Women’s Rights Rehabbed

, Heather Latham, Leave a comment

A women’s rights activist wants addict mothers to follow the example of Amy Winehouse and avoid rehab. Malika Saada Saar, founder and executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, argued for “mothering with dignity”: “We see the reproductive rights discourse in the courtrooms where mothers lose their children because of maternal incarceration for non-violent, drug-related felonies,” she told an audience at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Like Saada Saar herself, CAP strongly supports abortion. “We see the reproductive rights language, vision, and discourse expanded into the slow corners of treatment programs where mothers who are addicted must make an untenable, selfish choice between their children and getting into a treatment program because the treatment program will not accept them with their children,” she told the crowd at CAP.

She asserts that mothers who are addicted to drugs and choose a treatment program over staying with their children are making an unsound decision. She claims that “By pushing out the conversation of reproductive health and rights into also a conversation not only about abortion, but into a conversation about family and mothering we are able to make a more whole, more enriched, and more expansive the next generation of the reproductive health movement.” This truly puts a new twist on the activist catchphrase, “It’s for the children.”

President Barack Obama referred to young people as the “Joshua Generation.” Saada Saar says, “As he has talked about the Joshua Generation, that his leadership has allowed a Joshua Generation to come forward and to reframe and broaden the civil rights language and agenda.

“And I hope that we have that same invitation to be a Joshua Generation within a Post-Roe context.” This Joshua Generation she speaks of was President Obama’s project to get young people more involved in politics.

However, the name had to be changed because there is a group called Generation Joshua which owns the rights to the name, and asked President Obama to change the name of his program because they owned a very similar name, represented something entirely different, and did not want to be misrepresented. President Obama acquiesced.

Apparently Saada Saar did not know this or did not care. Generation Joshua opposes abortion, which is a major part of the reproductive rights movement.

Saada Saar also tries hard to make a correlation between abortion and climate change. She says, “How do we weigh in as the reproductive movement into the conversation about climate change?”

“How do we talk about green jobs that allow our mothers at the margin to be able to come in and have economic mobility for themselves and for their children? How do we talk about climate change from the perspective of making sure that when we have natural disasters, our mothers at the margins are not left behind as they were in Katrina?

“When we talk about climate change, how do we make sure that mothers at the margin and vulnerable families are not disproportionately exposed to toxins and unprotected and uncared for and forgotten?”

She does not answer any of her own questions, not even the first—on how the two can be brought into the same “conversation.”

Heather Latham is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.