Divorce profiteering and misleading ads

lifes short get a divorce advertisement

Yea, this is a real advertisement for legal divorce services. It says:

Life’s short. Get a divorce.

I may comment on the images in a future post. For now I’ll just say this:

Divorce shortens children’s lives. Divorced people of both sexes have elevated risks for suicide, but among men the elevation is much greater.

Given this, maybe the ad should say:

Life’s short. Make it shorter by getting a divorce.

That would be more honest.





When family building becomes family breaking

“Family building” is a euphemism. It is a nice sounding phrase that hides unethical practices.

Euphemism means: “a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.”

OK, so if it’s a euphemism, what is the harsh or blunt aspect?

Here’s an example. Check out this resolution by a group called RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association:

RESOLVE believes that everyone facing infertility deserves access to all family building options.

It means that infertile couples have a right to obtain human beings by whatever means. That’s the harsh or blunt aspect.

Hey look, I have heard heartbreaking stories of how painful infertility is. I have no doubt about those stories. I empathize with their pain. Let me be clear that I don’t like pain and I don’t want people to feel pain.

But no amount of pain gives people a right to parent an unrelated child. 

Notice the part that says, “… all family building options.”

I don’t think they thought that through very well. There IS such a thing as unethical “family building.” In fact, I would argue that anytime you see the phrase “family building,” it referring to an unethical practice.

Do moms and dads who are married to each other use that phrase? I don’t think so. There is only one way to ethical “build” a family and it goes like this:

  • Save sex for marriage.
  • Marry somebody of the opposite sex.
  • Don’t deliberately wait until the woman’s peak childbearing years are behind her.
  • Have children in marriage.
  • Stay married and raise your children.

I know there will be detractors and nit-pickers who say, “What about death? What about divorce?” So let me be clear: a family that loses one parent to death is ethically the same as if the parent didn’t die. Sometimes a divorce must happen because one parent is being horrible. But those things are not “family building,” are they?

Here’s another sad fact: what we call “family building” is in fact “family breaking.”

For the sake of the custodial parents, it:

  • Chops off a child’s family tree entirely (adoption)…
  • Or it splits the child’s family tree in half (remarriage after divorce)…
  • Or it chops off one-half of the child’s family tree (surrogacy; egg donation; sperm donation; single-parenting-by-choice).

I can hear it now: “But ADOPTION is all sweetness and light. It is always beautiful and wonderful.”

No, it isn’t.

Adoption is supposed to be an institution that finds parents for children who need them. Adoption is supposed to be a child welfare intervention of last resort.

This means that the kid is in dire straights. It can mean any of these things:

  • The parents are dead or incarcerated or have abandoned the child.
  • There is no related family that can be found, or that wants the child.
  • There are no measures available to help the mother or other family members keep the child. Poverty.

When people adopt in those circumstances, that’s not for “family building” reasons. That’s because a child needs a family, not because certain couples want a family.

Unfortunately, there are far too many instances where adoption is used to give children to parents who want them. That’s not now it’s supposed to be. So please stop using adoption as an excuse to cut down a child’s family tree.

This is what “family building” looks like to me:

Family building is chopping or dismembering a child’s family tree so that certain people can have their pain relieved.

It shifts the pain from the adults to the child. Now the child has to spend his life pretending that he’s OK with having a family tree that was deliberately cut off or dismembered. He has to navigate the world without an intact ontological understanding of himself.

Worse, the very parents themselves often have intact family trees. So they can’t relate to the pain of a lost or fractured ontology and what it is like to live in the liminal space this creates.

I’m sorry for the pain caused by infertility, I truly am.

But it is not an unrelated child’s job to remedy that pain.

Instead, join a support group. Start a blog. See a counselor. Talk to friends. Yell at God. Cry. Repeat over and over.

I hate to say this but I know from my own experience: some things in this life won’t be healed. I know because my family tree will never be healed. The psychologists and psychiatrists were wrong. Very wrong. Divorce was not a one-time shock from which I recovered. It permanently split my family tree, my ontology, into two distinct halves, then the remarriages were like inserting wedges into the split. Divorce taught me to lie, to pretend, it created confusion and doubt, loneliness and emotional isolation. Nobody shared that experience with me. Nobody else had that family. I was truly alone there, always feeling that one-half of myself wasn’t welcome no matter which home I was in. There is a place in my heart that has ached for over 40 years from the split and I do not see how it will be healed in this life.

