From Carrie Buck to Britney Spears: Strategies for Disrupting the Ongoing Reproductive Oppression of Disabled People

107 Virginia Law Review Online 246 (2021)

26 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2021 Last revised: 31 Oct 2021

See all articles by Robyn Powell

Robyn Powell

Stetson University College of Law; Brandeis University - The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Date Written: August 10, 2021

Abstract

In June 2021, Britney Spears made news headlines when she testified to a judge that she was being prevented from having children because her conservator would not allow her to stop using contraception. Britney Spears’ dreadful experiences are a glaring reminder that nearly 100 years after the infamous Buck v. Bell decision, reproduction is still weaponized to subjugate people with disabilities. Indeed, the reproductive oppression experienced by Britney Spears and other people with actual or perceived disabilities is deeply entrenched in our laws, in our policies, and in our collective conscience. Confronting these persistent inequities will require us to radically transform our laws and policies. This Essay responds to the ongoing reproductive injustice experienced by disabled people by proposing a vision to assist activists, legal professionals, scholars, and policymakers conceive of and articulate the basic contours of a paradigm shift that supports the coalescence of the reproductive justice and disability justice movements. The guiding principles set forth herein are intended to advance a long-overdue conversation about reproductive justice for people with disabilities by providing a starting point for activists, scholars, legal professionals, and policymakers to use, critique, and improve upon. The need for action could not be more timely or clear.

Keywords: reproductive justice, disability justice, sterilization, disabilities

JEL Classification: K32, K10, K36

Suggested Citation

Powell, Robyn, From Carrie Buck to Britney Spears: Strategies for Disrupting the Ongoing Reproductive Oppression of Disabled People (August 10, 2021). 107 Virginia Law Review Online 246 (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3902743 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3902743

Robyn Powell (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States

Brandeis University - The Heller School for Social Policy and Management ( email )

MA
United States

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