When it comes to reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare, we (yes, me included) tend to use exclusive language. We call abortion and contraceptive access a women’s issue. Comprehensive sex education is for young boys and girls. Women need abortion on demand and without apology. Cis-women who are pregnant from cis-men are at the forefront of the issues–but we are not the only ones in this fight.
What about non-binary folks? What about queer couples? How does reproductive oppression affect people outside our bullshit “norm” ideas? How can we start being more inclusive with regard to all the people along the spectra of sexuality and gender?
This may sound overwhelming, especially for people who are unfamiliar with terms like cis-gender, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, or other gender-identifying words. The Genderbread Person can help explain this. And outside research is always encouraged!
Clearly, the binary is bullshit. And since we know this is the case, why do we still insist that reproductive health is strictly a women’s issue?
Trans folk also face obstacles when it comes to reproductive health. Transmen who wish to carry a pregnancy and seek prenatal care are often discriminated against, refused treatment, or referred to by improper pronouns. During a panel discussion at this year’s National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, one of the women spoke about her trans friend wanting to get pregnant. He is being required to undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he is mentally fit to handle pregnancy.
Transmen seeking abortion face another set of obstacles. This blog post (TW: sexual assault) about one man’s abortion experience demonstrates why reproductive justice is so important for more than just cis-women.
Queer couples also face discrimination when it comes to wanting to start a family. Legality of the partnership can come into question in some states, as queer couples still do not have full rights everywhere. Lesbian couples seeking pregnancy treatments could also be refused treatment by doctors who discriminate against them.
Projects like the 1in3 Campaign have helped to empower people who have had abortions by giving them a platform to share their stories. But we are not listening to everyone. We are not hearing every voice out there.
Abortion access is certainly important, and under attack. But the right to have a healthy, wanted pregnancy or to adopt or foster children, to access contraception, and to have healthcare without discrimination are also under attack. And these issues are related.
We know that feminism is an intersectional movement: oppression stretches across issues of class, race, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and more. So when we talk about reproductive justice we need to be inclusive in our language and the stories we showcase. Reproductive justice is not just a women’s issue.