“Family planning” generally refers to how and when people choose to have (or not have) children, including birth control methods, adoption, and surrogacy. Over the years, views on family planning have changed based on shifting priorities, financial concerns, and changing ideologies.
How to approach family planning and what factors to consider is generally a matter of opinion, so there are many different ways to approach it.
Some people’s views on having children are affected by concerns about population control or even ethical concerns related to climate change. They might view having children as an issue of morality; why add more people to the planet when so many are already struggling? For these reasons, they might choose to remain childless or have fewer children.
Certain genetic disorders can affect someone’s ability to have children or impact any children they decide to have. Those who wish to have kids may want to be tested for genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, or sickle cell anemia. A doctor or genetic counselor can help parents determine the best course of action based on their risk. Someone who wishes to avoid passing a genetic disorder to their child might consider adoption, sperm donation, or using a surrogate as part of their family planning.
For some women, pregnancy and giving birth is a risk to their health or safety. It also means giving up their bodily autonomy to a certain extent; they may have to give up other needs or goals to make the baby’s health a priority. For these reasons, a mother’s rights are very important when it comes to family planning.
Both adults and teens have the right to access contraceptives, including implants, monthly birth control pills, and “morning-after” pills. However, state laws and insurance companies can make things more difficult.
Then, there are issues when it comes to safely giving birth. In some cases, mothers, their partners, and doctors must make tough decisions to preserve the health of the mother. For the most part, childbirth is safer now than it was for previous generations. However, there is still room for improvement in the U.S. For example, Black mothers are much more likely to die in childbirth than mothers from other racial groups.
Birth advocacy refers to protecting — and sometimes fighting for — your right to give birth according to your wishes. Some people might want to give birth at home rather than at a hospital, for example. All pregnant people have the right to informed consent and refusal when it comes to their medical care.
You can advocate on your own or through a neutral third-party such as a doula. You are free to choose whatever method will best protect your health, safety, and rights.
Although things like adoption and surrogacy have become easier for people in the LGBTQ+ community, there are still sometimes obstacles in their way. Some medical providers might discriminate against prospective parents based on their sexual orientation. There are still states where adoption agencies can deny applications for this same reason. In these instances, it often helps to consult with an attorney experienced in facilitating same-sex adoptions.
Even the most common family law issue can be intensely stressful to you. A knowledgeable reproductive rights lawyer can guide you through the process. An attorney will coach you on how to proceed and give expert guidance on hearings, negotiating, trials, and enforcing court orders. Take the first step now and talk to an experienced local reproductive rights attorney.