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'Reproductive Coercion': Activists Respond To Britney Spears Testifying That She’s Being Forced To Stay On Birth Control
Advocates for reproductive rights are speaking out in solidarity with pop icon Britney Spears after she said in court that she'd like to start a family with her new boyfriend, but can't because she's not allowed to get her IUD removed.
Among one of the most disturbing allegations made during her explosive testimony was her claim that she’s not allowed to have her IUD removed. An IUD is a form of birth control that is implanted into a person’s uterus.
“I would like to progressively move forward and I want to have the real deal, I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” Spears, 39, told Judge Brenda Penny via remote video in Los Angeles County Superior Court. “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby. I have a (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.”
Spears has two prior children with her ex Kevin Federline but has been dating her boyfriend Sam Asghari since 2016. Spears’ makeup artist theorized to US Magazine in 2019 that if it weren't for the conservatorship, the couple would probably be married with a child of their own at this point. Spears said during Wednesday's testimony that Ashgari isn't even allowed to drive her in his car.
Following Wednesday’s testimony, reproductive justice advocates expressed support for the performer.
“We stand in solidarity with Britney and all women who face reproductive coercion,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, tweeted on Wednesday. “Your reproductive health is your own — and no one should make decisions about it for you”
NARAL tweeted a similar sentiment on Wednesday.
“The freedom to choose if, when, and how to start or grow a family is the core of reproductive freedom,” they stated. “To deny someone that choice is a violation of their most fundamental freedoms.”
Writer s. e. smith tweeted that the IUD claim “cuts so deep.”
“There is such a long history of reproductive coercion targeting people deemed ‘unfit’ and doctors routinely recommend IUDs for ‘incompetent' cis women and girls.”
The conservatorship, largely maintained by her father Jamie Spears, was instituted by a court in 2008 not long after Spears endured what appeared to be a public mental health crisis. Under it, Jamie Spears plays a key role in Britney's finances, business dealings and other legal matters. Court documents obtained by the New York Times this week, though, shows that Britney raised questions about the arrangement, and her father's fitness to oversee it, for years.
Conservatorships are typically employed for people who are deemed unable to make key decisions for themselves, yet the fact that Britney has never really stopped working, including spearheading an enormously successful multi-year Las Vegas residency, has fans crying foul at the constraints she's been placed under. Spears also compared her seven-day work schedule with no days off to “sex trafficking” on Wednesday.
Zoe Brennan-Krohn, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Disability Rights Project, stated last year that the conservatorship is a civil rights issue.
She stated that “by virtue of being under a conservatorship, we know that the court has determined that she is disabled, and has stripped away her civil rights because of that disability.”
In fact, as early as 2008, some were calling the conservatorship a violation of civil rights. Lawyer Jon Eardley filed a complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of Spears that year, calling the conservatorship a “violation of [Spears’s] civil rights,” People reported at the time.
Brennan-Krohn also stated last year that “the risks in conservatorship can include financial, physical, and emotional abuse.”
Spears made it clear on Wednesday that she feels that her conservatorship is “abusive.” She emphasized that she was forced to perform against her will when she was sick and that she felt forced into a mental health facility against her will as punishment for not wanting to do a specific dance move.