Reproductive Justice

May 3, 2022

Image of two hands with flowers and text: reproductive justice

In light of the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade with the intention of allowing states to ban abortions, many of you may be experiencing high levels of stress. The staff of the Women’s Center want you to know that we are too. The erosion of reproductive rights impacts us all and as such we affirm our commitment to reproductive justice to the Harvard community. 

Reproductive justice was developed by coalitions of women of color to assert that people should have bodily autonomy, including the right to have or not to have children. It also entails the right to raise children in safe and sustainable communities.1 At this time, we believe it’s essential to affirm our commitment to reproductive justice for all. This potentially drastic decision undermines the possibilities for this that were only beginning even 50 years after Roe

At the Harvard College Women’s Center, gender equity is core to our mission and reproductive justice is an integral part of achieving gender equity. Reproductive justice means advancing bodily autonomy and advocating against practices and policies that infringe on these rights. This includes being denied contraceptives, forced to carry a pregnancy to term, or forced to give a child up for adoption, and the continued denial of the basic needs of the most marginalized women, families, and communities. 

We have been working this year to develop and publicize resources for students to navigate their reproductive health on campus, while engaging in meaningful conversations with key figures such as Loretta Ross on reproductive justice. We commit to continuing to model our hopes for a campus community invested in furthering the broad goals of reproductive justice. If you are looking to get involved, many people will be gathering in front of state houses nationwide in the coming months to protest the potential overturning of Roe, and you can find organizations to support or connect with below.  

*NEW*  Sex, Health, & Reproductive Care: Reproductive & Sexual Health & Wellness Resources for Undergraduate Students at Harvard (June) 2022-2023

Our Committment:

  • Provide safer sex resources for our campus community, including condoms and information from various campus and community organizations in our space and on our website.
  • Collaborations with student organizations (including SHEATH & RAD) specifically pursuing reproductive justice goals
  • Work with colleagues in HUHS to make resources more visible and advocate for enhanced student access to reproductive health, increasing student education around pregnancy, etc. 
  • Building a supportive environment for students in a climate hostile to reproductive justice as an intersectional movement by communicating with our internal offices and external resources 
  • Includes keeping our social media, website, and physical information up to date 
  • Programming and events on campus (and online) to promote reproductive justice and give a platform to leaders in the field/movement (such as, in 2022, featuring Loretta Ross in the Schmertzler Lecture)
  • Taking steps to make any educational panels or events that the Women’s Center holds available to community members who cannot attend synchronously 
  • Support the Women’s Cabinet in their advocacy for better access and more inclusive reproductive healthcare on campus

Other Harvard-Affiliated Commitments/Statements

Reproductive Justice Organizations

Here are a few Restorative Justice organizations you can support, uplift, and learn more about. This list is not exhaustive and we encourage you to find the RJ organizations leading change in your state and community! (list compiled by Whole Health Women's Alliance)

Further Reading:

  • SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective website
  • Kimala Price, What Is Reproductive Justice?: How Women of Color Activists Are Redefining the Pro-Choice Paradigm, Meridians (2020) 19 (S1): 340–362.
  • Reproductive Justice Gap at HBCUS, The Nation
  • Ensuring Reproductive Justice For All, Berkly College
  • Carol Mason, How Not to Pimp Out Reproductive Justice: Adventures in Education, Activism, and Accountability, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (2013).