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What the Hell is Reproductive Justice?

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September 13, 2012

I feel compelled to explain something.

What the hell is Reproductive Justice? Reproductive Justice, (or as the cool kids call it, “RJ”) is an umbrella term. Reproduction is a vague term; Justice is even harder to define. RJ is associated with, but unique to, “Pro-Choice.” Pro-Choice is a term that emphasizes abortion. RJ encompasses issues beyond abortion — some issues you may have never guessed.

A just state of reproductive rights will occur when all persons have the knowledge, economic means, social power, and resources to make informed decisions for maintaining optimal sexual health. “Just” is underlined because this four-letter word is so damn rich in meaning. Eleventh grade Social Justice class defined Justice as: “The recognition that there are enough human and material resources to meet the basic needs of all life.”

Read that definition a few times- it’s juicy. Justice is saying that there is enough to go around. We can all share in Earth’s abundance.

The mission of RJ is to allow everyone the necessary tools to be in control of their body. A land where RJ is in play would be flourishing. It would have far less problems. In a Utopian society, RJ would be built into the framework of citizen’s lives.

Reproductive Justice recognizes individuals as capable decision makers.

Mark Twain said it best, “Whose property is my body? Probably mine. I so regard it. If I experiment with it, who must be answerable? I, not the State. If I choose injudiciously, does the State die? Oh, no.”

Or as the RJ movement loves to say, “My body. My choice.”

Humans are sexual beings, as I’m sure you’ve noticed at some point. Humans are sexual — we seek to connect. Sexuality stems from the Latin root, “Secare” which means to, “to sever or to disconnect from the whole.” Words like dissect and section stem from this as well. Humans are disconnected; sexuality is all of the ways in which we seek to reconnect with ourselves, with others, with the Earth, and some believe with faith. More humans get to experience time on Earth because of sexuality. Procreation is intertwined with sexuality — it’s a very organic and beautiful situation. I’ve been told before that, “Life is easy. Humans complicate it.” The same goes for sexuality.

The massive “issue” of RJ shouldn’t be an “issue” at all. Sexuality is part of the human condition; that is a fact that isn’t going to change. Concerning RJ, our world is a messed up place.

But there is always hope.

A Few Things a Society Implementing RJ would have…

  • Medically accurate Comprehensive Sex Education for every student. At the federal and state level, the United States has spent nearly $1.5 billion on abstinence-only programs even though it has proved to be ineffective, inaccurate, and altogether detrimental to those being taught such fallacies.
  • Medically necessary services accessible and affordable to all. Medically necessary services related to RJ include: pap smears, prenatal care, STI testing/treatment, contraceptive access, abortion access, and much more. In America, 87% of counties don’t have an abortion provider, nearly 4,000 Crisis Pregnancy Centers are spreading lies everyday, and an extremely slim number of clinics are up to par on sexual health. Science and medicine are blessings to humans, so we must share them.
  • Childcare readily available to parents who need to get back to work. The average cost of childcare annually is $3,582 to $18,773. This is a cost many families cant afford, creating a dilemma of working or staying at home with the kids. For a country so passionate about, “the right to life” and meritocracy… feasible childcare only makes sense.
  • Nutrition and exercise as a priority. Overall health and sexual health are inseparable.
  • A sex positive culture. There is a reason that in America 1/3 of teen relationships are violent, a sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes, and half of marriages (of those who are allowed to marry) end in divorce. Our nation is a broken (or you could say, disconnected) place because of persistent perverted views of sexuality being forbidden and “dirty”. In America, sex is a taboo obsession. In a society promoting RJ, sex is seen as factual and a gift to be used responsibly.

This is only the tip of the RJ iceberg.

Through this blog we will delve further into these topics. I will explain many injustices and steps needed to take to experience justice. How we treat sexuality in culture at large reflects how sexuality is experienced on a personal level. Sexuality was designed to be an extraordinary chapter in the story of humanity. We, as humans, should feel obligated to treat it as so.

There have been lots of mini earthquakes here in LA lately- I think Mother Earth has hiccups.

 

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4 Responses to “What the Hell is Reproductive Justice?”

  1. Sarah

    Great post! Can’t wait to see birth-related reproductive justice issues addressed in future exploration of the RJ iceberg : )