Center on the Issues: Reproductive Justice

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If there is something LGBTQ people understand clearly, it is that our bodies continue to be both sites of state sanctioned violence and of personal resistance. Our fight for liberation and the struggle for Reproductive Justice are interconnected and inseparable.

Both movements value self-determination, dignity and the right to create our own families through empowered decision-making. Whether focused on the right to autonomy and equality or on the imperative not to have access to those rights hampered by social injustice, our movements are stronger together.

Many of the struggles toward freedom by the LGBTQ movement were preceded by the development of frameworks, and eventually, court victories around sex for pleasure and the right to privacy won by the Reproductive Justice Movement. Both have had to work tirelessly to shift public opinion through education and organizing by combatting scare tactics, stereotypes, and misinformation.

Another timely issue for both movements is the use of Targeted Restriction of Abortion Providers (TRAPs), which are laws designed to make Roe v Wade increasingly ineffective. Similar methods are being used against the LGBTQ community. These methods and TRAPS are often justified through claims of religious freedom and alarmist assertions of threats to public safety.

The so-called ‘conscience laws,’ most recently exposed in a leaked Executive Order, once again bound Reproductive Rights with LGBTQ Rights. This order would allow individuals and companies ranging from medical providers and pharmacists to restaurants and adoption agencies to deny goods and services through the use of free exercise of religion and conscience objections.

For example, a physician may cite deeply held religious convictions for not performing an abortion or abortion related services, in vitro fertilization or surrogacy services, and for not making any referrals for such services. In other words, people seeking abortions and members of the LGBTQ community could be denied desired, and at times lifesaving, services all because the law supported the physician’s decision that such services were not in line with his or her religious beliefs.

Another commonality between our movements under the current administration is that anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice activists have been emboldened to be much more direct and vocal. Amidst all the hateful, condemning rhetoric and the moves to restrict our freedoms by these groups, the LGBTQ and Reproductive Justice movements must find even more ways to work together. Given our interwoven histories, we must stand united and support our movements collaboratively!

Here is what you can do:

  • Call or write your legislators to tell them to support reproductive justice as essential to equality for all. You can find a listing here and here.
  • Educate yourself about reproductive justice.
  • Attend our upcoming Men 4 Choice event at Center on Halsted on March 19th.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.

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