Reproductive Justice Linkspam: A Starting Point
I had many plans for this post. I was gonna write about Copenhagen 15. But weeks later I still feel so damn furious and depressed that I decided to ignore that. So I intended to featuring another blog, or writing about the recent incidents of whitewashing. But this morning I looked over at Alas a blog and found the two first posts. And I had missed the “Blog Prochoice Day” last week Friday. And so, it was decided.
Most people think of abortion as the be-all and end all of women’s reproductive health struggles. But it isn’t. Not by a long shot. Here are some links on the reproductive Justice Movement, a movement founded by people of color who rejected the abortion-only model of activism held by the mainstream feminism movement in favor of a holistic and inclusive movement to demand that women get and keep the rights over their own bodies.
Without ado therefore, lets begin.
What is reproductive justice? According to A New Vision for Reproductive Justice PDF by the Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice
We believe reproductive justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls, and will be achieved when women and girls have the economic, social and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality and reproduction for ourselves, our families and our communities in all areas of our lives.
The paper continues on to explain that:
The Reproductive Justice framework is rooted in the recognition of the histories of reproductive oppression and abuse in all communities, and in the case of ACRJ, in the histories of Asian communities and other communities of color. This framework uses a model grounded in organizing women and girls to change structural power inequalities. The central theme of the Reproductive Justice framework is a focus on the control and exploitation of women’s bodies, sexuality and reproduction as an effective strategy of controlling women and communities, particularly those of color. Controlling a woman’s body controls her life, her options and her potential. Historically and currently, a woman’s lack of power and self-determination is mediated through the multiple oppressions of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age and immigration status. Thus, controlling individual women becomes a strategic pathway to regulating entire communities. To realize a vision of the complete health and well being of all women and girls, a Reproductive Justice framework also engages with issues such as sex trafficking, youth empowerment, family unification, educational justice, unsafe working conditions, domestic violence, discrimination of queer and transgendered communities, immigrant rights, environmental justice, and globalization. Analysis of the Problem Women’s ability to exercise self-determination—including in their reproductive lives—is impacted by power inequities inherent in our society’s institutions, environment, economics, and culture. The analysis of the problems, strategies and
envisioned solutions must be comprehensive and focus on a host of interconnecting social justice and human rights issues that affect women’s bodies, sexuality, and reproduction.MORE
SisterSong, which seems to be the umbrella organization has this paper: Understanding Reproductive Justice PDF
One of the key problems addressed by Reproductive Justice is the isolation of abortion from other social justice issues that concern communities of color. Abortion isolated from other social justice/human rights issues neglects issues of economic justice, the environment, immigrants’ rights, disability rights, discrimination based on race and sexual orientation, and a host of other community-centered concerns directly affecting an individual woman’s decision making process. By shifting the definition of the problem to one of reproductive oppression (the control and exploitation of women, girls, and individuals through our bodies, sexuality, labor, and reproduction) rather than a narrow focus on protecting the legal right to abortion, we are developing a more inclusive vision of how to move forward in building a new movement.
Because reproductive oppression affects women’s lives in multiple ways, a multi-pronged approach is needed to fight this exploitation and advance the well-being of women and girls. There are three main frameworks for fighting reproductive oppression: 1) Reproductive Health which deals with service delivery, 2) Reproductive Rights which address the legal regime, and 3) Reproductive Justice which focuses on movement building. Although the frameworks are distinct in their approach, they work in tandem with each other to provide a complementary and comprehensive solution. Ultimately, as in any movement, all three components of service, advocacy and organizing are crucial to advancing the movement.MORE
Reproductive Justice and Women’s Rights
Reproductive Justice: Who is fit to have children? Controlling Poor Pregnant Mothers. (Race and Class Intersect big time here)
The New York Times writes a nice article on The Crack epidemic that wasn’t
When the use of crack cocaine became a nationwide epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s, there were widespread fears that prenatal exposure to the drug would produce a generation of severely damaged children. Newspapers carried headlines like “Cocaine: A Vicious Assault on a Child,” “Crack’s Toll Among Babies: A Joyless View” and “Studies: Future Bleak for Crack Babies.”
