Elisabeth Smith, LSRJ Summer Legal Intern
This is the third week of my summer internship at LSRJ and I love everyone and almost everything.
All the interns are busy updating LSRJ factsheets so that law students around the country have accurate information on a wide range of reproductive justice topics. While updating my factsheets, I have come across the worst of the internet. When researching CEDAW (the United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), I found a webpage that warned people to call their representatives and demand that CEDAW never be ratified and the Violence Against Women Act be repealed because both are bad for families.
Confused? I was. The website explained that actually women are just as likely to be abusers, lie about domestic violence, and many innocent men are behind bars. Okay, then.
Next I researched the Convention for the Rights of the Child and encountered a site that proclaimed “No CRC in the USA!” Why? According to this group, if the US ratified the CRC then children would have the right to reproductive health information and services (among other things). Heavens.
Finally, I researched China’s population policy and found a site suggesting that “ObamaCare” (for the record, the Affordable Care Act) includes provisions that would forbid Americans from having more than one child.
Okay, people, seriously. Let’s debate, let’s discuss policy differences, differing world views, different potential solutions, and let’s do so respectfully. But when the premise of your argument depends solely on misinformation and outright lies, I don’t want to give you a seat at the table.
I haven’t cited the blogs in question for one reason: I don’t want anyone else to visit them. In their honor, though, I would like to set the record straight.
1) Women are more likely to be victims of both fatal and nonviolence at the hands of intimate partners.
2) Children have a right to information about their bodies and reproductive health because abstinence-only education does not work: youth in the program group were no more likely than control group youth to have abstained from sex and, among those who reported having had sex, they had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same mean age.
3) The Affordable Care Act does not limit the number of child a person or family can have. It does mandate that insurance companies pay for well-baby and well-child visits, immunizations, and screening and counseling.
Reproductive justice imagines a world where people have the rights, the support, the information, and the resources to make decisions for themselves and their families, free from violence and oppression. I would like to surf the internet in that world.