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Feminist Camp Summer 2016 // Day Three: The Justice, Rights, and Health of Reproduction

June 9th, 2016

To begin our day focusing on reproductive justice, we visited the National Institute of Reproductive Health, which works to protect bodily autonomy and reproductive health access. While the organization focuses on reproductive rights, which involves legal rights and ability access, it considers itself an ally to reproductive justice organizations, which often focus on intersections between reproductive health and race, class, and other identities and do local work in communities. We learned about their TORCH program, which pays and job trains high school students of color to be  peer sexuality educators. We left with the knowledge that reproductive rights and reproductive justice focus not just on one issue, such as economics, but people’s entire lives.

IMG_1976We then met Lisa Maldanado of the Reproductive Health Access Project, which offers training and support for clinicians in abortion, contraception, and miscarriage. Their mission focuses on accessibility and making reproductive health a component of basic health care. After learning about statistics regarding who is having abortions and how the law affects abortion access, campers experienced a first in their lives: witnessing a demonstration of an aspiration abortion on a papaya (which is shaped similarly to the uterus)! We discussed misconceptions about abortion patients, the variety of methods in which abortion can take place, and the physical feelings and emotional atmosphere surrounding an abortion procedure. To end the session, some campers replicated the aspiration abortion on papayas themselves.

At our last stop of the day, Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency, social workers Laura Ilowite and Katie Foley answered our many questions about adoption, which they noted is often left out of conversations about reproductive health. They stressed the importance of intentional and ever-evolving language around adoption as well as that of simply letting people know that adoption is an option. We learned that while the majority of aspiring adoptive parents seek to adopt healthy babies, the groups most in need of being adopted are older/adolescent children, sibling pairs, and children with special needs. Additionally, we learned about adoption law and one feature that makes Spence-Chapin unique: their inclusivity of identities and parental status of those who wish to adopt through their agency.

We’re processing all that we learned and experienced for the past few days as we march into day four, career day!