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The Long Strug­gle to Abol­ish Repro­duc­tive Slav­ery” is a lec­ture by Dorothy E. Roberts — a pro­fes­sor of both Law and Soci­ol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, and found­ing direc­tor of the Pro­gram on Race, Sci­ence & Soci­ety in the Cen­ter for Africana Stud­ies. She traces the denial of Black wom­en’s repro­duc­tive and par­ent­ing rights to a 19th cen­tu­ry court case that decid­ed the off­spring of enslaved per­sons were con­sid­ered like ani­mals, with­out human rights — even if they were the chil­dren of the own­er him­self. Stop­ping mis­treat­ment of Black fam­i­lies was a para­mount issue of the abo­li­tion­ist cause and a major rea­son behind the 13th and 14th Amend­ments to the US Con­sti­tu­tion. But the hate­ful atti­tudes con­tin­ued into mod­ern times, and are under­ly­ing the idea that state law can dic­tate the terms of preg­nan­cy and par­ent­ing, now con­firmed by the US Supreme Court — and applic­a­ble to all women. Roberts describes the longterm aims of Black fem­i­nists, and calls for uni­fy­ing the move­ments for abor­tion rights, parental rights, and prison abo­li­tion.
The Rothko Chapel and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Cen­ter for Human Rights and Jus­tice at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin host­ed this 2023 Frances Tarl­ton Sis­sy’ Far­en­thold Endowed Lec­ture in Peace, Social Jus­tice and Human Rights on Feb­ru­ary 15, 2023. Edit­ed for radio by Frie­da Wer­den. Video of entire event here: https://​rothkochapel​.org/​e​x​p​e​r​i​e​n​c​e​/​e​v​e​n​t​s​/​e​v​e​n​t​/​d​o​r​o​t​h​y​-​r​o​b​e​r​t​s​-​f​a​r​e​n​t​h​o​l​d​-​l​e​c​t​u​r​e​-2023