A Visualized History of Racism and Reproductive Rights in America

Introducing Book Summary Infographics, a new post category we are bringing to our blog to compliment our investigative data-driven pieces.  Each post aims to summarize a book or book chapter; the goal is to make academic writing accessible to a wider audience through design-friendly information display.  Our first infographic is taken from Chapter 12 of Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis.  

The reproductive rights movement is often framed as a big step forward in the history of the women's rights: birth control was a pathway to post-secondary education and careers for women in the upper class. However, poor women and racially oppressed women were largely absent from the birth control movement, as without material wealth, these goals were out of reach. And while birth control was perceived as a step toward liberation for wealthy (and primarily white) women, for poor women and women of colour, many proponents framed birth control as a moral obligation for restricting family size, to prevent putting strain on taxes and charities. 

Angela Davis writes that, in considering the absence of women of colour in the birth control movement, it is crucial to acknowledge the dark influence of eugenics on the movement, and America's rampant history of sterilization abuse.  See our summary of her chapter below: 

Read more about the forced sterilization of Native Americans here, and more general reading about eugenics in the United States here and here