Monday, November 7, 2022
Neoshia Roemer published a robust summary of the upcoming Haaland v. Brackeen case to be argued before the Supreme Court on November 9th. This recent Gender Policy Report featuring Professor Roemer powerfully connects the Haaland case to issues of reproductive justice.
The reproductive justice rights framework posits that all human beings possess three rights: the right to not have a child, the right to have a child, and the right to raise a child in a safe and healthy environment. Reproductive justice requires intersectional frameworks that respond to the needs of individuals who experience challenges to reproductive autonomy in a variety of ways.
As many have noted, feminist advocacy has often focused on the right to not have a child, or access to contraception and abortion. By focusing on the right to not have a child, the feminist movement did not always speak to the concerns of American Indian women and people. A reproductive justice framework applied to American Indians recognizes that Indian families deserve to have children and exist in safe and healthy environments.
Summarizing the case, Professor Roemer writes:
In Haaland v. Brackeen, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the claims of three sets of adoptive parents, a biological parent, three states, four Indian tribes, and the federal government. The Court will determine whether ICWA is unconstitutional on potentially three grounds that include arguments such as states’ rights to regulate families, Congress’ ability to pass legislation like ICWA, and whether ICWA is an impermissible race-based statute. The impetus for the Plaintiffs in the original lawsuit is simple and two-fold. Some prospective parents wanted to adopt Indian children and claim that the ICWA is “outdated”, while some states believe that they should not have to implement ICWA at the behest of the federal government. The crux of the argument here is that the USA does not need a law that would protect the reproductive rights and sovereignty of American Indians.