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21 - Reproductive Justice, Psychology, and Human Rights

from Part III - Contemporary Issues in Psychology and Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 October 2020

Neal S. Rubin
Adler University
Roseanne L. Flores
Hunter College, City University of New York
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Reproductive justice refers to three primary principles: the right not to have a child, the right to have a child, and the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments. It depends upon the adoption and enactment of a human rights framework, including both negative rights (e.g., governments must not interfere with people’s autonomy) and positive rights (e.g., governments must ensure that people can exercise their rights and freedom and live with dignity). The term is preferred by many because it merges support for reproductive rights with broader movements for social justice. Lack of control over one’s body and an inability to make decisions about one’s destiny can have lasting impacts on women’s physical and mental health and well-being, and have been associated with shame, depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, poor body image, low self-esteem, and low self-worth. Reproductive injustice increases women’s morbidity and mortality risks, and it makes it difficult for them to provide a safe, healthy, and loving environment for their children. This chapter explores four themes based on psychological theory and research – poverty, access to education, access to health care services and supplies, culture – that impact reproductive health (e.g., preconception health, maternal care, maternal and infant mortality, abortion).

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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