Let’s Talk About Reproductive Justice

Uneasy about discussing reproductive justice—and related issues like abortion, sex education, contraception, and access to health care—with your students? Here are some resources to start the conversation.

Today, reproductive rights are under attack. The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation to limit full access to family planning, women’s health and abortion services, birth control, and comprehensive sex education. Individuals are left with fewer choices and less protection toward their bodily autonomy.

In the face of these challenges, people are pushing back. However, not all voices are represented equally in the call for change. The fight for reproductive rights often fails to recognize the ways race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and geography impact people’s ability to have “choice.”

In this Let’s Talk About edition, we provide resources to spark a conversation about reproductive justice, a movement fighting for everyone’s bodily rights. This topic will encourage students to think about what it means to have “choice” and to say, “My body is mine!”

We recognize that talking about reproductive justice with your students may be uncomfortable, not necessarily age-appropriate—and may not even be allowed in your building. You know your students and school community best. If you choose to have this discussion, it’s important to provide a safe environment where students can voice their opinions honestly without fear of being judged or silenced. Here’s a guide from Facing History and Ourselves that may help you talk about tough topics with your students.

How to Use This Collection

Suggested below are steps to a thoughtful and meaningful discussion with your students about reproductive justice. Choose what is appropriate for your class.

1. Students complete a pre-survey. (optional).

2. Choose at least one YES! article and one outside article for a robust compare and contrast.

3. Use the discussion questions—or craft your own—to gauge your students’ understanding and opinions.

4. Students complete a post-survey. (optional).

5. Explore curriculum if you’d like to dive deeper.

6. Share Francesca Grossberg’s essay “My Potluck, My Choice” with your students to show them another student’s perspective on the issue of reproductive rights. 

Reading Materials

YES! Articles

I Know Why Black Women Are Wary of Reproductive Activism

3 Maps Show Where Legal Abortions Are Hardest to Get—and Who Lives There

Where Birth Control Is Scarce, Young Women Create Sex Education Outside the Classroom

Why Childbirth and Abortion Are Not Separate Issues

From IVF to Miscarriages: 5 Ways We Can Talk About Infertility

Outside Article

Reproductive Justice (SisterSong)

How the Next Supreme Court Justice Could Affect Your Access to Birth Control (PBS)

6 Tips for Making Your Conversations About Reproductive Rights More Trans-Inclusive (everyday feminism)

Discussion Questions

1. When we talk about reproductive rights, we often use language of “choice.” Who gets to have reproductive choice in this country? How do a person’s different identities (race, class, gender, etc.) impact their rights and access to reproductive services?

2. Some people may assume that reproductive justice is solely a women’s issue. What do you feel is the role of men and gender non-binary people in reproductive justice?  How do people of any gender benefit from reproductive justice?

3. Do you feel like you have the ability—and the freedom—to make choices about your body? Explain your answer.


What Are My Reproductive Rights? (Advocates for Youth)

One Student’s Perspective

“My Potluck, My Choice,” by Francesca Grossberg, grade 8, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Bronx, NY.

 Francesca’s essay was submitted to the fall 2018 YES! National Student Writing Competition, “Feeding Ourselves, Feeding Our Revolutions.”

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