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Columbia University School of Law




This Article analyzes the relationship between the struggle for the recognition of Black women's reproductive rights in the United States and the fight for racial justice. Specifically, it argues that the problematization of poor Black women's fertility--evidenced by the depiction of single Black motherhood as a national crisis, the condemnation of poor Black women who rely on public assistance, and the portrayal of their children as an embryonic "criminal class"--ought to be understood as a form of contempt for Black women's reproductive rights. Differently stated, the lack of acknowledgment in legal, political, and popular discourse that motherhood is a legitimate choice for poor Black women demonstrates that their right to reproduce is disparaged. Further, this censure of poor Black women's fertility ought to be understood not only as a failure of the reproductive rights movement, but also as a matter of racial injustice. That is, the struggle of poor Black women to have their reproductive choices respected is a struggle for racial equality.



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