Category: Reproductive Justice

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 →

Artificial Wombs and Decriminalizing Abortion

After the announcement of the successful animal trials of a partial artificial womb in 2017, an image of a tiny pink lamb fetus floating in a transparent bag briefly became ubiquitous.1 Mortality and health complications for premature babies born before 28 weeks remain high, in large part because their fragile lungs have not yet developed… Read more →

Breastfeeding During War

The fireworks began at 7 pm, and my anxiety, already made worse by sleep deprivation, was heightened. I had just returned home with my newborn from a traumatic birth experience, and we were struggling to learn to breastfeed and find a sleeping pattern. That evening, after a lot of fuss, I had finally put her… Read more →

The Eugenicists on Abortion

Clarence Thomas recently issued a twenty-page opinion on the Supreme Court decision Box v. Planned Parenthood that went viral because he drew on Margaret Sanger, founder of the first birth control clinic in the U.S., and her connection to eugenics in order to argue that abortion is and historically has been a tool to control… Read more →

This is Not a Culture of Life, This is a Culture of Un-Death

Last week at a Vatican conference on abortion, Pope Francis “argued that children who were not expected to live long after birth deserved to be treated in the womb ‘with extraordinary pharmacological, surgical and other interventions.’” He intimated that parents who did not use extraordinary measures were not caring for their children, saying that “Taking… Read more →

Labor, Birth, and Superstitions

On the morning that my daughter-in-law went into labor, a small bird crashed into our apartment window and lay dead on the terrace. At least that’s what I assumed happened when I saw its small black and yellow body lying on its side. Our internet research told us it was a Blackburnian Warbler, a bird… Read more →