Support all reproductive choices
I was very excited to read Katie Martin’s article, “What to expect when you’re expecting (at Yale)” (Sept. 23, 2016). It is commendable that the Yale Health Basic plan covers abortions at full cost. Too many people face obstacles accessing abortion care, and the costs associated with those obstacles are a significant burden.
However, I’m disappointed to learn that prenatal care is not included in the Basic plan, and that the only group advocating for pregnant students’ rights is an anti-abortion group. The rights of pregnant women and parents are just as much a reproductive-justice issue as access to abortion and birth control. Those who hope to advance reproductive rights do themselves a disservice when they separate abortion from other forms of reproductive health care. Advocates for reproductive justice must be advocates for systems that promote fair and dignified access to all forms of health services involved in establishing and sustaining families. These include abortion, contraception, adoption, assisted reproductive technologies, surrogacy, prenatal care, child health care, child welfare, paid parental leave, paid family leave and flexible work and school policies. Furthermore, advocates must ensure the institutions and systems providing these services are antiracist, accessible to those with the fewest resources and those with disabilities, and affirming of all genders and sexualities. We must work alongside our allies across social justice movements and learn to view all of our goals as aligned.
These are not easy tasks, but they are critical for those who seek to do this work. I was only beginning to grasp these concepts while I was at Yale, and I have grown in my understanding of these intersectional issues since graduating seven years ago. Yale needs a group that takes up the cause of pregnant students and students who are already parents without marginalizing other reproductive choices.