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Making embryos lively: The politics of embryo personhood when fertilization happens under a microscope

On May 25, 2022, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed into law the strictest ban on abortion to date, a policy that prohibits the termination of any pregnancy “from the moment of fertilization.” This law endows an embryo, no matter the stage—long before it has discernible heartbeat—with the same legal status as an unborn child. Almost exactly one month later, on …

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Response

I am so grateful to each of you for engaging with Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy and Premature Birth for this forum and I thank you for your careful reading of my book and your respective interpretations. I also appreciate everyone at Somatosphere for holding space for such productive dialogue.

When I wrote this book, I had hoped that it would …

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The Afterlife of Reproductive Mastery

In late 2019, I had the chance to sit down with doula and community organizer Tamara Thompson, founding member of the Milwaukee-based Black radical doula collective Maroon Calabash.[i] We were meeting to think about possible speakers to invite to a convening around reproductive justice. Thompson said that she was reading an amazing new book that I might have heard …

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When Black Lives Matter: Reading Reproductive Injustice

Reading Dána-Ain Davis’s Reproductive Injustice has broadened my efforts to understand and scrutinize the violence of care embedded within medical and therapeutic practices in the United States. My own work on the violence of care focuses on how such practices are implicated in the past and present landscape of racial inequality in the U.S. I argue that the violence of …

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Race, Gender, and the Biopolitics of Birth, Care, and Neglect

Over the last few years, a number of high-profile Black women, such as Serena Williams, Beyoncé, Shalon Irving, and Kira Dixon Johnson have brought increased attention to the ways in which race and birth precarity intersect to reproduce a consistent narrative of medical neglect. Adamant demands prevailed upon medical personnel prevented almost certain death for Williams and Beyoncé. …

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Interrogating Obstetrical Racism

Dána-Ain Davis’s Reproductive Injustice is a remarkable book by a remarkable anthropologist, published at a remarkable time in United States reproductive political history. In the contemporary United States, white supremacy, xenophobia, racism, and sexism threaten every foundation on which the struggle for reproductive justice has been built. This threat is borne out in rising neighborhood and job and food insecurity; …

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