Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why is Reproductive Justice Vital to This Political Moment? A New Book Breaks it Down

Nation (June 13, 2017): Why is Reproductive Justice Vital to This Political Moment? A New Book Breaks it Down, by Dani McClain:

In 1994, a dozen black women at a pro-choice conference developed a new intellectual framework for understanding reproductive health and rights.  Loretta Ross explains “We placed ourselves in the center of our analysis and made the case that while abortion was a crucial resource for us, we also needed health care, education, jobs, day care, and the right to motherhood.”  At that moment the reproductive justice movement was born.

Twenty-three years later, Ross and historian Rickie Solinger have published "an introduction" to reproductive justice.  According Dani McClain of the Nation:

This history will be new and useful reading to some people long connected to reproductive-rights struggles, but Ross said she and Solinger wrote Reproductive Justice primarily as a teaching tool for high-school and college students. “So much of feminist theory is presented in such abstract language you can’t even begin to understand it even if you’ve got a PhD in women studies,” she said. “I took pains to make sure we could talk about complex concepts but in a way that someone with good reading skills could understand.”

The book explains how race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, gender expression, and immigration status intersect with gender to impact a person's ability to protect her reproductive health, choose whether and when to have a child and safely raise the children that she has.  The reproductive justice movement also recognizes the need to embrace human rights concepts that go beyond our Constitution, including positive government obligations to protect and ensure rights and to create enabling conditions.  A comprehensive book on reproductive justice has been sorely needed and seems particularly appropriate given the current attacks on reproductive rights, immigrants and minorities.  “When we created reproductive justice in 1994, it was for this political moment,” Ross said.

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