Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

Julia Oparah (Editor) Alicia Bonaparte (Editor)


There is a global crisis in maternal health care for black women. In the United States, black women are over three times more likely to perish from pregnancy-related complications than white women; their babies are half as likely to survive the first year. Many black women experience policing, coercion, and disempowerment during pregnancy and childbirth and are disconnected from alternative birthing traditions. This book places black women's voices at the center of the debate on what should be done to fix the broken maternity system and foregrounds black women's agency in the emerging birth justice movement. Mixing scholarly, activist, and personal perspectives, the book shows readers how they too can change lives, one birth at a time.

Product Details

Publish Date
December 24, 2015
5.9 X 0.6 X 8.9 inches | 0.88 pounds
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About the Author

Julia Chinyere Oparah is Professor and Chair of Ethnic Studies at Mills College and a founding member of Black Women Birthing Justice. She is co-editor of Activist Scholarship: Antiracism, Feminism and Social Change and Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption

Alicia D. Bonaparte is Associate Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College and a medical sociologist with a specialization in reproductive health and health disparities. She is currently working on a book on the lives of granny midwives in South Carolina.


"A truly original and innovative book--and an absolute necessity in the current field of research on reproduction."
--Christa Craven, College of Wooster, author of Pushing for Midwives: Homebirth Mothers and the Reproductive Rights Movement.

"With its commitment to placing black women at the center of the conversation and scholarship about their own lives and the value it places on agency, activism, and putting scholarship to work for the purpose of social change, Birthing Justice makes an important and much-needed contribution to the small but growing number of books examining reproductive justice. This anthology of black women's experiences of pregnancy and childbirth is long overdue."
--Jeanne Flavin, Fordham University, author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America.