Reproductive Justice

What is reproductive justice?

Reproductive Justice (RJ) is a movement that believes real choice and control over our bodies and ourselves comes when we first have the power and resources to make those decisions.  It’s about working to create a space where everyone has what they need to create the kind of family that they want.
 
It recognizes that the fight for reproductive freedom is linked to the struggles for immigrant, worker, and queer rights; economic and environmental justice; an end to violence against women and girls; and access to health care and education that affirms our identities and our bodies.
 
The three basic tenets of reproductive justice include:
(1) the right to have children and to decide how many and under what conditions you give birth;
(2) the right to not have children; and
(3) the right to parent one's own children in safe & healthy environments.

What is the history of reproductive justice?

The movement toward reproductive justice was born out of the need to connect reproductive health and rights, social justice, and human rights, and was led by women of color who understood reproductive rights issues to encompass more than just access to abortion. It recognizes that we have many identities, some of which have been used to give us privilege and some that have been used to hold us back, and that they are all connected.

What are the guiding principles of reproductive justice?

ICAH operates from a framework that both challenges reproductive justice to grow in its focus and inclusivity,while remaining rooted in its guiding principles:

Developing Leaders for Tomorrow
Nearly half of the world's population is under the age of 18 and they make up 100% of the future. ICAH believes in increasing opportunities for youth decision-making and leadership with family, school, healthcare, and other systems that impact their reproductive health and freedom. We commit to investing in communities to support existing leadership, while developing the abilities of young people to become the reproductive justice change agents taking the movement into its next 30 years. Leadership development is a deliberate and long-term process based on the idea that leaders are cultivated rather than born.

Honoring Knowledge
Our lived experiences make us an expert on our bodies, genders, sexualities, families, lives, and communities. We trust that all people have the inherent strength to know what’s best for themselves, their families, and their communities and we believe that increasing access to sexual healthcare, information, resources, and education is essential for young people to make truly informed decisions about their lives. We support self-determination and the full expression of all identities at every stage of life.

Organizing as a Strategy to Build Power
Organizing is an essential and crucial strategy in creating and maintaining social change. Reproductive justice uses grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, and alliance building as principal strategies to build a strong base of support. ICAH is currently building diverse networks of empowered youth and allied adults to create sustainable change in family, school, and healthcare networks. As a movement, we are most powerful when we include all communities and develop youth leadership by harnessing their talents and building their skills, analysis, and confidence to be powerful.

Where can I find more information on reproductive justice and RJ organizations?

Forward Together provides for a framework for thinking about reproductive health, rights, and justice and stresses the importance of integrating all three strategies into the fight for human rights and reproductive freedom. Read their report, A New Vision, to find out more.

Read more about reproductive justice movements and organizations in the US:

 

Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
226 S Wabash Ave, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: 312.427.4460
Fax: 312.427.0757
Email: info@icah.org
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