'Reproductive justice' scholar admits abortion is key concern

Toni Airaksinen
Contributor

  • Loretta Ross, the Hampshire College professor who helped coin the term "reproductive justice," recently acknowledged that abortion is at the very heart of the concept.
  • "Reproductive justice" is typically presented as general advocacy of "health care for women," but Ross makes clear that "any health care plan must include coverage for abortions" in order to satisfy the conditions of "reproductive justice."
  • The Hampshire College professor who popularized the term “reproductive justice” has admitted in a recent academic journal article that abortion is the key issue of concern. 

    Loretta Ross—who has widely toured college campuses on the East Coast during the past academic year—published an article in the most recent issue of Souls entitled “Reproductive Justice as Intersectional Feminist Activism.”

    "We knew that abortion advocacy alone inadequately addressed the intersectional oppressions of white supremacy, misogyny, and neoliberalism."   

    Though the article focuses on how “reproductive justice” can be used as an advocacy tool to unite intersectional feminists in women’s health advocacy, it also reveals how the term itself primarily relates to abortion-rights advocacy.

    [RELATED: Prof to discuss 'reproductive justice in the age of Trump']

    As Campus Reform often reports, “reproductive justice” is regularly used as a euphemism for pro-abortion policy or programming. For example, the University of Minnesota recently attempted to hire an abortionist under the auspices of becoming a “Reproductive Rights” fellow. 

    In another example, the City University of New York is offering a “reproductive justice” fellowship. 

    Though that fellowship’s description is vague, it does note that hiring of the new fellow is contingent upon their willingness to work up to 30 hours a week at the local Planned Parenthood clinic.

    [RELATED: Students blast UMN’s ‘digusting’ plan to hire an abortionist]

    Advocates of reproductive justice typically downplay the prominence of abortion when using the term, focusing instead on how it applies to reproductive health issues such as birth control and sexual health. 

    But Ross, in her recent academic article, neatly described what exactly reproductive justice is intended to be about, recalling her experience as one of the architects of the term in 1994. 

    “We created ‘reproductive justice’ because we believed that true health care for women needed to include a full range of reproductive health services,” Ross wrote. “While abortion is one primary health issue, we knew that abortion advocacy alone inadequately addressed the intersectional oppressions of white supremacy, misogyny, and neoliberalism.” 

    For women especially, “any health care plan must include coverage for abortions, contraceptives, well-woman preventive care, pre- and postnatal care, fibroids, infertility, cervical and breast cancer, infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections,” she writes. 

    [RELATED: University to host panel on ‘reproductive justice’ activism]

    Ross also criticized the conservative opposition to abortion access, suggesting that pro-life supporters deceptively use feigned concern over unborn children to deprive women of the right to control their own body. 

    Pro-life supporters “try to use human rights language to claim that abortions are ‘crimes against humanity’ with no sense of irony. Apparently, women lose their human rights when pregnant,” she claimed. 

    Ross did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform. She has spoken in support of reproductive justice on numerous college campuses, including Hampshire College, Amherst College, U-Mass Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Barnard College, the University of Southern Maine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and many others. 

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Contributor
    Toni Airaksinen is a New Jersey-based Campus Reform contributor, and previously served as a Senior Campus Correspondent. Her reporting focuses on campus First Amendment, Title IX, Equal Opportunity, and due process issues, and her stories have been profiled by numerous outlets including Fox News, The New York Post, PBS News, and The Washington Examiner.
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