Racial Discrimination. Reproductive Justice

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1 If you really care about Racial Discrimination Then you should care about Reproductive Justice Jill C. Morrison National Women s Law Center

2 About this series Developed to address intersection between Reproductive Justice and other progressive issues. Introduces Reproductive Justice to new communities that may only know of reproductive rights advocacy that focuses on abortion and contraception. Educates on RJ s three components in a context with which other progressives are familiar. 2

3 So far includes Intimate Partner Violence (October 6 th ) Race Discrimination (today) Education (October 20 th ) Environmental Justice (October 27 th ) Please let us know if there are other issues you d like to see explored through an RJ lens! 3

4 What is Reproductive Justice? What distinguishes it from the traditional reproductive rights movement? What are its components? How does it relate to social justice movements generally? 4

5 The Reproductive Justice Movement was Created as a Response to Movements that Failed to Meet the Needs of Communities of Color 5

6 What distinguishes RJ from the traditional reproductive rights movement? The traditional reproductive rights frame focuses on liberty, autonomy and equality, while the Reproductive Justice (RJ) movement places reproductive health and rights within a social justice framework. RJ acknowledges that each person s ability to effectuate their rights is uniquely shaped by social injustices including: poverty, racism, sexism and gender identity discrimination, heterosexism, language discrimination and disablism. 6

7 What are the components of Reproductive Justice? The right of individuals to: have the children they want raise the children they have, and plan their families through safe, legal access to abortion and contraception 7

8 How does Reproductive Justice relate to social justice movements generally? Reproductive Justice requires that all people have the resources, as well as the economic, social, and political power to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction. The goal is not governmental non-interference in reproductive decision-making. To the contrary, the government plays a key role in remedying social inequalities that contribute to reproductive oppression. 8

9 RJ takes a historical perspective on reproductive health and rights What women are encouraged or discouraged to have children changes over time depending on needs of those in power. Societal perceptions of different women s decision to not have children or to have children. Policies are therefore intended to encourage or discourage reproduction among certain women. 9

10 Race discrimination effects income, and reproductive justice outcomes Healthy sexuality Rates of sexual violence STD and HIV rates Unintended pregnancy rates Abortion rates 10

11 Reproductive justice outcomes cont. Having the children we want Infant mortality Maternal mortality Infertility rates Access to infertility treatments; gamete donation Raising the children we have Drug war and over-incarceration Foster care placement Termination of parental rights Child neglect 11

12 Racial and sexual stereotypes Asian women are trafficked as forced laborers, including sex workers, and some who enter brokered marriages with American men seeking submissive brides end up in abusive and exploitive relationships. Latina women are also stereotyped as oversexed exotics or sexually repressed, due to their Catholic faith. Those waging the battle for immigration restrictions continue to blame hyper-fertile Mexican women for state s problems. 12

13 Racial and sexual stereotypes cont. During slavery, White women, humiliated by their husbands sexual use of slaves, cast women of African descent as exotic temptresses rather than victims. These sexualized racial stereotypes of Black women as willing, available and insatiable was systematically perpetuated after slavery ended, and led to a failure to prosecute rapes against Black women. 13

14 Victims do not seek help because Criminal Justice System is hostile to People of Color A Woman of Color who is victimized may not report for fear that she will not be believed or that police will not devote adequate resources to finding the actual perpetrator, thus making the risks of filing a complaint outweigh the possible benefits. A woman may be reluctant to identify her abuser for fear of being rejected by her community for attempting to seek legal redress from a system that so often denies justice to People of Color. In states where being an undocumented worker is a crime, if you are undocumented, where do you turn when you are victimized? 14

15 Discrimination and access to health insurance Asian-American and Pacific Islander women and Latinas are disproportionately represented in some low-income sectors that do not provide insurance, including domestic services, home-health aids and childcare. Black women are just as likely as White women to have their own employer-based insurance, but they are half as likely to have insurance through a family member. 35% of American-Indian/Native Alaskan women, 36.6% of Hispanic women, 22.6% of Black women, and 18.5% of Asian-American and Pacific Islander women are uninsured. This compares to a rate of 12.6% for Non-Hispanic Whites. 15

