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Thomsen, Carly. “From Refusing Stigmatization Toward Celebration: New Directions for Reproductive Justice Activism.” Feminist Studies 39, no. 1 (2013): 149–58.;view=fulltext.


In this article, the author argues that despite the recent trend toward highlighting the differences between the reproductive rights and reproductive justice movements, one unfortunate similarity between the two is the “fear of celebrating abortion.” Noting various reasons for this shared attitude, including trying to address other reproductive rights issues beyond just abortion and attempting to make abortion rights more widely supported, the author uses two case studies of reproductive justice activism to suggest a new approach of “celebrating abortion.” The author argues that once we can recognize that women’s experiences with abortion – whether positive or negative – are just as socially constructed as our other ideas, then we can begin to rethink the approaches to abortion that the reproductive justice and rights movements currently rely on. Using Native American women’s response to the abortion ban in South Dakota – in comparison with more main stream reproductive rights organizations such as Planned Parenthood – and a student investigation of (and subsequent community education campaign about) crisis pregnancy centers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the author provides examples of activist groups that argued for abortion rights without suggesting that abortion is inherently difficult. The author argues that it is possible to frame abortion as one of many complex reproductive justice issues – not the most important – without framing abortion negatively. She concludes by calling for both the reproductive justice and rights movements to “make space” to celebrate abortion.


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Movement building   Coalitions   Legislation/policy   Government regulation   Race/ethnicity: Native American/Indigenous   Abortion   Youth   History   Population control   Eugenics