For too long, Black women’s struggle against the most degrading repression has been left out of the official story of reproductive rights in America. But it is their struggle that highlights the poverty of current notions of reproductive freedom. It is also their struggle that can lead to a more radical vision of reproductive justice. …A vision of liberty that respects the reproductive integrity of Black women is a critical step towards a just society for everyone.
She goes on to say, speaking about the very definition of liberty,
The Supreme Court as elevated reproductive liberty to the level of a fundamental right against government interference deserving of the highest judicial scrutiny. But Black women’s reproductive choices seem to fall outside this sphere of protection that is supposed? to apply to all citizens. There is something drastically wrong with a conception of reproductive freedom that allows this wholesale exclusion of the most disadvantaged from its reach. We need a way of rethinking the meaning of liberty so that it protects all citizens equally. I propose that focusing on the connection between reproductive rights and racial equality is the place to start.
Dorthy Robert’s, Killing the Black Body is a thorough treatise on the history of both Black women’s bodies, issues of reproductive justice and the American Medical Industry.
When I read this last semester I was floored at the ways in which our bodies, post slavery, have been treated like nothing by the American Medical establishment, especially if we were low income.
Roberts analyzes forced sterilizations of low income women, non consensual sterilizations pregnant teens, removal of babies if we were addicted, the trial and error methodology of new and unproven and frequently harmful medicines such as Depo Provera, on our bodies.
In fact, I remember reading The Source in the early 90’s and there were ad’s for Depro Provera, and I always thought it was odd that such a masculinist magazine had ads for implant contraception. Essence had those ads too, come to think of it.
Dorthy Roberts goes on to say at the end of her book, both succinctly and eloquently, that laws that have a disparate impact on Black women’s reproduction are antithetical to an American democracy, in light of the ways in which our reproduction was tied to this nations beginings and subsequently, American wealth as a whole. She writes,
The reason legislatures should reject laws that punish Black women’s reproductive decisions is not an absolute and isolated notion of individual autonomy. Rather legislatures should reject these laws as a critical step towards eradicating a system that has historically demeaned Black motherhood. Respecting Black women’s decisions to bear children is a necessary ingredient of a community that affirms the person hood of all its members.
Why are we so silent around reproductive justice?
Is it that I am not listening in the right places?
Your momma ever talk about pre-Abortion United States?