5 Big Takeaways From Creating Change
BY Daniel Villarreal
January 28 2013 12:27 AM ET
2) Why Reproductive Rights are LGBT Rights
While the Republican "War on Women" has done its best to make abortion as inaccessible and guilt-ridden as possible, the fight over reproductive rights involves every LGBT person too. Because when we talk about reproductive rights, that includes the policies governing sexual education in our schools, the availability of contraceptives and sexual health clinics in our neighborhoods and the laws which dictate family planning (whether that means planning not to have a child or planning to adopt one).
Conference participants were told it's important to keep abortion and contraception legal, especially for the 11% of lesbians who have reportedly been raped, bisexual men who inadvertently impregnate their female partners and for trans men who end up pregnant after having sex with gay and bisexual men.
But because of the federal Hyde Amendment, low-income queer women cannot use Medicaid to help pay for an abortion, meaning that many of them either resort to dangerous back alley abortions or forgo paying rent (or other financial necessities) just to afford the $600 procedure.
Inequalities in contraceptive medicine make it so that same-sex couples get charged more for in vitro fertilization than straight couples. Trans and intersex individuals regularly get refused sexual medical care by doctors who feel too ill informed to competently treat them. And hospitals and medical professionals can also refuse them care because of transphobic public accommodation laws.
Both of these things need changing.
Also, keep in mind that America's key anti-abortion foe — the Catholic Church — is also America's key anti-LGBT foe. And in both instances, it has been pushing the line that "religious exemptions" and "conscientious clauses" should allow religious employees and church-funded organizations to deny service to anyone seeking an abortion, recognition of their same-sex partner or adoption as an LGBT parent.
There are so many sociopolitical and cultural-economic factors at play in securing reproductive rights that it can be difficult to know where to start. Nevertheless, you can begin by looking up your state sex education and reproductive rights laws at Sex Etc., how to take action at the National Women's Law Center and then find out how some religious communities are helping in the fight at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.