What’s on Your Reproductive Justice Agenda?


Cross-posted from Women Have Options (WHO): Ohio.

So, this week was the 36th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, the law that prohibited using Medicaid to fund abortions. That law serves to make abortion accessible only to people with money to pay for it, or to pay for private insurance, or in states that have chosen to use their own funds to make it doable. Essentially, the law is a penalty on poor people. Part of my reproductive justice agenda is to overturn Hyde. But the anniversary also made me think about all the other things that I want when it comes to repro justice. A partial list (spoiler alert: most of them are really about ending capitalism):

  • I want people to never have to choose to have an abortion because they can’t afford another child. I want people to have their needs met enough that questions of economics can be separate from questions of family raising.
  • I want people to never have to choose to have an abortion because of disablism. This goes both ways: I want kids with disabilities and their parents to be supported enough that it isn’t a question of resources when it comes to raising kids with disabilities, and I want parents with disabilities to be supported enough that they know that they can parent well and thoroughly and that they will have a support network around them, whatever that needs to look like.
  • I want people to not be excluded from foster parenting and adopting based on disablist and classist criteria. I want rules like “People with certain mental illnesses cannot be foster parents” to be eliminated and I want actual reviews of actual people when it comes to parenting.
  • I want state services (if we have to have a state) to give people struggling with addiction the support and resources they need, instead of often racist and classist removal of kids from their homes. I also want clear and thorough and trained and resourced abuse screenings/screeners.
  • I want teen parents to be supported with whatever resources they need to live the lives they want and to raise their children with the networks they need.
  • I want an end to forced and coercive sterilization. This includes, for me, figuring out wtf to do with our legal guardianship system where people can speak for others (kids, adults with disabilities) and sterilize them. It also includes coercive rules around welfare, and pressure to get IUDs after abortions, and racism in our health care system that pressures women of color to be sterilized, and laws about trans people’s reproductive capacity in relation to legal status, and over-incentivized clinical trials for sterilization and long-term birth control, and undisclosed clinical trials.
  • I want people to be able to choose abortion freely, without needing to take economics into account, without having to wait/wade through roadblocks, without the number of weeks gestation playing into what they can do, without needing to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic.
  • I want people to have full (comprehensive, sex-positive, body-positive) sexual health information, full information and training and expectations around consent, full access to reproductive and physical and psychiatric health care, full access to both hormonal and barrier methods of birth control (oh, and the copper IUD if they want it).
  • I want an end to rape, to coercion, to sexual abuse and assault, to street harassment, to misogyny, to hetero-patriarchy, to racism, to disablism, to capitalism and the view of sexuality as an exchange. I want an end to non-consensual power dynamics. I want an end to domestic violence. I want people to be able to freely make decisions about their bodies and their sexualities.
  • I want the end to nations and borders. Failing that, I want having kids to not be impacted by nationhood or citizenship. I want kids to be able to get educated, I want preventative and ongoing health care for all people, I want families to be able to access supports and services regardless of whether or not they have documentation or citizenship status.
  • I want enough resources put into AIDS and other STIs that we actually fix that shit. No more super-gonorrhea.
  • I want people to make their own decisions about how they want to birth children, what interventions they want used, and how they want to raise their children. I want those decisions to be supported with physical and economic resources as needed. I want people to be able to make these decisions with full information about how their bodies, health statuses, etc., can be supported in each context.
  • I want us to look at parenting outside of hetero-patriarchy. I want us to figure out how to talk about misogyny and how that impacts reproduction and parenting, but I want us to do it in a way that is trans*-inclusive and doesn’t reduce people to language that they wouldn’t use.
  • I want everyone to have access to anti-racist and culturally-oriented/specific and sensitive health care and education, throughout their lives. I want a culture that values the contributions and work of people of color, particularly women of color, and that centers their concerns, needs, and voices.
  • I want people to be able to decide what is important to them around reproduction, families, and children, and be able to easily and consistently access the resources to make those things happen.

Added by others: “ I would add to the one about birth some more explicit stuff around demanding that all parents have access to skin on skin, breastfeeding support, and the ability to have anyone they consider family present before, during, and after the birth…” and “No one should have to be pushed into choosing adoption because of money, age, or other people who are convinced they can’t possibly do a good job. And people who relinquish their children without that pressure should be fully supported in the choice they made,” and “full and enthusiastic support for those choosing abortion from friends, family, and partners,” and Non-fear-based information about birthing options- home birth, hospital, birthing center and access to these choices regardless of income and education level.”