Some things won’t be healed. But that doesn’t mean we stop living. It doesn’t mean there is no joy or comfort. There is joy and comfort amid the pain.

So I get it. I get how some things hurt for a very long time. I am totally sympathetic to that idea and to anybody who feels that way for whatever reason.

But it’s not fair to push that pain onto somebody who has no choice or voice or language to even express it. Don’t you agree?

I hope I have convinced even one person to refrain from separating a child from his family tree (the whole thing or parts of it) as a way to relieve the pain of infertility.

Because when that happens, family building becomes family breaking.

The professional class destroys what it does not understand

I will use the phrase “the professional class” from time to time. Instead of defining it each time, I will define it here then link back.

Short definition:

The professional class is the group of people who are supposed to understand family issues better than the average person and who give advice, and/or craft/enforce policy surrounding those issues.

Long definition:

I am thinking of specific professions, such as psychiatrists and psychologists. People in this category typically have at least a master’s level of education. Often they have PhDs. I include MDs in this category, although I do not include PAs or RNs (or other nursing designations).

I also include:

  • Any religious leader or religious staff person who counsels people
  • Politicians, since they craft family policy
  • Judges, but only those who enforce family policy
  • Lawyers, but only those who profit from breaking down children’s family trees in various ways (divorce, surrogacy, adoption that caters to custodial adults)

Because of their education or status, they give advice to people (or craft/enforce policy that influences people) related to family issues. Often, they are paid for giving this advice. For example, therapists charge anywhere from $75-$200 per hour. Politicians and judges are paid for crafting/enforcing policy and typically make at least six figures annually. Family lawyers can range from $75-$400 per hour. Divorce lawyers typically charge between $15K and $30K for a divorce. Adoption and third-party reproduction have expensive fees as well although I’m not sure how much the legal or psych portion is.

It bugs me that these people make money on the destruction of children’s family trees. But let me be clear: in principle I am pro-profit. I understand the role of profit. Legitimate businesses need to earn profit. They will fail if they consistently do not earn profit, taking all the jobs down with the failure. Profit serves the need for job creation.

But profit can be used for ill and so must be suppressed by legal means from certain spheres of life. Anything to do with the creation and maintenance of somebody’s family tree shouldn’t be influenced by a profit motive.

But this upsets me even more: these professionals should know better. They are supposed to be educated and knowledgeable about these things. They are far too cavalier and often gloss over the long-lasting issues that these kids have to live with.

They destroy what they do not understand.

HuffPo is on a roll: adoption ain’t all that great


Since I started researching the ugly underbelly of adoption, I’ve come to an unusual conclusion:

At some point, our culture embraced adoption practices that served the desires of infertile couples, instead of viewing adoption as a child welfare intervention of final resort.

When we did this, we created the foundation for all of the other unethical family-structure practices surrounding children.

Once we accepted that it was OK to chop down a child’s family tree through adoption so that infertile couples could be parents, it was natural and even logical for us to be willing to:

  • Split the child’s family tree down the middle (kids of divorce; kids of unmarried parents)
  • Chop off one-half of the child’s family tree (kids of third-party reproduction; two moms; two dads; single-parenting-by-choice)

So I’m really happy to link a recent post from HuffPo, talking about the ugly side of adoption:

On the Venerable American Bar Association or the Myth of Normal and Good in Adoption

This runs counter to their normal cheer leading about how great “alternative” families are… in other words, their normal cheer leading about how great it is to chop down or disfigure a child’s family tree. Yea for HuffPo! I’ve been pretty critical of them, so need to give credit where it is due.

Edit: I originally copied and pasted the entire post here, but because of copyright laws I’m not sure that was OK to do. So I just deleted it. Please visit the link instead. Thanks.

Christian sexual ethics is better than whatever else you’re practicing now

Christian sexual ethics is the best. As Christians, we have every right to be proud of our religion in this regard. It is part of the Good News, for everybody.

Christian sexual ethics means this:

  • People marry somebody of the opposite sex.
  • They wait for marriage to have sex.
  • Marriage is a lifelong relationship.
  • We understand that coitus makes babies. We don’t imagine otherwise.

