Reproductive Justice IS Perinatal Equity

Reproductive Justice IS Perinatal Equity

Sometimes in the news it seems like we’re addressing one fire after another. Read below for more on how Nurturely is addressing: 1) the metaphorical fire of increasing threats to reproductive rights, plus 2) the actual (wild)fires threatening perinatal health from climate change…

Abortion access IS perinatal health equity. Nurturely is committed to equity and wellness in pregnancy, postpartum, and infant health. There are many ways to prevent inequities, prevent health disparities, and promote physical and psychological wellness during the perinatal period. But one of the first and most fundamental ways to promote perinatal health is to ensure that the birthing person has full autonomy and full reproductive options before committing to a pregnancy. On an individual level and on a systemic level, forcing pregnancy and birth harms parents and babies exponentially more than the alternative. Research shows that abortion bans not only increase marginalization, but actually lead to more deaths of birthing people from Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. There is nothing pro-baby about forced birth.

There is nothing pro-life about abortion bans that further marginalize Black, Indigenous, transgender, immigrant, and disabled communities. Abortion restrictions of any kind cannot coexist in an environment that supports perinatal equity.

The data show…

  • People who want abortions but are unable to receive the care that they desire suffer from increased psychological challenges including anxiety and lower self-esteem in comparison with people who received the desired abortion (Biggs et al., 2017). At Nurturely, we support access to safe, supported, and empowering pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. Empowered, equitable pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences simply cannot exist in an environment where pregnancy and birth is not the fully autonomous and informed choice of each individual.
  • People who were able to access the abortion care that they needed were able to raise their other children under more stable conditions, while children born from unwanted pregnancies (when abortions were not accessible) experienced worse maternal bonding and economic insecurity and increased risk of being raised in a home with domestic violence (Foster et al., 2018). At Nurturely, we work to increase access to nurturing communities of supported and empowered caregivers so that babies and their caregivers can thrive. We prevent postpartum depression, increase access to human milk and lactation, and build cultures of support to decrease isolation and share caregiving responsibilities.
  • In the years following a (hypothetical) national abortion ban, the perinatal mortality rate would increase 21% and would increase by 33% in Black birthing people (Stevenson, 2021). At Nurturely, we create a world where all babies, caregivers, and people can not only survive, but can thrive. We stand for Black lives, Indigenous lives, transgender lives, immigrant lives, and the lives of all intersecting identities that have been harmed by systemic racism and oppression. We know that abortion bans are rooted in racism and actively worsen the perinatal mortality crisis.

Nurturely’s Action Plan. Because our governing institutions have demonstrated a lack of protection of basic human rights, the responsibility to support reproductive healthcare access falls on businesses, community-based organizations, and individual leaders – all of us! Internal Workplace Policies. Nurturely’s internal policies support: 1) travel, accommodation, and childcare reimbursement for employees who must travel to access abortion care, and 2) three weeks of paid physical and psychological recovery time following abortion.

State-to-State Partnerships. Because Nurturely is headquartered in a state that currently has unrestricted abortion policies, we are uniquely positioned to work with our partners in other states to ensure that Nurturely’s Oregon HQ can be an access point to abortion care through accommodation, meals, and a local community of support for people traveling to Oregon.

Self-Care and Sustainability. This is an ongoing battle and will be a community-led effort. It is essential that we all take the time to rest and care for ourselves and each other during this marathon of a fight for reproductive and perinatal equity. Nurturely employees have access to unlimited paid wellness days, where our team is encouraged to take proactive, fully paid days off to support physical and mental wellness. Please reach out if you are interested in collaborating on these efforts or supporting our work.

In partnership,
Emily Little, PhD, Executive Director

P.S. Let this statement serve as a respectful decline of any partnerships, donations, or funding from people or organizations who are contributing to these injustices in reproductive and perinatal health.