Reading Beyond Health: Reproductive Justice

Please see accessibility note at the end of this article.

The Feminist Research Institute is hosting a Collaboratory throughout the year focused on this year’s annual theme “Beyond Health.” The Collaboratory brings together our Visiting Scholars and members of the UC Davis community to engage in timely conversations organized around keywords related to the theme.

A wide-ranging discussion of reproductive justice with a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19 anchored our February Beyond Health Collaboratory. Coined by Black women activists in the United States, reproductive justice reflects “three primary principles: (1) the right not to have a child; (2) the right to have a child; and (3) the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments.” (Ross and Solinger).

Facilitated by FRI Director and Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Dr. Kalindi Vora, and UC Davis graduate students Maya Cruz, Celeste Navas, and Ashley Teodorson-Taggart, the Collaboratory kicked off with a word cloud exercise. The image above* represents the expansive associations that Collaboratory members came up with in response to the question, “What does reproductive justice mean to you?” The effectiveness of reproductive justice as an organizing frame is its ability to underscore how issues often treated as separate are deeply interconnected

Anchoring our conversation was Ruja Benjamin’s “Black AfterLives Matter: Cultivating Kinfulness as Reproductive Justice” and Pamela Bridgewater Toure’s “Transforming Silence: The Personal, Political, and Pedagogical Prism of the Abortion Narrative.”

Recommended readings:

Loretta Ross and Rickie Solinger’s Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice’s  “A New Vision for Advancing our Movement for Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Justice.” 

Kimala Price’s “What is Reproductive Justice? How Women of Color Activists Are Redefining the Pro-Choice Paradigm”

Patricia Zavella’s The Movement for Reproductive Justice: Empowering Women of Color through Social Activism

Michele Goodwin’s Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood

The Care Collective’s COVID-19 pandemic: A crisis of care

Book to watch out for:

Jennifer C. Nash’s Birthing Black Mothers (forthcoming August 2021)

Organizations to check out:

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Forward Together: Rights, Recognition and Resources for all Families

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

Event of interest:

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women will hold its 31st Annual Graduate Student Research Conference from April 28th-30th on “Care, Mutual Aid and Reproductive Labor in a Time of Crisis.” The conference will feature keynotes by Dean Spade and Melanie Yazzie. For more information and to register, visit their conference homepage.

Thanks to all of our Visiting Scholars and guests for joining us at our February Collaboratory. Special thanks to Maya Cruz, Ashley Teodorson-Taggart, and Celeste Navas for helping to facilitate a great discussion.

* Accessibility note: the word cloud includes the phrases: Forming kin, Safe housing, Disability support, Health services, Health disparities, No sexual assault, Emergency contraception, Community, Publicly-funded day care, Life, Abortion pills, World-Building, Access to care, Hope, Solidarity, Futures, Freedom, Choices, Reimagine, Expansive, Comprehensive sex ed, Choice, Healthy brain development, Self-determined kin forms, Paid parental leave, Support, Breastfeeding, Social, Reproduction, Safe motherhood, Care, Crip futures, Reproductive health, Rest, Self-determination, Medical leave, Equity, Abolition of prisons, Happy parents, Ways of living, Crisis counselling, Right to thriving, Sustaining life, Race, Racial justice, No stigma, Consent, Intergenerational healing, Socialized care, Distribution of labor, Parental leave, Representation 

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