But now researchers are systematically following children who were exposed to cocaine before birth, and their findings suggest that the encouraging stories of Ms. H.’s daughters are anything but unusual. So far, these scientists say, the long-term effects of such exposure on children’s brain development and behavior appear relatively small.
“Are there differences? Yes,” said Barry M. Lester, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University who directs the Maternal Lifestyle Study, a large federally financed study of children exposed to cocaine in the womb. “Are they reliable and persistent? Yes. Are they big? No.”
Cocaine is undoubtedly bad for the fetus. But experts say its effects are less severe than those of alcohol and are comparable to those of tobacco — two legal substances that are used much more often by pregnant women, despite health warnings. MORE
Except, as Colombia Journalism Review points out, The New York Times carefully refrains from pointing out that they were among the “newspapers” that were running front page screaming headlines
Newspapers like… the Times, producer of the “Crack’s Toll Among Babies: A Joyless View” headline that today’s Times mentions but doesn’t cop to having authored. In this 1989 “Crack’s Toll” piece, a research psychologist is quoted saying that “prenatal exposure to illegal drugs, particularly powdered cocaine and its smokable derivative, crack, seems to be ‘interfering with the central core of what it is to be human.’” (Read: Epidemic!)
Back in 2004, Mariah Blake wrote for CJR about the “media myth” of the “crack baby” and detailed how the Times contributed to it over the years (even quoting from the “Crack’s Toll” article). Blake wrote about “a group of doctors and scientists …lobbying The Times to drop terms like ‘crack baby’ from its pages,” because, the group said, these terms are “stigmatizing” and “lack scientific validity.”
Reported Blake four years ago (emphasis mine):
While the [Times] hasn’t used “crack baby” in the last several months, it has referred to babies being “addicted” to crack, which, as the researchers told the editors, is scientifically inaccurate, since babies cannot be born addicted to cocaine.
Which leaves me wondering about the photo caption accompanying today’s (print) Times piece (emphasis mine): “In a 1988 photo, testing a baby born addicted to cocaine.”
That led to increased oppression of poor pregnant women, especially if they were of color
Earlier medical studies of women who used drugs while they were pregnant demonstrated the bias of the studies’ authors. While the authors were looking for the singular effect of cocaine on pregnancy, they often failed to notice that many of the women they studied were polydrug users, meaning they often used more than one drug, including tobacco and alcohol, during pregnancy.10 Additionally, the women studied had limited access to prenatal care or other health care services, they had co-occurring illnesses or diseases, they had suffered from some sort of sexual or psychological trauma, and they were frequently exposed to environmental contaminants. All of these factors have been shown to play a role in negative pregnancy outcomes. Additionally, it has recently been discovered that men can also affect pregnancy outcomes, depending on contaminants they might be exposed to or other physiological factors.
After the crack baby’s birth, pregnant and parenting women began to face the scorn of both the public and the police throughout the country. South Carolina began to arrest and prosecute women who used drugs while they were pregnant, and this trend was to be followed by states across the country. The leading teaching hospital in the state of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, instituted a policy of searching and arresting pregnant women on charges of child (fetal) abuse-but only if they had used cocaine. The policy-that resulted in some pregnant and newly delivered women being taken out of the hospital in chains and shackles-was applied only to those women who used cocaine and none of the scores of other legal and illegal substances that women used that caused potential damage to future children.
