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Let's talk about reproductive health (and translation)


Image: La Tercera


The thoughts of members of CSOs and movements as a source for precise terminology


Sometimes, depending on the audience, a translation team needs to resort to the expertise and life experiences of the members of civil society organizations and movements to validate terminology rather than using dictionaries or any other so-called “official source”.


A while ago, Tradoctas came across the term “embarazo no deseado” (“unwanted pregnancy”). In order to think about the correct use of terminology, we asked for the experience and opinion of two activists: Mónica Macha, psychologist, congresswoman and Kirchnerist activist for a plurinational, transfeminist and popular movement, and Valeria Donato, member of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion in Argentina and creator of Liberteca, a feminist library and publishing house for women and LGTBI+ authors.


According to Valeria Donato, it is important to stress the existence or the absence of the desire—the will or volition—of the person able to become pregnant, since this is the factor determining what is a pregnancy and what is torture, as defined in International Law of Human Rights. Valeria also mentions an article of LATFEM in which Martha Rosenberg, founding member of the Campaign, points out: “What humanizes the embryo is the desire of the mother for this embryo to become a child”. On the other hand, Mónica Macha highlights that the expression “embarazo no deseado” is currently falling into disuse and the preferred term is “embarazo no intencional” (“unintended pregnancy”). At Tradoctas, we prefer the latter, since an unintended pregnancy is a pregnancy that is either unwanted, such as the pregnancy occurring when no children or no more children were desired, or mistimed, such as the pregnancy occurring earlier than desired.



Half of all women around the world are denied their bodily autonomy


According to a recent report by the United Nations Population Fund, nearly half of all women around the world are denied their bodily autonomy over themselves. Based on the collected data, although 55% of them are fully empowered to make their own decisions regarding healthcare, birth control and the capacity to choose to engage or not in sexual relations, the other 45% do not get the same opportunities.


Additionally, the report focuses on the Argentine example. In the last few years, our country has made a great leap forward in terms of sexual and reproductive rights. According to the National Ministry of Health, between the years 2015 and 2019, the adolescent birth rate (ages 15-19) went down by 20,000 cases annually. This change was undoubtedly brought about by the implementation of public policies such as the Comprehensive Sex Education Act (ESI) and the Plan for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy in Adolescence (ENIA).


Due to the pandemic, a million women are likely to discontinue their chosen method of birth control. Around 65% of them will be forced to make the decision because of the drop in their income while the remaining 35% will do so because of the difficulties in having access to it through public healthcare services. This situation gives rise to new challenges when it comes to drafting public policies regarding reproductive health care during a health crisis.


The new President of Planned Parenthood: Alexis McGill Johnson


"I'm the face of an organization that stands up for people who need access to sexual and reproductive health care. And I stand proudly in saying that. And I stand proudly in saying that reproductive health care and sexual freedom should include abortion."

After Leana Wen departed the role in 2020, Alexis McGill Johnson took over as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.


Researcher and advocate for social justice, she had been working at the organization for over 10 years before her appointment. Additionally, she's co-founder and ex-co-director of the Perception Institute: a consortium of researchers and strategists who translate science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and social discrimination.


Johnson also appears as a commentator on FOX News, CNN and MSNBC. During the 2004 elections, she worked as Executive Director of Citizen Change, an organization which aims at getting young people and minorities to vote. She graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, which she then taught in different academic institutions.



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