What is Reproductive Justice?
Reproductive Justice is often associated with the right to have an abortion. However, Reproductive Justice may encompass anything from Environmental Justice to Immigrant Rights. Access to clean water in Flint , Michigan is a Reproductive Justice issue. Children of immigrants being forcibly separated from their parents in detention centers is an issue of Reproductive Justice. Judges offering freedom in exchange for voluntary sterilization and birth control is an issue of Reproductive Justice. Black women, regardless of socioeconomic status, are 3 to 4 times more likely to die than white women from pregnancy related complications. SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice, “ as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.”
Correcting Reproductive Injustices
One of the greatest obstacles in combating reproductive injustices is lack of education. Many members of the marginalized groups affected are not aware that the issues they face are caused by intersecting oppression. Reproductive rights can be approached from a purely statistical approach that observes data rather than an experience. Experiences are not easily quantified and require the collector to understand how their own biases affect the data sets produced. Those same data sets are often created by a person who is unaware of all of the variables necessary to make informed and credible decisions about the marginalized or affected communities. Traditionally, the communities most affected by policies are not given the same opportunities to speak on the issues that impact them as the experts in those respective fields. However, social media is revolutionizing how stories are told.
The Volume of Social Media
Social media creates an opportunity to allow users to tell their stories in their own words and mediums. From instances of injustice being filmed for millions to mothers sharing stories of not wanting to be mothers, social media is a powerful tool used to tell stories. Campaigns like the #MeToo Movement gain traction from social media users and have become a catalyst for change. Social media gives marginalized groups access to audiences from every location and demographic. The faces of Reproductive Justice are now more diverse than ever. Professionals such as sex therapists, social workers, and doulas foster relationships that allow them to disseminate credible information to their followers. Social media validates the voices of the marginalized communities who have been traditionally muted or forced to pick a single issue in their intersectional existences. Reproductive Justice is not a single-issue problem, and social media is allowing users of all background an opportunity to voice their experiences.