Saturday, March 29, 2008

WAM!: Reproductive Rights/Justice Framework

One of the most useful parts of this panel is that the women on this panel (Emily Douglas of RH Reality Check, Aimée R. Thorne-Thomse from the Pro-Choice Public Education Project, Cristina Page of Birth Control Watch, and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon) are young and contemporary, but they've also lived though the journey from the pro- and anti-choice framework to reproductive justice. A lot of the national messaging in the 1990s was around privacy and coathangers, but that messaging was largely ineffective to young women, especially young women of color. The pro-choice movement still struggles to encompass the social and reproductive justice aspect of where the debate is now. By framing reproductive rights around health care access, reproductive technology, and environmental justice, the pro-choice movement can blow the pro-lifers out of the water. The problem is that so much of the institutional framework is still focused on Roe v. Wade -- a name that few young women these days really identify with.

Page brought up the history behind the op-ed she co-authored with a pro-lifer from Michigan called "The Right to Agree." She thought the facts were on the side of the pro-choice movement and not on the side of the pro-life movement. (Page noted that she differentiates between people in America that are pro-life and the pro-life movement that is largely made up of radicals.)

Changing the framework around reproductive rights and reproductive justice. Page pointed out that the mainstream media is uncomfortable with conversation around abortion. (Jon Stewart refused to have Page on his show when she wrote her book How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America because "abortion just isn't funny.") And, as Amanda pointed out, it's hard to drive the fight when you constantly have to respond to attacks by the pro-life movement like the whole "abortion hurts women" framework.

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