Birthing Reproductive Justice: 150 Years of Images and Ideas

Curated by Reproductive Justice Exhibit Planning Team


Birthing Reproductive Justice:

150 Years of Images and Ideas

Reproductive Justice - the right to have children, not to have children, and to parent children in healthy and safe environments -- is a movement and perspective that arose in the 1990s as a broader alternative to reproductive rights advocacy focused on limited debates around abortion and pro-life/pro-choice issues. Articulated and led by women of color with a more encompassing social vision, reproductive justice usually incorporates both a framework of human rights and an awareness of the intersectionality of women’s identities and struggles against sexism, racism, homophobia, and economic marginalization.

This exhibit provides a visual narrative of the emergence and antecedents of reproductive justice. Given that women's lives have never been reducible to one dimension of their reproductive health, this exhibit traces a longer history of reproductive justice, illustrating many experiences, debates, and policies related to pregnancy, birth, contraception, and raising children. Birthing Reproductive Justice also explores the question of who has produced and controlled knowledge about women's reproductive health and decisions.

Installed as a companion to the conference Reproductive Justice: Activists, Advocates, and Academics in Ann Arbor, a Michigan Meeting (May 30-31, 2013), this exhibit showcases materials from the rich and extensive holdings at the Bentley Historical Library, Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Hatcher Graduate Library Special Collections, Taubman Health Sciences Library, and the Law Library. Produced and curated by an inter-campus exhibit team, Birthing Reproductive Justice illustrates the stakes -- of physical health, mental health, human dignity, and community empowerment -- associated with reproductive justice and suggests that research and advocacy can work together.