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Black-led Reproductive Justice Movement fights for true reproductive freedom for all people

(New Haven, Conn.)—Black History Month, celebrated annually in February, is a time to both honor the history and celebrate the future of Black communities. Black people deserve access to sexual and reproductive health care—unbiased and non-judgmental—so they can thrive and achieve healthy empowered lives. This Black History Month, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) celebrates Black Reproductive Justice movement pioneers that have led, and continue to lead, the charge in fighting for health care access for all.

The Reproductive Justice movement, started by the Black women of SisterSong and rooted in Black feminist theory, centers those whose health and rights are most impacted, threatened, and oppressed—Black people, people of color, and Indigenous people—today and throughout history. PPSNE is proud to stand in solidarity with Reproductive Justice partners in the fight to achieve true reproductive freedom: not only the ability to decide when and whether to have a child, but also the ability to raise that child in a safe and healthy environment.

“Historically, Black people have suffered many different forms of reproductive oppression and medical mistreatment that built a legacy of trauma and distrust that impacts the Black community,” said Kafi Rouse, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at PPSNE. “For decades, Black Reproductive Justice leaders have fought for equity for our most marginalized communities, and their work has shaped the way we now think about achieving reproductive freedom. Today, Black people still face extraordinary barriers to accessing health care, including structural racism and implicit bias in our health care system that disregards and disrespects the experience of Black patients. This is unacceptable—we can and must do better.”

Structural racism, economic inequities, and other barriers to health care access disproportionately impact the Black community and often result in delayed diagnoses, higher rates of STIs––including HIV––and increased mortality rates for breast cancer and maternal morbidity and mortality for Black mothers. PPSNE is committed to addressing these disparities by providing high-quality, compassionate reproductive health care services to all people, regardless of their race.

“The rights and health of Black people are always on the line, especially when it comes to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom,” said Rouse. “In order to achieve health equity for all, we must first address racial equity—that’s why we are proud to stand with our community partners, Black-led organizations, and Reproductive Justice leaders to dismantle oppression and eliminate barriers to health care.”