Reproductive Justice: Beyond the Choice Paradigm

Crystallee R. Crain, MA
Introduction (5 min)
• Framing the Movement (15 min)
• Defining Our Role (5 min)
• Intersectionality in Action (15 min)
• Connecting the Issues **** (15 min)
• Closing and Commitments (20 minutes)
• Goal #1: Identify and examine the complex and
interwoven branches of reproductive justice.
• Goal #2: Through this examination, define
differences and similarities between reproductive
oppression, reproductive health, reproductive rights,
and reproductive justice.
• Goal #3: Show intersectionality especially
highlighting its connection to RJ.
Introduction: The Three Approaches
Reproductive Rights: Based on universal legal
protections for women, men, and trans people such as
Roe v. Wade.
Reproductive Health: Emphasizes the necessary
reproductive health services that women, men, and trans
people need.
Reproductive Justice: Stipulates that reproductive
oppression is the result of the intersections of multiple
oppressions and is inherently connected to the struggle
for social justice and human rights.
Why is it important to focus on…
Reproductive Oppression: The controlling and
regulation of our gender, bodies, and sexuality.
Framing: Why Beyond Choice?
Organizing around reproductive rights has been happening in the
U.S. for over 150 years.
As reproductive health technologies continue to grow, more and
more options suddenly became available to people in this country
and around the world.
Simultaneously, the movement to keep the health options out of the
hands of women and men has been active and engaged as well.
As we make our way into a world where reproductive health
services and options are increasing every day, we also need to
understand the history behind how these technologies have been
used against specific communities.
Why Beyond Choice?
Historically, young women, women of color, immigrant women, queer
people, differently abled people, and low- income women have had
difficulty accessing the information, resources, and services they
Because of issues of marginalization (certain communities being
disregarded when working on these issues) it is critical that we work
now to make certain that these needs are met.
This required all of us re-examine women’s movement; the good the
bad and the ugly and how these issue were not take up by the
broader women’s/feminist movement.
Roots of the reproductive justice framework can be traced to the
1970s, when women of color organizations criticized the term
"choice" in the mainstream reproductive rights movement.
Hearing from our community.
Loretta Ross of Sister Song
Defining our Role: Discussion!
How do you address issues that impact individuals
with multiple levels of oppression and systemic
How do you create a movement for reproductive
justice that does not focus on one group of people
but is inclusive by nature?
At your tables
 Immigrant Communities
 • LGBTQ Communities
 • Workers
 • Students
 • Incarcerated Individuals
 • Young Mothers
 • Foster Care Youth
Bringing Intersectionality Into the Picture
Reproductive Justice takes into account the person as a
whole. It ensures that all people regardless of race,
gender, immigration status, sexuality, socio-economic
status, the language you speak, etc have ACCESS to the
legally guaranteed rights that Reproductive Rights
movement has fought to achieve. So just because there
are laws that have been created and are being enforced
doesn’t mean that it applies to everyone.
We are not advocating for a movement focused from one
approach over another. It is important that people are
advancing all three movements for us to achieve a more
just society.
Because Reproductive Justice moves beyond the matter of
making services legal, we are able to increase the scope
of our work to ensure that the fight for access remains at
the center of what we are striving for.
Now we are going to use the lens to look at issues that
are traditionally associated with the Reproductive Rights
Movement, and how they shift through a RJ lens – how
communities that face oppression based on race, class,
immigration status, sexuality, and ability have different
experiences around these issues.
This process allows us to see another set of issues and
experiences that are often marginalized or made invisible
in the mainstream movement.
POLISH: The nail salon industry in California is one of the
examples cited, because it is a fast-growing industry that
exposes workers to toxic chemicals, some unregulated, that
contribute to global warming. The ACRJ’s POLISH program
works with the nail care industry to improve the health of
nail care workers and to reduce negative environmental
impacts. Further, [a] reproductive justice analysis of working
conditions in nail salons directs improvements not only to
making the nail salon environment one that is conducive to
good health, but also to increasing wages, improving
benefits, reducing working hours, reducing harassment and
discrimination, and creating more educational opportunities
for workers.
Personally write two commitments – one for yourself
and one for your work – regarding how they will
address power dynamics personally and in their
work and make the space an example of the
change they would like to one day see in society.

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