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Cook, Rebecca J., and Bernard Dickens. “From Reproductive Choice to Reproductive Justice.” Feminism & Psychology 16 (2009): 106–9.


In this article, Rebecca Cook and Bernard Dickens provide a history of where reproductive rights have improved (consent and doctor confidentiality) and where they still lag behind (access to contraception, abortion, information transparency) globally. They begin at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, where the human rights movement adopted reproductive rights into its platform. Both domestic courts and international tribunals have helped legitimize and substantialize reproductive rights in a human rights context. Staying true to the title of their article, the authors argue that judicial decisions to “protect and advance reproductive health shows the success and wider potential of advocacy that moves from a reproductive choice paradigm to an emphasis on reproductive justice” (1) While progress has largely been made by the court system and internationally-based committees that call on nations to uphold the human rights framework, the authors note that access to contraception has, in some instances, been banned or severely limited since 1994. Cook and Dickens lay a foundation in turning the concept of reproductive choice into reproduction justice by highlighting the adoption of reproductive rights into a human rights framework. They also defend this notion by citing examples of global court interventions that have upheld or protected a woman’s right to gather all necessary information to make a self-determined decision involving what she does with her body. This article is a great beginning read that outlines a chronological history of events pertaining to reproductive rights from a global perspective. It is relatively straightforward and understandable for someone looking to gain insight into the reproductive justice framework. This article assumes that the reader knows the difference between reproductive choice and reproductive justice and so builds on this understanding to demonstrate how reproductive justice can be and is being achieved.  


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New to RJ   Human rights   Abortion   Contraception/birth control   History