Direct Engagement - Feb 28

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Currently, the feminist movement is in danger of losing reproductive rights that have already been won, such as abortion and health services. Many bills are popping up nation-wide which, if passed, will seriously inhibit women's power over their own bodies. While these legislative acts affect all women in the United States, they especially target the poor and women of color. (For example, the Smith Bill would prohibit government from providing financial support for abortions, which would primarily impact low-income women.) If these laws go through, we face returning to the dreaded days of wire hangers and crochet hooks. While upper-class women might find creative avenues to access reasonably safe abortions, perhaps through a trusted family physician or international travel, poor women will absolutely experience the full brunt of this onslaught against female bodies. Arguably, the biggest threat to the feminist movement is not merely the loss of reproductive rights, but the mistreatment and institutional reproductive discrimination against women of color, immigrants, queer and transgender women, and the poor. ACRJ quite astutely demands that the feminist movement place priority on reproductive justice, as opposed to reproductive rights or health, because the latter are extremely limited in terms of providing a framework for long-term change and do not factor in the question of access or relative agency. Most marginalized women are struggling with multiple systems of oppression based on race, class, sexuality, ability, age and immigration status. Reproductive justice addresses these questions of intersectionality and fundamentally links feminism with social justice and human rights in general. ACRJ suggests that one of the most important strategies is to educate women and girls about their bodies and communities in order to foster political agency.

1 Comment

I completely have the same fears about women, MY, reproductive rights taken away by these pending legislations. It's already a tragedy to see when women go to back door abortions, or when women can't get to clinics for cheaper child care or contraception. It is already creating problems. But to lessen funding for these areas will only create more severe problems, as you mentioned coat hangers and such. In my high school a girl self aborted her baby, because of too much stress of telling her parents. That to me is not "choice" but oppression. The idea that we need intersectionality to promote reproductive health as well as rights as well as justice is key. Women need to be educated on all the possible choices and avenues so we can promote healthy living. It is hard to see policy possibly pushing this movement back by being so closed minded, and I hope things take a turn for the better.

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