Dear Clark County Community,
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and an individual’s constitutional right to an abortion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This regressive ruling will impact people of color, LGBTQ+ communities and low-income communities disproportionately. The ruling further amplifies the effect of white supremacy in the daily lives of even the youngest people who can become pregnant. Read on to learn more about how reproductive justice is racial justice and how you can take action to advocate for safe, legal abortion.
The first step in working towards bodily autonomy and liberation is to recognize that the structures and systems we operate in today are deeply rooted in racism. In order to achieve bodily autonomy and liberation for all, we must change these racist systems and structures.
As we approach US Independence Day, it is important to recognize that not every person in America has basic freedoms, specifically, the right to bodily autonomy. Coming on the heels of Juneteenth, our Nation still continues to perpetuate structural racism (deeply embedded racism in every aspect of our lives) and forced birth. Forced pregnancy as a result of sexual assault has long been embedded in American culture. It is the groundwork of Black enslavement and created monetary resources that caused further perpetuation of the inhumane treatment, degradation and dehumanization of an entire body of people.
Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, Kimberlé Crenshaw, J.D., provides insight on the history of how forced birth and slavery connect and what implications this has for us today:
“The consequence of our society’s failure to see coerced pregnancy as a legacy of enslavement has descended once again upon Black women and all pregnant people with lethal force. Had the project of liberation from enslavement been rooted in this recognition, then coerced childbirth would have been prohibited as a foundational principle of freedom…Our response must not be siloed to a problem that is historically and continuously interconnected.”
Reproductive Justice is Racial Justice
The reproductive rights landscape looks starkly different across the nation. We know that in order for there to truly be bodily autonomy and liberation, everyone must have equal rights and access to healthcare.
We will continue our work in eliminating racism; beyond our efforts to prevent forced pregnancy and birth, we want to create a world free of racism and oppression. That is why we are announcing our new Primary Prevention Program at YWCA Clark County. This program will be focused on the prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, with an express emphasis on becoming a trusted resource for Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color.
In addition, we will offer resources to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who are accessing services in states where abortion access is limited or banned. We will work diligently to offer the services necessary to ensure the right to personal autonomy. There is an undeniable link between lack of access to reproductive health care and domestic and sexual violence.
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) reminds us that tactics used by abusers can include, “rape, coerced sex, rapid repeat pregnancy, contraceptive sabotage, physical abuse to cause a miscarriage, and forced pregnancy or forced abortion. Without safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, survivors and their children risk long-term entrapment in violent relationships. This entrapment often leads to heightened abuse and even death, including during pregnancy.”
The Primary Prevention Program is rooted in racial justice and the belief that until Black people are free— no one is free. Free from forced birth, free from violence and free to make autonomous choices.
Vanessa Yarie, Interim Executive Director
How You Can Take Action
Tell Your Member of Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Help protect rights for all Americans. Engage civically in your community!
Washington State launched a multi-state commitment to reproductive freedom (Washington, Oregon and California).
We have several volunteer opportunities in our domestic violence and sexual assault programs, as well as opportunities to serve on our Public Policy Committee, which continues to be largely focused on reproductive justice and voter engagement.