24 Reproductive Rights Feminist Quotes — Niche Quotes 💬 (2022)

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As a Christian and a feminist, the most important message I can carry and fight for is the sacredness of each human life, and reproductive rights for all women are a crucial part of that. It is a moral necessity that we not be forced to bring children into the world for whom we cannot be responsible and adoring and present. We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society.

Anne Lamott

No, I'm the human here. I'm the life at stake. I'm the one with fingernails, who feels pain.Me.

Alicen Grey

Much of the prejudice against women is stored at an unconscious level. Many of those with the most punishing attitudes towards passionate women -and free women are passionate women – consider themselves social liberals, even feminists. Women’s rights seem to them to be of obvious importance, but what is not obvious to them is how much they conspire to keep the lid on female power. Female power transcends what are thought of as “woman’s issues”. Female power involves women taking part in the conversation either in the public arena or the dinner table, and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men. It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind. It means women not having to worry that they will be considered “unfeminine” if they speak up. It means women really coming out to play and getting support for their playing from men as well as women.Until this is accomplished, political, economic and reproductive freedom will still not be enough. We will not be free until we can speak our minds and our hearts without having to worry that men will crucify us, women will crucify us, the press will crucify us, or our children will be ashamed… Women are still in emotional bondage as long as we feel we have to make a choice between being heard and being loved.

Marianne Williamson

If the Constitution doesn’t say anything about a woman’s right to abortion, I’m damn sure it doesn’t say anything about the rights of the unborn.

Israel Morrow (Gods of the Flesh: A Skeptic's Journey Through Sex, Politics and Religion)

The United States as we know it was founded on the principle of inalienable rights, this idea that some rights are so sacrosanct not even a government can take them away. Of course, this country’s founding fathers were only thinking of wealthy white men when they codified this principle, but still, it’s a nice idea, that there are some freedoms that cannot be taken away.What this debate shows us is that even in this day and age, the rights of women are not inalienable. Our rights can be and are, with alarming regularity, stripped away.

Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

Pregnancy and childbirth are not only physical and medical experiences, after all. They are also social experiences that, in modern America, just as when abortion was criminalized in the 1870s, serve to restrict women's ability to participate in society on equal footing with men.

Katha Pollitt

Black women have the right to be mad as hell. We have been dreaming of freedom and carving out spaces for liberation since we arrived on these shores. There is no other group, save Indigenous women, that knows and understands more fully the soul of the American body politic than Black women, whose reproductive and social labor have made the world what it is.

Brittney Cooper (Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower)

Reproductive freedom is a talking point. Reproductive freedom is a campaign issue. Reproductive freedom can be repealed or restricted. Reproductive freedom is not an inalienable right even though it should be.

Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

Folks who believe that abortion is permissible in the case of rape, but not permissible in the case of accidental pregnancy from consensual sex, are not actually condemning abortion; rather the moral axis here is the sexual behavior----the blameworthiness----of the pregnant person.

June Eric-Udorie (Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism)

Men's sexual freedom has depended, and still does to a large extent, upon their ownership of women's bodies. Men have bought, sold and traded women as things to be used. Women are still regularly raped in marriage, even though most Western countries have now changed their laws to recognize that wives have a right not to be raped. Women are still bought and sold in marriage in many countries, and in the vast majority of countries of the world their bodies are still legally owned by their husbands. In prostitution and pornography, the mail-order bride business and reproductive surrogacy, the international trade in women is a burgeoning industry. Men's ownership of women's bodies has been the substrate on which their idea of sexual freedom was born and given its meaning. This is why it includes the right to buy access to women, men, and children as an important way of demonstrating that freedom. At the base of men's sexual freedom agenda is the concept of the rights of the male individual. Pateman points out that women cannot gain recognition as individuals, since the very concept of the 'individual' is male.

Sheila Jeffreys (Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective)

As feminist writer Naomi Wolf argues, the times in history when women have made the greatest political gains—getting the vote, gaining reproductive freedom, securing the right to work outside the home—have also been moments when standards for “ideal” beauty became significantly thinner and the pressure on women to adhere to those standards increased. Wolf explains that this serves both to distract women from their growing political power and to assuage the fears of people who don’t want the old patriarchal system to change—because if women are busy trying to shrink themselves, they won’t have the time or energy to shake things up. It’s hard to smash the patriarchy on an empty stomach, or with a head full of food and body concerns, and that’s exactly the point of diet culture.

Christy Harrison (Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating)

The feminist position on abortion is a woman's right to *choose*, and feminists would defend to the hilt the right of any woman *not*to have an abortion irrespective of the grounds she gave for making this choice. The anti-abortion position is in fact an anti-choice position, imposing, or attempting to impose, particular beliefs on all women.

