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OPINION- Every morning when I wake up, I take an oral contraceptive. As I go through my day, I have the option of choosing if I want to have sex and whom I want to have sex with. I listen to my friends as we plan to promote pleasure and prevent pregnancy. We giggle about boyfriends or one-night stands. We talk to our doctors about the effectiveness of birth control or in some cases Plan-B.
I am one of few women globally that has been educated about contraception which empowers me to control my sexuality. I have the tools to protect myself against unwanted pregnancy and STDs. If I ever have children, it will be because I chose to become a mother, not because it is a condition forced upon me.
Globally, women do not have this option. Instead, they remain subservient to their husbands, and other men in their community, as submissive sex and unwanted pregnancy are the necessary side effects of their womanhood.
The single most pressing issue facing feminists today is the prohibition on sexual consciousness, which is evident in how women remain tethered to their husbands as their reproductive faculties are monopolized.
Currently, motherhood is an expectation for all women. Becoming pregnant and producing hordes of human beings is required of women through social expectation and rigid laws that mandate reproduction and deny contraception.
The women of the world have no say in this matter as their wombs are repeatedly sowed with unwanted seed and they are left to bear the physical burden of pregnancy and childcare until it kills them.
Margaret Sanger was one of the first feminists to advocate the value of birth control in the 1920s. Her essay “Woman and the New Race” was groundbreaking for its time, proclaiming the value of intelligent, or chosen, motherhood.
Some would argue that Sanger’s advocacy for universal access to contraception is irrelevant, thanks to legislation and a social shift that allows and encourages its usage.
These claims are false. While this is true in the Western world, there are still communities here and on the far corners of the earth that prohibit sexual education or birth control advocacy for women.
The idea that woman can ever have equal influence in the world, when her biology leaves her physically subservient to man, is absurd. Globally, man has monopolized woman’s reproduction, leaving her physically incapable of competing against a worldwide system of oppression.
Maternal health is given the lowest priority worldwide. Finances are allocated to the health and education of sons and fathers, not to the health care of wives, daughters and mothers. In these communities, men adopt the philosophy that wives are replaceable, so paying for their health care is an empty investment.
These men believe that contraception is counterproductive. The intention of impregnating their wives is to incur wealth through ownership of children. The womb is a repository for gain, and keeping their woman pregnant keeps her tethered to him.
Her body becomes his property and an object used to produce both heirs and pleasure simultaneously, until she reaches levels of physical exhaustion and her health deteriorates.
The equivalent of five jumbo jets worth of women die every day as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, according to the bestselling text “Half the Sky.”
In short, pregnancy is a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of women globally.
Massive numbers of death and degradation happen because submissive motherhood will continue unless something is done to show all women that there is an option besides childbearing.
And since it is unlikely that the pinnacles of feminist ideology will spread to all men worldwide, this task falls to women to enfranchise themselves and seize control of their reproduction.
Feminists, educators, international figures, world health organizers and community leaders must dedicate themselves to providing universal access to education and contraception, empowering woman with the tools to choose motherhood, rather than a situation that is forced upon her.
As Sanger states, access to contraception and reproductive sovereignty remains “the key to the temple of liberty,” for women.
I am privileged to have grown up in a community that allows me to control my fertility, to be surrounded by men who treat me as an individual and not as a walking womb or commodity resource.
It is morally and socially obligatory that individuals who hold this figurative key work to give all women the tools to control their sex lives, allowing them to choose motherhood.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Sara Kassabian at Sara.email@example.com.