Reproductive Justice Knows New Jane Crow Ain’t So New

March 29, 2013

I am a reproductive justice activist. Reproductive justice (RJ) is a framework that arose in the late 1980s to expand the reproductive rights movements’ primary focus on “choice.” Before that time, mainstream reproductive rights and health movements comprised of mostly white-middle class women who often skirted issues that directly affected women of color despite women of color’s participation in these movements. RJ was formed in order to add an intersectional analysis to reproductive rights where advocates recognized how race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality impact the control, regulation, and stigmatization of female fertility. So, while mainstream reproductive rights movements continued to emphasize the protection of individual women’s rights to reproductive health services, reproductive justice worked from the standpoint that regardless of how righteous, reasonable, or admirable their choices may be, women of color continue to deal with stigma surrounding their sexual and reproductive choices. This is because many white feminists fail to recognize how perceived racial inferiority and structural inequality contributes to reproductive health disparities of women of color.


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