The Women’s Rights Debate Essay

1021 words - 4 pages

Due to the current intensification of the reproductive health debate, the American public has recently been blasted with a plethora of media coverage of birth control and women’s rights related issues. It seems rather absurd, in this day in age, to abruptly attack contraception and birth control practices. In my opinion, this sort of rhetoric is counter-productive and tends to further divide the American public on issues that, for most of us, seem to be indisputable. Furthermore, the current women’s health rights dispute undermines the achievements of a countless number of activists and visionaries that date back to the foundation of the Republic. In the subsequent lines, I will briefly analyze the present women’s health rights debate by contrasting it to the spoken words of Sojourner Truth and Shirley Chisholm documented in their memorable speeches “Ain’t I a Woman?” and “Equal Rights for Women,” respectively.
Sojourner Truth, an African-American women’s rights activist, covers a wide range of issues facing women in the nineteenth century in her notable address “Ain’t I a Woman?.” Ms. Truth recognizes in her speech that the women’s rights movement is generating considerable racket across the board. She challenges society’s fundamental propensity to provide white women with special privileges that are not extended to their black counterparts. Truth further argues that she is not only identical to a white female, but also perfectly similar to a white man: “I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well!” By appealing to pathos by sharing her heartrending experiences as an ex-slave and the mother of thirteen children, Truth tries to depict her human condition. Unfortunately, despite the remarkable progress that has been attained since Sojourner Truth’s times in terms of women’s rights, African-American women still face diatribes that threaten to underscore their health and role in society. Social conservatives’ hostility toward birth control and their opposition to access contraceptives through health care plans is an imminent threat to women’s rights. The birth control and reproductive rights tirades clearly display black women’s vulnerability and have awakened previously dormant feminist forces. Ms. Truth would be surprised to realize that American society still entitles white women to some privileges while depriving African-American women of the very same rights. Approximately 27.4% of African-Americans, contrasted with only 13% of Caucasians, live below the poverty line. Furthermore, a policy based in the social conservatives’ beliefs will heavily affect black women, since a higher percentage of them will not have sufficient income to purchase contraceptives. This issue is further aggravated if one considers that African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. White women, in the other hand, will not be as affected by a social...

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