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Nicole Vas, Artist.



About this Episode

Mississippi civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer once described the hysterectomy without her consent as a Mississippi appendectomy. This fierce freedom fighter could teach a master class in reproductive justice at a time there were no words to even name it. But it was bundled in the intensive battle against racism and stark inequality. Fast forward to the 21st century. Black maternal death in the U.S. is the highest rate in the developed world – and the toll (three or four times higher than white women) is rising. Black women are more determined than ever to strip away gross structural racism and push for policies that affirm our right to the full ownership of our bodies within ourselves, our children and the communities we inhabit. Beyond choices or singular issues, this episode will explore a range of policy proposals and needs that empower Black women to be the navigators of their reproductive health and equity.

In this Episode

Llenda Jackson-Leslie

We came here as human chattel, and our fertility was exploited for profit by others, and then generations later, still, our fertility is derided and brutalized.”

Lynette Medley, M.Ed.

The main things that that we integrate when we’re talking about reproductive justice is that our bodies are our own bodies–totally our own.”

Rev. Cari Jackson

Each person has their own conditions and context of their lives and they have a right to develop their reproductive choice… No one else has the right to come in as a vigilante and say, no, here’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Dorothy Roberts, J.D. 

Killing the black body was my attempt to explain the history of black women’s childbearing and ways in which the US government and private actors tried to constrain it from slavery until the present time.”

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