34 Years Later
> Washington D.C.: A Different Buzz
> California: A Woman Knows Best
> Mississippi: A Dream for Mississippi
> Washington: Affiliate Hopeful about Comprehensive Sex-Education

All too often, discussions about reproductive rights seem mired in politics rather than focused on our daily lives. It is time to stop the rhetoric and start talking about what reproductive freedom means for real women, real families. Basic decisions we make every day depend on our right to decide for ourselves one of the most personal decisions we can make: whether and when to start a family.

Think about it:

  • How has birth control changed your life? Without access to birth control, would you be working in your current job? How many kids would you have? Where would you live? How would you take care of your family?
  • Have you depended on condoms to protect yourself from STDs, including HIV/AIDS?

  • Have you ever had a condom break or have you faced a pregnancy scare? Have you ever taken emergency contraception? Was it important for you to know that carrying a pregnancy to term wasn’t your only option?

  • Have you ever had a sister, friend, or daughter confide in you that she was pregnant and wanted an abortion? What did you do?

For many of us, the right to basic reproductive health care has without question shaped our lives and our family’s lives. For others – poor women, young women, women in rural areas, to name a few – the right has been less obtainable and government interference more of a reality.

For all or us, the right to reproductive freedom is something we must continue to protect and expand. For starters, we must being to imagine a world where:

  • All women and men can make their own private decisions – without government interference – about whether and when to become a parent and have the support they need to maintain healthy lives and healthy families.

  • All women have meaningful access to reproductive health care, including birth control, emergency contraception, pre- and postnatal care, abortion care, and testing and treatment for STDs and other reproductive health conditions.

  • All young people are given medically accurate, age-appropriate information that teaches them the importance of waiting to have sex but also gives them the know-how to protect themselves from STDs and prevent pregnancy when they become sexually active.

Giving Shape to the World We Want
To obtain the world we want, we must come together and begin the conversation. Hold a reproductive-rights pizza party; meet your friends at a local cafe; talk to your grandmother or your mother about what it was like when she was a young woman. Start by asking some of the above questions and see where the conversation leads. How has access to reproductive health care shaped your life and what can you do to ensure the world we want for reproductive freedom becomes everyone’s reality?

Turning Talk into Action
Once you’ve got people talking they might be interested in going one step further and taking action.

What is happening in your community that needs your attention? Can women get emergency contraception in your local pharmacy? What kind of sex education are teens getting in the local schools? What can you do to help women in your state afford birth control and abortion care when they need it? Come up with a set of local goals and a set of action steps that will bring you closer to the world you want for your community, your state, our country.

Visit the ACLU’s Reproductive Rights Take Action Page or join our grassroots campaign, Take Issue, Take Charge, working to get effective sexuality education in local schools.

Resources to Help Guide Your Discussion and Activities

Abortion in Women’s Lives

Get “In the Know”: 20 Questions About Pregnancy, Contraception and Abortion

What the Research Shows: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs Fail to Protect Teens’ Health

30 Years is Enough: Securing Public Funding for Abortion

Keep on Marching: What You Can Do To Protect Reproductive Freedom

How to Start an Abortion Fund