By: Abigail Leigh
Reproductive Rights are something that this country has been struggling with for many years. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as: “The recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health”. They include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.
Toni Bond Leonard is one of the first women of color to take a stand for reproductive rights. She is the Executive Director of the Black Women for Reproductive Justice, BWRJ. This group works to organize, and localize, black women around affecting changes in public policies and institutions that seek to control reproductive autonomy.
Toni is a big deal in the world of Reproductive Rights, because not only is she the first woman of color to belong to a group that fights for these rights, but she is also part of the group of Black women who created the term “reproductive justice” in 1994. Pretty cool huh?
Toni holds many events such as Safer Sex Educational Experiences, where they cover basic reproductive health education. They explain the functions of some of the female anatomy, including the ovaries, uterus, and menstrual cycles, as many women would like more information in these areas.
Her goal is to focus on reproductive justice with regards to what is needed to keep Black women healthy, maintain healthy families, and live in healthy communities.