Our Executive Director, Laurie Bertram Roberts, shares her background in and forecast for abortion rights in the wake of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the US Supreme Court on Slate’s latest What’s Next podcast. She lends her trademark insight to the distinction between pro-choice activism and reproductive justice: “Pro-choice is very focused on abortion, and reproductive justice is focused on the human right to have a child, not have a child… [and] raise your child in safe, secure surroundings”.
Host Mary Harris contrasts how Roberts and Barrett are both mothers of large families, yet intersections of privilege and politics leave them at disparate ends of reproductive rights: Laurie, a black woman and reproductive justice activist, and Amy, a conservative Trump-appointed judge, and white woman.
Laurie recounts the holistic, humanizing scope of her founding work at the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, which involved arranging travel, shelter, food and aftercare for clients needing an abortion. She stresses the need to integrate parenthood into pro-choice politics, given how many parents are our clients: “I don’t want anyone to ever have an abortion they don’t want… or parent when they don’t want to”. The choice to parent or not to parent, Laurie says, should be seen as one of many reproductive options, none worse or better than the others.
Considering the jeopardy Roe v. Wade is in, Laurie discusses the trigger laws in Mississippi and Alabama that would immediately ban abortions should the law be overturned. She gives practical starting points for abortion access in communities where they may be dialed back 50 years.
Listen below or read the transcript here.