Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy
Birth Control Policy:
· Birth control is defined as any method that is used to protect a woman from getting pregnant.
· In the 1800s birth control was illegal in the United States.
· The Comstock Law was passed by Congress, making distribution of birth control devices and sending information about birth control through the mail illegal.
· Margaret Sanger was a strong advocate of birth control.
-She opened the country’s first birth control clinic in New York City in 1916.
-She established the National Committee for Federal Legislation of Birth Control.
-She proposed a bill to reverse the prohibition of birth control.
-She founded the American Birth Control League which today is known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
· Planned Parenthood funded Dr. Gregory Pincus in support of his research to develop a birth control pill.
· In 1965 the Supreme Court got involved with the birth control controversy.
· In 1966, the federal government began public funding of contraceptive services for low-income families.
· Plan B is not an abortion pill; it is a form of contraception.
· Plan B works by stopping ovulation so that a pregnancy cannot occur.
· If a woman has unprotected sex and a fertilized egg does form, Plan B may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus and therefore prevent a pregnancy.
· United States law says that you cannot purchase Plan B if you are under the age of 17, unless you have a prescription.
Roe v. Wade (Abortion Policy):
· Jane Roe (actually Norma McCorvey) was an unmarried pregnant woman from Texas who tried to get an abortion, but was denied under Texas law.
· Roe argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated her right to privacy.
· The Court agreed with Roe, but also held that states have a right to protect potential human life.
· Because of the conflicting rights, the Court divided the pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters.
· In the first trimester, a state cannot regulate abortion besides requiring that the procedure me done by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions.
· In the second trimester, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the pregnant woman’s health.
· In the third trimester, s state may prohibit abortion unless it is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.
· Abstinence-only programs are programs that do not teach about safe sex, contraceptives, etc.; these programs only teach abstinence (abstinence-only-until-marriage).
· Over $1 billion in government funding has been spent to teach these abstinence-only programs in public schools.
· Government research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not changed the statistics of initiation of sex (at what age young people begin having sex).
· Sexual health education policy has changed since President Obama has been in office.
· There is a push for more comprehensive sexual health education in schools.