Books for changing the world

Fighting for Reproductive Justice, Health, and Freedom: A Reading List

With reproductive freedom already under unprecedented attack, it is no surprise that the anti-abortion right is trying to use the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext for the further restriction of abortion rights. States from Iowa to Mississippi have taken this global health emergency as an opportunity to codify abortion as a “non-essential” service, making it even harder for pregnant people in those states to access the healthcare they may require. Beyond abortion, the present crisis has laid bare the extent to which every sphere of reproductive life, from human intimacy to childcare to healthcare, is unjustly curtailed by the material circumstances in which we live—circumstances that ensure leisure time and ready access to care for the few, and long working hours and precarity for the many.

In this time of global upheaval, it is more important than ever that we have the confidence to demand not only that we each have ready access to basic services like healthcare, childcare, education, and housing, but that those services truly meet the varied needs of all people. In a moment when it is especially urgent that we win the right to high quality social services, it is equally urgent that we ensure that no one is left out of the universal promise of those services: whether they are pregnant, trans, non-binary, Black, brown, Indigenous, women, poor, and/or disabled.

A commitment to reproductive justice, health, and freedom must inform our organizing in these perilous times. The following books address various historical and contemporary issues related to this important topic.

A landmark literary anthology of poems, stories, and essays, Choice Words collects essential voices that renew our courage in the struggle to defend reproductive freedom. 

Krista Franklin’s work emerges at the intersection of poetics, popular culture, and the dynamic histories of the African Diaspora.

Undivided Rights captures the evolving and largely unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice.

With a new preface, this feminist classic reveals the dangers of contemporary population-control tactics, especially for women in developing countries.

Feminist Freedom Warriors tells the stories of women of color from the Global South, weaving together cross-generational histories of feminist activism across national borders.

"If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free." —Combahee River Collective Statement

This sweeping look at the history and politics of the US child welfare system exposes the racist system—from the “orphan trains” and Indian boarding schools to current practices in child protective investigations, foster care, and mandated services—arguing that it constitutes a mechanism of control exerted over poor and working-class parents and children. 

This book comprises a collection of groundbreaking writings by author and disability rights activist Marta Russell on the nature of disability and oppression under capitalism.

An indispensable history and contemporary guide to the struggle for authentic sexual equality and liberation.

A classic work of radical educational theory and a progressive economic vision of equity and equality in America's schools.

This classic work sheds light on the lives and struggles of immigrant women domestic workers.

Interviews and photographic essays highlight the spirit of the 70's New York-based organization of Puerto Rican radicals, the Young Lords, who called for an end to forced sterilization on the island.

Poetry that redefines the language of collective and individual trauma through lyric and memory.

How do you imagine trans liberation while living in a cis world? These poems follow a gender nonconforming body moving through the streets of Chicago.

Poet Aja Monet’s ode to mothers, daughters, and sisters—the tiny gods who fight to change the world.

Lise Vogel revisits classical Marxian texts, tracking analyses of “the woman question” in socialist theory and drawing on central theoretical categories of Marx's Capital to put forward an original theorization of gender and the social production and reproduction of material life. 

This essential volume selects the key essays of renowned Marxist Feminist, and theorist of social reproduction, Martha E. Giménez.

For further reading, continue to Socialism 101: A Reading List.

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