Massachusetts colleges offer certificate in ‘reproductive justice’
A consortium of colleges in Massachusetts is offering students a certificate in “reproductive justice.”
The Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Program is jointly administered by Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The certificate requires students to complete six approved courses and one special project. Students in the program will learn about the “social, economic, legal and political conditions that influence reproduction and help educate the next generation of reproductive health scholars, practitioners and advocates.”
Approved courses include “Feminist Health Politics,” “World Population,” “Queer Theory & Practice,” “White Supremacy: Overview” and “The Ethics of Having Children.”
The certificate is geared toward activism and aims to mold students into “effective practitioners, researchers, policy makers and advocates.” Students can fulfill program requirements by taking classes on “Domestic Worker Organizing” and “Active Citizenship.”
For the special project, students are “encouraged to take what they learn out of the classroom and into an appropriate community-engagement experience where they can connect their academic pursuits with policy and advocacy work.”
Sarah Flores Shannon, a recent graduate from Smith College, was the first student to earn the reproductive justice certificate.
Although the program does not explicitly advocate abortion rights, Ms. Shannon said pro-life students would not feel welcome, because “advocating against abortion cannot be reproductive justice.”
“Reproductive justice is founded in self-determination and autonomy,” she told Campus Reform, “and you can’t agree with reproductive justice and say that people can’t decide for themselves if/when/how they want to start a family.”
Although one component of the certificate is reproductive “health,” Ms. Shannon said she did not take any “medical-related courses” to fulfill the program requirements.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research university and the Commonwealth’s flagship campus. The other four consortium members are private liberal arts colleges.
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