By Hira Baig
Associate Editor, Volume 23
Reproductive justice is not just concerned with women having access to the healthcare they need, it is also concerned with the disparate impact caused by restrictions on reproductive healthcare. Historically, the more restrictions the Court allows on abortion, the more challenging it becomes for indigent women, women of color, and incarcerated women to get the healthcare they need. In order to achieve reproductive justice, scholars and advocates alike ought to think of a comprehensive way to help all women access the reproductive healthcare they need before, during, and even after pregnancy.
Currently, the doctrine surrounding reproductive healthcare, primarily abortion, does not account for women’s social contexts and allows restrictions that keep minority and indigent women from enjoying equal protection of the laws. It comes as no surprise that indigent women face severe restrictions when trying to access abortion. Incarcerated women, however, face even greater hurdles.
Today, prisons and jails in the United States confine approximately 206,000 women. Approximately 6-10% of women are already pregnant when they enter a prison or jail. Doctor visits for pregnant women in prison are infrequent, with only 54% of women who reported being pregnant in state prisons receiving pregnancy care.