Women Share Why They Fight For Reproductive Justice


Welcome back to ordinary equality. I'm jimmy wilson a writer editor and feminist activist. And i'm kate. Kelly human rights attorney and feminist activist. Today we're talking about an issue that has been undercurrent of a lot of what we've covered so far reproductive justice it's a framework created by black women to center our needs in the midst of a movement that has ignored us for far too long. This episode we're going to discuss some of the reproductive injustice. That continued post emancipation. And how it spurred the founding of a movement bill to address the inequity and the mistrust caused by centuries of reproductive oppression at the end of the episode will learn white folks myself included can do to better center marginalized and underrepresented voices in this conversation. And what organizations are doing on the ground to ensure reproductive justice the slave breeding industry we discussed in episode three left a painful and persistent legacy in this country. Professor jennifer morgan talked about how the historic commodification of black bodies set the stage for ongoing mistreatment of folks embedding generational trauma that persists today that shamas sits beneath much more recent oppression of reproductive rights throughout most of the twentieth century. Eugenics campaigns flourished in the united states quickly becoming the dominant scientific view. The goal was to exterminate all so-called undesirable qualities in society through often-forced selective breeding and sterilization mental illnesses criminal records unwanted racial traits low intelligence levels and even poverty were considered undesirable indicators leading scientists. Believed that all these traits could and should be selectively bred out of the human population by any means necessary as we now know all of these ideas have since been proven to be as false as they are immoral. Time and time again. In the heyday of eugenics thirty-three states allowed involuntary sterilization on groups lawmakers claimed were unfit have children in california mental institutions. Alone about twenty thousand for sterilizations between nineteen o nine and nineteen seventy-nine unsurprisingly. People of color in immigrants were far more likely to be selected as an undesirable group worthy for sterilization mainstream. Scientists pushed these views. As fact margaret sanger the founder of planned. Parenthood got involved in the eugenics movement as she tried to promote reproductive rights. On october sixteenth. Nine hundred sixteen sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the united states. In order to push the idea of birth control rights forward. She consorted with leaders in the ever growing eugenics movement. She even personally advocated for selective breeding herself in one thousand nine hundred ninety one article. She wrote quote. The most urgent problem. Today is how to limit and discourage the over fertility of the mentally and physically defective as damning as that is. There's more to the story. Here's loretta ross. A professor at smith college and former national coordinator of sister song women of color reproductive justice collective on sanger's legacy her involvement in movement. But i also contextualized wbz devos was vaulted with the jenex movement. And so because it was a popular pseudoscience at that time a lot of people were involved in it. And so to single out margaret sanger as the demon is trying to eliminate the black race is just bad historical research because in fact. She was far ahead of her time. Even i called in a sectional list one day because in nineteen teams retired nineteen sixteen. She about poverty. She wrote about racism she wrote about all the inner sexual issues. We're talking about now. One hundred years later she was so ahead of her time and so she was an accident. Early intersection analyst. Who made some mistakes. But then everybody i know. Who's a human being makes. Mistakes if i wanted to do an analysis of everything dr martin luther king junior it wrong. It's an attention. But maybe they demonize him as they do margaret sanger. Many anti-choice advocates claim. That singer sought to eliminate black people from america altogether. That couldn't be less true. She focused the spread of birth control on poor communities many of which were largely populated with people of color. But it's because they were more likely to be susceptible to unwanted pregnancies and she wrote in one thousand nine fourteen enforced. Motherhood is the most complete denial of women's right to life and liberty. It's definitely disturbing to read about many of sanger's eugenic spaced beliefs. Today though she later repudiated everything. About the idea of selective breeding we still have to contend with the damage her involvement in the movement when a well known figure participates in such a harmful ideology it may provide others the justification to do the same. Her language may also have sowed increased wariness and communities of color after atrocities committed by nazi germany on earth. The terror born from the disgusting ideology of eugenics the vocal public support for the movement fizzled and most sleep died in the united states. But for sterilization continued behind the scenes for decades and still takes place today as we'll discuss later in the

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