Black women are the core of the nation’s economy, holding the front-line jobs, running small businesses, and are more often the single heads of households. If we are elevated through policy, including everything from paid leave to stimulus programs, the economy and larger community will benefit.
Our reproductive justice initiative seeks to influence policy and the surrounding systems to center Black women, femmes, girls and folks with a reproductive system so we can not just live, but thrive.
What is Reproductive Justice?
Reproductive Justice is a framework that addresses the systemic oppressions that disallow all people to access reproductive health and their reproductive rights as they decide, how they decide, when they decide. Unlike reproductive rights, Reproductive Justice goes beyond contraception, abortion access and the “my body, my choice” campaigns throughout the U.S. The framework demands consideration of all the ways reproductive health can be affected by other factors, such as race, religion or sexual orientation to financial, immigration or disability status to environmental conditions. “It’s about liberation and it’s about dismantling systems of oppression that make our lives hard in this country but also that make it impossible for us to have the access and the choices that we want to have” (Monica Simpson, 2019). Movement building and organizing are essential elements of Reproductive Justice. The focus on organizing women, girls, and gender/sex minoritized individuals and their communities to challenge structural power inequalities is the foundation on which reproductive rights and reproductive health are made real Ross, 2006).
Reproductive rights are centered around the legal right to access sexual and reproductive health care services like abortion and birth control.
Reproductive justice links reproductive rights with the social, political and economic inequities at both a system and individual level, that affect one’s ability to access and have choice in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health options (Adapted from Black Women’s Health Imperative).
Reproductive Justice Priorities
Reproductive justice movements can have many focus areas. At IBBG, we have named four priority areas where we focus our leadership, resources and energy to achieve reproductive freedom.
- Black Maternal Health
- Abortion Access
- Economic liberation
- Young People Movement Building
- Dismantle power systems
- Address intersecting systems of oppression and prioritizing race, class and gender
- Center and uplift the most impacted
- Join across issues and identities through a collective power building approach
- Acknowledge the assumptions around this work
- Build power and choice for folks navigating these various systems
Abortion access is an essential part of our reproductive health and any decisions about a person’s body should be made by them. We demand a future where abortion isn’t just legal, but also accessible, affordable and destigmatized. To reach that future, we must center those most impacted by barriers to care, including Black women, young people and people who are navigating financial hardships and/or living in rural communities.
Nebraskans are in danger of more restrictive laws to abortion access and potential a full abortion ban. Below are tools when advocating to keep healthcare choices, including abortions, with individuals not policymakers.
How to Respond to the Opposition
- Repeating opposition language or focusing on a specific point in pregnancy.
- Talking about specific “weeks,” “trimesters,” or “later abortion.” Focusing on % or numbers of abortions in first trimester
- Focusing on fetal diagnosis as the only reason for abortion later in pregnancy.
- Saying abortion should be “safe, rare and legal.”
- Referencing coathangers, back alley abortions, etc.
- Comparing abortion bans to other atrocities or their response to other movements. (e.g.: This will create an ‘Underground Railroad,’ or ‘Do we want to take advice from the ‘Texas Taliban’?)
- Call it an “abortion ban” that takes decisions away from Nebraskans and their medical providers.
- Health decisions “throughout a pregnancy” or “at different points in pregnancy” or “as the pregnancy progresses.” “Barriers make it harder for someone to get an abortion as soon as they decide.”
- Talk about the barriers to care and the impact of forcing someone to stay pregnant.
- Emphasize that abortion is a medical procedure and that health needs should drive decisions.
- Say that abortion is safe and that it must stay legal, What is risky and wrong is the criminalization of people who have abortions.
- Stay focused on key messages.
- Avoid reinforcing the opposition’s messaging and instead focus on the pregnant person.
- Focusing on weeks and trimesters leads to people thinking more about babies and less about the pregnant person or the impact of forcing someone to stay pregnant. Focusing on statistics doesn’t answer people’s questions about why a person may need an abortion… it implies fewer is better, which can be stigmatizing.
- Don’t position some reasons as “better” than others. It does not reflect the complex reality of why people have abortions later in pregnancy.
- Saying abortions should be rare can be stigmatizing, implying that abortion is not something that should be happening, thus it should be rare and reduced.
- We do not want to undermine the availability and safety of abortion now or in a future with more restrictive laws.
- Minimizes the experience and history of Black Americans. Language like “Texas Taliban” is xenophobic and Islamophobic.
Call & Email Scripts for contacting State Senators
Guidelines for crafting your testimony
Watch The NE Legislature
Find Your State Senator
Abortion Access Resources
Utilize this anti-racism toolkit co-created with IBBG, ACLU Nebraska and Black and Pink.