Category: Reproductive Justice

Abortion Rights and the Eugenic and Racist Origins of Having It All

As we await the high-stakes decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, state legislatures have been proposing and passing restrictions on access to abortion knowing that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming months. On May 2, a leaked draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito indicated… Read more →

Deep in the Heartbeat of Texas

On September 1, 2021, Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, went into effect. A heartbeat, or “cardiac activity,” can be detected with a transvaginal ultrasound as early as six weeks from the date of the pregnant person’s last period. Because few people know they are pregnant… Read more →

An Untold Story: Black Maternal Mortality in the United States

In April 2016, Kira Johnson, 39, and her husband were excited to bring their second child into the world. After delivering via C-section, her husband noticed something wrong. He alerted the medical staff that there was blood in Kira’s catheter. While the staff promised to immediately do blood work and order a CT scan, it… Read more →

Making Sense of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

On December 1, 2021, the Supreme Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that threatens to unravel Roe v. Wade and legal abortion. I was teaching during the hearing, so – struggling to understand what was happening – I read the transcript the next day. And then I read it again because… Read more →

How To Be a Reproductive Justice Clinic Escort

On a hot Saturday morning in August 2018, I drove to my first clinic escorting shift. Earlier that week, I had read through a handbook of guidelines for clinic escorting. It encouraged escorts to resist sharing their name with any anti-abortion protesters, giving them a fake name to conceal their identity instead. On my drive… Read more →

Peering Into Windows and Wombs: Reflections on SB 8

I thought about Dr. Curtis Boyd when I heard that the Supreme Court greenlit Texas’s unprecedented abortion restrictions. In the 1960s, Dr. Boyd lived in a small town in southern Texas. There, he provided illegal abortions to thousands of women who traveled across the United States to see him. Some of the women who found… Read more →

Seeing Pregnant People: History, Empathy, and Reproductive Politics

On November 22, 1863, New Yorker Charles F. Robertson testified in a deposition that, “About two months ago [his wife Letitia] suspected that she was in the family way and seemed almost crazy at the idea, and commenced taking medicine to bring on an abortion. She took blood root, tanzy, &c., and on the night… Read more →

The Good Friday Abortion Sermon; or, Why I Study Abortion History

Sometime around 2012, at a Good Friday service at the church my family had belonged to since before I was born, the pastor gave a sermon on abortion. The story he told was the classic pro-life narrative of a brave mother who, being informed that carrying her most recent pregnancy to term would lead to… Read more →

Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, and the Physicians Who (Still) Find Them Threatening

During the 2021 Louisiana legislative session, I took part in a campaign to eliminate an unnecessary law that has sexist, racist, and classist origins and effects. In doing so, I witnessed a striking contemporary iteration of the long patriarchal and racist history of medicine. Physicians organized a vehement response to what they viewed as a… Read more →

“ES LEY”: Argentina Legalizes Abortion

The flashing words “ES LEY” (It’s law!) marked the occasion: on December 30, 2020, Argentina’s Senate voted 38-29,with one abstention, to legalize abortion for any reason (“on demand”) in the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy. What’s more, public hospitals will provide the service free of charge. Argentina now joins its neighbor Uruguay, which legalized abortion… Read more →