The pro-choice movement has left some folks out in the cold, leading many abortion advocates to lean into a different model: reproductive justice.
Abortion access isn’t just an individual choice — to keep or terminate a pregnancy — but part of a spectrum of care, rights and resources all people should have access to.
Women and other people unequivocally need access to abortion care. But reproductive justice asks for more. It’s a model that demands access to healthcare, access to safe communities and access to economic security. It’s a model that understands that some communities have too recent histories of forced sterilization and unethical, dangerous birth control testing. It’s a model that unapologetically advocates for access to abortion for all people, but knows that people need more.
Reproductive justice, a model founded by black women, has been around since at least 1994, and came about in response to the failures of the choice model.
As Loretta Ross, one of the creators of the framework recalls, “what women of color did was come up with our own framework, our own paradigm that’s called reproductive justice.”
Ross explains reproductive justice in this short, engaging two-minute video produced by MAKERS.
Ross also writes that she and the folks of SisterSong firmly believe in three core principals — three core rights for every woman:
- Decide if and when she will have a baby and the conditions under which she will give birth
- Decide if she will not have a baby and her options for preventing or ending a pregnancy
- Parent the children she already has with the necessary social supports in safe environments and healthy communities, and without fear of violence from individuals or the government
These are, or should be, inalienable rights, meaning that there is nothing a person has to do to earn these rights or be worthy of having these rights respected.
You can be incarcerated, you can be an undocumented immigrant or you can be battling addiction, and you still unequivocally deserve to have the rights, resources and recognition you, your family and your community need to thrive. No excuses. No justifications. No delays.
And that is such a powerful foundation for building justice.