Dare to Dream Big


From overturning the Global
Gag Rule and restoring funding to UNFPA on the international side to
ridding our nation of harmful abstinence-only sex education and uber-politicized
decisions at the FDA on the domestic, the reproductive health community
is justifiably excited about the prospects for an Obama Administration
and a supportive Congress to turn back many of the heinous policies
that have been in place for much of the past eight years.  

After years of being beaten
down and of working to incrementally to claw our way back to sound policies,
reproductive health advocates may be tempted to shy away from dreaming
big and believing that we might finally be able to extricate our issues
from the political morass into which they have become enmeshed.    

But rather than seeking a return
to "the way things were under the Clinton Administration… plus some,"
why not take this historic opportunity to think about how things "could
be" if all was right with the world?   

Why not dare to dream, to hope,
and to believe that we can achieve great gains for the women of this
nation and the world?  Why not take to heart President-elect Obama’s
vision of a world that shares a common humanity, where our policies
recognize and promote the inherent equality, dignity and worth of all
people?  

As the transition team and
the new administration work to consolidate U.S. foreign assistance,
why not ensure that gender equality undergirds our new foreign aid infrastructure
and our foreign policies?   

As the nation rejoins the global
community in recognizing and prioritizing the Millennium Development
Goals (a stated priority of candidate Obama), why not use the voice
of our community to promote a more humane internationalism grounded
on reducing poverty and ensuring equal rights for all?   

As President Obama begins to
undo the harmful domestic policies of the Bush Administration, why not
take advantage of his overwhelming support among the nation’s women
and youth to actively promote a sexually healthy nation – one that
reflects the realities of people’s lives, rather than a sexist, homophobic,
backward vision of how a minority idealizes the world should be? 

For decades now, reproductive
health policy in this country has been hyper-politicized and partisan. 
Let’s take this historic, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,
to think big about breaking out of that pattern.   

Let’s move away from our
vertical, siloized approaches and think about how to truly integrate
sexual and reproductive health into a comprehensive range of programs,
domestic and international.   

Let’s support evidence-based
prevention and act on the notion that health is both a right and a responsibility.   

Let’s proceed as if we truly
believe that women’s rights and reproductive rights are human
rights.   

Let’s envision not just winning
the short-term internecine battles around reproductive health, but actually
winning the long-term peace.  If we step back from our focus on
day-to-day tactics and strategies and dare to dream, yes, I believe
we can.

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  • http://www.birthingjoy.net/blog invalid-0

    Thanks for this! I couldn’t have said it better myself. We have a window of opportunity that we haven’t had in decades to really push a pro-woman, pro-sex, human rights agenda in the arena of sexual and reproductive health. Let’s reach for the moon!

  • http://www.exquisit-schmuck.com invalid-0

    This country has suffered for too long under medieval politics. Most modern countries in the world put us on the same level with countries like Iran and similar god-friven countries. This is the chance to bring this country politically into the 21st century. Lets go for it!

  • invalid-0

    “Most modern countries in the world put us on the same level with countries like Iran and similar god-friven countries.”

    Actually the government of Iran is far more enlightened than the Bushies and the Christian right. Indeed their policies have become the model for nations wishing to correct the ruinious effects of overpopulation.
    They dropped maternity benefits for couples with more than 3 children, (a REALLY good idea, imho, no more tax exemptions after 3 kids) men and women are required to attend classes about contraception before they can obtain a marriage license, contraceptives are available at pharmacies across the country and the government gives away free condoms.
    At the UN the Bush administration’s closest allies when it comes to treating women like the chattel the Christian right believes is our birthright are, predictably, Saudi Arabia and the Vatican which, unaccountably and undeservingly, has an envoy to the UN.

  • invalid-0

    The horrible irony here is this: since more than half of those who have the strength to survive the first few days of their lives are girls, you actually kill more of them when you keep abortion legal.

  • pmsears

    Barack Obama promises to keep us on our toes and raise our standards
    for success. He is constructing a team of rivals because he is not
    afraid of success and knows it will take a lot of hard work, energy and
    focus to get it done.<br>

    Let’s think more about winning instead of whining. Let’s acknowledge
    our strength in knowledge and know-how in working for equal
    rights.<br>

    To paraphrase Mr Churchill, it’s not enough to do our best, we must succeed in doing what’s necessary.<br>

    Thank you, Suzanne, for your clear thinking and challenge. Best wishes for more dreams come true.

     

    Patricia M Sears
    NEKTI Consulting
    Vermont, USA

  • http://www.goal-setting-college.com invalid-0

    Suzanne, thank you for your insights! I’m looking forward to Mr Obama’s policies, especially those impacting the economy which I believe will have immense positive effects on the global market as well.