I'm writing this post on the heels of a very inspiring Roe v. Wade anniversary celebration at Hampshire College. We had the privilege of hearing from the incredible Loretta Ross, one of the founders of the Reproductive Justice movement. Many of us came away with a much better understanding of what Reproductive Justice means, and how the movement connects to Tapestry’s work in reproductive health.
Ms. Ross has written: “The Reproductive Justice framework analyzes how the ability of any woman to determine her own reproductive destiny is linked directly to the conditions in her community… Moving beyond a demand for privacy and respect for individual decision making to include the social supports necessary for our individual decisions to be optimally realized, this framework also includes obligations from our government for protecting women’s human rights.”
Looking at a woman’s right to choose through the lens of human rights broadens our perspective. How do we protect the right not to have a child, and also the right to have a child, and the right to parent the children we have in a safe, healthy environment?
Tapestry Health’s work, with its focus eliminating health care disparities, provides the nuts and bolts of Reproductive Justice by making sexual health care and the full range of birth control methods accessible to all. Still, the Reproductive Justice movement is asking us to do more, to address the economic and social disparities that underlie inequality along all three of these dimensions.
As Ms. Ross writes, “We have to address directly the inequitable distribution of power and resources within the [women’s] movement, holding our allies and ourselves responsible for constructing principled, collaborative relationships ... We also have to build the social, political and economic power of low-income women, indigenous women, women of color, and their communities so that they are full participating partners in building this new movement.”
A call to action, to be sure! We’d love to get some feedback from you about how we answer this call.