a bird and a bottle

Why I Support Reproductive Justice
January 22, 2007, 9:51 am
Filed under: Blog for Choice, feminism/s & gender

In celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Blog for Choice Day, we blog for choicers are writing about why we are “pro-choice.” For a long time now, I and others have been using the term reproductive justice to signify a broader idea of the significance of abortion. Because I agree that “choice” does not really exist when 87% of US counties do not have an abortion provider, most states and the federal government do not cover abortion under Medicaid, young women’s access is restricted, and many women are unable to escape abusive relationships to seek the abortions they want, I think a fight for abortion rights must also include pushing for real abortion access. Which is all wrapped up in the term “reproductive justice.” So instead of being about why I’m pro-choice, I’m posting about why I think reproductive justice is so important.

It’s important because it allows women to shape our lives and our families in the way we desire. Without reproductive justice, women are slaves to our ovaries (and uteri). Without reproductive justice, women who want children but have trouble getting pregnant cannot seek help, women who are pregnant and want to choose how they give birth are forced to lie down in a hospital with their legs in stirrups, and women who are pregnant but do not want to be are forced to bear a child they do not want to or cannot raise at that time. Without reproductive justice, women’s decisions are devalued and are subject to much more searching state control than are men’s; women continue to provide the majority of the childrearing and most of the housework, often while also working one or several full-time jobs; and gay men and lesbians can continue to be denied the right to construct their families as they desire.

I support reproductive justice because it’s not only a feminist issue or a women’s issue, but a human rights issue, a gay rights issue, and a children’s health issue. Because reproductive justice includes the right to prevent pregnancy in the first place, by whatever means one chooses (hormonal birth control, barrier methods, abstinence). Because reproductive justice supports healthy sexuality and affirms that sex is not bad or dirty.

Finally, I support reproductive justice because I believe that the right to a safe and legal abortion without judgment and with support, is a necessary part of any policy that hopes to allow women to choose when and how to become mothers, and to break the cycle of poverty, drug abuse, lack of education, and lack of opportunity. But because abortion rights are only a small piece of everything I have mentioned above, I support it as part of a fight for justice and not only because it is itself a constitutional right.

I’d love to hear why you all support reproductive justice and/or abortion rights in comments.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wonderful! Very much my point as well…it’s a great deal more than just women’s rights. It’s also about equality.

Comment by Rosie

Very good point. I also think that people who are against abortion forget that the pregnant woman’s life is also important.

Comment by trish

Right on. I am going to switch to the term “reproductive justice,” too.

Comment by professorplum

i’m convinced on “repro justice” as well. and thanks for the link to Exhale and coverage of the NAPW conference. that’s the important stuff a lot of us wonkier folks lose sight of.

Comment by maxwell

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