An old friend came to visit me this weekend. We will be forever bonded. We began our journey together as teenagers, counseling women in crisis who needed money to have an abortion, to save their lives, and the lives of their families. Our organization had very little money and so we were always saying, no. We continued to come to work and continued to say no, saddened and infuriated by the health care system's neglect to women's health needs. The women we talked to everyday, the women we cried with, the women whose stories we listened to...about rape, incest, suicidal thoughts and threats. Stories about working three jobs with five kids to feed, about partner violence, language barriers and the ultimate fear of having a baby. Which, in reality, was going to happen without the money.
People still do not seem to understand that even though because abortion is legal, it is completely inaccessible to women if they can't afford the services, find the providers, have the information to make the right choices, and lack access to a clinic or hospital.
Now let me clarify: Sexual rights are the "universal human rights based on the inherent freedom, dignity, and equality of all human beings."
List me list them for you, as laid out by the Declaration of the 13th World Congress of Sexology, World Association of Sexology (WAS) Declaration of Sexual Rights:
1. The right to sexual freedom (free from coercion, exploitation and abuse)
2. The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of the sexual body
3. The right to sexual privacy (HELLO! Including the records of all abortion patients)
4. The right to sexual equality.
5. The right to sexual pleasure (YES! It is a sexual right and FGM denies women this right)
6. The right to emotional sexual expression
7. The right to sexually associate freely.
8. THE RIGHT TO MAKE FREE AND RESPONSIBLE REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES (This encompasses the right to decide whether or not to have children, the number and spacing of children and the right to full access to the means of fertility regulation - which includes abortion!)
9. The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry.
10. The right to comprehensive sexuality education (Get with it United States!!)
11. The right to sexual health care (Sexual health care should be available for prevention and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems, and disorders).
Now, these rights have been clearly laid out, within the human rights framework, and it's about time for them to be recognized, promoted, respected and defended.