Opinion: Britney Spears’ demand for freedom comes at a crucial time
Contemporary discussions of reproductive rights generally focus on the decision to terminate a pregnancy, not start one. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Spears’ pleas have garnered so much attention: She advocates for the right to have a child. But for opponents of women’s reproductive autonomy, abortion, birth control and sexual freedom have long been linked – if a woman can control her ability to get and stay pregnant, then she has a lot more to do with it. control over how often and with whom she has sex.
This dangerous specter of a sexually liberated woman has produced centuries of dystopian regulations: bans not only on contraceptive aids, but on contraceptive knowledge; periods in life when a woman’s ability to consent to sex has been suppressed; and the erasure of the independent identity of women in the eyes of the law. And especially now, when so many Americans fear that the Supreme Court is preparing to deprive women of their right to abortion, the Spears case is especially significant: It embodies all of those fragile freedoms that women in the States- United fought so hard to get it.
At the turn of the 20th century, the United States made significant advances in scientific knowledge and methodologies, especially when physicians began to develop new professional standards. It was also a time when Americans embraced progressive politics that uplifted experts and sought expanded rights for white women, especially the right to vote. But the innovations of the early 20th century didn’t make things better for most women. Birth control remained banned and abortion inaccessible. Yet while autonomous reproductive control remained elusive for most women, new laws and court rulings provided doctors and the state with powerful new tools to intervene in the reproductive lives of women, in large part. part thanks to the rise of eugenics.
This is why the attention paid to the Spears affair comes at a crucial moment: to see a woman freeing herself from her father’s control, and gradually regaining full autonomy of her own life and her body, is a reminder of why all women also deserve the right to control their lives.