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"Abortions under Community Control": Feminism, Nationalism, and the Politics of Reproduction among New York City's Young Lords

From: Journal of Women's History
Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2001
pp. 157-180 | 10.1353/jowh.2001.0031


This study of New York City's Young Lords reveals that a multiracial group of Puerto Ricans developed a unique radical politics during the early 1970s that encompassed both feminism and nationalism. Furthermore, the Young Lords' singular brand of politics produced an inclusive reproductive rights agenda that influenced (socialist) feminist politics later in the decade. The Young Lords' list of reproductive freedoms included demands for legal abortion and contraception, an end to sterilization abuse, prenatal and postnatal care for poor women, affordable day care, and an end to the poverty that prevented poor women and women of color from bearing all the healthy children they wanted. Although heated conflict between male and female Lords accompanied the organization's development of a feminist ideology, the Young Lords Party (YLP) successfully integrated feminism into their nationalist perspective.