Reproductive Justice is a women’s rights issue and is essential to the empowerment, health and upward mobility of all women. It is a health issue as well as a socio-economic one. "Issues central to reproductive justice are not just a women’s right to choose, but include a social safety net for poor families, accurate birth control education, and insurance coverage for contraception and other maternal conditions.” Without these fundamental rights that our sisters have been fighting for since 1917, the year Planned Parenthood was born, women will lose their ability to control their own bodies hence their destinies.
We have already fought this fight in Roe v Wade, but it is hard to believe that there is a small but growing influential minority in this country who wants to deny basic reproductive care to women. And it is up to women like us to make sure this doesn’t happen. In this current political environment, it is the women of color, the poor and the indigenous that are affected the most. Unfortunately reproductive organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the like are under threat of closing their doors.
Under the new administration, it is already happening, Cecile Richard, president of Planned Parenthood, recently reported, “In December 2016, Ohio imposed a new 20 week ban on Planned Parenthood. These regulations force women to travel long distances and across state lines in order to access safe, legal abortion, a barrier that women simply cannot afford. Congress has already reinstated the “Global Gag Rule”, preventing health organizations worldwide, that receive U.S. funding, from providing or even talking about abortions.” If Obamacare is replaced, organizations like Planned Parenthood will lose their funding even though only 3% of what they do are abortions. In some cases this could mean women lose their access to health care altogether; as so many of Planned Parenthood locations are in rural and medically underserved areas.” Not only does reproductive justice protect a woman’s right to receive education and services, fundamental to her health and well being, but it also empowers her to improve the quality of her life and her children’s. Empowerment and economic opportunity are closely allied.
It is so basic and the fact that these women’s rights are being oppressed and denied…that matters. It has mattered to our sisters before us, it matters to women now, and it will matter to our daughters and granddaughters and their children in the future. And… it matters that we act now.