Britney Spears’ Court Address Has Sparked Some Serious Allegations Of Reproductive Coercion
"fuck anyone who thinks they have the authority as an institution or individual to control a person’s reproductive health."
In a court hearing like no other, Britney Spears has finally broken her silence on her thirteen-year-long conservatorship, revealing quite shockingly that she allegedly hasn’t been able to have children while living under it.
What’s Going On?
Appearing virtually to speak to a Los Angeles court, Spears publicly addressed what life has been like since being placed under a strict conservatorship by her father in 2008, following concerns for the pop star’s mental health.
Spears detailed how she’s “traumatised” by the situation, which she claims to be “abusive”, and how she wants an “end [to] the conservatorship without being evaluated like before.”
And, as reported by Variety, towards the end of her speech Spears spoke openly about wanting to “move forward” with her life and to be “able to get married and have a baby.”
She said: “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby.”
“I have an IUD inside of myself right now, so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby.”
“But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children — any more children.”
“Basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.”
She ended with saying: “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.”
How Is This Actually Legal?
For some context, a conservatorship is a legal arrangement usually used to protect the old, mentally disabled or extremely ill.
In this case, Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, had power over her life choices and controlled her money with a lawyer, up until 2019.
Now Mr Spears only controls the singer’s financial decisions, and a court-appointed professional acts as the conservator over her personal matters.
‘Personal matters’, literally cover everything from Spear’s medical decisions, choice to marry, who visits her, and when and how she can visit her sons.
This is probably why Spears has been restricted from booking a medical procedure herself, to have an IUD removed safely by a medical professional — like it should be.
Earlier in court, Spears described her conservatorship to be similar to sex trafficking, but many people are calling out her alleged situation actually as reproductive coercion.
Britney Spears being held under a 13-year conservatorship and being forced to keep her IUD in despite the fact that she wants another child is where disability rights and reproductive rights intertwine.
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) June 23, 2021
What Is Reproductive Coercion?
According to Marie Stopes Australia reproductive coercion is a “behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make decisions about their reproductive health.”
It pretty much includes any behaviour that has the intention of “controlling or constraining” another person’s reproductive rights and decision-making — but should not be confused with sexual coercion, which usually involves unwanted sexual activity that occurs when a person is pressured, tricked or forced in a non-physical way.
In response to Spears’ statement, the president of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson has described the singer’s reportedly forced birth control as “reproductive coercion”.
She tweeted: “We stand in solidarity with Britney and all women who face reproductive coercion.”
“Your reproductive health is your own — and no-one should make decisions about it for you.”
We stand in solidarity with Britney and all women who face reproductive coercion. Your reproductive health is your own — and no one should make decisions about it for you. #FreeBritney https://t.co/jkx5ZpOdFT
— Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill) June 23, 2021
In America, rates of reproductive coercion are suspected to be large but are mainly hidden, so much so that professionals are recommending doctors screen for the type of coercion alongside domestic violence.
Professionals aren’t the only ones to be alarmed and appalled by Spear’s alleged lack of autonomy to have children.Celebrities and supporters have also shared their concerns over social media, describing Spears’ situation as dystopian and quite frankly unbelievable.
Additionally, fuck anyone who thinks they have the authority as an institution or individual to control a person’s reproductive health. #FreeBritney
— h (@halsey) June 23, 2021
Reproductive coercion is any behaviour that prevents a person from making decisions about their reproductive health including contraceptive sabotage; pressuring another person into falling pregnant, continuing a pregnancy, or ending a pregnancy; or forced sterilisation. https://t.co/XHaBaaakAp
— Gina Rushton (@ginarush) June 23, 2021
The entire Britney situation feels dystopian. Other people have ownership OF HER PERSON, AND she has to pay them a salary… for what, the privilege of being owned? I'm trying so hard to wrap my head around how ANY judge could have allowed this, ever, from the start. #FreeBritney
— carina adly mackenzie (@cadlymack) June 23, 2021
How is what has been done to Britney Spears not a human rights crime? Isolation, controlling her capacity to reproduce without her consent, forcing her to work under inhumane conditions. If she were any other person the people who did this to her would be in jail.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) June 23, 2021
I wonder if they would let this happen to a young famous man in America #FreeBritney
— Ana Brenda (@anabreco) June 23, 2021