When I became pregnant with my first child, I had health insurance, financial stability and excellent prenatal care.
I had a home, nutritious food, a car, a hospital located nearby and someone to drive me there.
I hadn’t done anything to deserve these things. I had them largely because as a white, upper class woman there are multiple societal structures built to give me the right to make certain choices — and to rob others of the same opportunity.
I was able to choose to delay parenthood until my 30s because I had the right to access comprehensive sex education and contraception. I chose an OB/GYN that provided premium care because I had access to the right to health care. My parents and grandparents were not redlined or subjected to predatory lending, but instead had access to the right to housing that created the generational wealth I used to buy a home in the neighborhood of my choice.
“Choice” in mainstream, predominately white-led reproductive rights discourse typically refers to the individual right to make one specific choice: whether (or not) to have an abortion.
A reproductive justice lens looks at the society surrounding that individual — not just at one choice, but at the multiple of choices that people should be able to make about their bodies and lives and why some groups of people have the right to do so while others do not.
Who gets to make which choices — or gets a choice at all — is a structural issue. NCRP’s new focus on reproductive access and gendered violence in our Movement Investment Project continues our support for frontline groups combatting the structures that stand in the way of social justice.
We are proud to feature movement leaders who help connect the dots and urge us to think differently about the nexus of reproductive access, race, class and inclusion.
The power of personal stories to reflect and shift societal structures is the focus of We Testify, whose founder Renee Bracey Sherman contributed this first-person account on abortion storytellers.
Reproaction Deputy Director Shireen Rose Shakouri calls on philanthropy to support the right to comprehensive sex education in the face of a conservative movement that seeks to limit young people’s choices through shaming, stigma and misinformation.
A Q&A by NCRP staff of National Birth Equity Collaborative President Dr. Joia Crear-Perry makes clear that systemic racism is at the root of inequity in maternal health and morbidity, and investing in Black women-led organizations and solutions are the only path forward to addressing it.
We hope you engage with the critical questions and calls to action from our authors and look forward to working collectively to support reproductive justice!