How Lawyers Play a Role in Community Care and Reproductive Justice: Spacious Solidarity Dialogue

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Join the conversation, which as always, is grounded in the values of mutual learning and community care. Jasmine Lovely George (Hidden Pockets, India) and Rose Wakikona (CEHURD, Uganda) are inroads members who have been boldly busting abortion stigma through their work of legal support and research around the abortion law, particularly for young people. Tune in to listen to their experiences, questions, and dreams and for a stigma-free world!

About the Hosts

Jasmine is a Lawyer, a TEDx speaker,  is also founder of Hidden Pockets Collective, a non profit organization  for sexual and reproductive services for young people in India.  She is an award -winning researcher who has been part of movement building nationally and transnationally. Post covid, she has interest in conversations around alternative ways to talk about gender, technology and justice.   

Rose is a lawyer with experience working in public interest litigation and Human Rights in and out of the courtroom. She specializes in SRHR and works to ensure that only progressive laws and policies on SRHR are passed and implemented in Uganda. She currently works with the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) as a Senior Program Officer in the Strategic Litigation program.She is also a part of the Legal Support Network which is a dedicated group of lawyers providing legal support to health workers providing safe abortion services in Uganda. She loves to read, talk and engage in somewhat polite debate.  

Join the Conversation

Highlights!

Contexts of cultural hegemonies:

  • Government health institutions are few— and so church run hospitals/health centres are the main spaces in Uganda. 
  • Caste stigma in India means that even if there is a progressive law, folks continue to face untouchability, stigma etc.

We need to think beyond laws— laws are too technical and are meant to make people feel like they do not understand. 

  • Both Uganda and India, like many places in the “global south,” have a shared history of colonial laws, which we borrowed from European frameworks and implemented, before doctors and population control “experts” took over. 
  • The abortion discourse often refers to married or unmarried women, but single people are often ignored. This is a form of stigma. 
  • “Culture” plays a huge role in generating stigma— but it is often dominant cultures that are the issue. We need to pull more diverse people into the conversation of SRHR since “community” plays such a big role in these contexts. 
  • Different traditional birth attendants and communities had their own customs and ways of acting on reproductive services.
  • How can we change social criminalization from the perspective of law? How can legal change influence social change (taking into consideration that changing the laws doesn’t necessarily translate into social acceptance). 
  • The law is always called Termination of Pregnancy (sometimes medical termination of pregnancy), which is an unfriendly way of even naming it. 

There are personal struggles in doing this work, however we have to reflect on our individual stigmas and unlearn them.We have to build our strength to continue to do this work without shame or stigma, and it’s a process.

Thanks so much Jasmine and Rose!