The term “reproductive justice” has become a buzzword in the reproductive health arena – and for good reason.
Throughout history women and people with uterine bodies have been controlled and politicized. This is still true in today’s society where reproductive health is identified as a political issue rather than a fundamental human right.
What is reproductive justice?
While the term was coined in 1994, there are different definitions depending on which communities you ask.
The UC Berkeley, California School of Law describes reproductive justice as “The full physical, mental, spiritual, political, social and economic well-being of women and girls based on the full realization and protection of the human rights of women. ”
While this is a good starting point, there is a lot more to it than that. Let’s start by understanding the need for inclusivity.
While it is absolutely necessary and crucial to focus on reaching and protecting women and girls, a large piece of the puzzle is missing. Part of understanding the broad spectrum of reproductive justice is understanding that this is not just for your binary understanding of “cis wife“And” cis girls “.
The new era of reproductive justice is gender specific. This means that people who do not necessarily identify as women still need equal access to reproductive health care and education.
Trans men, unsexed, gender, and non-binary people can all get pregnant, have periods, have babies, abortions, and any other experience resulting from a uterus and vagina.
An important piece of the puzzle for advocates of reproductive justice is to expand services for non-cis women and thus better educate providers so that they know how to deal with diverse populations.
Inclusion is not just about gender, it’s also about realizing the very narrow framework of who often has access to reproductive health services and broadening that lens.
It is imperative for vendors and advocates to understand the implications of systemic racism of blacks, indigenous peoples and colored people (BIPOC) in health care.
Proponents of reproductive justice constantly urge providers to review their own prejudices and dismantle how the effects of systemic racism are playing out on an individual basis. Given the unacceptable racial and ethnic differences In terms of maternal mortality in the United States, this work can literally save lives.
In addition to racial differences, many providers and advocates neglect the need for reproductive education and access for people with disabilities or for people with disabilities neurodivergent. This means an extension sexual education and to honor the many variations of being human and the wishes associated with it.
We cannot talk about inclusion without discussing it Intersectionality. Intersectionality is the idea that people are diverse and that our overlapping identities determine how we navigate the world.
Intersectionality understands that navigating reproductive health care as a strange, non-binary person with color looks different than a straight, white woman of cis gender or some other variant of being human.
Let us prosper
While saving lives is imperative, it’s also important to highlight and celebrate practices that help people thrive and feel supported in their reproductive health.
Modern medicine has made so many incredible advances in reproductive health. At the same time, it has consistently perpetuated the harm to people seeking reproductive health care.
Given the incredibly violent and racist background of modern obstetrics and gynecology (Trigger Warning: you can Click this link for more information) It is easy to see how an area resulting from the oppression and harm of black women can maintain this standard throughout modern medicine.
Reproductive justice emphasizes the need to expand access to, respect and celebrate traditional and indigenous health practices of women, including Obstetrics, Herbal medicine, vaginal steaming, and so much more.
The future of reproductive health care seems to be a balance between modern medicine and traditional practices, with education and expanded access to all.
What does reproductive justice cover?
One of the difficulties in understanding reproductive justice is that it encompasses so many different subjects and parts of the human experience.
Reproductive justice means expanding the possibilities of childbirth and providing more rights, support, and education to people giving birth during pregnancy, during loss of pregnancy, and after childbirth. It means giving young people the tools to manage period health and menstruation. It makes sex education accessible to all as well destigmatizing STIswhen prioritizing approval Culture, pleasure and wellness.
Reproductive justice improves access to abortion and kills organizations that seek to restrict reproductive health care rights. It’s about understanding the wide range of reproductive health disorders that can affect a person’s well-being and overall health.
It prevents and cures sexual violence and understands the ways sexual abuse can affect a person’s health and wellbeing. It increases the number of culturally sensitive and traumatized providers who can support their customers and patients rather than causing more trauma.
… and so much more.
If reading moved something in you to develop a deeper understanding of the world of reproductive justice – great.
Because this article is just a tiny introduction to a subject that you could dissect for a lifetime. Reproductive justice is constantly changing and adapting, depending on politics, social norms, scientific understanding and the current zeitgeist.
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at the age of fourteen when she was present at the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birthing doula gave her insights into the magical realm of childbirth, pregnancy and everything in between. Your role as an obstetrician is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as an important educational tool to bring about changes in our view of reproductive health as a whole.