Shifting the Frame on Disability Rights for the U.S. Reproductive Rights Movement


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This paper is directed at the U.S. reproductive rights movement with the goal of encouraging a frank conversation about disability rights within our movement. In recent years, largely as a result of the growing momentum and visibility of the disability rights movement, the Center's work has increasingly intersected with disability rights in the regions and forums where we work. At times, an intersectional analysis has prompted collaborations to advance a shared agenda, for example in challenging policies and practices that allow forced sterilization. However, we also recognize that historical tensions—particularly surrounding the issues of prenatal genetic testing for markers of disability and abortion on grounds of fetal impairment—continue to divide the two movements, jeopardizing the realization of human rights that are universal and indivisible.

We believe it is imperative to assert our movements’ common human rights principles of bodily autonomy, self-determination, equality, and inclusion. It is also critical to address historical and current conflicts and challenges in an honest and collaborative manner. We have produced this briefing paper to provide recommendations for how the reproductive rights movement can take steps to reclaim our shared values with the disability rights movement, repair trust with disability rights activists, and build alliances that will advance an inclusive policy agenda.