“Reproductive wellness” is part of our name because the ARRWIP team recognizes the broader social and structural context that shapes people's experiences of their reproductive health and health care.
The ARRWIP team is dedicated to improving reproductive inequities, especially as they are experienced by women enmeshed in the criminal legal system. We are guided by the teachings of reproductive justice-- a framework and strategy for change that emerged from and centers the experiences of women of color and others who are marginalized by systems of oppression (for more information see Sistersong).
All people have the right to determine if and when they want to have children, and the circumstances and material resources to raise their children in a safe and loving environment.
The framework of reproductive justice is particularly critical to addressing the reproductive health and rights of incarcerated people. With variable access to pregnancy, abortion, and other reproductive health care while incarcerated; confinement during their peak childbearing years; and separation from their children, incarceration constrains people’s abilities to cultivate a sense of reproductive well-being. Promoting reproductive justice, then, includes working both to improve reproductive health care behind bars and also to ending mass incarceration.
For an overview on how mass incarceration contradicts the core tenets of reproductive justice, see this article in the American Journal of Public Health by Crystal Hayes and colleagues.
The guidance ARRWIP takes from the reproductive justice framework also includes acknowledging the centrality of the voices and experiences of people who are most directly impacted.