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Reproductive rights refer to the rights of couples and individuals to determine when and whether to have children as well as their rights to access information and services related to reproductive health. Though reproductive rights are often discussed in relation to access to safe, legal abortions, these rights also relate to the availability of birth control, sex education and outreach, access to fertility resources, maternal and prenatal health care, and freedom from forced or coerced pregnancy, abortion, and sterilization.
The US Constitution does not explicitly protect reproductive rights. In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in Roe v. Wade that the Fourteenth Amendment protected a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy. Although this technically allowed at least some abortion access options for Americans, the decades of subsequent political and legal campaigns from opponents resulted in SCOTUS overturning its previous decision on June 24, 2022. Because of this, abortions are now illegal once again in many states, and its accessibility is threatened or heavily restricted in many more areas of the country.
Still, state and local governments determine most policies related to reproductive rights. Advocates continue seeking to affirm reproductive rights through new legislation, litigation, and public outreach. Such advocacy still faces significant pushback from organizations that oppose family planning, particularly pregnancy termination and contraceptive use, largely due to religious objections. Like reproductive rights advocates, these organizations have used both the law and public opinion to promote their perspectives.
The above content was adapted from the following source: Reproductive Rights. (2022). In Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/PC3010999318/OVIC?u=purdue_main&sid=bookmark-OVIC&xid=e29cd11e