The best reproductive justice books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about reproductive justice and why they recommend each book.

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Birthing Justice

By Julia Oparah (editor), Alicia Bonaparte (editor),

Book cover of Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

A crucial read not only for understanding the unique obstacles facing Black birthing parents but also for celebrating the work of organizers who have fought for our reproductive justice. This book explains how key moments in history have led to where we are today and fills gaps of understanding that many have when it comes to Black maternal health.


Who am I?

Anna Malaika Tubbs is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of MLK Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. She is also a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in Anthropology, Anna received a Master’s from the University of Cambridge in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Outside of the academy, she is an educator and DEI consultant. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, and their son Michael Malakai.


I wrote...

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

By Anna Malaika Tubbs,

Book cover of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

What is my book about?

Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them. In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America's most pivotal heroes.

These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of Black people to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America’s racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families’ safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers. These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.

Killing the Black Body

By Dorothy Roberts,

Book cover of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

I think it is impossible to step away from this book without seriously reconsidering the historyand very definitionof reproductive rights. In this now-classic work, sociologist and legal scholar Dorothy Roberts exposes the systematic degradation of Black women’s reproduction. From the era of enslavement (in which enslaved women, and only enslaved women, could through their reproduction increase an enslaver’s wealth) to the eugenics movement to early birth control advocacy to forced sterilization to the panic about “crack babies,” she redefines the very nature of reproductive justice.


Who am I?

When I started college in 1974 as a young radical feminist I had zero interest in history—it was all wars and men. But in a course about the Russian Revolution I learned the most thrilling thing: historians don’t simply relay facts, they argue with one another. I fell in love, and I never looked back. I am especially fascinated by what societies label “unthinkable,” and how that shapes, contains, and controls radical ideas. I've always been intrigued by what is "out of the question" and then poke at it, see what lies underneath, and try to figure out why things remain, or are kept, invisible.


I wrote...

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life

By Lori D. Ginzberg,

Book cover of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life

What is my book about?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the founding philosopher of the American movement for woman's rights. A brilliant activist-intellectual, she was driven by her commitment to rouse herself, and everyone else, to rethink and remake women's status in politics, law, religion, and marriage. At the same time, Stanton made comments so racist that they can leave us speechless. My biography argues that Stanton's racism and elitism were not merely warts, but reflected a thread in her thinking that shapedand limitedher conception of justice and social change. Both critical and admiring, I offer a portrait of a woman whose absolutism was both thrilling and exasperating, who could be both an excellent ally and a bothersome menace, and whose ambiguous legacy continues to haunt American feminism.

Just Get on the Pill, 4

By Krystale E. Littlejohn,

Book cover of Just Get on the Pill, 4: The Uneven Burden of Reproductive Politics

This book has arrived with a bang, telling stories about how women and couples navigate questions of contraception. Littlejohn is a great writer, telling vivid story after vivid story about how decisions about contraception get made -- who has it easy, who doesn't, and why women rarely fall in the first category.


Who am I?

Reproductive justice – reproductive rights – reproductive self-determination – this has been my passion for decades. I’m a historian. The most important thing I’ve learned is how reproductive bodies have always been racialized in the United States, from 1619 to the present day. Circumstances and tactics have changed over time, but lawmakers and others have always valued the reproduction of some people while degrading the reproduction of people defined as less valuable – or valueless – to the nation. Throughout our history, reproductive politics has been at the center of public life.  As we see today. I keep writing because I want more and more of us to understand where we are – and why. 


I wrote...

Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

By Rickie Solinger, Loretta Ross,

Book cover of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

What is my book about?

Reproductive Justice is a first-of-its-kind primer that provides a comprehensive yet succinct description of the field. Written by two legendary scholar-activists, Reproductive Justice introduces students to an intersectional analysis of race, class, and gender politics. Loretta J. Ross and Rickie Solinger put the lives and lived experience of women of color at the center of the book and use a human rights analysis to show how the discussion around reproductive justice differs significantly from the pro-choice/anti-abortion debates that have long dominated the headlines and mainstream political conflict.

Arguing that reproductive justice is a political movement of reproductive rights and social justice, the authors illuminate, for example, the complex web of structural obstacles a low-income, physically disabled woman living in West Texas faces as she contemplates her sexual and reproductive intentions. In a period in which women’s reproductive lives are imperiled, Reproductive Justice provides an essential guide to understanding and mobilizing around women’s human rights in the twenty-first century.

Reproduction on the Reservation

By Brianna Theobald,

Book cover of Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century

This book is a first. Theobald gives us a really interesting and comprehensive history of pregnancy, birthing, motherhood -- and activism -- on the Crow Reservation in Montana. She explains the interventions of the federal government, for example, via coercive sterilization and child removal, and provides rich accounts of family, tribal, and inter-tribal resistance -- and claims of self-determination -- in the face of these interventions.

Who am I?

Reproductive justice – reproductive rights – reproductive self-determination – this has been my passion for decades. I’m a historian. The most important thing I’ve learned is how reproductive bodies have always been racialized in the United States, from 1619 to the present day. Circumstances and tactics have changed over time, but lawmakers and others have always valued the reproduction of some people while degrading the reproduction of people defined as less valuable – or valueless – to the nation. Throughout our history, reproductive politics has been at the center of public life.  As we see today. I keep writing because I want more and more of us to understand where we are – and why. 


I wrote...

Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

By Rickie Solinger, Loretta Ross,

Book cover of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

What is my book about?

Reproductive Justice is a first-of-its-kind primer that provides a comprehensive yet succinct description of the field. Written by two legendary scholar-activists, Reproductive Justice introduces students to an intersectional analysis of race, class, and gender politics. Loretta J. Ross and Rickie Solinger put the lives and lived experience of women of color at the center of the book and use a human rights analysis to show how the discussion around reproductive justice differs significantly from the pro-choice/anti-abortion debates that have long dominated the headlines and mainstream political conflict.

Arguing that reproductive justice is a political movement of reproductive rights and social justice, the authors illuminate, for example, the complex web of structural obstacles a low-income, physically disabled woman living in West Texas faces as she contemplates her sexual and reproductive intentions. In a period in which women’s reproductive lives are imperiled, Reproductive Justice provides an essential guide to understanding and mobilizing around women’s human rights in the twenty-first century.

New book lists related to reproductive justice

All book lists related to reproductive justice