Against Silence: Reproductive Justice & Disability in a Pre- and Post-Roe World
Disability Studies Interest Group Sponsored Panel, National Women's Studies Association, Baltimore, MD, October 26-29, 2023
Access to reproductive healthcare continues to be demolished in the United States. The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022 has undermined years of progress and rights related to reproductive care access. In the past year, thirteen states have criminalized abortion and reproductive healthcare, and reactionary legislators have introduced over 500 pieces of legislation that would further restrict the bodily autonomy of people who could become pregnant. Similarly, right-wing legislators have also introduced hundreds of measures aimed at curtailing trans people’s civil rights, including access to gender-affirming care, public accommodations, and in some cases, the very right to exist in public as visibly gender non-conforming in any way. These new and proposed laws have particularly dangerous effects for the disability community–not only are disabled people’s bodies already hyper-surveilled and governed by the civil and criminal legal systems but ableism undergirds all attempts to undermine access to reproductive healthcare and trans rights. In thinking of reproductive justice and its implications for the disability community, this panel calls for papers that explore the fascist dismantling of abortion rights and reproductive healthcare for disabled people, amidst the demolition of bodily autonomy and self-determination in the US.
We are especially interested in papers that take intersectional approaches to reproductive justice and consider the heterogeneity of disabled communities. Together, reproductive and disability justice frameworks call for the right to access care, making visible how efforts to limit reproductive healthcare work to control the bodies of those who are oppressed. Such control happens both in the provision and denial of care: the history of reproductive healthcare is laden with medical abuse and eugenics, including the forced and involuntary sterilization of BIPOC and disabled people. Current frameworks of both reproductive and disability justice call for conversations that are more inclusive of multiply marginalized communities’ experiences of the medical industrial complex. Scholars such as Kim Q. Hall, Lezlie Frye, and Sami Schalk, among others, have investigated the connections between reproductive healthcare access and disability justice. In light of NWSA’s 2023 theme, “A Luta Continua/The Struggle Continues: Resistance, Resilience, Resurgence,” the Disability Studies Interest Group invites submissions that interrogate the struggles, oppression, and marginalization that disabled people face in an increasingly fascist nation-state.
Potential topics include:
We welcome new disability methodologies that promote intersectional strategies, (inter)disciplinary approaches, and new forms of scholarship that offer anti-ableist and disability justice-centered ways to approach reproductive care. We especially welcome submissions from community scholars, disabled scholars, and international scholars. If you are unable to attend in-person, a virtual panelist participation option is possible.
PhD candidate in American Studies