What is Choice?
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A complex array of factors, ranging from egregious historical discrimination to socioeconomic constraints, impairs minority and low-income women's access to the full range of reproductive health care options. We must overcome these obstacles to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices.Being pro-choice is about more than just supporting the legal right to abortion or birth control. It's about supporting a woman's right to reproductive self-determination and ensuring that every woman has the meaningful ability to make the full range of reproductive choices. Because of economic and social factors, many women do not have equal access to reproductive health care or the ability to exercise their rights and make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
Reproductive justice is a framework for working on these issues that links reproductive health and freedom with social justice and human rights. It puts reproductive rights in the context of other issues that affect women's mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being and their ability to control and determine their reproductive lives. The term "reproductive justice" was coined at a pro-choice conference in 1994 by the Black Women's Caucus, in response to the lacking "choice" framework. As described by Forward Together, formerly known as Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, a state of reproductive justice will be achieved "when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, sexuality, and families for ourselves and our communities."
NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota respects the reproductive justice framework in our efforts to protect and expand the full range of reproductive rights for all Minnesotans, regardless of their race, income, age, ability, gender identity, sexual identity or orientation, or other factors. We strive to work in coalition with other organizations and activists at the intersection of these issues. We have utilized this framework - developed and spearheaded by women/people of color and low-income people - to expand the scope of our organization.
Reproductive justice work examines the intersections of the different reproductive oppressions women face based on gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, and a myriad of other factors.
It means focusing not only on the right not to have children or to delay childbearing, but also on the equal right to have children and to parent, and to do so in a healthy, safe environment. Our goal must be to support reproductive self-determination for all women – including the ability to protect one's reproductive health, to access family planning services and accurate health information, to end a pregnancy, to bear and raise healthy children, and other important forms of reproductive and social empowerment.
Visit these organizations to learn more:
- SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
- Trust Black Women
- Forward Together
- Strong Families
- SPARK Reproductive Justice Now
- National Organization for Women's Reproductive Justice Page
- Law Students for Reproductive Justice
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