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Luna, Zakiya. “From Rights to Justice: Women of Color Changing the Face of US Reproductive Rights Organizing.” Societies without Borders: Human Rights and the Social Sciences 4, no. 3 (2009): 343–64.


The article offers historical and contemporary analysis of the foundational framework for reproductive justice organizing in the U.S., using SisterSong as a case study. The author explains that the reproductive justice movement takes a broad approach to advocacy by realizing a full range of human rights, including social and economic, as compared to the narrow focus on legal and civil rights that characterizes the mainstream reproductive rights movement. Relying upon interviews, participant observation, and program documents, the author shows how SisterSong both educates its participants on human rights and utilizes a rights framework to challenge race- and class-based inequities that limit reproductive freedom. The organization, founded and run by women of color, engages a holistic approach to address concerns marginalized in the mainstream, predominantly white, reproductive health movement, including advocating for conditions to have and raise a healthy family, as compared to an emphasis primarily on abortion. Luna explains and explores the contemporary use of human rights language in reproductive justice activism and organizing. The author leaves the reader with a cautious sense of promise, noting that a human rights approach can help work towards the goal of social justice, so long as the movement can retain respect for the “lived complexity” of multiple intersecting gender, race, and class identities.  As one of the first articles to document and analyze this transformative social movement, it offers crucial information about the frames and perspectives informing reproductive justice.


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Human rights   Abortion