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CLPP Conference Attendees Take a Stand Against Attacks on Women

Rebecca Poswolsky • Apr 12, 2011

Last weekend, The Civil Liberties & Public Policy program (CLPP) had the 30th anniversary of its annual conference. CLPP is a national reproductive rights and justice organization dedicated to educating, mentoring, and inspiring new generations of advocates, leaders, and supporters.  This year’s conference, “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice” Population and Development Program at Hampshire College and the Civil Liberties & Public Policy, brought together activists and reproductive justice organizers from over 30 states across the nation.

Most workshops were packed as hundreds of activists came together to talk, network and expand social justice movements.  Workshops included topics around access to health care, population control, immigration, gender binaries, climate, the environment and abortion.

The conference attempts to bridge the intersections of social justice movements in order to strengthen existing ties and relationships within broader circles committed to the struggle for reproductive justice.  The workshops on population control, immigration and environmental justice especially resonated with work taking place around the greening of hate.

I took part in a panel titled, “Progressive Visions for Immigrant Rights.”  With other panelists, Christine Harley, from National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Danielle Hawkes, a fellow at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Susana Sanchez, from the Population and Development Program, and Tarso Luis Ramos, from Political Research Associates.  The panel addressed anti-immigrant scapegoating in right-wing, nativist, and environmental politics.  All of us looked at the scope of the attacks on the 14th amendment and the growing resistance to the anti-immigrant agenda pushed by The John Tanton Network and its leadership.

Many workshops also included open debates around population control as a way to control the bodies of women of color.  One panel was called, “The politics of population control,” and addressed the question, “what do we do when environmentalists think population limits will solve the climate crisis and the right co-opts the history of eugenic racism to restrict abortion?”

The panel included a discussion on the billboards that recently went up in Atlanta and New York City that said, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”

The panel addressed modern day attacks from the right.  Panelists broke down the myths around over-population both nationally and internationally and how population rhetoric is used to motivate people around false fears that there are not enough resources.  The billboards are examples of the divisive efforts the right is using around population control as a way to both attack women of color and split reproductive justice circles.

The CLPP conference was an amazing opportunity to connect with others taking a stand against attacks on women’s bodies, population control and the greening of hate.

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