It provides the most justice to a child in terms of the child’s ontology. When men and women wait until marriage to engage in sex, there are a number of benefits:

  • The men and women do a better job vetting their child’s other parent than men and women who are having sex outside of marriage. This means the child ends up with better parents.
  • Men and women who don’t wait for marriage end up conceiving children with partners who can be inappropriate marriage partners and/or inappropriate parents.
  • The abortion rate is dramatically lower for children conceived inside marriage than those conceived outside marriage.
  • Men who wait for marriage, and who marry women who don’t believe in abortion, never have to face the pain of having their child aborted.
  • Women who wait for marriage don’t have to raise their children alone.
  • Single moms are more likely to need public assistance than married moms.
  • Couples who wait for marriage have dramatically lower divorce rates than those who do not.
  • Couples who wait for marriage create children within that marriage who are connected to both halves of their origins. They create a triad that is a reflection of the Trinity.
  • Kids conceived and raised inside marriage don’t suffer ontological fractures like adoptees, kids of third-party reproduction, kids of divorce, kids who are raised in a single-parent-by-choice household, kids of two moms or two dads.
  • Children who are raised by their own married parents experience poverty at dramatically lower rates than children of unmarried parents.
  • Nobody has a right to pregnancy free-coitus. This is because such a thing does not exist–there is no 100% guarantee for it. Contracepted coitus still carries a risk of pregnancy. It always does. You can lower the chance of pregnancy, but not to zero. Remember this next time you’re tempted to do the wild thing outside of marriage.

I am proud to defend my religion’s teaching on this subject. It is the most just for children. It is the most humane way to understand the human person. Other practices are less humane and less just.





“Jesus had two dads…” and Micah 6:8

You may have seen this catchy slogan among some Christians who support same-sex marriage:

Jesus had two dads and he turned out OK.


daddyshome movieYes, he did have two dads, and yes, he did turn out OK. But that statement is pretty ignorant overall, if you ask me.

Many people on both sides of the marriage debate haven’t connected the dots between divorce/remarriage and same-sex marriage. Why they haven’t, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s because they lived pretty cozy lives as kids, with their own married parents.

So they either advocate for (or oppose) same-sex marriage without having a grasp on the underlying structure of that kind of family.

They fight over sexual sin, the necessity for complementary sexes, equality, or other things.

But those arguments never interested me.

I often feel like the voice of one crying in the desert. Opponents of same-sex marriage don’t seem to like my arguments.

I don’t like their arguments either so I guess that makes us even! lol

I can only speculate as to why they don’t like my arguments.

It is probably that they really believe their arguments are better. But it could be other things as well. I don’t want to speculate why. But they missed such a good opportunity.


You see, exactly like the kids of same-sex marriage, kids in divorce/remarriage arrangements can have:

  • two dads
  • and/or two moms
  • or more

Did you know that? Did you ever put the pieces together that way?

Think about it.  stepmom movie

You probably saw articles like this one: Bride’s Dad Stops Wedding So Stepdad Can Walk Down The Aisle Too

Or this one: To my daughter’s stepmom: I never wanted you here, but thank you

You probably saw this movie: Stepmom

Or this one: The Parent Trap

Or this one: Daddy’s Home

So yea, it’s out there that kids in divorce/remarriage situations were dealing with that kind of confusion. I coined a term for it:

Muddied ontology.

We tell them that the unity of their origins doesn’t really matter.

We make them pretend that the  new people are great additions or substitutions for where they came from.

And maybe the new people are truly good people. I’m not calling their character into question at all. I’m calling attention to the structure, not the individual people in that structure. The structure matters, since it relates to the child’s ontology.

But many people ignored these manifestations of “two moms” and “two dads,” because it didn’t seem like a big deal…

…even though the social science data is clear about the risk factors for those kids.

It’s pretty bad, really. Shorter life spans. Lower educational attainment. Higher risks for addictions and their own divorces. Separation from grandparents. Loneliness. Feeling unwelcome in their churches.

For me, I was raised with multiple divorces and remarriages between my parents. So that’s how I know about this kind of thing.

That’s why I totally dig these family structure arguments. I live and breathe them.

So… back to Jesus.

“Jesus had two dads and he turned out OK,” promotes injustice.

