What Is Reproductive Justice? A Small Group Ministry Session Plan

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Opening Words

'To Be Of Use'

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

- Marge Piercy


Focus/Topic: What Is Reproductive Justice?

As members of a religious tradition with a long and substantive history working for reproductive rights and a firm commitment to anti-racism, multiculturalism, and social justice, Unitarian Universalists are called to widen the current socio-political debate on “reproductive rights” to one on “reproductive justice.”

Within the framework of reproductive justice, the Unitarian Universalist Association works against the cultural, political, economic, and structural constraints that limit women's access to health care and full reproductive choice. Reproductive justice, a concept put forth by coalitions of women of color, promotes the right of all women to have children, not to have children, and to raise their children in safe and healthy environments. It does not isolate or pit important social issues against each other, rather it works to promote these rights across many areas, including comprehensive sex education, economic justice, ending violence against women, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice.

1. Why, as a faith community, do Unitarian Universalists work to promote reproductive rights and reproductive justice?
2. How has your life been impacted by the movements of reproductive rights and reproductive justice?
3. For many successful and productive years, Unitarian Universalists worked for reproductive rights. Since the mid-1990s, however, the framework of reproductive justice has been useful, particularly by groups of women of color, to frame a larger movement against reproductive oppression. How has your reproductive life been impacted by, or might yet be impacted by, your race, sexuality orientation, gender identity, and socio-economic background?

Likes & Wishes

Closing Words

Earth mother, star mother,
You who are called by
a thousand names,
May all remember
we are cells in your body
and dance together.
You are the grain and the loaf
that sustains us each day,
And as you are patient
with our struggles to learn
So shall we be patient
with ourselves and each other.
We are radiant light
and sacred dark – the balance –
You are the embrace that heartens
And the freedom beyond fear.
Within you we are born,
we grow, live, and die –
You bring us around the circle to rebirth
Within us you dance

- Starhawk