Conference 2016 Vision

 

 

From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom

Vision Statement for CLPP's annual conference

Each year, when our staff begins planning the annual conference, we discuss CLPP's vision and priorities for the conference - the issues we want to raise up, conversations we want to have, and movement work we wish to highlight. We're sharing our vision for this year's conference and hope that if it resonates with you, you will join us April 8-10, 2016 to participate in these conversations, connect, and learn from one another. Email us and let us know what you think!

The past few months since our community convened for CLPP’s 2015 conference have seen an increase in attacks on sexual and reproductive freedom, as well as inspiring interventions from fellow activists and practitioners.  On the eve of CLPP’s 35th anniversary, reproductive freedom, particularly access to abortion, continues to be under threat, with 51 new abortion restrictions enacted at the state level in just the first half of 2015.  Recent attacks on Planned Parenthood sought to distract the public from the healthcare that clinicians provide to their patients, and demonized doctors who provide this important and life-saving care.

At the same time as abortion and abortion providers are stigmatized, pregnancy is increasingly criminalized, with women like Purvi Patel being incarcerated after experiencing miscarriage, and states like Alabama and Tennessee using legislation to prosecute pregnant women and new mothers who use any controlled substance (even prescribed ones) during pregnancy. 

Reproductive justice upholds the right to have a child alongside the right to choose not to have a child, and it is clear that the political situation within the U.S., and in many other countries worldwide, makes it difficult or impossible for many of us to access these human rights. Intersectionality is a key principle of reproductive justice – race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, ability, and many other aspects of our identities all impact how we make decisions about our reproductive lives. 

We stand in solidarity with other activists and communities working for racial justice, economic equity, queer and trans liberation, immigrant rights, and the many other areas where we must achieve justice, and see many points of shared struggle between these movements and reproductive justice. We’re inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the conversations it has sparked about racism, criminalization, police brutality, and the right to raise children without fear of them being killed

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina we reflect upon the shifting landscape of state violence beyond Louisiana in the world’s largest prison system. Activists and scholars like the ones working on the #SayHerName campaign have drawn attention to the ways in which women, queer, and trans people experience state violence differently and how their experiences are minimized and erased in the public conversation about criminalization. We also acknowledge the ways in which trans women of color are disproportionately affected by violence, and mourn the lives of the 22 trans women – 19 of them women of color – who have been murdered in the first nine months of 2015 alone. 

Our borders are increasingly militarized, and immigrants and their families continue to be separated by deportation and detention. Explicit, overt anti-immigrant sentiment is being employed by presidential hopefuls, and both here in the US and in Europe we’re experiencing a resurgence in nationalism and white supremacist ideology in the public debate about borders.  We recognize the connections between climate change and the rhetoric of population control as refugees, immigrants, and indigenous peoples across the globe fight to access safety and sovereignty. 

Activists working for economic justice have seen successes in campaigns across the country to increase the minimum wage and demand sick leave and parental/family leave for more workers. We know that the ability to provide for and care for ourselves and our families is a key reproductive justice issue.  With the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S., the legal definition of what constitutes a family has expanded – but we recognize the need to build on this victory so that political power, economic security, and social recognition are realities for all of our communities.

It is our hope that CLPP’s 2016 conference can be a place for students, activists, researchers, scholars, and others to share their successes and challenges working on these issues. We strive to create a place where people who are completely new to reproductive and social justice can learn alongside those who have been part of these movements for years. We also hope our conference can be a place where movement-builders can become energized and re-inspired in their work.

We wish to create a space where those at the frontlines of these struggles for justice are centered and their lived experiences are valued. We especially hope to center the voices and experiences of women of color, trans women, LGBTQ people, those who have been incarcerated, poor and working class people, youth, students, people with disabilities, immigrants, indigenous people, and others who are most acutely affected by reproductive and social injustice. We hope you will share both your experiences and desire to learn with us April 8-10, 2016. Join us to find out how your work, your communities, and the issues you care about are part of this movement we are building for reproductive freedom.