Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Robyn Powell (Stetson University), Disability Reproductive Justice, Univ. Penn. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2022):
The fragility of reproductive rights in the United States has never been so clear. From a quickly growing number of states passing draconian state laws that drastically limit—and in some states, ban—access to safe and legal abortion care to a Supreme Court that is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, reproductive freedom is under siege at every turn. This difficult reality has elevated the importance of reproductive rights to the forefront of many people’s consciousness. At the same time, the discourse concerning reproductive rights has always been narrowly focused and has failed to recognize the scope of reproductive decision-making beyond abortion. In addition, the reproductive rights movement has traditionally overlooked the myriad other ways that marginalized populations, including people with disabilities, experience reproductive oppression.
This Article responds to the contemporary besiege on reproductive freedom and the persistent reproductive oppression experienced by people with disabilities by proposing a vision to help activists, legal professionals, scholars, and policymakers conceive of and articulate the basic contours of a paradigm shift that supports the coalescence of the disability justice and reproductive justice movements. To do so, first, the Article examines the origins of weaponizing sexuality and reproduction to subjugate disabled people in the United States. Drawing on legal scholarship and social science research, it then elucidates the scope of the problem by describing the social context and institutions that propagate the sexual and reproductive oppression of people with disabilities and highlights contemporary examples of such injustices. Thereafter, the Article introduces and explores the tenets of two complementary frameworks for analyzing and confronting the reproductive oppression of people with disabilities: disability justice and reproductive justice. Finally, guided by the tenets of disability justice and reproductive justice, it further develops a jurisprudential and legislative framework for achieving and delivering reproductive justice for people with disabilities.