off our backs the feminist newsjournal Apycom Java Applets
Volume 36, Number 4 2006
Cover 2006-4

special issue: women of color and reproductive justice
10 Introduction to Special Issue on Reproductive Justice
12 Reproductive Justice: the Ultimate Political Countermove
14 Understanding Reproductive Justice: Transforming the Pro-Choice Movement
20 My Divine Right to Choice
25 Forging New Alliances: Mobilizing Hip Hop Activists for Reproductive Justice
27 Women Warriors Help Stem the Tide in South Dakota
30 Secret Confessions of a Childless Black Woman
32 What We Deserve
33 Pro-Voice: A Vision for the Future
37 Immigrant Rights are Women’s Rights
41 It’s Time We Recognize: Young Women of Color Who Have Sex with Women Are At Risk for HIV Too!
44 LBGT Reproductive Rights: An Interview with Carmen Vazquez
48 Reporting on Prostituted Women in the News
51 How Many Do You Know?
53 Doctor, Don’t Judge Me: African American women and Reproductive/Preventive Health Care Experiences
56 Implanon: A New and Improved Bullet
59 Time to Take Care of Our Children
61 Does It Really Do A Body Good: The Politics of Native Breastfeeding
65 Midwives and Native Tradition
69 Prisons as Sites of Reproductive Injustice
72 Violent Interruptions
77 Doing What Is Medically Necessary

82 Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice

84 The Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology

86 Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America

94 Sinister Wisdom Issue on Death, Grief and Suffering

88 Women of Color and Reproductive Justice Resource List
90 National Women’s Studies Association: Looking at Resistance to Empire

2 News
7 In Memorium
96 Festivals
98 Letters
99 Dykes To Watch Out For
106 Ads

Cover Art: Quilt panel by Luz Rodriguez. Text at top reads, “My past don’t dictate who I am. I choose.”
Back Cover: Callie Porter-Border

Reproductive Justice:
Women of Color Define a Movement
Order it now

The stories and articles you will find in this issue of oob are moving, intense and utterly essential to a fuller understanding of reproductive rights. These articles tell what is lost when a Native culture’s midwife-assisted births at home are replaced by medicalized treatment plans and c-sections. They show the outrageous injustice of imprisoning a woman for self-aborting when she could afford neither an abortion nor a new baby and wanted to take care of her existing children. Environmental poisons make Native American mothers’ milk toxic for their newborns, but nothing is done to stop the pollution—yet a woman is imprisoned for drinking while nursing an infant because of the effect alcohol might have on the baby. Militias purportedly funded by the U.S. government wage war by kidnapping and forcibly impregnating women in the Democratic Republic of Congo; meanwhile, criminally neglectful U.S. prisons gratuitously mete out possibly unneeded hysterectomies with little room for consent, robbing women of even the opportunity to have children. Inadequate prenatal care for women in poverty means soaring rates of infant mortality, while the inability of impoverished moms to take care of their children means putting many up for adoption.
Some of these stories are graphic and disturbing—but they are the realities of many women’s lives—and the starting place for a new movement that is taking root in this country and internationally—a movement for reproductive justice. Women of color and their allies are organizing both locally and at the national level to do the work of beginning to redress these injustices. The national organization SisterSong, founded out of the international work of African American women in the early 1990s, is expanding its reach. Young women, hip hop feminists, are forming new and exciting coalitions. This movement is an intersectional movement, bringing together the perspectives of a diversity of women—African American, Latina, immigrant, native peoples—together with white allies and others. The leadership of women of color brings an inclusivity that has sometimes eluded a predominantly white pro-choice movement, and encompasses LGBT rights, a pro-sex viewpoint, and ways for women who are personally opposed to abortion to work together with pro-choice activists in a broader reproductive justice movement.
We at oob are excited to bring you this outsized issue of our magazine on this strong, vibrant movement. We have been honored to work with guest editors Loretta Ross, founder and the national coordinator of SisterSong, and Lynn Roberts, member of the SisterSong Collective and Assistant Professor of Community Health Education at Hunter College. Their hours of work and outreach to bring together the moving and important articles you see here are much appreciated. Women of color artists provided the stunning works you see reproduced in the pages of this special issue.
—the oob collective
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