Black Lives, Black Futures, and Birth Justice
What does the fight for Birth Justice look like on the heels of the repeal of Roe v. Wade?
Reproductive Justice was first coined by Black women 30 years ago, so the struggle for reproductive justice has been a long one. There is no birth justice without centering the lives of Black birthing people, Black trans and queer folks, and those who have had abortions.
Highlights from our three Black-led grantee organizations that embody Black liberation and birth justice: Women Engaged, Sistersong, and Freedom, Inc.
Women Engaged (WE) is an organization based in Atlanta, GA, that supports Black women and young adults to become impactful leaders, key decision-makers, and effective agents for social change through voter engagement and reproductive justice advocacy and leadership development.
WE reminds us that there is no reproductive justice without Black women.
Let us honor the 12 mothers of reproductive justice–Toni M. Bond Leonard, Reverend Alma Crawford, Evelyn S. Field, Terri James, Bisola Marignay, Cassandra McConnell, Cynthia Newbille, Lorretta Ross, Elizabeth Terry, Able Mable Thomas, Winnette P. Willis, and Kim Youngblood – who moved this fight from choice to a matter of justice.
In a recent email, WE stated that “the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 was a devastating assault on the rights of birth givers in the U.S., but we must also recognize that those rights were tenuous and insufficient, to begin with. Even before the decision was overturned last year, restrictions to abortion access ran rampant throughout our country and plagued our communities (especially in Georgia). What’s equally disturbing is that maternal mortality rates of Black birth givers were — and continue to be — disproportionately high.”
In January, Sistersong and other reproductive justice leaders convened in Atlanta, GA for the RJ Leadership Summit. This historic summit took place on what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion—a decision that was overturned in 2022 leading to the loss of legal abortion in half the country.
The group of 40 organizations envisioned a new future for Reproductive Justice which came together in a joint statement.
From Sistersong, “We are very proud of the recent RJ Leadership Summit and the Visioning Futures for RJ statement it produced.”
In addition, Groundswell Action Fund supports the work of Freedom Action Now (Freedom Inc.) as they work on the Wisconsin state Supreme Court race to get better representation to fight an abortion ban law from 1849 that took effect when Roe was overturned.
There is a lawsuit to block it, but the outcome will depend on the state Supreme Court race happening Feb. 21st. Freedom, Inc. engages low- to no-income communities of color in Dane County, WI. Their mission is to achieve social justice by coupling direct services with leadership development and community organizing.
To learn more about Freedom Inc., visit freedom-inc.org.