People want to believe that their choices are all good. That’s normal.  I don’t fault them for that.

So they like that slogan since it seems like Biblical reason to support same-sex marriage. After all, if you can get the Bible in your corner, that’s pretty cool.

But the similarity between Jesus and those children is superficial. Check out this table I made:

Jesus Children with two dads
God Incarnate Human beings
Made a free choice No choice given
His Heavenly Father loved His mother Mary Child’s father does not love child’s mother
His Heavenly Father was with his mother through the Holy Spirit Father explicitly rejects mother
Jesus knows His Heavenly Father loved His mother and was with her Child knows father does not love mother and is not with her
Ontology respected; never required to choose between his parents Forced to choose between mother and father, or, choice predetermined through falsified birth records and/or deliberate suppression of origins

(It is similar for kids with two moms. Just switch the sexes in the second column.)

From the perspective of the child, same-sex marriage is more like divorce/remarriage than natural marriage.

Here’s the injustice: It is a codified-step-parent that supplants the natural parent. This forces the child to lie about, or at least ignore, her origins…one half of who she is. Like in this video:


Some groups want us to accept them for who they are.

OK, I can go along with that to a point. I didn’t vote Yes on Prop 8, after all. My dad and maternal grandmother lived in an artsy LGBT enclave, and his third wife was bisexual. So I know that these people are people. They’re not subhuman freaks. They were created in the image and likeness of God.They’re just trying to get along and figure out this life.

Like everybody else.

But I have my limits.

My limit to accepting who they are stops at the precise point where they start requiring a child to reject half of who she is so that they can be a parent under the kind of family structure that they want.

It is profoundly hypocritical to demand that a child ignore half of who she is so that some couple can have the experience of being who they are.

Once I put those pieces together, I knew where I had to stand.

On top of that, nobody has an a priori right to be a parent. That’s like saying you have a right to acquire another human being.

We all have the right to parent our own child, certainly, but that comes after (not before) we conceived that child.

Our duty as parents to that child includes a duty to respect our child’s other half…our child’s other genetic parent. We form a triad. And that triad is an ontological unity to the child that we all have a duty to respect.

If it must be dissolved for a reason that protects us or the child, I am not opposed to that at all. But even in that circumstance, the guilty party does not stop being half of who created that child.

So I will never, ever, ever in a million years or more, endorse what we see in that video above.

It is unjust.

I know what it feels like to have to pretend that half of you doesn’t exist. I know what it does to the sense of self, the capacity for moral discernment, the ability to have proper boundaries, and so many other things.

Look, my mom and dad loved me. But they bought into the idea that they could dissolve their unity and it would have no long term impact on me. And why did they do that? Because of the words of professionals.

Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors, religious and political leaders) started saying, “The kids will be fine if the adults are happy.” Their words influenced my parents and so many other people.

Words matter. Every time somebody says, “Jesus had two dads and He turned out OK, ” it is just another manifestation of, “The kids will be fine if the adults are happy.”

Those words influence people to behave in an unjust way towards their child.

If we are Christians, shouldn’t we be influencing people in a way that pleases God? Wouldn’t this include upholding justice for our own children? I love this verse from Micah 6:8:

He hath shown thee, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee
But to do justly
And to love mercy
And to walk humbly with thy God.


Respecting our child includes respecting all of who she is. Not just the half we like. “Jesus had two dads and he turned out OK” falls far short of this standard. Plus that’s not how Jesus had to live. All of His ontology was respected.

And that’s what we need to do with our kids, as a matter of justice.

Blogging Network: The Grown Up Child

Here’s a wonderful blog called The Grown Up Child. It’s written by a gal named Carolyn. She’s an adult child of divorce who writes about her experiences as a child of divorce.

The site has not been updated since 2010, so I sent an email to ask if she’d be updating it anytime soon, and to ask if she would like to be part of the blogging network. It’s been two days and she has not responded so I decided to link to her site anyway.

I hope she is OK.

Will bigger band-aids help?

One mom’s letter to her daughter’s step-mom went viral in late 2014. It even appeared on NBC News. You may have seen it.

So many people cheered this letter, but to me it smacked of a band-aid, a much bigger band-aid than we normally see, but a band-aid nonetheless.