Children Requiring a Karing Community (C.R.A.C.K.), a program that offers $200 to women to be sterilized or undertake long-term birth control like Norplant or Depo-Provera if they use drugs, is another product of the crack baby scare. The program, created and spearheaded by a white, upper class woman, thrives on a rhetoric that speaks to the laziness and selfishness that has become the stereotype of the poor, black crack mother: C.R.A.C.K. literature reads “Don’t let a pregnancy get in the way of your habit.” These are just a few examples of the way that the representation of crack babies and their mothers trumped any medical or scientific truth-they were the truth in the war against poor women who use crack. MORE
While we are at though, it appears that Alcohol is not quite the villain that it has been portrayed by the sensationalistic mainstream media and pious interfering men-know-best politicians, doctors and otther groups. You see, what causes what is referred to as Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome may be more complicated than just alcohol itself…
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Social Control of Mothers
It turns out that only about 5% of alcoholic women give birth to babies who are later diagnosed with FAS. This means that many mothers drink excessively, and many more drink somewhat (at least 16 percent of mothers drink during pregnancy), and yet many, many children born to these women show no diagnosable signs of FAS.
So, drinking during pregnancy does not appear to be a sufficient cause of FAS, even if it is a necessary cause (by definition?). In her book, Conceiving Risk, Bearing Responsibility, Elizabeth Armstrong explains that FAS is not just related to alcohol intake, but is “highly correlated with smoking, poverty, malnutrition, high parity [i.e., having lots of children], and advanced maternal age” (p. 6). Further, there appears to be a genetic component. Some fetuses may be more vulnerable than others due to different ways that bodies breakdown ethanol, a characteristic that may be inherited. (This may also explain why one fraternal twin is affected, but not the other.)MORE
The Still Cruel Maternity Wards
In 1959, the Ladies’ Home Journal published an article called “Cruelty in the Maternity Wards,” in which women told stories of their inhumane treatment during childbirth. Despite the uproar it provoked, 50 years later, nothing substantial has changed. Really. Recently, a pregnant Florida woman was confined by the court to bedrest and ordered to submit to any treatment her doctor deemed necessary, including cesarean surgery. This is one of a string of similar stories appearing over the past months: A New Jersey woman with PTSD and depression in her past was deprived of custody of her child at birth because she refused to sign a blanket consent at hospital admission for cesarean surgery, an act cited as proof she was too mentally ill to be a fit mother. An Arizona woman with a prior cesarean was told if she showed up in labor and refused automatic surgery, the hospital would get a court order and perform it anyway. And an Illinois woman was literally tortured throughout labor by her doctor to punish her for not calling before coming to the hospital while medical staff stood by and did nothing
And then there is Reproductive Coercion Is Sexual Violence
Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy is the first quantitative examination of the relationship between intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy. It finds that young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant – including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as “reproductive coercion,” are often associated with physical or sexual violence. Conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Pubic Health, the study also finds that among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.
From August 2008 to March 2009, researchers worked at five reproductive health clinics in Northern California, querying some 1,300 English- and Spanish-speaking 16- to 29-year-old women who agreed to respond to a survey about their experiences. They were asked about birth-control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and intimate partner violence. Approximately one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Thirty-five percent of the women who reported partner violence also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.MORE
Reproductive Justice: Disability
On Claiming My Movement: Disability and Reproductive Justice
Reproductive justice and disability are connected on a deeply fundamental level. Disabled people, issues, history, politics and analysis allow us to see parts of reproductive justice that we would otherwise never know. After all, how can you talk about bodies without talking about disability? How can you ignore the fact that disabled women are forcibly sterilized or given dangerous contraceptives to control their menstrual cycles for the convenience of their caretakers and institutions? How can we learn to fight for not only the right to receive care, but also the right to refuse it? How can we forget that female bodies were historically coded as “disabled” because they were “different” and had “different abilities” than male bodies? Or that ableism is so easily and successfully used as a mechanism of reproductive oppression?MORE
Disabled Women and Reproductive Justice
In the United States, a culture of ableism, which maintains that able-bodied people are superior and most valuable, prevails. In this culture, disability is feared, hated, and typically regarded as a condition that reduces the value of disabled people. The reproductive justice framework helps us understand how eugenic “science” is still a vibrant part of U.S. culture that interacts with and shapes the reproductive lives of disabled women in many ways.
