Joint ACLU-Center for Reproductive Rights Statement on the Lack of Reproductive and Familial Rights for Black Women at the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Document Date: December 16, 2022

On Monday, October 3rd, the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights jointly delivered a video statement during the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council, specifically the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (UN WGEPAD) interactive discussion. The statement highlighted the absence of reproductive justice for Black women in the U.S. family regulation system. Federal laws facilitate forcible removal of Black children from their mothers, intrusive and disruptive intervention into Black families, and the unjustified legal termination of Black children’s familial rights.


Thank you Mr. Vice-President,

I deliver this statement on behalf of the Center for Reproductive Rights, NBEC and the ACLU.

Justice for individuals and communities of African descent requires that States respect, protect, and fulfill their rights to bodily autonomy, to have children or not, and to raise families in healthy environments. Black human rights leaders in the U.S. first called this assertion of basic human rights “reproductive justice” and they continue to fight for it in a country where Black people are bearing the brunt of an extreme retrogression in abortion rights, the highest rates of maternal mortality in the so-called “developed” world, and a “child welfare” system that often dismantles Black families rather than supporting them.

Over 50% of Black children endure traumatic quasi/criminal “child protective“ investigations which often result in intense surveillance, policing and scrutiny of Black mothering and family life. Newborn babies are taken into the foster system based on their mother’s prior history of CPS involvement, including as foster children themselves. 1 in 10 Black children will be separated from their parents, a rate double that of white children, and are 2.4 times more likely than white children to experience termination of their parents’ rights.

The human rights system must continue to condemn deprivations of SRHR as key drivers of racism and inequality that undermine a wide range of human rights for people of African descent.

Related Issues

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.