16 Abortion Access Hyde Amendment disproportionately impacts Women of Color. Women of Color disproportionately suffer conditions that can make pregnancy more dangerous, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma, obesity and hypertension. Barriers to access are exacerbated for all low-income women, including cost, transportation, and time off of work. 16

17 The right to have children Contrary to claims made by those who oppose abortion on the grounds that it is Black Genocide, the RJ movement explicitly opposes attempts to limit births by Women of Color or otherwise control their childbearing and seeks to empower women in their efforts to parent. 17

18 RJ opposes policies intended to limit childbearing by Low-Income Women The Mississippi appendectomy. Testing of contraceptives in Puerto Rico thought to kill two birds with one stone. Encouraging contraceptive use as a solution to overpopulation. 18

19 Coercive Policies Welfare policies based on belief that poor women are only motivated to have children to get more money. Current state family caps CLASP report 66.pdf Policies conditioning benefits or paying bonuses for using long-acting contraceptives that have serious side effects and need a doctor s assistance to remove. 19

20 The right to raise children Native American children were removed from their parents and placed in boarding schools intended to civilize children. Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the impact of the drug war on parental rights Child neglect laws that punish parents for being poor, rather than providing meaningful support to families living in poverty. Over-incarceration, with women placed hundreds of miles (thousands in the Federal system) from their children. 20

21 How You Can Combat Racial Discrimination and Support Reproductive Justice Recognize that the unique barriers to Reproductive Justice faced by Women of Color are a result of intersecting forms of discrimination based on race and gender. Advocate for public benefit polices that provide fair and meaningful support to all women and families. Fight against racial and sex discrimination and stereotyping, which contribute to sexual oppression and punitive policies against Women of Color, especially those who are mothers. Speak out against the myth of Black genocide and affirm the right of all women to make their own reproductive decisions based on their own lives. Support the strong enforcement of all civil rights laws and oppose efforts to dismantle affirmative action. 21

22 Resources Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross and Elena Gutierrez (2004). Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty Dorothy Roberts (1997). 22

23 23

24 Georgia Abortion Coalition Overview Heidi Williamson National Advocacy Coordinator July 8, 2010

25 Our Challenge in Georgia

26 The Legislative Effort HB 1155 Prohibited the solicitation of abortion Established a new criminal code for criminal abortion Penalizes doctors under racketeering laws for performing a criminal abortion or coercing abortion SB 529 Re-defines term of coercion to broadly include both solicitation & negligent intent to do harm. Established a new criminal code for criminal abortion Penalizes doctors under racketeering laws for performing a criminal abortion or coercing abortion Created exceptions for violating doctor-patient privileges. Rep. Toney Collins (D) was one of two African American men to sign on to HB After voters lobbied his fiancé, he rescinded support.

27 Who s Behind This Campaign? A New Coalition of Opponents Georgia Right to Life Catherine Davis (Black Republican) Radiance Foundation Ryan Bomberger Anti-Obama Conservatives Secret meeting on St. Simon s Island in 2009 after election after Trent Franks (R- Az) introduces federal Prenatal Non- Discrimination Act in 2008 as state model

28 Funding Our Opponents Specific Right-Wing Foundations Bradley Foundation Castle Rock Foundation (Coors Family Members) Olin Pioneer Fund Pioneer: secondary collection of articles and research (ISAR/Mehler) Scaife-related Foundations (Richard Mellon Scaife) Sarah Scaife Foundation Scaife Family Foundation Allegheny Foundation Carthage Foundation Scaife: secondary collection of articles and research (CNN) Smith Richardson Foundation U.S. Inc. (Source: Political Research Associates)

29 Effective Allies and Strategic Funding for our Opponents

30 Goals of the Opposition Drive racial wedge in Pro-Choice Movement Drive gender wedge among African American voters Split progressive voters of all races Legislation to ban abortions State-based challenges to Roe v. Wade

