Busting Myths about Bodily Autonomy

An older woman holding a sign that says "Our Life-Our Decision" Aiden Frazier/Unsplash

Bodily autonomy—the right to freely make our own decisions about what we do with our bodies and what others do to our bodies—is a human right. Nevertheless, myths about certain people and certain cultures not having the right to bodily autonomy persist. These myths enforce stigma and rob women and gender-expansive people of our sexual and reproductive rights, including our choices to have (or not have) sex or to become pregnant. This helpful article and video from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) breaks down seven common myths about bodily autonomy and explains why dispelling these myths is key to achieving bodily autonomy for all globally.

“Nearly half of all women are denied their bodily autonomy, according to data from 57 countries… The 2021 State of World Population report, titled My Body is My Own, marks the first time a United Nations report focuses on the power and agency of individuals to make choices about their bodies without fear, violence or coercion. The report examines data on women’s decision-making power and on laws supportive of sexual and reproductive health and rights.”