Right to Parent
Women with disabilities (WWD) have a long history of forced sterilization, are often seen as “unfit” mothers and are discouraged from having children, or not allowed to adopt children. Authorities press disabled women to feel guilty for their decisions to be parents, pointing out that their decision will take a “toll” on their children, families, communities and on themselves.
Society typically defines disabled women as asexual and as dependent on able-bodied people, undermining these women’s access to reproductive health. Disabled women and girls often do not receive sex and reproductive health educationMORE
Reproductive Justice: Transgender persons and their healthcare.
Trans Healthcare is a matter of life and death
Robert Eads was visiting friends in the late 1990s when he woke up in a pool of blood. His terrified hosts quickly began calling hospitals, clinics, and private physicians, explaining that Robert was a partially-transitioned female-to-male transsexual and demanding an immediate appointment.
The request was repeatedly rebuffed. By the time Eads found physicians willing to diagnose and treat him at an Augusta, Georgia teaching hospital — a three-hour drive from his home in rural Taccoa, Georgia — his ovarian cancer was so advanced that nothing could be done to save his life. He died in 1999, at age 53.
Indeed, members of the transmasculine community understand that the line separating them from Eads is frighteningly narrow. Most, like him, have undergone radical mastectomies to better present as male. Furthermore, like him, most have neither the money nor the inclination to have their female genitalia removed. This means that they need to see a physician for routine, annual Pap smears, STD testing and gynecological exams.MORE
And the shit comes from all sides, including the feminist movement as this recent clusterfuck shows:
I’ve been hearing about this from friends in Vancouver for a few weeks now, and it would seem according to a note posted to the Facebook group Lu’s Pharmacy Women-Born-Women-Only Policy is Discriminatory & Oppressive, Lu’s pharmacy in Vancouver, BC, has quietly ended their no trans woman policy:
I just wanted to share the good news. Lu’s has de facto removed their women-born women policy! This has been in effect for about two weeks…
Lu’s Pharmacy was opened last summer in Vancouver, BC, by the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. From its opening the pharmacy had a woman-born-woman policy, which immediately brought negative response from trans and cis activists and agencies in Vancouver’s downtown east side.MORE
Reproductive Justice: Immigrants
Immigration and Reproductive Justice: The Basics PDF Just the Facts: Immigration and Reproductive Justice blogpost
>About 36 million foreign-born people live in the United States as of 2005–12 percent of the U.S. population. Over half of these immigrants are from Latin America, just under one-third are from Asia, 14 percent are from Europe, and the remaining 6 percent are from Africa, North America, and elsewhere. Slightly less than 50 percent of these 36 million immigrants are women, and 95 percent of these women are of childbearing age.
Female immigrants, both documented and undocumented, often work in industries that are low-wage and do not offer health insurance. They may not speak English and are likely to have reduced access to culturally and linguistically competent reproductive health information and services. As a result, access to affordable, quality reproductive health care is of significant concern to these women.
Reproductive justice involves more than the right to end a pregnancy. Safeguarding an individual’s right to determine her or his own reproductive future is an integral part of an overall agenda to promote social justice. That vision includes the ability of all people, whether American-born or immigrant, to:
- Become a parent and parent with dignity.
- Determine whether or when to have children.
- Have a healthy pregnancy.
- Have healthy and safe families and relationships.
Rejecting the efforts of comprehensive immigration reform opponents to control the reproductive decisions of immigrant women is an important component of ensuring continued reproductive freedom for all Americans and the humanity of all immigrantsMORE
Pregnant and Shackled: Hard Labor for Arizona’s Immigrants
PHOENIX, Ariz.– Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an undocumented immigrant charged with using someone else’s identity to work, gave birth to a boy on Dec. 21 at Maricopa Medical Center. After her C-section, she was shackled for two days to her hospital bed. She was not allowed to nurse her baby. And when guards walked her out of the hospital in shackles, she had no idea what officials had done with her childMORE
2009 Article Cirila Baltazar Cruz and The Plight Of The Unworthy
Here’s what we have so far: Cirila Baltazar Cruz gave birth to a baby girl, Rubi Juana, on November 16, 2008, at the Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi. It is, as you might imagine, a predominantly white area. The hospital provided Cruz with a Spanish interpreter. However, Cruz doesn’t speak Spanish; she speaks Chatino, an indigenous language from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Two days after the birth, the hospital reported the baby as a neglected child to the Department of Human Services, after which Rubi Juana Cruz was promptly taken from her mother and placed in the custody of an affluent couple in Ocean Springs.
