Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault Statement on Reproductive Justice and Sexual Violence
Tuesday, May 3, 2022: MNCASA believes that reproductive justice is a fundamental human right: the right to bodily autonomy, the right to safe and affordable abortion care, the right to have or not have children, and the right to parent those children in safe and healthy environments.
MNCASA advocates for pregnant people to have access to safe, accessible, and affordable abortion care. It is not enough that abortion simply be legal, but must be a viable option for those in need of care. This care should be provided in cases of elective and spontaneous abortions (miscarriage).
The movement for reproductive justice has long existed in Indigenous, Black, and trans communities, and the term was first coined in 1994 by a group of Black women in Chicago, IL. Reproductive justice is about improving access to reproductive health care, including:
- Birth control
- Prenatal and postpartum care
- Comprehensive sex education
- STI prevention and treatment
- Access to menstruation products
- Alternative birth options
- Ending forced or coerced sterilizations
- Eliminating disparities in birth parent and infant mortality
The issue is broader than health care—it also includes the right to be free of societal oppressions and inequities, and self-determined family creation. This means access to:
- Safe neighborhoods and schools
- Domestic and sexual violence prevention and response
- Housing security
- Food security
- Child care
- Economic equity
- Connection to Sexual Violence
Choice, consent, and autonomy over one’s own body. All people have the right to consensual sexual relationships. In the same way, pregnant people have the right to consent to continuing or not continuing a pregnancy. As ValorUS states, “this freedom should not be limited to the ability to accept or reject sexual experiences, rather, true bodily autonomy requires that an individual can make informed decisions about involvement in any experience: sexual, medical, or otherwise.”
Laws should not reinforce the violence victims/survivors are experiencing. Controlling an individual’s reproduction through coercive laws is an act of violence by systems in the same way that restricting or forcing abortion care is a violent tactic used in, but not limited to, intimate partner violence and trafficking situations.
Sexual violence may result in a pregnancy. Victims/survivors should not be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from sexual assault.
Marginalized communities are the most affected. Marginalized communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities, are disproportionately affected by this issue. These communities are more likely to be targeted for violence and less likely to have access to adequate healthcare.
Survival should not be criminalized. Survivors are the experts on their own needs, and abortion care may be crucial to their safety and survival. For instance, pregnancy can be a particularly high-risk time for survivors experiencing intimate partner violence. Rather than criminalizing safety, we should make care accessible to victims/survivors.
In a world free from violence, all people would have control over their own bodies, free from coercion or fear. MNCASA is committed to working toward reproductive justice and upholding abortion access for all victims/survivors of sexual violence. We will take bold, courageous action so all Minnesota communities can be free of sexual violence.
- Reproductive Justice — Sister Song
- Reproductive Justice – Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV)
MNCASA is a statewide coalition driving transformative culture change to address sexual violence through advocacy, harm prevention, racial justice, and systems change. We are a collective voice of organizations and individuals committed to ending sexual violence, including rape crisis centers, victim advocacy programs, community groups, non-profit organizations, healthcare providers, and law enforcement agencies. MNCASA advocates publicly for the needs and perspectives of victims/survivors in Minnesota and works to raise community awareness around sexual violence. As the state coalition to end sexual violence, we serve as a point of connection for our members in Minnesota and we work to increase capacity their capacity through networking opportunities, technical assistance, and other resources. MNCASA’s
Sexual Violence Justice Institute is a state and national technical assistance provider focused on systems change and strengthening community response to sexual violence. SVJI provides resources and training to advocates, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, medical providers, and corrections professionals across the US.
Sarah Florman, Public Policy Manager
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Artika Roller, Executive Director
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