Silliman, Jael Miriam, Elena R. Gutierrez, Loretta Ross, and Marlene Gerber Fried. “The Political Context for Women of Color Organizing in Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice.” In Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice. South End Press, 2004.
In this chapter of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, the political contexts within which women of color have organized for reproductive rights are outlined. The authors introduce the anti-abortion movement and the tactics used by the Right to limit access to abortion services, including passing legislative restrictions that negatively impacted low-income women and women of color. They discuss the responses to the anti-abortion movement by the pro-choice, reproductive rights, and women’s health movements, emphasizing the exclusion of women of color and their communities’ health needs from all three. The chapter then details how racial divides within the predominately white middle class movements prompted women of color to organize for reproductive justice on their own behalf, examining the ways women of color have responded to state-imposed policies aimed at controlling their fertility and their reproductive health, including working with mainstream pro-choice organizations to increase visibility, integrating reproductive rights into community social justice agendas, and creating national coalitions of women of color.
This chapter critiques the mainstream reproductive rights movement’s limited integration of class and race into its organizing efforts from a social and historical perspective. From this critique, the authors call for a continuation of organizing by women of color.