Reproductive Justice

For Native women, reproductive justice has been fully entwined with genocide and colonization since first contact. A study by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) found that 4 of the 12 Indian Health Service regions sterilized 3,406 American Indian women without their permission between 1973 and 1976 (Lawrence, 2000). The GAO also found that 36 women under age 21 had been forcibly sterilized during this period despite a court-ordered moratorium on sterilizations of women younger than 21. Two years earlier, an independent study by Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, Choctaw/Cherokee, found that one in four American Indian women had been sterilized without her consent. Pinkerton-Uri’s research indicated that the Indian Health Service had “singled out full-blooded Indian women for sterilization procedures" (Lawrence, 2000).

Public policy is still actively creating justice for Native women and avenues for family planning as the basis of personal health choices.