Reproduction: Rights and Justice
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Talk has moved to reproductive justice from reproductive rights, with its connotation of abortion as a choice. Advocate Andrea Plaid stated that reproductive justice means “seeing abortion as a larger framework of access to reproductive-health options and decisions-including having children-and how issues like racism and class impact access and decisions”.
First coined in 1994, reproductive justice was developed by Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice, an offshoot of the Illinois pro-Choice Alliance Conference, to challenge the Clinton healthcare reform that did not guarantee access to abortions. In A History of Reproductive Justice, Loretta Ross stated, “Not wanting to use the language of ‘choice’ because they represented communities with few real choices, they integrated the concepts of reproductive rights, social justice and human rights to launch the term ‘Reproductive Justice’”.
Women of color took the lead in their focus on reproductive justice when in 1997 they developed a grassroots movement called Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective that attempts to influence public policy by using a human rights framework. In 2004, they marched on Washington for reproductive justice and, in 2005, they organized ways to defeat bills that restrict reproductive rights and justice. Attempts to defund Planned Parenthood as a means to stop abortions has been taken on by the group. This new way of addressing abortion rights is an attempt to have people see that without control over their bodies, women will be deprived of their civil rights and abilities to move forward.