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Reading Our Rights

Several weeks ago, when we worried that Republicans would manage to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, a lunchtime conversation at the Jewish Women’s Archive turned to abortion. As we talked, we discovered that we all harbored assumptions about the issue, gleaned from years of listening to the public debate over women’s bodies. The more we compared notes on what we actually knew versus what we assumed, the more we realized that cultural portrayals of abortion, female sexuality, motherhood, and women’s autonomy frame this conversation in a way that actively denies many American women’s lived experiences. Indeed, we realized that in many ways, anti-abortion activists have framed the terms of the debate in their own favor, thus obfuscating truths about women’s health and reproductive rights in history and today.

We decided to expand this illuminating lunch-hour conversation and bring it directly to you with a new weekly blog series called Reading Our Rights. Each week, we will be publishing a new post about reproductive justice: where we stand now, how we got here, and what the future of women’s health and their rights to personhood could look like. Revolutions begin with conversation, and when it comes to the issue of reproductive justice, the conversation is far-reaching, complex, and intensely personal. We hope this series will expand your thoughts on these issues the way our research and discussion has expanded ours.

(Reproductive) Justice, You Shall Pursue

Reproductive health includes the right to have children and to access all amenities necessary to care for those children. It means a right to bodily autonomy no matter one’s sexuality, gender, class, or ethnicity.

Am I Glad My Mother Didn’t Abort Me?

I have one rule when it comes to writing opinion pieces: Never read the comments...It was harder to ignore the handwritten letter that arrived at my office.

Being Female, Feminist, and Very Political at 90

Marianne Lieberman is a Holocaust survivor and artist credited with incorporating the first NARAL affiliate in Raleigh in 1977 after undergoing her own illegal abortion in 1949.

A Voice of A Generation: Goodbye, Girls!

Like apparently everyone else in the world, we at JWA had some thoughts about the series finale of Girls. Two of our staffers, Emily Cataneo and Elena Hoffenberg, both millennials, feminists, and fans of the show, sat down and chatted about Girls, its legacy, and the best way to end a show about young women.

This conversation is also the fourth installment in our Reading Our Rights series.

Susan B. Anthony's Secret Pro-Life Agenda

Part 3 of the series Reading Our Rights

Did you know that Susan B. Anthony was a bomb-throwing pro-life crusader who believed that aborting babies was tantamount to murder?

Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: What Does it All Mean, Anyway?

Part 2 of the Series Reading Our Rights 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “pro-choice” as “favoring the legalization of abortion.

That's it. End of blog post.

When We Talk About Abortion

Part 1 of the series Reading Our Rights

When North Carolina began debating bathroom laws last year, the issue was so new, so out of left field, that it was easy for liberals to take a step back and say, “We don’t have evidence of trans women assaulting other women in bathrooms. Most threats to women come from straight, cis-gender men. This law has nothing to do with protecting women; it’s purely a tool to harass transgender people.”

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Reading Our Rights." (Viewed on September 20, 2018) <>.


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