Reproductive Rights Activism in the Post-Roe Era

  • Anti- Abortion have curtailed women’s access to abortion:
    • laws and policies
    • appointment of anti-abortion judges/justices
    • campaigns that stigmatize abortion, women, providers
    • criminal attacks on clinics
    • result? abortion still stands for now but obtaining a safe legal abortion is not an option for many women

“Since the US Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion (Roe v Wade), there has been a constant and broad attack on all aspects of women’s reproductive and parenting rights. The consequences have been devastating, especially for women whose race, age, legal, or economic status makes them targets of dis-crimination” (Fried 1).

Summary: After Roe anti-abortion movement gaines major momentum. Ronald Reagan further perpetuated this momentum with the New Right. Grassroots Abortion rights advocacy had declined, thinking the legalization was secure and that focusing on making abortion accessible and affordable was the next step (Fried 1)

“Mainstream abortion rights organizations dedicated themselves to defending Roe v Wade under the rubric of “choice.” They appealed to the privacy right that was at the core of the Supreme Court decision. They did not prioritize the threats to access, and deliberately moved away from talking about women’s rights, sexuality, and abortion. These were strategic decisions, taken with the belief that this approach would appeal to the broadest constituency of voters. Until recently, this limited notion of“choice” has remained the dominant framing for abortion rights advocacy”(Fried 1).

Summary: Many have put women of color and low-income families at the center of an expansive reproductive rights agenda. A dual focus on racial and reproductive justice, working to integrate both. Many women of color took the victory of roe with caution likely because of the long history of abuse that has shaped their reproductive lives. From National Council of Negro Women Black Woman’s Voice in 1973: “Bitter experience has taught the Black woman that the administration of justice in this country is not color blind. We must be ever vigilant that what appears on the surface to be a step forward, does not in fact become yet another fetter or method of enslavement” (Fried 2).

Summery cnt: indeed 1976 = Hyde Amendment > Banning federal Medicaid funding for abortion. Many WOC, poor women saw their abortion rights evaporate right there.(Fried 2).

1984 The National Black Women’s Health Project catylsted formation of other WOC coalitions, they had to > The mainstream pro-choice movement had essentially sent the message that WOC and Poor were not the top priority (they hardly responded to Hyde) (Fried 2).

These organizations shifted the focus of reproductive rights. 2005 Asian communities for reproductive justice:

“the complete physical, mental,
spiritual, political, social, and
economic well-being of women
and girls, based on the full
achievement and protection of
women’s human rights” (Fried 2).

Sum: This shift located women’s autonomy in human rights rather than individual choice or privacy this set reproductive rights apart from pro-choice policy (Fried 2).

Organizations dedicated to advancing youth issues and leadership include Choice USA, Third Wave, Young Women’s Empowerment Project, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College, Advocates forYouth, and the Feminist Majority Foundation (Fried 3).

making abortion public health issue plays critical role in reproductive justice >”dispelling myths that masquerade as as science” (Fried 3).

“When Rush Limbaugh called law-school student Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she advocated the inclusion of contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act, he revealed the misogyny that has pervaded the Right’s attack on women’s reproductive rights and sexuality. Countering the demonization of women—especially those who are poor, young, and of color—must be an ongoing priority for the reproductive justice movement. Women telling their own stories has been one of the most powerful strategies”(Fried 3).

How abortion and reproductive rights are framed is also relevant. Many of the leading
advocacy voices in Congress and in the public continue to talk about abortion in ways that perpetuate
stigma. Arguing that abortions should be rare, that prevention is the most important goal, and that
banning public funding is a policy set in stone all imply that abortion is a necessary evil. Alternative
framings of abortion as a matter of justice, human rights, survival, and public health provide positive
ways of inspiring future activism (Fried 3).

MLA citation: Fried, Marlene Gerber. “Reproductive Rights Activism in the Post-Roe Era.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 103, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 10–14. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301125.

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