This is the never-ending balance game. On the one hand, you want people to understand clearly that the overall culture is highly conservative, oppressive, that legal protections are beyond lacking etc… but on the other hand you’re obsessively proud of the collaborative, progressive, even radical LGBTQ+ community that exists here despite never really being invited in on the national conversations. It’s like, “Yes we have queer college groups, yes we have Safe Schools Coalitions, yes we have PFLAG chapters, yes we have LGBTQ film festivals and photography exhibits. Why do you think we don’t? I mean, I know why you don’t… but why don’t you?” You know? Balance.
In the United States, a nation that spends more on health care than its industrialized peers, Black women die from pregnancy-related causes at rates three to four times higher than their white counterparts. Though they generally have less access to prenatal care and health insurance, Black women also have more frequent and longer antenatal hospital stays. They are more likely to experience pregnancy loss or complications when compared with whites and Hispanics…Black women are disproportionately criminalized for drug use or decisions made during pregnancy. In these cases, we see a culture that no longer commodifies Black reproduction, as in slavery, but nevertheless subjects Black female sexuality, reproduction, and mothering to harsh, public scrutiny. Yet Black women’s maternal death rates garner little comment. Why Don’t More People Care About Black Maternal Deaths?
If [someone] has reproductive choice but can’t afford it, with all practical intents and purposes, [they] do not have reproductive choice. A right on paper is not a right.
A woman’s chance of being killed by an abuser increases by 700% if he has access to a firearm.
A woman’s chance of being killed by an abuser increases by 700% if he has access to a firearm. (via librarianpirate)
Equally terrifying: “Femicide, the homicide of women, is the leading cause of death in the United States among young African American women aged 15 to 45 years and the seventh leading cause of premature death among women overall.”
Reproductive justice” is more than the sum of its parts! Even if an organization or campaign is associated with both reproduction AND justice, that entity is not necessarily embodying the tenets of reproductive justice. Asking “does this center the needs and elevate the voices of women of color?” is a pretty solid way of figuring it out. Lastly – keep in mind that reproductive justice activists often find themselves in an adversarial position in relation to health and rights-based groups, acting as a check on problems like exclusivity and access.