Who Controls My Body?
“Bodily autonomy” means the right to govern one’s own body. In simple words, you, yourself, have the power to make choices concerning your body. People typically think it concerns only medical examples, like abortion or health treatments, but bodily autonomy is an issue in many parts of life and society, ranging from dress codes to masks to rules about marriage.
In June, the Supreme Court overturned a decades-old ruling that had allowed women the right to seek an abortion anywhere in the country. That challenge to abortion rights made people worry that the Court might soon try to overturn other rights related to bodily autonomy, such as the right to same-sex marriage. In other countries, meanwhile, citizens are fighting back against restrictions on their bodily autonomy – in Iran, demonstrations over dress codes for women have grown fierce and bloody and threaten to topple the leadership. Understanding how to think about bodily autonomy begins early, even in high school where sex education classes often don’t provide all the information young people need to make choices about they use their own bodies.