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Constructive FeminismWomen's Spaces and Women's Rights in the American City$
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Daphne Spain

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453199

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453199.001.0001

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Feminist Health Clinics

Feminist Health Clinics

Promoting Reproductive Rights

(p.111) Chapter 4 Feminist Health Clinics
Constructive Feminism

Daphne Spain

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the correlation between women’s opportunities in the public realm and their ability to control their own fertility. Accordingly, reproductive rights signify the very basis of the possibility of effective participation of women in both civil society and the polity. The activists who opened the first feminist health clinics understood that vital connection. The spaces the feminist clinics occupied may have been small, but their symbolic value was much larger: they enhanced women’s capacity to engage in public life by giving women the ability to control whether or when to become pregnant. The road to reproductive rights was paved by feminists like Carol Downer who insisted on women’s rights to control knowledge about their own bodies as the first step toward changing women’s rights in other realms.

Keywords:   reproductive rights, fertility, feminist health clinics, women’s health movement, feminist clinics, pregnancies

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