Women Must Be Free to Decide on IUDs

While we’re encouraged about the uptake of long-acting reversible contraception like IUDs, we also remain mindful of the ethics of birth control counseling and the history of reproductive coercion,” as described by Dani McClain in The Nation.

This shameful history haunts today’s efforts, and teaches us a better way. As McClain writes, health practitioners and experts want modern programs to honor women and respect our choices.

This means women should be free to choose the birth control that best suits their needs, which will likely change over time, and health professionals should help guide them toward the best option without bias. It also means use of long-acting reversible contraceptives should never be tied to eligibility for public assistance, criminal justice sentencing, or any other unrelated paths women may take.

Contraception, a global reproductive health journal, recently published a survey about LARCs. Coercion arose once again as a lingering concern. One survey respondent astutely remarked:

“We need a reproductive justice approach to LARC that starts with a woman’s right to decide what’s best for them and right to science-based, unbiased information about all contraceptive methods. We need to engage women of color who are leaders in reproductive justice work and community partners.”

Reproductive justice is a critical component of why women must be at the center of their health decisions in 2016 and beyond.