Why Reproductive Justice?

Loretta Ross speaking at the 2016 Conference


Why do we talk about poverty and race when we discuss abortion? Incarceration? Oil pipelines and toxic waste dumps?

The answer is simple: each of those issues, and many more, are the focus of the reproductive justice movement. Abortion services and other forms of reproductive health care are not isolated from social factors and histories that influence the access and discussion surrounding them. SisterSong, a reproductive justice collective made by women of color, first coined the term:

“The reproductive justice framework – the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments — is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is important for women of color.

It represents a shift for women advocating for control of their bodies, from a narrower focus on legal access and individual choice (the focus of mainstream organizations) to a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on our power.”

Cherisse Scott of SisterReach presenting at Take Root 2018

A reproductive justice framework helps us see the connections between poverty and food access in rural and urban environments, histories of coercive sterilization of women of color, the disparity in impacts of criminalization of drugs and its effects on families, gender self-determination and gender violence, and access to contraception, transition services, sexual health and consent information.

Take Root seeks to embody a reproductive justice perspective as we come together to discuss these issues, educate each other, and foster solutions and connections, with a specific focus on the South, Midwest, and other red states.