Reproductive Justice (RJ) is the human right to have a child, to not have a child, to parent the children that we have in healthy and safe environments, to make sure there aren’t food deserts or contaminated water or police bullets, conditions that do not make communities safe for the children we bring into the world. It’s rooted in the human rights framework.
Ultimately RJ is about the human right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. It doesn’t just focus solely on abortion, but it also unapologetically centers it. RJ also centers on the most marginalized and actively works to dismantle systems of oppression that historically have made it so that a choice is not always possible for marginalized communities — including women who are incarcerated.
Reproductive health care, sexual health and reproductive justice are essential components of holistic wellness for all women. Unfortunately, many women, especially BIPOC women, do not realize the power of their individual and collective voices in changing the narrative surrounding reproductive health care and advocacy.
We’ve been working to ensure reproductive justice by playing a leadership role in a women’s coalition that created the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative which protects women’s health care choices.
This proposal will affirm that every person has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which involves the right to make and carry out decisions without political interference about all matters relating to pregnancy, including birth control, abortion, prenatal care, and childbirth. Specifically, this measure will ensure that all Michiganders have the right to safe and respectful care during birthing, everyone has the right to use temporary or permanent birth control, everyone has the right to continue or end a pregnancy pre-viability, and no one can be punished for having a miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.
Emergent Justice was among the organizations that spent months collecting signatures to get the initiative on Michigan’s November 2022 ballot. Those signatures were delivered to Lansing by coalition leaders on Monday, July 11.