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Our Right to Sexual Health Care? An American Perspective

on Sep 23, 2013 | Sexual Health | 0 comments

Becca ZodThis year for sexual health month, as the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) points us to look at 11 declared sexual rights, one strikes me in particular: the right to sexual health care. Worldwide, a movement has formed to support not only sexual health care, but all health care, as a universal human right. So, what’s the U.S. doing?

Well actually, we’re witnessing a paradox here in the United States. Compared to other countries, the U.S. is in the minority – we do not consider health a right. While more than half of the countries in the world state some sort of right to health in their constitutions, our health care system has been set up more as a market, where health care is a service for those who wish to purchase it. 

Given this difference, we are leaping on board with the global movement. With up and coming laws thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. is moving forward and creating many opportunities for access to sexual health care. Soon, the law will stand behind:

  • Affordable health care coverage
  • Guaranteed preventative services (e.g. birth control and cervical cancer screenings) with no deductibles or co-pays
  • Medicaid expansion for family planning services
  • Preservation of access to women’s community health clinics

.... to name a few.

As an article in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics explains, these ACA developments mean that the U.S. is taking steps toward upholding the right to health care without recognizing this right in any legally binding way.

Meaning that even though it is not explicitly stated in our constitution, we are beginning to recognize the right to health care. Yes, we cannot be certain of the ACA’s real outcome when it plays out. But it’s important to celebrate the small victories. Cheers to the recognition of the declared rights to health. And a special hooray: much of these policies create new opportunities for access to sexual health care.

Thanks to coalitions like WAS, we have partners and guidelines to help us join this global movement for rights, ensuring that we’re headed in the right direction.

--Becca Zod



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