Family Planning and Religion

HouseOne of the topics about which I will teach here is family planning. Before coming to site, I was concerned about the topic because of how polarizing it is in the US. I worried that there would be as much religious rhetoric against contraception and teaching sexual health in Paraguay as there is in the US. Paraguay is a Catholic country and I wondered if some of the same denial of basic health realities was present here as in the US. It is not.

Family planning and sexual health in Paraguay is not a subject cramped by religion. It is awkward and hard to talk about, just like in the US, but not because of religious beliefs. I find it awkward because of the power relationships between men and women here. And, well, because it’s just a hard subject to discuss eloquently.

In Paraguay, birth control pills and condom are free and offered at every public health clinic in the country. To get birth control pills a woman simply needs to go to the health clinic, request them, and present her ID. Sexual education is taught in many schools. I like to think Paraguay is transitioning to a family model that allows women to have the number of children they want when it makes sense for them. Paraguay isn’t there yet, but it’s on its way.

One thing I find particularly interesting about the relative ease of discussing family planning in Paraguay is that abortion is illegal. Period. Having one national set of laws in Paraguay that governs actions related to family planning makes it easier than in the US to know what can be said and can’t be said when teaching.

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One thought on “Family Planning and Religion

  1. Very interesting. It is shocking that in this country our Supreme Court has ruled that privately held companies may now refuse their employees insurance coverage of birth control if it conflicts with the owner’s religious beliefs. The latest company to use this ruling since the Hobby Lobby decision is Eden, the company that makes organic products. I love their products but they are now on my do not buy list.
    I can’t help wondering if companies owned by Jehovah’s Witness followers and Christian Scientists will disallow vaccines and blood transfusions. Scientologists not allowing coverage of anti-depressants? A bad ruling that has far reaching consequences.
    Be well…love your blog!

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