I am sure there is more! What am I missing?

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  • marlowe28

    As the daughter of an alcoholic father and a clinically depressed mother, I have to disagree with your goal of having mental illness removed as a disqualifier for foster or adoptive parents. Children deserve mentally healthy parents. Modern drugs are not as successful or reliable at relieving symptoms as the phamaceutical companies claim.

     

    As a person who worked as a child abuse investigator for years, I also object to the notion that no one should be advised to stop having children. My most recent case is a 27-year-oldd woman who has four children who were removed from her care becasue they were not being fed, clothed or schooled, protected from domestic violence and were frequently left home alone. The children were all under six. The woman is a prescription drug addict and the children’s fathers are in and out of jail. She’s never held a job for more than a week or so. The first time I met her, she told me that she wanted to have more children. I’m prohibited by my position from suggesting that she rethink that decision or offering her even information about temporary birth control unless she asks for it. Her two older children are both so disturbed that they cannot carry on a conversation. Do you honestly think this woman should be supported in her stated wish to have more children?

     

    I also can’t agree with your implication that the government should not interfere in how a parent wants to raise his or her child. Children need medical care, schooling, socialization and appropriate discipline. There will always be a push and pull between what is acceptable but the conversation should not be off the table.

     

    Frankly, I wonder if you’ve thought through all of your wishes.

  • thalwen

    In a perfect world, sure all people are qualified to be parents, all disabilities are manageable, all diseases are curable and violent crime and hats doesn’t exist.

    But the world isn’t perfect and some people should not adopt or be parents. This is why the family court system has moved away from children being a parent’s right and property to the best interest of the child. Abuse, mental illness, addiction, over-religiosity etc. can make a child’s life hell and they deserve better morally and legally. Of course we need to stop discriminating against same sex families and single parents but there are valid reasons for the government to be involved when the child is at risk.

    You also oppose “disablism” but want a cure for AIDS? I do not get why disability activists are so opposed to treating congenital disabilities but not acquired ones. I’d love a cure for AIDS and cancer and a lot of other conditions congenital or acquired. But in the real world conditions like AIDS are something that have to be managed and people who have them deserve equality and support. As do parents of disabled kids, as do mothers who abort to avoid a child being born with a fatal or devastating condition.

    Also, the idea that legal guardianship is bad is wrong. There are bad guardians like there are bad people everywhere(real world and all). Having had family and family friends with. Alzheimer’s, legal guardianship is a necessity. The same goes with other conditions where the person cannot decide for themselves, that’s just reality.

  • ljean8080

    if someone came to my town and liked my house,should it be given to them?i have lived here 54 years.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    According to the pedophile-serving RCC, if you’ve had any voluntary or involuntary sex, all sperm have the right to hijack your body for the next nine months, even if that permanently disables or even kills you.  According to forced-birthers, no woman owns her own body.  Imagine your dreaded illegals coming for your mortgage-free home as sperm instead to get a clue about your cognitive dissonance on autonomy issues.

  • jennifer-starr

    I don’t quite understand your  logic here–in what universe does no national borders translate to someone coming to steal your house?  

  • give-em-hell-mary

    She probably fears illegals squatting in her house whenever she runs errands.  Yet she has no problem with pedophile priests forcing unwanted fetuses to dangerously squat in all women’s bodies!

  • ljean8080

    in OBEYING THE LAW.Everyone here says never seperate a WOMAN from her young children,A woman in my area is seperated from her kids because she killed her 22 month old step-son by repeatly slamming his head into a door frame.should the fact she has kids mean she should have had a walk on it?she got 20 years.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    And yet you want to force such unfit women (and all other fit women) every time they have sex to risk unwanted pregnancies, no matter what risks the fetuses also face!

  • jennifer-starr

    Okay, I’m confused now.  Is this an extension of your ‘someone’s coming to steal my house unless we have borders’ meme, or are you going off on another tangent about illegals from the last article that you posted on? Or is it something else entirely?   Because I’d like you to point out anyone on here who thinks  or has ever said that an abusive mother should ‘have a walk on it’ if she hurts or kills her children. Your logic just astounds me, frankly. 

  • ljean8080

    you are BREAKING THE Law.when you break the law,you are punished.this do not seperate kids from their parents is B.S..If the parents did not want to do the time,they should not do the crime.

  • jennifer-starr

    Okay, Baretta. So you think that everyone who breaks the law in any way should immediately lose custody of their children, even if they haven’t abused or neglected them?  

