WV FREE has long considered itself a social justice organization. We embrace the reproductive justice framework because we are committed to the notion that all people deserve lives full of opportunity and without discrimination.
What is Reproductive Justice?
“Reproductive Justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well-being of women and girls, and will be achieved when women and girls have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, sexuality, and reproduction for ourselves, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.”
WV FREE’s mission is to:
(1) Seek legal protection at state and national levels guaranteeing the right to decide whether, when and how to have children; the human right to bodily integrity and control over one’s body and the ability to parent children in healthy and safe environments;
(2) Broaden the base of active, vocal and community support for and understanding of reproductive rights, health and justice in West Virginia;
(3) Ensure accessibility to and affordability of reproductive health care for all West Virginians, including the right to abortion, birth control, adoption, prenatal care, sexuality education, birth options as chosen by women, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, with a special focus on teens and those with a low-income, rural women and women of color;
(4) Develop and expand a system that is rooted in the strength of the most disadvantaged West Virginians; and
(5) Inspire, lead and participate in a broad, inclusive and energized movement for reproductive health, rights and justice to promote sustainability through alliance building and shared learning.
Respect for Women: Our work is centered in our respect for women’s lives. We believe that access to reproductive health care and education are fundamental human rights, essential for equality, health, and dignity of all people — especially women.
Reproductive and Social Justice: We believe in the human right to bodily integrity and control over one’s body and the ability to parent children in healthy and safe environments. We understand our work to be part of a larger social justice/reproductive justice movement to ensure the rights of all families. This includes support for low-income women to care for their children with dignity.
Focused on Those Facing the Highest Barriers: We focus our direct services work and our advocacy on ensuring access and rights for all, especially those who face the highest barriers — low-income communities, communities of color, and youth.
Advocacy Shaped by Women’s Experiences: We seek to lift up and highlight the experiences of those most affected by barriers to education and health care in order to move public opinion and shape public policy to improve life chances for all West Virginians.
WV FREE envisions the elevation of all West Virginians through the promotion of dignity and autonomy of women and families.
According to SisterSong:
“The reproductive justice framework – the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments — is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions is important for women of color.
It represents a shift for women advocating for control of their bodies, from a narrower focus on legal access and individual choice (the focus of mainstream organizations) to a broader analysis of racial, economic, cultural, and structural constraints on our power.
Reproductive Justice addresses the social reality of inequality, specifically, the inequality of opportunities that we have to control our reproductive destiny. Our options for making choices have to be safe, affordable and accessible, three minimal cornerstones of government support for all individual life decisions.”