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Books for changing the world

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

The Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade announces the latest attempt by the anti-abortion right to further restrict abortion rights and bodily autonomy, making it even harder for pregnant people in many states to access the healthcare they may require. Beyond abortion, the ongoing Covid-19 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 demand not only that we each have ready access to basic services like reproductive and gender affirming healthcare, childcare, education, and housing, but 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, migrant, 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.

Please also consider donating to help pregnant people overcome financial and logistical barriers that may otherwise prevent them from accessing abortions, via the National Network for Abortion Funds.

The Billboard is a compelling play about a fictional Black women’s clinic in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side and its fight with a local gadfly running for City Council who puts up a provocative billboard: “Abortion is genocide. The most dangerous place for a Black child is his mother’s womb,” spurring the clinic to fight back.

In this brave and devastatingly beautiful anthology, the illustrious poet and editor Aracelis Girmay gathers complex and intimate pieces that illuminate the nuances of personal and collective histories, analyses, practices, and choices surrounding pregnancy. 

All the Blood Involved in Love is an urgent and evocative collection—featuring complex and compelling poems about the choices we make surrounding home, freedom, healing, partnership, and family. 

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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