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Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Electronic Books

The movement for reproductive justice : empowering women of color through social activism / Patricia Zavella.

Patricia Zavella experienced firsthand the trials and judgments imposed on a working professional mother of color: her own commitment to academia was questioned during her pregnancy, as she was shamed for having children "too young." And when she finally achieved her professorship, she felt out of place as one of the few female faculty members with children.

These experiences sparked Zavella’s interest in the movement for reproductive justice. In this book, she draws on five years of ethnographic research to explore collaborations among women of color engaged in reproductive justice activism. While there are numerous organizations focused on reproductive justice, most are racially specific, such as the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum and Black Women for Wellness. Yet Zavella reveals that many of these organizations have built coalitions among themselves, sharing resources and supporting each other through different campaigns and struggles. While the coalitions are often regional—or even national—the organizations themselves remain racially or ethnically specific, presenting unique challenges and opportunities for the women involved.

Reproductive rights as human rights : women of color and the fight for reproductive justice / Zakiya T Luna.

How did reproductive justice--defined as the right to have children, to not have children, and to parent--become recognized as a human rights issue? In Reproductive Rights as Human Rights, Zakiya Luna highlights the often-forgotten activism of women of color who are largely responsible for creating what we now know as the modern-day reproductive justice movement.

Focusing on SisterSong, an intersectional reproductive justice organization, Luna shows how, and why, women of color mobilized around reproductive rights in the domestic arena. She examines their key role in re-framing reproductive rights as human rights, raising this set of issues as a priority in the United States, a country hostile to the concept of human rights at home.              

Reproductive justice : the politics of health care for Native American women / Barbara Gurr.

In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women’s reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States.
The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr herself lived for more than a year. Gurr paints an insightful portrait of the Indian Health Service (IHS)—the federal agency tasked with providing culturally appropriate, adequate healthcare to Native Americans—shedding much-needed light on Native American women’s efforts to obtain prenatal care, access to contraception, abortion services, and access to care after sexual assault. Reproductive Justice goes beyond this local story to look more broadly at how race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, and nation inform the ways in which the government understands reproductive healthcare and organizes the delivery of this care. It reveals why the basic experience of reproductive healthcare for most Americans is so different—and better—than for Native American women in general, and women in reservation communities particularly. Finally, Gurr outlines the strengths that these communities can bring to the creation of their own reproductive justice, and considers the role of IHS in fostering these strengths as it moves forward in partnership with Native nations. 

Pregnancy and Power, Revised Edition A History of Reproductive Politics in the United States / Rickie Solinger.

Reproductive politics in the United States has always been about who has the power to decide—lawmakers, the courts, clergy, physicians, or the woman herself. Authorities have rarely put women’s needs and interests at the center of these debates. Instead, they have created reproductive laws and policies to solve a variety of social and political problems, with outcomes that affect the lives of different groups of women differently.

Reproductive politics were at play when slaveholders devised “breeding” schemes, when the US government took indigenous children from their families in the nineteenth century, and when doctors pressured Latina women to be sterilized in the 1970s. Tracing the main plot lines of women’s reproductive lives, the leading historian Rickie Solinger redefines the idea of reproductive freedom, putting race and class at the center of the effort to control sex and pregnancy in America over time.

Online Resources


Reproductive health among women of color suffers in the absence of true rights-based health care; the human rights framework should be an integral component of the health care system in the United States. This paper is a case study of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Project founded in 1998 and its efforts to address the current reproductive health situation of women of color in the United States. The paper will then argue that the human rights movement can incorporate the needs of women of color into its agenda. And finally, it will also discuss the reconceptualization of human rights by women of color. The organizations involved in SisterSong are responding to and using their own histories and experiences in organizing their communities to develop and apply human rights standards to reproductive health education and services for women of color.

GenderWatch (ProQuest)

This is a database of unique and diverse publications that focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas. With its archival material, dating back to 1970 in some cases, GenderWatch is a repository of important historical perspectives on the evolution of the women's movement, men's studies, the transgender community and the changes in gender roles over the years. Publications include scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books and NGO, government and special reports. 

Suggested keywords: "Reproductive Justice", "Reproductive Rights", "Maternal health", Family Planning", "Contraception"