Discussions around reproduction in the contemporary era have usually been bound up with debates around abortion rights and pro-life/pro-choice campaigns. From the UK’s proposals to create buffer zones at abortion clinics to prevent protests, to increased legalisation of abortion rights in several Latin American countries over recent years. Yet the conflict between continued restrictions in some countries and the relaxing of abortion laws in others continue to dominate the debate. For example, restrictions on access to abortion continue in Thailand and Northern Ireland despite decriminalization in both nations (in 2021 and 2019 respectively), leading to ongoing protests and debates. Poland criminalised abortion, in almost all circumstances, in January 2021, causing several women to take legal action in the European Court of Human Rights to protest this ruling while several states in the US have imposed significant restrictions on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Reproductive rights and access to abortion are vital, however this special issue seeks to move away from the somewhat polarizing debates around abortion and instead expand the focus to consider reproductive care and justice. Reproductive justice sits at the intersection between political rights and the oppressions of class, race, and gender on a global scale. The right to reproductive care and justice for women and girls – from contraception through to choices about having a child or terminating a pregnancy – is bound up with debates around political subjectivity and rights, systems of legal regulation, state welfare support, and socio-cultural conceptions linked to particular faiths or systems of belief. This special issue is interested then in centering stories that narrate reproductive care and justice from several different perspectives in a range of temporal and geographic spaces and places. This might include, for example, policy change or legal revision, historical or literary representations of reproductive care and justice, or grassroots activism and community building to support the care of women and girls and achieve justice in their reproductive lives. All Area Studies perspectives welcomed. Collaborative pieces are warmly encouraged.