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An international perspective on contraception, abortion and women’s autonomy

Women should be able to make their own decisions without government interference.

As an international student at the University of St. Thomas, I hope to offer an international and social-work student perspective in the recent debate on abortion rights. I am pro-life, but I believe each woman should have her own autonomy to make her own decision about her pregnancy.

I am from Asia. In some Asian countries, the number of children a married woman should have used to be set by the government, and the decision was implemented by law and force; so did the method and timing of contraception of a married woman/couple in certain years. I was born in that period, and my mother needed to have an IUD implanted to ensure my access to public hospitals and schools. Social welfare was bound to my mother’s mandatory contraception. I hope that you agree with me that when and how to use contraception should not be a government decision that is applied to all women. If you agree with me, why should the access to abortion be a public planned issue? Or a moral issue that imposes a unified attitude to ALL women? Please let women make their own decision.

As a social-work student, I see that low-income single mothers or female-headed households struggle in the context of MFIP, as MFIP requires the eligible person to actively look for a job or be enrolled full time in school. When a low-income single woman chooses to give birth, she needs to choose whether to pay the $14.50 babysitting rate (while the minimum wage in Mnnesota is about $9.50) to maintain her working status or to be ineligible for MFIP. It seems the society punishes parenting by giving no recognition to the value of mothers taking care of their own children.

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