According to court records obtained by The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, the child was deemed neglected in part because Cruz “has failed to learn the English language” which “placed her unborn child in danger and will place the baby in danger in the future”. In addition, the hospital report noted that Cruz “was an illegal immigrant” who was “exchanging living arrangements for sex”.
Of course, it’s a bit of a mystery how they were able to establish these facts when there were apparently no Chatino-speakers on hand. More to the point: it’s irrelevant. I’m no legal expert, but in my understanding, immigration status, language skills, and highly-questionable allegations of sex work are not grounds for snatching a baby from her mother and initiating adoption proceedings. But that’s exactly what’s happening. The case is currently in the Jackson County Youth Court, where Cruz is being represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center. As mentioned, the case is under gag order so it’s been difficult to get updates on the situation and the fate of Rubi Juana remains unknown.
Unfortunately, the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform’s Child Welfare Blog notes:
The case is not unique. In 2005, the Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat, revealed that, at least twice, a local judge ordered Mexican mothers to learn English — or lose their children forever. […] In one case the child still lived with the mother, in the other the child was in foster care. In both cases, the mothers spoke an indigenous language rather than Spanish.MORE
Immigrant Narratives: Your Mother or your child? and the site also links to an article that gives us good news, a couple of days ago Ms. Cruz got her child back Mexican immigrant gets baby back from state
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A Mexican immigrant walked out of the Gartin Justice Building on Friday holding the daughter who had been taken from her by state officials in 2008, when advocates say she was accused of being an unfit mother because she doesn’t speak English.
Cirila Balthazar Cruz and her 1-year-old child, Ruby, were surrounded by Southern Poverty Law Center officials as they left. None of them would discuss details of the case, citing the confidentiality of Youth Court proceedings.MORE
Reproductive Justice: Abortion
via Alas a Blog… My New Job I had SERIOUS trouble deciding what to quote here. So I suggest that you go read. EVERYTHING. Its that important.
So, I’ve taken some of my time at work to learn about this state’s current restrictions on abortion care for minors. How it plays out in the courts is probably very different from how it plays out in your mind, and I wanted to lay out some information I found pretty interesting.
In my state, minors are required to notify their parents. They are not required to have parental consent, only notification. The notification has to occur before the procedure. Both parents have to be notified. There is a judicial bypass procedure, where the minor can go to court and petition a judge to allow her to bypass the requirement for notification. Before working here, that’s about all I knew. Probably that’s all most of you know.
Just because a service is required by law doesn’t mean there is anybody available to provide it… Lots of judges refuse to process judicial bypasses. It’s not a requirement; judges are not forced to take every case presented. Many judges have no idea how to process a judicial bypass — they’ve never been trained.
The law does not clearly state how to establish maternity or paternity. However, the law does clearly state rather extensive punishments for the clinic or doctor who performs an abortion without having established maternity or paternity of the minor. Thus, clinics may enact excessive bureaucratic measures to ensure beyond any legal doubt that a minor’s parents are actually a minor’s legal parents. So, you can (and do) have the situation where a girl’s mother and father come to the clinic with her, but do not have IDs, social security cards, or birth certificates, so the clinic sends the girl to the courthouse, since she is legally unable to notify her parents, who are standing next to her.Naturally, it gets worse
Another Post about Parental Notification How teens deal with the system as Privileged and Underprivileged and why rape notification laws were never set up by legislators to actually work. And also, the factthat our society is so supremely anti-woman that the damned department that is supposed to carry out the bypass laws to allow for abortions has to hide the fact that they do so.