31 Tactics of the Opposition Misleading statistics Number of abortions in Georgia Reasons for abortions in Georgia Placement of clinics in Black neighborhoods Misleading testimonies White girl forced to abort Black baby Not new crimes or attacks on doctors Misleading historical evidence Eugenics/Genocide History of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger Misleading representatives Faked or misleading endorsements (Georgia NAACP) African American spokespersons Religious Appeals

32 How We Won in Georgia! Built broad coalition of groups Leadership of women of color Research to produce accurate facts and evidence Planned media strategy Drove wedge into opposition base Careful legislative strategy Broad local and national support

33 Winning Tactics Grassroots Mobilization Letters and s to legislature Community forums Educating base of supporters Street-level campaign like changing billboards

34 Dueling Billboards

35 Winning with Media Message Discipline Trust Black Women & Self-Determination Message Universal Traditional mainstream media interviews Comments/blogs on media websites after articles Internet/Web 2.0 strategies like blogs, alerts YouTube film Press Conference Trust Black Women Develop database of reporters and bloggers

36 Winning with Research Data and Research Challenge their false data Number of clinics in Black neighborhoods Sex selective abortions no data for Georgia Present our own facts Reasons why Black women have abortions Actual placement of clinics in state 15 with 4 in Black communities Margaret Sanger and African American Allies

37 Winning on Policy Policy Collaboration Educate Allies & Friends locally and nationally Target Progressive Legislators, especially Black Women Work with Progressive People of Faith Strategic use of experts like doctors, lawyers, lobbyists Divide their base by working with moderates

38 Coalition Partners LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS SisterSong Reproductive Justice Collective SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! Feminist Women s Health Center Planned Parenthood of Southeast Region Raksha (Asian American Domestic Violence) SisterLove (Women s HIV/AIDS) NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Black Women for Reproductive Justice Black Women s Health Imperative Generations Ahead Center for Reproductive Rights National Women s Law Center NARAL Pro-Choice America Planned Parenthood Federation of America Reproductive Health Technologies Project

39 State Legislative Trends Nebraska: banned most abortions after 20 weeks on the theory that that s when the fetus can feel pain. Mississippi: passed bill forbids public financing of abortion, even in cases of severe birth defects. Oklahoma: the legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto to pass two abortion laws. One requires women, even those seeking to end a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, to have an ultrasound and have the fetus described to them. The other prevents mothers from suing doctors who withhold information about fetal birth defects. Florida: legislature passed bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. Even if the women don t want to see the image, the doctor must still describe it to them.

40 Moving Forward Together Focus Group and Polling Research Message Development for African American community Southern Regional Reproductive Justice Coalition Training Materials & Toolkits Film on Billboards & Legislation Regional Organizing Nodes

41 Trust Black Women (TBW) is a partnership of women from many different organizations, regions and religious backgrounds developed in We are young and older women working together. We are both pro-choice and pro-life, and are not divided over the misleading debate on abortion. Our Values: Trust Black Women seeks to increase respect, maintain dignity, and support Black women and girls with implementing reproductive health decisions that are personal, appropriate, accessible, and affordable. All women should be able to maintain their integrity when accessing reproductive health services. Black women should have self-determination to exercise basic human rights when implementing their decisions, and not be subjugated to the political winds, media campaigns and/or environment prevalent in government or society that hinders a woman's ability to control her body and destiny. Trust Black Women will challenge those who seek to undermine our autonomy, respect, integrity, and dignity as Black women.

42 Strategic Goals of the Trust Black Women Partnership 1. Community-based Mobilizations 2. Communications Campaign & Materials 3. Law and Policy 4. Leadership Development, Capacity- Building, and Coordination 5. Research

43 Collective Challenges Funder Indifference or Time Lags Limited capacity/infrastructure in African American community Competition among RJ groups for funding and visibility Expense of research on messaging Stigmatization of abortion

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