Intimate Relationships, Marriage and Reproductive Justice
Law defines the borders of racial, gendered and intersectional identities in profound ways in the areas of intimate relationships, marriage, private sexual activity and women’s reproductive choices. As the cases in this chapter demonstrate, laws have restricted the private, intimate choices of whom to marry across racial lines, they have outlawed certain types of sexual activity among consenting adults, and laws have authorized the sterilization of poor women of color without their knowledge and consent and jailed pregnant women for drug abuse. The topics and cases examined in this chapter show a relationship between power inequities and bodily self-determination. The removal of race-based, sex-based and class-based obstacles to the enjoyment of basic fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is central to establishing first-class citizenship in a democracy.