Top Five Reasons to Support Reproductive Rights

There are more than 7.5 billion people on the planet, and our growing demands are crowding out wildlife. The solution to runaway human population growth is straightforward: Give everyone the education and resources they need to choose if and when they want to have children — and how many. But in the United States, that isn’t happening. Nationwide and state by state, reproductive rights — like access to contraception and abortion, funding for reproductive health clinics and sex education in schools — are under attack.

By supporting the empowerment of women and access to family planning, you’re also helping protect the health of our planet and other species.

Reason #1: Reproductive rights are fundamental human rights.

Around the world, 222 million women want access to modern contraception and are unable to get it. In the United States, access to contraception and reproductive healthcare has faced an unprecedented wave of attacks in recent years. Inequality and outright attacks against women are tearing reproductive rights and women’s rights down, one policy at a time. By supporting reproductive rights that protect women’s rights, you can help turn the tide for a more just, sustainable world.

Reason #2: Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.

The United States has the highest fertility rate of any industrialized nation and 45 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. Taking responsibility for our reproductive decisions is an important part of protecting plant and animal diversity around the globe, but this is only possible when everyone has access to reproductive healthcare, family planning and comprehensive sex education.

Reason #3: Increasing access to contraception leads to a decrease in unplanned pregnancies.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the United States has dropped to the lowest in the 30 years for which they have data. One of the main factors credited with driving the change was increased use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) like the IUD. When women have access to a variety of birth-control options, they are better able to choose the method that works best for them.

Reason #4: We have entered the sixth mass extinction.

Most biologists agree that we have entered the planet’s sixth mass extinction event, with animals and plants going extinct at the fastest rate since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Except this time the cause isn’t geologic or cosmic but human. When people have the tools, education and ability to choose if and when to have children, they tend to choose smaller families, which is healthier for mothers and children as well as the planet.

Reason #5: Because it’s kind of a big deal.

Having a baby is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your life, for the planet and for the new person you’re bringing into the world. Each additional child increases your carbon legacy by 20 times what you could save over a lifetime of recycling, switching to low-voltage light bulbs and driving a hybrid car — combined. For everyone’s sake people should have the tools to decide when — and if — having children is right for them.