Intro to Reproductive Justice and Intersectionality

This session introduced attendees to an intersectional analysis of race, class, and gender politics. Using a human rights analysis, facilitators explained how reproductive justice differs from the pro-choice/anti-abortion framework. Attendees learned about the history of reproductive justice and intersectionality, what the current reproductive and sexual health landscape looks like in the US, and how advocates and activists can apply the framework to center those most impacted by reproductive oppression.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas is a graduate of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. She went on to complete her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, her Fellowship in Family Planning, and her Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. She joined Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri as the first ever Chief Medical Officer after a decade in academic medicine. As an OB/GYN, and specialist in family planning and abortion care she lives out her personal and professional commitment to abortion access by providing clinical care in 4 states across the Midwest and South. Dr. McNicholas believes that a physician’s advocacy voice is as important as their clinical and surgical skill. She has grown into an unapologetic and vocal advocate engaging in every available medium. She has been the plaintiff to numerous challenges of state and federal laws and regulations and has testified in the state capital and in front of Congress in defense of patient-physician relationships and the importance of using science and evidence in the creation of health policy. She is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and has been recognized by a diversity of organizations for her leadership and advocacy.

Pamela Merritt is the Executive Director of Medical Students for Choice, where she leads a dynamic team working to create tomorrow’s abortion providers and pro-choice physicians. With more than 13 years of leadership in the reproductive justice space, Pamela has worked tirelessly to advance progressive policy through advocacy and outreach at Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri and Progress Missouri. Most recently, she co-founded and served as the co-director of Reproaction, a national organization that leads bold action to increase access to abortion and advance reproductive justice. Pamela is a founding member of the Trust Black Women Partnership, and was a 2017 Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice Fellow at the Rockwood Leadership Institute. She is a member of the Guttmacher Institute’s Board of Directors, Honorary Chair of Reproaction’s Advisory Council, and is a member of the Our Bodies Ourselves Today Leadership Council.