    You know, you just have to love ‘pro-lifers’. You really do.  They weep and moan and pray over every precious unborn fetus, but don’t lose a moment’s sleep over the prospect of ripping living, born children from their parents’ arms and throwing them into the living hell that is our current  foster care system. Especially if they’re those ‘oh noes–awful, scary, brown, non-English speaking, not-‘real’ American’ people.

     

    (And don’t try to wriggle out of this by saying that there are good foster parents, because I already know this. I’ve seen good foster homes. And I’ve seen crappy ones.  And I also know that for a kid in the system, whether you get a good family or not is essentially a crapshoot) 

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Your English errors make me think you’re foreign as well!  Do you understand or care that our own criminal politicians and pedophile priests made life dangerous for illegals back in their own countries?  They couldn’t wait decades for your permission when they saw American-funded death squads surrounding their homes!

  • thalwen

    That’s why we have borders to keep people from taking your house.
    That’s why we have borders between States and countries, because someone having legal entry into an area is the same as giving them property rights to the entire area.
    I don’t even agree with the “no borders” idea but your point is just too good to pass by.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    And the same border concepts for privacy and protection also apply to women’s bodies.

  • thalwen

    So coming to the U.S. illegally is the same as murder? People have and will immigrate illegally. Some will take their kids, others will have kids post-immigration. The majority of illegals do not commit additional crimes and live like the rest of us. The kids grow up knowing only America as their country and they have some legal protections and some are citizens. The issue becomes, should children be seperated due to the illegal status of the parents when the family law standard, the best interest of the child favors non-separation. It is the equivalent of removing kids because the parent at one time smoked a joint. This is complicated with the immigration issues but it is beyond disingenuous to compare illegal immigration to murderer.

    I get it, you don’t like immigrants, they’re so…. brown and they speak languages you don’t understand. That just means you’re a bigot, who can’t even come up with semi-coherent excuses for your hate.

  • ljean8080

    back to the parent’s country of orgin.Mary,I was born in Mo.,I live in Il.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    Do you understand that your politicians blew their homes up with depleted uranium shells that cause birth defects, miscarriages, lung cancers and several hundred other diseases for the next 4.4 BILLION years?  Sending them “home” = death sentences for merely lawfully living there while American theothugs, banksters and CEOs covetted their resources!  You’re not pro-life and I know many illegal foreigners who write better English than you. :-(

  • jennifer-starr

    You do realize that if the children are born here, the fourteenth amendment states that they are automatically citizens, right? Even if their parents are not? 

  • ljean8080

    nt.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    I spoke with a retired US military intelligence officer assigned to Latin and Central America during the Cold War, and he was quite ashamed of and horrified by the deadly bio-war experiments carried out by Americans on inconvenient peasants in several countries.  Some experiments involved bombs.  One entire Amazon village was flown to Yucca Flats to be guinea pigs for A-bomb tests.  As for Mexico, many researchers believe GOP funders get their billions from Mexican drug cartels.   The GOP-pushed NAFTA destroyed the small Mexican family farm industry.  Displaced Mexican farmers and drug war refugees comprise the current immigrant wave.  Our depleted uranium shells have massively polluted the Balkans and the Middle East, not to mention several testing grounds here in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.

  • thalwen

    Here’s a hypothetical for you.

    Let’s say your parents were immigrants and you were a baby, let’s say they fled as refugees, were denied and stayed here regardless. They and you have lived your entire life in the United States. Do you self-deport to a country you have no memory of, don’t know the language, have no friends there nor no family that you know. Of course not, you wouldn’t be like those other, dirty immigrants who deserve that level of suffering, just the like the anti-choicers get to have their abortions and be out there condemning the sluts the next day. 

  • ljean8080

    for my citzenship.it made me angry that in the Dream act,becomming a citizen,was not one of the requirements.

  • jennifer-starr

    I go out and apply for my citizenship 

    Yes, because it really is just that easy. You just go out and apply.  It’s not like it’s months and months of lawyers, paperwork, travel and court dates *sarcasm*  And all of this is assuming that you knew you were illegal to begin with–many of these kids were too young to even realize. 

    it made me angry that in the Dream act,becomming a citizen,was not one of the requirements.

     Atrocious spelling and grammar aside, you do realize that the Dream Act would allow people to apply for permanent residency and to eventually gain citizenship?  And the requirements to even be considered for the program are actually pretty stringent.