Reproductive Justice is more than just Birth Control and Abortion

By Mary Siskaninetz ’19

Sociology 2099, a course on Reproductive Justice, has been the most life changing class in my college career so far. It made me realize that I do not just have to sit by the sidelines on issues about women’s rights and reproductive justice. This class was specifically important to me because it made me rethink my whole career. I never thought of pursuing or looking up a job in reproductive health. Now, I am considering changing majors in order to be qualified to do reproductive justice work.

I think everyone should take this class. Not only to educate people on reproductive justice issues, but to eliminate wrong and shameful misinformation that circulates American media and culture. Environmental, racial, socio-economic issues can all play into how you receive healthcare.

Society Stereotypes Reproductive Justice

Reproductive Justice is also stereotyped in our society. Before I came into this class I thought the class would only be over birth control and abortion. I had no idea that I would be learning about:

⦁ the history of forced sterilization in America
⦁ different approaches to birth and pregnancy
⦁ surrogacy
⦁ fertility treatment
⦁ environmental and racial factors affecting our reproductive outcomes
⦁ infant and maternal mortality
⦁ birth trauma

There are a lot of environmental factors that are affecting our reproductive systems and fertility. There are also human right issues at hand where forced sterilizations, abortions, and birth control are still being used against women and men.

Working with Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission

Another part of the class was engaging with the community. Our community partner was the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC). Engaging with the NKCAC was a crucial part of our learning experience because it showed how every small part of a person’s life can be correlated with their reproductive ability. At first I was confused on why we were working with the NKCAC and not an organization that directly focuses on reproductive issues like Planned Parenthood, or other women health services organizations. But, the NKCAC offers many services including financial, nutritional, and educational services that help get the patients in their community a better life.

With the help of our community partner we helped arrange the survey that is required for them to receive funds from the government. This gave us real life experience for working with a community outreach program and it also gave me and other students a glimpse of what some of the duties of a sociologist would be.

I really enjoyed how this class incorporated the community engagement piece because it gives students experience and examples on how to help the community with their knowledge from the class.

Reproductive Justice is more than just Birth Control and Abortion
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