Michèle Barrett (The Anti-Social Family)

To be critical of pronatalism is not equivalent to condemning parenthood; it is to shed light on its prescriptive nature and propose that it would be socially and ecologically desirable that parenthood cease to be considered as a natural instinct and/or a religious or a social duty. The ‘biological clock’ that some women claim to hear ticking is also a ‘social clock’ reminding them that whatever else may be going on in their lives, motherhood is their destiny, the road to social acceptance and integration. It is because parenthood is not anatural instinct, but socially and prescriptively imposed, that many people unsuited for family formation bear or adopt children; domestic violence and child abuse result from the often deadly interaction between sexual inequality and pronatalism. Today, pronatalist ideologies and social pressures continue to curtail women’s opportunities and ability to shape their future, and place them in a disadvantaged position relative to men, thus sustaining the inequality between men and women despite considerable gains in sexual liberation, civil rights, and economic opportunities for women.

Martha A. Gimenez (Marx, Women, and Capitalist Social Reproduction: Marxist Feminist Essays)

Firestone is certainly not an uncomplicated technophile. Her attitude to the technologies central to her project is surprisingly indifferent. Her writing is not marked by the technophilia that animates Haraway’s cyborg and makes it so engaging (loveable even) and she is not seduced by the prospect of that technologically achieved divorce from the body that so engaged later cyberfeminism. On the contrary, Firestone wants the body returned to its rightful owner, defended from intruders (which is how developing fetuses are seen). Firestone did not like humans or machines much. The fantasy of pregnancy without “deformation” produces a startling image of body hate and/or body fear. Haraway convincingly reads Firestone’s position in terms of bodily alienation that can only be intensified through its submission to technological domination. On the other hand, Firestone’s problem is not to be solved by dissolution and post-human border confusion, but by a refreshed—if extra-ordinarily defensive — form of bodily integrity. This position finds an echo amongst feminists developing contemporary perspectives on reproductive technologies, many of whom have noted with unease the increasing focus on the child and the relative obliteration of the mother in contemporary fertility discourses.

Mandy Merck (Further Adventures of The Dialectic of Sex: Critical Essays on Shulamith Firestone)

Liberal feminists generally believe society already provides almost all the opportunities required for women to succeed in life. They simply want the same access to those opportunities as men and advocate measures that allow and protect that access—educational opportunities, affordable childcare, flexible working hours, and so on. Liberal feminism does not automatically assume that differences in outcomes imply discrimination, however, and thus it eschews the equity-based approaches of intersectional feminism. The liberal focus on removing the social significance of identity categories—that is, the legal and social requirements to comply with gender, class, or race expectations—seeks to refine the legacies of the Enlightenment project and the civil rights movements, rather than overthrow them for socialist or postmodern ends. Consequently, many liberal feminists believed their work would be largely done once women gained legal equality with men and had control over their own reproductive choices and when societal expectations had changed so much that it was no longer surprising to see women in all fields of work.

Helen Pluckrose (Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody)

And what if she doesn't want to tell her story? What if it's too personal, too painful? What do these confessions really do? Some people will be moved, but those are rarely the same people who support legislation to erode reproductive freedom. Immovable people will not moved by testimony. Her story becomes an emotional spectacle, something for people to consider, briefly, before moving on to the next sad story. There is no shortage of sad stories when it comes to women and their reproductive lives.

Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

I try to keep my feminism simple. I know feminism is complex and evolving and flawed. I know feminism will not and cannot fix everything. I believe in equal opportunities for women and men. I believe in women having reproductive freedom and affordable and unfettered access to the health care they need. I believe women should be paid as much as men for doing the same work. Feminism is a choice, and if a woman does not want to be a feminist, that is her right, but it is still my responsibility to fight for her rights. I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves. I believe women not just in the United States but throughout the world deserve equality and freedom but know I am in no position to tell women of other cultures what that equality and freedom should look like.

Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

Then, on April 7, the bishop for the diocese of the four counties surrounding San Diego, representing some 512,000 Catholics, an activist in the city’s nonsectarian Pro-Life League, announced priests would refuse Holy Communion to any Catholic who “admits publicly” to membership in the National Organization for Women or any other group advocating abortion: “The issue at stake is not only what we do to unborn children but what we do to ourselves by permitting them to be killed.” He called abortion a “serious moral crime” that “ignores God and his love.” NOW proclaimed this year’s Mother’s Day a “Mother’s Day of Outrage”—in response, it said, to the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s “attempt to undermine the right of women to control their own bodies.” The president of Catholics for Free Choice and the Southern California coordinator for NOW’s Human Reproduction Task Force, Jan Gleeson, recently returned from Southeast Asia as an Operation Babylift volunteer, clarified the feminist group’s position: “It opposes compulsory pregnancy and reaffirms a woman’s right to privacy to control her own body as basic to her spiritual, economic, and social well-being.

Rick Perlstein (The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan)

Victoria Woodhull was a free love and reproductive rights advocate who once made her living as a psychic and Spiritualist medium. In 1872 she also became the first woman to run for president of the United States, running on a ticket that included abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass as her vice president. A sex worker and equal opportunity slut, Woodhull is said to have saucily proclaimed: “I am a very promiscuous free lover. I want the love of you all, promiscuously. It makes no difference who or what you are, old or young, black or white, pagan, Jew, or Christian, I want to love you all and be loved by you all, and I mean to have your love.” Her legacy is carried on today by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, which works to “affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.

