Transnational Feminism for Reproductive Justice

  • Sheela Saravanan


Assisted reproductive technologies have provided a wide range of choices and opportunities for people to have children using genetics of their choice (either their own genetics or others). These technologies can also be used in ways that are harmful to communities with lower access to resources and power. An analytical framework using stratified reproduction in the context of surrogacy in India reveals that some individuals gain reproductive empowerment at the cost of the health and even life of some other women based on inequalities. The reproductive rights framework is inadequate in understanding this stratification. Scholars and activists have rigorously engaged in debates and discourse through their writings regarding women’s agency and their broader social empowerment from a variety of critical perspectives especially keeping in view the structural inequalities social injustice in the commercial markets of reproductive labour, babies, and bodies. In recent years, several scholars have suggested the reproductive justice framework as a way forward towards understanding and addressing such social and global injustice (Mohapatra in Ann Health Law 21(1):191–200, 2012; Roberts in Signs 34(4):783–804, 2009; Jesudason and Kimport in Front J Women Stud 34(3):213–225, 2013; Luna and Luker in Ann Rev Law Soc Sci 9:327–352, 2013; Gupta in IJFAB Int J Fem Approaches Bioeth 5:25–51, 2012; Galpern, Presentation for SisterSong’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” Conference, Chicago, IL, 2007; Bailey in Hypatia 26:715–741, 2011; Fixmer-Oraiz in J Women Stud 34(3):126–163, 2013; West in Yale Law J 1394–1432, 2009; Gaard in Eth Environ 15(2):103–129, 2010; Donchin in Bioethics 24(7):323–332, 2010; Callahan and Roberts in Faculty Scholarship, Paper 1155, 1996; Dickenson in Bioethics 15(3):205–217, 2001). Building on this scholarship, I examine a possible strategic pathway to take this forward by drawing on the reproductive justice framework towards a transnational feminist solidarity that recognizes the intersectionality of structural social oppressions operating through historic systems of postcolonial and neocolonial domination.


Transnational feminism Reproductive justice Intersectionality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, South Asia InstituteHeidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany

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