The letter and all the attention it received forecloses on the possibility of the daughter ever expressing an opinion that contradicts what these people say is true. There are so many incentives to go along with the new program. All the media attention must have felt really great. But there are zero incentives to say something like, “It is still painful that my family was permanently disfigured. If my mom can get along with my step-mom, why couldn’t my mom and dad get along?” Even with this bigger band-aid, each parent has rejected half of who this girl is.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the daughter has literally zero issues. But I remain skeptical. There are just too many cultural buttresses that prop up the wall denial that we kids of divorce (and other non triad arrangements) have to maintain to make our parents happy.

This is also another example of how kids of divorce have had to deal with “two moms” for far longer than kids of gays. Conservatives decry the latter and are utterly silent on the former. Super frustrating.

Having said that…

The circumstance being what it is, it is good that these two women have a good relationship.

But frankly I resent having to yield to the circumstance. Why do I have to say, “At least they are getting along”?

Well, OK, I’ll say it again:

At least they are getting along.

If you find yourself saying this, as I do, consider that it is an admission that this situation is second best for the daughter.

I remain skeptical that bigger band-aids will heal the ontological wounds created by divorce (and other non-triad arrangements).


The desire for happy endings

Here is a story from a child of divorce. I found it here. Because of it, I think I may have discovered another buttress to telling the truth: the desire for happy endings.

I am going to try something new. I’ll bold certain parts, and add my own commentary in red.

What I am about to say is a critique of the culture surrounding divorce, and not of the individual who wrote this story.

One summer afternoon, my mom called me to tell me that she and my dad were getting a divorce. I was blindsided. I knew that they had had their fair share of problems in the past, but I thought that they had worked it out. (Unlike what a lot of people seem to believe, kids don’t always know what’s coming.)

The change that followed brought the most gut-wrenching pain that I have ever experienced. I felt really angry (very common), but more surprising was how completely un-moored I felt, like someone had just ripped the safety net out of my life.  I couldn’t really express how I felt with a “feeling” word, just pictures—like being completely adrift at sea. (Evidence of the liminal space and ontological wound that was created; there is no accurate theoretical framework to express the feelings.)

I had been married for one year, and I lived far away. I resented that my kids would never get to experience Christmas morning at their grandparents’ house, or know my parents like I did growing up. (Grandparents don’t realize that divorce impacts several generations.) I resented them for making me look bad to my husband’s family. And I didn’t want people’s pity. I needed my friends to help me, but none of them knew what to say, and none of them called to check on me after the initial “hey, my parents are getting divorced” conversation. (My guess is that since she was grown, everybody assumed it would be no big deal.)

The only person who I could talk to and would call to check on me was my mother-in-law. She prayed through it with me six months later when I was ready to forgive. She prayed for me in person and on the phone, gave me advice, told me that I had to keep forgiving over and over when I felt the pain, and that part of forgiveness is accepting the consequences of other people’s choices. So I forgave, and I had to keep forgiving. (Forgiveness is good and necessary, and it’s an ongoing choice we must make.)

After my dad remarried and I was going to meet his new wife for the first time, I thought I would vomit in the car in front of their house. On the way there, I called my best friend, and she said that I didn’t have to pretend that everything was fine, but the truth was that I did have to. (Yes, we must pretend in order to keep the peace.) What was I going to do? Cause a scene with sobbing and barfing? (Why not? Because people would have thought she was crazy. But she wasn’t crazy, her situation was crazy.) No. I faced it with my siblings and my husband, and that made it easier. Forgive. Accept the consequences.

Time has passed, and it’s easier to accept now, but I still think about the past, especially when I’m home and things aren’t the same. There are two Christmases and Thanksgivings. I worry about hurting people’s feelings by not spending enough time with them because I have to be somewhere else. I feel the responsibility to take care of my mom, and sometimes to take care of everyone. (“Divorce is when the parents cast off their crosses, and hand them to the children.”)

What changed for the better in the midst of pain?

I got closer to my siblings through processing with them. (That’s great.) I love my mother-in-law for supporting me during the most difficult time of my life, and I will always be grateful to her for being God’s instrument of love and grace to me. (I’m mixed on this being “for the better.” Yes, it’s great that she did this, but it was also her duty as a Christian and as the mother-in-law.) My home is now with my husband and our family together instead of the home where I grew up. (?) My relationship with my dad is restored, and we are friends again. And we even go on vacation together. (I wouldn’t classify this as “for the better.” Imagine a number line. This is just going from something like negative ten to zero. The relationship is now what it should have always been.)