Kristen J. Sollee (Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive)

Ginsburg argued that if the Supreme Court in 1973 had simply struck down the Texas law at issue in the case and had resisted the temptation to impose a national framework for abortion, the case might have inspired less of a backlash, allowing a growing number of state legislatures to recognize a right to reproductive choice on their own. What her feminist critics in the 1990s failed to appreciate was that Ginsburg was laying the groundwork for a firmer constitutional foundation for reproductive choice, one rooted in women’s equality rather than the right to privacy.

Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)

The debate among feminists about pregnancy benefits has had dramatic implications for the legal status of the right to choose abortion itself. As Ginsburg noted in a 1986 article, “The characterization of pregnancy discrimination as sex discrimination, requires the comparative analysis of the equal protection model. Its emphasis is on what is not unique about the reproductive process of women.” By contrast, the difference that feminists focus on is what is unique about childbirth. They advocate special treatment for pregnant women based on their premise that men and women are not “similarly situated” because of their reproductive differences. This was the same premise that Justice Stewart had invoked in his 1974 holding that discrimination against pregnant women is permissible. That’s why Ginsburg’s insistence that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex is so central to her search for alternatives to the right to privacy, which does not appear explicitly in the Constitution, as a firm legal basis for protecting women’s reproductive rights. Ginsburg has been far more willing to enforce privacy rights for women when they can be tied to the text of the Constitution, such as the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)

The obsession with curtailing reproductive freedom in this country is about forcing white women to be hyperproductive in service of reproducing a white Republic. As of 2014, most children born in the United States are not white. This important demographic shift has only heightened anxiety about declining birth rates among white families. God, the right would have us believe, wants America to remain white. The only way that can happen is for heterosexual white people to keep getting married and reproducing

Brittney Cooper (Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower)

RBG’s image as a moderate was clinched in March 1993, in a speech she gave at New York University known as the Madison Lecture. Sweeping judicial opinions, she told the audience, packed with many of her old New York friends, were counterproductive. Popular movements and legislatures had to first spur social change, or else there would be a backlash to the courts stepping in. As case in point, RBG chose an opinion that was very personal to plenty of people listening: Roe v. Wade. The right had been aiming to overturn Roe for decades, and they’d gotten very close only months before the speech with Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and Sandra Day O’Connor had instead brokered a compromise, allowing states to put restrictions on abortion as long as they didn’t pose an “undue burden” on women—or ban it before viability. Neither side was thrilled, but Roe was safe, at least for the moment. Just as feminists had caught their breath, RBG declared that Roe itself was the problem. If only the court had acted more slowly, RBG said, and cut down one state law at a time the way she had gotten them to do with the jury and benefit cases. The justices could have been persuaded to build an architecture of women’s equality that could house reproductive freedom. She said the very boldness of Roe, striking down all abortion bans until viability, had “halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.” This analysis remains controversial among historians, who say the political process of abortion access had stalled before Roe. Meanwhile, the record shows that there was no overnight eruption after Roe. In 1975, two years after the decision, no senator asked Supreme Court nominee John Paul Stevens about abortion. But Republicans, some of whom had been pro-choice, soon learned that being the anti-abortion party promised gains. And even if the court had taken another path, women’s sexual liberation and autonomy might have still been profoundly unsettling. Still, RBG stuck to her guns, in the firm belief that lasting change is incremental. For the feminists and lawyers listening to her Madison Lecture, RBG’s argument felt like a betrayal. At dinner after the lecture, Burt Neuborne remembers, other feminists tore into their old friend. “They felt that Roe was so precarious, they were worried such an expression from Ruth would lead to it being overturned,” he recalls. Not long afterward, when New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan suggested to Clinton that RBG be elevated to the Supreme Court, the president responded, “The women are against her.” Ultimately, Erwin Griswold’s speech, with its comparison to Thurgood Marshall, helped convince Clinton otherwise. It was almost enough for RBG to forgive Griswold for everything else.

Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

In accepting the truth about my complicit role in aiding and abetting cruelty, I had to leave the cycle of denial... As a feminist, I couldn't hide from the fact that what we do to animals to fulfill our consumer demands is profoundly un-feminist. We impregnate the animals against their will, breeding them into captivity, we imprison them, we control and violate their reproductive sovereignty and organs so we can take what we want out of them, and, when they have given us most of what they have, we toss them out to make room for more fertile ones. This is what feminists approve of and directly cause when we consume animals' stolen milk and eggs. we take the babies we have forced into them so we can have the products we want. The mothers get nothing. They are denied the pleasure of raising their babies. They are denied the comforts of being suckled and feeling their wings around their chirping young. Even in rare cases where the babies and mothers aren't separated and are allowed something resembling a decent life, we still decide how they will live as well as when they will die. None of this challenges the status quo of ownership, of our "right" to their very physical bodies.From "How I Became a Vegan Feminist Agitator" in Circles of Compassion

Marla Rose

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