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New Publication: Challenging Unintended Pregnancy as an Indicator of Reproductive Autonomy

Wed, March 13, 2019
New Publication: Challenging Unintended Pregnancy as an Indicator of Reproductive Autonomy

In new commentary published in Contraception entitled “Challenging Unintended Pregnancy as an Indicator of Reproductive Autonomy,” Joseph E. Potter, Amanda Jean Stevenson and coauthors argue for the replacement of unintended pregnancy as a prime indicator of reproductive autonomy.

They write, “By treating high levels of unintended pregnancy as the problem motivating our scholarship our field reinforces a conception of abortions as health system failures, valorizes more effective contraceptive methods regardless of women’s desires, and contributes to the stigmatization of fertility among already-marginalized groups.” 

By including other measures, such as access to abortion and preferred contraception and the power to freely negotiate and engage in sexual activity, scholars can develop a more nuanced approach towards reproductive autonomy.

The authors suggest that corrections can be made: first, abortion should be treated not as a failure but as a valid reproductive option. Second, responsibility for greater reproductive autonomy should be placed on the shoulders of the systems providing care, not on women themselves. The piece concludes that this “would change the incentives for healthcare providers, policy evaluators, and lawmakers away from public health interventions aimed at altering women’s behavior, and align them more directly with the goal of increasing reproductive autonomy.”

Read the full commentary here.

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