We believe that Birth Justice exists when women and transfolks are empowered during pregnancy, labor, childbirth and postpartum to make healthy decisions for themselves and their babies. Birth Justice is part of a wider movement against reproductive oppression. It aims to dismantle inequalities of race, class, gender and sexuality that lead to negative birth experiences, especially for women of color, low-income women, survivors of violence, immigrant women, queer and transfolks, and women in the Global South. Working for Birth Justice involves educating the community, and challenging abuses by medical personnel and overuse of medical interventions. It also involves advocating for universal access to culturally appropriate, women-centered health care. It includes the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy, to choose when, where, how, and with whom to birth, including access to traditional and indigenous birth-workers, such as midwives and doulas, and the right to breastfeeding support.
BWBJ is organizing toward the following goals. Join us!
- To enhance black women’s faith in their strength and resilience, and empower them to make healthy choices and to stand up for the pregnancy and birth experience they envision.
- To improve black women’s access to appropriate and affordable prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum care.
- To improve black women’s knowledge about and access to natural and alternative childbirth practices.
- To improve black women’s knowledge about and access to alternative birthing sites, including home birth and birth centers.
- To advocate for the right of low-income women and women on welfare to make healthy and non-coerced decisions about whether to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy, to choose when, where and with whom to birth, and to access antenatal, birthing and breastfeeding support.
- To end shackling and dangerous conditions for imprisoned pregnant women, and to advocate for the release of pregnant and parenting women from prisons, jails and detention centers.
- To improve black women’s knowledge about and access to culturally appropriate birth workers such as doulas and midwives.
- To educate black women about the effects of medical interventions in labor and delivery, and ensure they are fully aware of potential risks and side effects.
- To provide a forum for healing and support for black women recovering from birth trauma and to support pregnant and postpartum black women in reporting and challenging medical abuses.
- To challenge media representations that fuel a fear of natural birth, or encourage overuse of medicalization and drug use during labor and delivery.
- To provide information about the benefits of breastfeeding, provide positive images, and to challenge corporate and medical promotion of baby milk formula to black women.
- To ensure that all progressive movements, including the feminist, reproductive rights, natural birth, civil rights, environmental justice, prison abolition, LGBTQ and immigrant rights movements understand and support birth justice, and include the concerns, experiences and leadership of black women.