ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: reproductive justice

Fight for $15 Comes to UC…Sort Of

I got a what I thought was a welcome surprise during summer vacation leading into my last year at UC San Diego when Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California, announced that the UC system would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2017 for all of its workers and contract workers. The initial boost to $13 starting Fall Quarter would’ve given me a $2 an hour raise at my on campus jobs, exciting news for a debt-saddled coffee-dependent college student. Yet, for all of the great press the University of California has received in the wake of their announcement, it was a lukewarm response to a broader grassroots effort to secure a living wage for everyone. One aspect of the plan that has been largely overlooked is that it fails… Read more »

On Solidarity and the Movement for Black Lives

Two weeks ago, an anti-choice group released heavily-edited undercover videos aimed at discrediting and potentially dismantling Planned Parenthood. As the country’s largest provider of reproductive health care, this campaign to take down Planned Parenthood could have disastrous effects on the millions who need access to abortion and other healthcare services. The movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice swiftly rallied to Planned Parenthood’s defense against these malicious attack. Here at URGE, we did the same and were one of 92 organizations that signed on to a letter to Congress in support of Planned Parenthood’s work. Our movements  worked quickly to stand in solidarity against these attacks — that’s a good thing — but we also hope we can use this as a moment to bring our solidarity to another vital… Read more »

Being A Black Woman in the Reproductive Justice Movement

I recently asked one of my black female friends about her activism. “Why don’t you feel connected to reproductive justice and reproductive health work?” Her response was, “Access to abortion is important, but we are getting killed for simply existing. I want to focus on that.” I understood where she was coming from, because I definitely felt that exasperation too. Like many of us, I was not always familiar with the concept of reproductive justice or even feminism. These were terms I had loosely heard about before, and I vaguely remember in high school reading a Seventeen magazine article about it, but that was the gist of my exposure to it at that time. I grew up in the South—southern hospitality, really amazing sweet tea, and mouth-watering soul food are… Read more »

The Importance of Acknowledging the Spectrum of Sexuality

Something that’s often hard for me to navigate as a queer person is the own intersections of my identity. When I was taught, or rather researched on my own, the different sexualities one could possess I came across an extremely binary interpretation of sexuality. Gay, bisexual, and straight were the three orientations that I understood to exist when I was initially doing my own self discovery, so naturally because I knew I was attracted to women I figured that meant I was gay. I figured that the physical attraction I had had for men in the past was merely me mimicking the sexualities of my friends in order to appear straight and fit into our heteronormative society. But now that I’ve grown in my knowledge I’ve learned that sexuality does not… Read more »

Earth Day and Reproductive Justice

As many of you know, yesterday was Earth Day. Some of us may celebrate by making a pledge to reduce waste, or to avoid driving, or plant a tree. But what isn’t usually on our mind on Earth Day is how Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice are connected. As RJ advocates, we should look to any opportunity to expand our fight beyond the traditional issues and include other social justice issues that affect our communities. So you might be asking, how does Environmental Justice relate to RJ? The answer lies first in how our environment is linked to our health. Issues such as pollution can directly impact health, including reproductive health. And in addition to that, women and children are often more susceptible to the effects of toxins in the… Read more »

Pregnancy and Incarceration: Intersectional Justice

Reproductive justice within prison communities does not get discussed nearly enough. People who are pregnant and incarcerated are subject to many injustices. These injustices are particularly felt by low income communities and people of color. This week there was a workshop held at my school to talk about these issues hosted by Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SURF), our URGE branch. They write, “The mainstream pro-choice movement focuses on protecting the right to choose abortion, but the right to carry your pregnancy to term safely and with full agency is often overlooked. However, in the United States today, the personhood of pregnant people is systemically under attack. Fetal personhood legislation, the “War on Drugs,” and the medical industrial complex all chip away at the humanity of pregnant persons, and these… Read more »

California’s Cruel Policy that Keeps Families in Poverty

At the end of last month SB 23 passed its first committee in the California Legislature.  For those of you who don’t know, SB 23 is a bill that seeks to repeal the CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant Rule (MFG) which bars families from receiving additional aid for any child born during the time that family is already receiving CalWORKs aid. A family receiving CalWORKs is a family who is struggling. How can a state say that they are not willing to provide assistance to any additional children knowing that children who grow up in poverty end up with poorer health, have behavioral and emotional problems, and are at higher risk of unintended pregnancy in their teen years? This is inhumane. What’s worse is that the rule applies to every member of… Read more »

Public Assistance is Reproductive Justice

Recently, my home state of Kansas passed a law that places several restrictions on the usage of benefits received from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), commonly referred to as welfare. Among other things, the bill prohibits TANF benefits from being used at swimming pools, movie theaters, cruise ships, and tattoo parlors. Also, the bill limits ATM withdrawals from the TANF account to $25 per day. On top of these new restrictions, Kansas also requires recipients of TANF benefits to be working or looking for work, and has instituted a drug testing policy for those who qualify. And Kansas isn’t the only state to be fighting this “problem” of the luxury of being poor. Missouri lawmakers have been pushing for a bill greatly restricting what type of groceries… Read more »