What is Reproductive Justice?

Reproductive JusticeWe believe Reproductive Justice exists when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, sexuality and families for our selves and our communities.  Reproductive Justice aims to transform power inequities and create long-term systemic change, and therefore relies on the leadership of communities most impacted by reproductive oppression. The reproductive justice framework recognizes that all individuals are part of families and communities and that our strategies must lift up entire communities in order to support individuals.

History of the Reproductive Justice Framework and Movement

The term Reproductive Justice was first coined in 1994:

"The concept of Reproductive Justice began to take shape when members of a women of color delegation returned from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. Shortly after, a group of African American women caucused at the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance Conference in Chicago. The group became known as Women of African Descent for Reproductive Justice. They decided to devise a strategy to challenge the proposed healthcare reform campaign by the Clinton Administration that did not include guaranteeing access to abortion. Not wanting to use the language of 'choice' because they represented communities with few real choices, they integrated the concepts of reproductive rights, social justice and human rights to launch the term 'Reproductive Justice.' Their signature ad in the Washington Post debuted the term reproductive justice in 1994."- Loretta Ross, A History of Reproductive Justice

A few years later in 1997, the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective was founded by 16 women of color organizations, including ACRJ, with a focus on grassroots mobilization and public policy. SisterSong began popularizing the term reproductive justice based on the human rights framework. In April 2004, SisterSong coordinated women of color groups to mobilize thousands of women in a "Women of Color for Reproductive Justice" contingent as part of the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC. In 2005, ACRJ published the groundbreaking report A New Vision in partnership with the SisterSong Collective to frame reproductive justice in the mainstream reproductive rights and social justice movements.

Since then, organizations nationwide have been making connections between reproductive justice and the issues in their communities, and ACRJ has developed a curriculum that supports them in doing just that.

The Reproductive Justice Lens Curriculum

ACRJ's national movement building initiative, EMERJ, has developed a curriculum for identifying reproductive justice issues in your community and applying a reproductive justice framework to social justice work. The Three Applications of the Reproductive Justice Lens training curriculum helps organizers focus on the challenges that people face in having self-determination over their gender, bodies and sexuality and build a shared language and analysis of reproductive justice. By helping us see how many of our communities are facing similar injustices, the Reproductive Justice Lens creates opportunities for building alliances so that we can move our work forward together toward a shared vision of reproductive justice.


Download the Three Applications of the Reproductive Justice Lens here.