This article appeared in Volume 48, Issue 2–3 of the American Journal of Law & Medicine, North America’s leading health law journal devoted exclusively to the analysis of issues at the nexus of law and medicine.
In this article, NHeLP Staff Attorney Madeline T. Morcelle provides an account of why reproductive justice is a necessary framework for examining, reimagining, and reforming Medicaid coverage law and policy. Part I gives a brief history and overview of reproductive justice, which serves as “an open source code that people have used to pursue fresh critical thinking regarding power and powerlessness.” Part II argues that we should utilize that open source code in Medicaid coverage reform. Using some of the reproductive justice movement’s critiques as a starting point, it explores how reproductive oppression has shaped Medicaid coverage law, policy, and mainstream reproductive and health care reform movements’ proposals, and to what effect. It argues that examining Medicaid law, policy, and proposed reforms through this lens and in collaboration with the reproductive justice movement can enable health advocates and policymakers to more fully understand, disrupt, and dismantle reproductive injustices that drive health inequities. Ultimately, it can empower reformers to build a more equitable public health insurance safety net that brings us closer to reproductive justice and health equity for all.