Women’s Rights at Stake: Examination of the U.S. History and Policy of Women’s Reproductive Health and Justice

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Preeti Shroff-Mehta


As the debate between the pro-choice and anti-choice advocates prolongs, the paper is not to argue from a moral or immoral point of view. Instead, it educates people on the historical context of abortion as a reproductive right. It also serves its purpose to discuss the potential damage that limited abortion access and resources may bring. It also analyzes the current state and federal policy that protects or deters women from reproductive rights. This paper additionally evaluates the efforts that pro-choice and anti-choice people have contributed to achieve their goals. It further provides recommendations to protect women’s reproductive rights in the State of New York in an event of Roe v. Wade is turned and in an event of the healthcare reform, which excludes abortion coverage, is passed. Most significantly, it serves as a plea to remind people of the importance of reproductive justice and rights because millions of women’s lives depend upon them.

Women’s rights are at stake because women’s reproductive rights and justice are constantly challenged. Currently the Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe v. Wade grants women the right to privacy, which further indicates that women are entitled to abortion under certain limitations. Talks of overturning Roe v. Wade continue to be present during every federal and presidential election. While the overturn of Roe v. Wade has a slim possibility, anti-choice groups persistently try everything they can to make sure that access and resources to abortion care and services are blocked. Their efforts can be seen in numerous attempts to ban abortion at state and federal level as well as enforcements of restrictions upon women seeking abortion, such as parental and spousal notifications and 24-hour waiting periods. More recently, the debate over whether or not the healthcare reform should include abortion coverage once again reminds the general public of the Hyde Amendment as the current bill of the healthcare reform has a even more restrictive and “pro-life” language than the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976.

As a community organizing intern at NARAL Pro-Choice New York, a political and legislative non-profit organization, I have witnessed the preparation work to introduce a bill and the efforts to get the bill passed in the New York State Senate. I have conducted research on the prevention programs that anti-choice groups run to obstruct abortion access to resources and services. I have also campaigned and outreached to get pro-choice candidates elected and pro-choice legislations passed on the local as well as state level. My observation of the advocacy campaign run by NARAL Pro-Choice New York and other pro-choice, pro-human-rights organizations have given me a hands-on experience and skills with advocacy policy in addition to what I had previously learned at SIT. The opportunity for me to develop my investigation on the U.S. history of reproductive health policies thoroughly certainly has allowed me to examine the issue and connect it with the current state of women’s rights in a bigger picture. Most significantly, the experience and opportunities I have had during my internship and writing this paper have enabled me to continue the fight for reproductive rights as it still has not ended.


Legal Studies | Social Policy

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