On the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, the Harvard Law & Policy review has recently devoted an issue to the special theme of “The Politics of Pregnancy.” It contains numerous responses to and discussions of myriad political issues of pregnancy in the U.S. and abroad, including increased emphasis on maternal health, abortion access, surrogacy, and state intervention into matters of women’s health, including the effects of incarceration on mothers.
Writing in the forward, Nancy Northrup notes pregnancy and issues related to it are an essential aspect of the human rights identified at the ICPD. She continues,“these articles serve as a reminder that the ICPD agenda is not negotiable; it is premised upon fundamental human rights. Governments must be held accountable for ensuring these human rights, both by the people they represent and by the international community,” and makes a call “It is time to revisit the promises made at the 1994 conference and recommit to making reproductive health and rights for wo-men a priority.” We couldn’t agree more, especially as the health and well-being of mothers has been imperiled by the public health crisis set off by the coronavirus pandemic.
In light of our work with the Pregnancy Project and workplace accommodation, several of the essays stood out, particularly Stephanie Bornstein’s “The Politics of Pregnancy Accommodation” and Black Women Scholars and the Research Working Group of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s “Black Maternal Health Research Re-Envisioned: Best Practices for the Conduct of Research With, For, and By Black Mamas,” a topic we covered over the summer and learned about in a City Bar event this spring.