Posts Tagged: reproductive justice
This past weekend I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend the fourth annual Take Root, a reproductive justice conference focused on red states. It was a whirlwind time in Norman, Oklahoma, meeting fellow Midwest and Southern folks who understand the particular difficulties in organizing for RJ in a red state. I especially loved how Take Root –walking the walk and not just talking the talk of reproductive justice (as unfortunately often happens) — put women of color, lower-income folks, and queer people at the forefront of the conversations. But beyond all the feminist warm and fuzzies that make my heart go all-aflutter, I was particularly struck by one panel “Reproductive Justice Off the Coasts” which featured a bevy of badass activists. And, I was most especially struck… Read more »
The first book by Audre Lorde I read was Sister Outsider. It was March and I was getting ready to go home for spring break. I didn’t want to go back home after the months of freedom I enjoyed being away at college. To prepare for my trip home I went to the library to pick up two books I had waiting for me. Essex Hemphill’s Ceremonies and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sister Outsider happened to be sitting next to Ceremonies. I almost didn’t pick it up, thanks to white feminism. You see, like most Women’s Studies departments around the US, the Women’s Studies Department at my school is really great at talking about intersectionality. Doing intersectionality however, is another story. I had gotten so sick of seeing white… Read more »
It’s official, America. According to the newest study on abortion rates from the Guttmacher Institute, the national abortion rate is now in decline. According to the study by Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, the abortion rate declined to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2011. In comparison, the recorded peak of the American abortion rate was in 1981, with 29.3 per 1,000 and the lowest since 1973 (16.3 per 1,000). Since 2008, the abortion rate has fallen wholly 13%. It’s easy to get excited about numbers like these from either side of the aisle. For anti-choicers, fewer abortions is always a good thing. For reproductive justice advocates like myself, fewer abortions may reflect fewer unintended pregnancies and therefore more reproductive freedom and autonomy. But a closer look at… Read more »
This weekend I attended Creating Change: The National Conference of LGBT Rights. Basically, the conference covers a wide intersection of issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS, marriage equality, immigration, and a whole host of other issues. One of the big themes appeared to be queering reproductive justice. This issue addresses a persistent dismissal of the LBGTQ community’s involvement in abortion rights and birth control access and other reproductive health-related issues based on the idea that LGBTQ-identified folks do not need access to these services. Several of the panels were based on how to address this concern and continue to organize for reproductive justice inclusively for folks of all identities.
Written by Andrew Jenkins, URGE Field Associate In a few short days we’ll be celebrating a historic moment in the reproductive health and rights movement: the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. As a young person, it can be hard to see what it is we’re actually celebrating though. Despite the misguided and pervasive notion that young people don’t get it, we’re facing some of the most strenuous, insurmountable obstacles to reproductive freedom this country has ever seen. For many young people today, Roe has very little meaning beyond its symbolic gesture. So how do we mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, when, in 2013, access to safe and affordable abortion is not a reality for so many people in… Read more »
“Feminism: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche The use of language and the connotation attached to words we use can be quite divisive. The word feminism, in itself, has become a word many men are turned off by. Gender, sexual orientation, and race have a default image response to the oppressed group, but we never examine the other half of the equation—the privileged group. I definitely benefit from male privilege myself. I still have trouble checking my privilege and acknowledging my faults, but we are all still venturing in our own feminist journeys and there’s still a lot to learn along the way, especially for me.
So often the conversations around reproductive justice focus solely on what happens to a person and their (sometimes potential) fetus before birth – contraception, abortion care, safe sex, and sex education. Especially as a young person who is in no rush to start a family, what matters most me today is access to the contraception and abortion care which will enable me to make informed and conscientious choices about my future family life. At age 21, on the cusp of graduating college and moving on to “the real world,” babies weren’t high on my Christmas list and they won’t be for quite awhile.
Most of my activist friends, myself included, have developed political values leaning far left than those of their parents possess and raised them with. And, particularly when considering reproductive justice activism, this can cause rifts between you and your parents. I know it’s been a struggle for my red-state residing, devoutly Catholic parents, ever since I announced I was a big ol’ pro-choice queer feminist. Many of friends with not-so progressive parents just tend to shut that aspect of their life out in order to order tension and strife. Unfortunately, depending on your parents, or your dependence on them, sometimes this might be necessary. However, I also think, while it’s hard, it’s also necessary to push those boundaries a bit and reside in uncomfortable spaces.
Something that has been getting under my skin recently is the preservation of “life” at all costs by anti-choice activists and politicians. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how painful or risky it is, all “life” must be maintained. So-called pro-lifers have become so obsessed with making sure that a heartbeat is sustained that they’ll ignore the circumstances surrounding it. In fact, that is the entire flaw around being anti-choice. The intricacies and complexities of a person’s life are completely ignored. This goes beyond just the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
Have you heard the news? Pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates are at an all-time low for women ages 15-19. This recent statistic most likely surprises a lot of people. People often have the perception that teenage pregnancy is an “epidemic” among millennials, because we are clearly the most irresponsible and self-centered generation. Recently, I have had several conversations about pregnancy rates in the US. Because of the work I do in reproductive justice, I’m asked about “all of these girls who get pregnant in their teens” (a cringey way of asking about teen pregnancy regardless). I often ask, “What do you mean? Teenage pregnancy is at an all-time low compared to the nineties.”