If things are really better, as she indicates at the end, how do we account for the person’s desire for anonymity? After all, if the divorce made things better, she would be thanking her parents for it and not at all afraid to have those other thoughts and feelings associated with her name, right?

I don’t believe things are better. In fact, they are worse. That’s why she remains anonymous. She cannot allow her true feelings and thoughts be revealed, cannot take a chance that her parents will read that post. It would further strain her now permanently strained relationship with them.

Notice that I am also anonymous. I mentioned at the outset, I am not criticizing this particular person or the choices she has made. She is doing the best she can in a culture that refuses to see our pain and has failed to provide an accurate framework for us to understand our issues.

Do we have a cultural commitment to happy endings? Might this be another reason the kids of divorce (and other non-triad arrangements) have a hard time speaking out?

Acceptable losses

Non-triad family arrangements often exist for the benefit and convenience of adults. In order for the kids to conform to these arrangement, we have to embrace a lot of denial. We must pretend that there is nothing wrong with the arrangement, and even that we are happy with it.

We have a lot of help in keeping the denial intact. So far I’ve identified several buttresses that prop up our denial:

  • Honoring our fathers and mothers inappropriately, by pretending that nothing is wrong
  • Professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors and religious leaders giving us sacrosanct reasons why we can’t question the loss of our first families, the loss of our ontology, the loss of our cultural or genetic origins
  • Lack of a correct theoretical framework to think about our issues
  • Cultural rites of passage that must be maintained at our expense

Yesterday I may have discovered another buttress for the denial: guilt. Perhaps guilt is a manifestation of the first reason above. I’m not sure.

Below is a quote written by somebody who was conceived with anonymous sperm, somebody who will never know her father (or his family, his culture or origins):

Is it unethical or immoral for me to want to know where half of me comes from? Or is it better to just sit quiet knowing that your own mother intentionally hid half siblings from your reach, registering on sibling registries, viewing their information, letting accounts expire, and moving on silently as if it all never occurred? Am I not allowed to feel hurt or misplaced?

The first sentence just blows my mind. She is questioning if it is unethical or immoral to want to know where she came from. Knowledge that most of us take for granted, she wonders if it is unethical for her to know. I bet her mother knows both halves of where she came from.That’s a form of inequality between the generations, created by reproductive freedom.

Her mother’s reproductive freedom means that she could legally separate her child from the child’s father forever, and the government supports this freedom.

Now, her child lacks freedom. She does not have the freedom to ask her own mother where she came from.

Her love for her mother is being used against her. She feels guilty for even posing the question.

Money is used in these transactions. Kids of sperm/egg donation often feel like they were purchased.

As a society, we do not care about this person’s sadness.

Where are the anthropologists decrying these kids being sold away from their cultural origins? I took a cultural anthropology class recently and made this argument a number of times, about the role of profit in this industry, and kids being legally separated from their cultural and genetic origins on the whim of rich adults. The teacher was stunned. She said that she had never heard it presented this way. But she saw that I was right. We all had to give a five minute presentation as part of our final, on some topic that was discussed during the semester. We would be penalized for going over that time. But she let me give a 12 minute presentation, since she thought what I was saying was so important. 

Anthropologists are uniquely positioned to examine the role of profit in these arrangements, as well as applying equal standards to these kids as they do to kids in other cultures. I may talk more about the role of anthropologists in a future post because there is more I can say.

That class made me fall in love with anthropology, but let me be clear that I’m no left-leaning SJW (social justice warrior). I believe in business, the role of business in creating jobs for people, and the role of profit in not only making businesses attractive to investors but in providing good paying jobs to employees. I am proudly pro-life and pro-marriage.

But I am not a libertarian. I believe that there are some areas of life where the profit motive must be suppressed by legal means. Such as in the buying and selling of human beings, buying and selling the gametes to create them, and renting the wombs to gestate them.

For now, I just wanted to give another example of how the pain of the next generation is an acceptable loss in the advancement of sexual and reproductive freedom.