The Abortion Healthcare Christmas Edition: Everybody Ain’t the Virgin Mary
You see Mary of Nazareth was special. She was unique. She was not like Jezebel the Harlot or Eve the Disobedient who in Pastor Montgomery’s opinion was the primary reason we have sin in the world and why women should sit quietly in the church.
…As a child I thought how amazing it would be to accomplish the ultimate role of a woman which is birthing a baby and still remain pure in the eyes of God, a virgin.
But, of course, I was a deeply wounded girl child who thought these thoughts as a way to survive being a little black girl in my family. I now know as a recovering wounded girl child that conceiving and having a baby as a single black working class woman is not a divine “you are highly favored among all other women” experience. If anything it is the opposite of divine. It is deeply marginalizing. And in society’s eyes it’s downright evil. The worse sin you could ever commit in a white supremacist patriarchal capitalistic society as a black girl or as a black woman is to make hardworking tax payers fund your fatherless child who will probably end up in jail further burdening the good hardworking tax payers. So, I realize that some women by virtue of their class, sexuality, and race could never embody the divinity albeit the “privileges” of Mary of Nazareth. Everybody ain’t the Virgin Mary. Everybody cannot immaculately conceive and then give birth and have their son become the Messiah because some women and their children are not valuable. Some women are figuratively without the divine favor that Mary had making their ability to conceive or not to conceive a political game where current senators and house members can decide to throw them literally under the bus in order to pass a lack luster healthcare bill denying federal funds for abortions. Once again, everybody ain’t the Virgin Mary. As a caveat, I do know the story of Mary and how King Harold (i.e. the State) was hoping to kill her baby (i.e. the Messiah), however, Mary still had God’s divine favor (i.e. white privilege and class privilege) working on her behalf.
Generational shift for U.S. Hispanics on abortion
A 2007 joint survey by the respected Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Hispanic Center shows that 65 percent of first-generation U.S. Hispanics believe abortion should be illegal. But among second-generation U.S. Hispanics like Ana, that percentage drops to 43 percent.
Not to mention that Nebraska is making getting an abortion ridiculously harder, ostensibly now based on some rather dodgy science about fetal pain, while Utah seems to be out to criminalize miscarriages.
Utah’s “Criminal Miscarriage” law:
* expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
* removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
* assumes women are “guilty of criminal homicide of an unborn child” if a pregnancy ends after “intentional, knowing, or reckless” behavior.
But even among states that punish illegal abortions, this “Criminal Miscarriage” law is unique. It doesn’t punish individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women.And yes. It gets worse. LIFE IN PRISON worse.
Reproductive Justice: Fighting the good fight
Reminding us that religion is not only made of the loud and pious rightwing: here’s the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
What are the basic principles guiding the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice?
As people of faith, we
• seek a society that values human life and human dignity and honors individual conscience.
• respect the value of potential human life while remaining firmly committed to women as responsible, moral decision-makers.
• believe the ability to make moral decisions—including about reproductive issues—is the very basis of an individual’s dignity.
• seek to correct the conditions that underlie the high rate of unintended pregnancy and abortion, through responsible sexuality education, affordable family planning services, and high-quality, accessible medical care.
• will continue to protect the right of individuals to follow their own religious views in reproductive decisions and decisions about family formation.
• strive to make justice a reality by furthering the medical, economic, and educational resources necessary for healthy children, families and communities:
Quality, affordable healthcare & insurance
Prenatal & postnatal care, with an emphasis on reducing infant mortality
Quality adoption & foster care services
Education & training for jobs & careers
Good jobs at a living wage
High quality childcare & preschool education
Safe, affordable housing
A clean environment
Freedom from violence
Policies that enhance family well-being & give priority to family relationships & needs
Respect in the community & nation for diversity of religious & cultural beliefs & practice>MORE
On Doulas An early linkspam I did on an alternative to hospital births.
