Mother’s Day: Reproductive Justice in Ghana

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Happy Mothers Day !!! While we love to celebrate and fawn over mothers on this day, we often ignore the institutional needs of mothers in Ghana. The difficulty and risk of motherhood is real. Even the act of becoming a mother has cost many their lives. In 2013, within Ghana 380 out of 100,000 live births ended in mothers losing their lives. To give context, the rate for Afghanistan is 400 out of 100,000, while the rate for Sweden is 4 out of 100,000. Pregnancy and parenthood must be choices. It is why Ghana needs reproductive justice.

Reproductive justice, a concept created by Black American Feminist women, is a comprehensive approach to institutional disadvantage that burdens people in terms of parenthood. It requires looking at economic disenfranchisement, healthcare inequity, employment policies, homelessness, systematic rape, and access to birth control, abortion etc.

All people with uteri (women, trans men, agender folks etc.) should have complete control and access to resources such that parenthood is an intentional choice. This means addressing sexual assault by ensuring kayayoo women and girls have a safe place to sleep so they are not raped repeatedly and often. It also means comprehensive sex education that involves more than telling children that they will burn in hell for their hormonal desires. Reproductive justice includes access to abortion and postinor pills. It includes employment policies being family friendly and allowing both paternal and maternal paid leave so parents can address their needs. Not everyday capitalistic profit maximizing policies that ignore the needs of workers, sometimes ethical treatment of workers as persons.

Reproductive justice also requires de-stigmatizing pregnancy. It means allowing pregnant teen girls to continue their education, and a shift in cultural narrative so pregnancy is not a tragedy. Refusing to treat pregnancy as a tragedy requires that unmarried girls and women are not treated with contempt and disgust.

Conversely, reproductive justice requires supporting parents. Mothers must not be discriminated against in work places. Married women must not be pressured to reproduce for community approval. Fatherhood must require more than economic support of children, emotional closeness should be an encouraged norm.

Reproductive Justice requires that we change deeply instilled, widely practiced cultural attitudes.

Feel free to comment about reproductive justice strategies in Ghana.



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