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Reproductive Justice: The Politics of Health Care for Native American Women

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In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women’s reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States. The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr he In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women’s reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States. The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr herself lived for more than a year. Gurr paints an insightful portrait of the Indian Health Service (IHS)—the federal agency tasked with providing culturally appropriate, adequate healthcare to Native Americans—shedding much-needed light on Native American women’s efforts to obtain prenatal care, access to contraception, abortion services, and access to care after sexual assault. Reproductive Justice goes beyond this local story to look more broadly at how race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, and nation inform the ways in which the government understands reproductive healthcare and organizes the delivery of this care. It reveals why the basic experience of reproductive healthcare for most Americans is so different—and better—than for Native American women in general, and women in reservation communities particularly. Finally, Gurr outlines the strengths that these communities can bring to the creation of their own reproductive justice, and considers the role of IHS in fostering these strengths as it moves forward in partnership with Native nations.  Reproductive Justice offers a respectful and informed analysis of the stories Native American women have to tell about their bodies, their lives, and their communities. 


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In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women’s reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States. The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr he In Reproductive Justice, sociologist Barbara Gurr provides the first analysis of Native American women’s reproductive healthcare and offers a sustained consideration of the movement for reproductive justice in the United States. The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr herself lived for more than a year. Gurr paints an insightful portrait of the Indian Health Service (IHS)—the federal agency tasked with providing culturally appropriate, adequate healthcare to Native Americans—shedding much-needed light on Native American women’s efforts to obtain prenatal care, access to contraception, abortion services, and access to care after sexual assault. Reproductive Justice goes beyond this local story to look more broadly at how race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, and nation inform the ways in which the government understands reproductive healthcare and organizes the delivery of this care. It reveals why the basic experience of reproductive healthcare for most Americans is so different—and better—than for Native American women in general, and women in reservation communities particularly. Finally, Gurr outlines the strengths that these communities can bring to the creation of their own reproductive justice, and considers the role of IHS in fostering these strengths as it moves forward in partnership with Native nations.  Reproductive Justice offers a respectful and informed analysis of the stories Native American women have to tell about their bodies, their lives, and their communities. 

43 review for Reproductive Justice: The Politics of Health Care for Native American Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kohoutek

    I re-upped with a book club because they were reading this, and it sounded up my alley. Glad I read it, and look forward to discussing it! Two things to note: it is definitely on the more scholarly side, and might be a bit dense for the more casual reader, and also, the title is a little misleading, although it might be intended as more of a re-framing. A large portion of the book is more about the Indian Health Service (IHS) and other organizations, with the history and legal frameworks of heal I re-upped with a book club because they were reading this, and it sounded up my alley. Glad I read it, and look forward to discussing it! Two things to note: it is definitely on the more scholarly side, and might be a bit dense for the more casual reader, and also, the title is a little misleading, although it might be intended as more of a re-framing. A large portion of the book is more about the Indian Health Service (IHS) and other organizations, with the history and legal frameworks of health care in general in relation to Native Americans. The result of this is to place the experiences of Native American women in a context of health care access more generally, and eventually how that affects reproductive issues, such as contraception and prenatal care. This is a worthy subject, and the placement of reproductive health within a more holistic health frame is I think valuable. Just pointing out that some readers might be looking for a focus on reproductive justice more specifically. One side re-framing that's thought-provoking is a conceptual shift from "cultural competency" (not that it's been successfully attained), to "cultural safety," which is more validating and responsive to the actual needs of people as they are being served by the institutions that exist for that purpose. I also appreciated that the white author addressed her position as an outsider, albeit with personal connections, to the Pine Ridge Reservation where she did most of her research, and her reasons for embarking on this research to address the needs of a community. Acknowledging her position upfront definitely helps.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Detailed discussion of the intersection between Native American health care experiences and the historical and political forces that created the current failing system. Suggestions for new approaches are offered, and I enjoyed the personal statements from those interviewed and the author's personal experience. Detailed discussion of the intersection between Native American health care experiences and the historical and political forces that created the current failing system. Suggestions for new approaches are offered, and I enjoyed the personal statements from those interviewed and the author's personal experience.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Vela

    An interesting book that combines an ethnographic, cultural, and social history of the politics for health care in regards to Native American Women.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ariel ✨

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jur

  6. 4 out of 5

    Madison Lemery

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Rogers

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sierra Mondragón

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alana

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    Morgan

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    Courtney

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    Robert

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    Amanda Johnson

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    Holly Harner

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

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    Laura Iesue

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jadeyn Kuczynski

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    Alyssa Tekiela

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tibby Reas

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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    Rachael

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    Claire

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Harrison

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    Adrienne Reed

  25. 4 out of 5

    Devan

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    Misty

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    Valley Vixen

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    Candace

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    Rachel B

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lesley McNaughton

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    Ried Mackay

  32. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

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    Sarah

  34. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

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    Cecilia

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

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    Courtney

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    April

  39. 5 out of 5

    Bookshark

  40. 4 out of 5

    Pico

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  42. 5 out of 5

    myra

  43. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Johnson

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