- Recognizes birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all her life…
- Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor…
- Assists the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth…
- Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor…
- Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions…
- Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and clinical careproviders…
- Perceives her role as one who nutures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience.
Being a Radical Doula:How pro-choice advocacy and birth activism go hand in hand.
When a woman is giving birth in an American hospital, the doctors, nurses, and extended medical team are almost wholly focused on the status of the fetus inside of her–constantly employing technologies to monitor it and drugs to regulate it, allowing fetal well-being to be their dominant concern. When we think of a woman with an unintended pregnancy (and this could be the same woman, in a different phase of her life), a similar logic applies. Anti-choice activists don’t trust women to make responsible decisions about their lives and ability to parent; they instead focus on the potential life inside a woman, and place all emphasis on the future of the fetus rather than on the future of the woman. Anti-choice activism and overly-medicalized birthing practices are both based on a lack of trust in women. Consider the many restrictions imposed on birthing women: rules regulating out-of-hospital midwives, mandatory waiting periods for abortions, forced C-sections, and biased pre-abortion counseling are all examples of how people do not trust women (or their support networks) to make responsible decisions about family well-being.
What is unique about the role of the doula is that she gets to be one of the only people in the birthing process exclusively focused on the woman. She focuses entirely on how the woman is feeling, providing accompaniment and support through a process that can be scary and lonely, particularly in a hospital. Studies show the positive effect that this kind of unconditional support and attention can have on both the mother and her child. That’s the logic that really connects the birthing and the pro-choice movements–if we support women and their decisions, everyone will fare better, including children.MORE
From California Latinas for Reproductive Justice …
1. Making the Case for California Latinas’ Reproductive Health and Justice Policy
2. Taking a Stand: Making Health Care Reform Work for Latinas and Women of Color.PDF
Specific Groups that are active
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
SPARK: Reproductive Justice Now! Coalition of orgs. based in Georgia. See their The Georgia Access Guide: Reproductive Health for Reproductive Justice which “provides a listing of hundreds of reproductive health resources through out Georgia. It also provides educational information on reproductive health and justice issues. It is the only guide of its kind in Georgia.”
Sistersongs archive of member and affiliate orgs
The Doula Project “The Doula Project is an NYC-based organization that provides free compassionate care and emotional, physical, and informational support to people across the spectrum of pregnancy.” (Including abortion)
Transpersons Health Care Clinics
Southern Reproductive Justice and Trans Alliance
The Prochoice Public Education Project: Reproductive Issues
Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice
Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the meaning of Liberty
Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives – Latin America and the Caribbean
Conquest: Sexual Violence and the American Indian Genocide
Third Wave: The March for Women’s Lives
Blogs and Websites
Living with our fertilty: an alternative approach
Young Women’s Empowerment Project
New Voices Pittsburg Myspace and Facebook
This is of course by no means as comprehensive as it should be. If you have any articles, links or anything else, leave them in the comments, will ya?
6 thoughts on “Reproductive Justice Linkspam: A Starting Point”
Thank you so much! I was just reading the pdfs. Great compilation.
Yes Means Yes has a great article by Tiloma Jayasignhe called, “When Pregnancy is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will be Pregnant,” which documents how the U.S. criminal justice system controls and limits the fertility of women of color and poor women. In addition to the “crack baby” scare you mention in the linkspam, the essay includes court cases where birth control was made a condition of parole for women of color. And the crime that, in the court’s eyes, requires the parolee to be on birth control? Forging checks.
WHUT?!?!?! Like WHUT?!??!?! LIke WHAT THE FUCKKKKKK??????
This is bat country. There’s no other explanation for this madness.
Thanks for posting this.
Thank you! What a fantastic round up. Here in Australia we also face having our right to homebirth with the careprovider of our choosing being removed shortly. Reproductive justice also includes, as you note, the right to birth as we choose.
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