Beyond the Stats

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By Isioma D Okolo, MBChB, DTMH, MRCOG

Reproductive justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy in your decision to have children, not have children, and parent children we have in safe and sustainable communities.

Women gather naturally.
When our history isn’t important enough for men to write it down in ink, we take to needle and thread, sewing ourselves into the quilts for our daughters and sons, telling stories in embroidery. When our histories are not safe to voice aloud, we ensure they are folded in the hems of skirts, sharp daggers tucked in hats. We will not go silently. We write our own history into legislation, into the Dáil, in poems and books, in music and art.
Our stories keep us alive. We wait. For centuries, we wait.

In Her Shoes Women of the Eighth: A Memoir and Anthology

Place yourself in her shoes. What would you do?

"I'd like you to take away all my options and make decisions on my behalf", said no woman ever

Call to Action

1. Women will continue to be pregnant: it is their choice what they do with their pregnancy.

2. For centuries society has policed women’s uteruses. All this has done is made things unsafe for women.

3. Respecting women's choice means providing accessible, safe, and timely sexual and reproductive health choices, including abortion care and birth control.

4. Support reproductive justice and your local abortion clinic by donating and/or driving people to clinics.

5. In your local and national elections, vote in favor of reproductive justice and abortion for people who want it.


In my pieces, I use the terms:

  • Girls, women, womxn, pregnant people and birthing people to refer to some of the reproductive health experiences of individuals assigned female at birth. Not all women have cervixes, not all people who have cervixes identity as women.

  • Minoritised in place of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & people of color), POC (people of color), BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic)  and BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) to recognise that  individuals and communities do not naturally exist as minorities; but instead have been assigned this identity in response to dominant socio-economic political narratives and the standard of ‘whiteness’. ‘Minoritised’ intentionally highlights contemporary power imbalances rooted in historical events of slavery, colonisation, and other systems of oppression.

Sneak Peek of My Next Piece:

 Why do women mysteriously disappear as they approach the menopause? Ain’t I A Woman beyond menopause?


  1. Darcy, Erin. In Her Shoes: Women of the Eighth: A Memoir and Anthology. New Island; 2020.
  2. Reproductive Justice. Sister Song. Accessed November 24, 2020.
  3. The World’s Abortion Laws | Center for Reproductive Rights. Accessed December 4, 2021.
  4. Abortion. Accessed December 4, 2021.
  1. Northern Ireland Campaign | BPAS. Accessed December 4, 2021.
  2. Reynolds-Wright JJ, Johnstone A, McCabe K, Evans E, Cameron S. Telemedicine medical abortion at home under 12 weeks’ gestation: a prospective observational cohort study during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Sex Amp Reprod Health. 2021;47(4):246. doi:10.1136/bmjsrh-2020-200976
  3. The Pregnancy-Related Mortality Impact of a Total Abortion Ban in the United States: A Research Note on Increased Deaths Due to Remaining Pregnant | Demography | Duke University Press. Accessed December 23, 2021.
  4. Contraceptive Choice Center | Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Accessed November 24, 2020.
  5. Leading Safe Choices. Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Accessed December 28, 2021.
  6. Inicio | Iniciativas Sanitarias. Accessed December 28, 2021.

Blogs by Isioma Dianne Okolo, MBChB, DTMH, MRCOG

The menopause is a natural part of the female life cycle. But why do women become invisible after the menopause? Dr Jen Gunter answers my question 'Ain't I A Woman?"

The menopause is a natural part of the female life cycle. But why do women become invisible after the menopause? Dr Naghat ARif answers my question " Ain't I A Woman?"

In this game of gonads, who decided that a testicle is worth more than an ovary?

To deputise a complete stranger to interfere with a woman’s health choice is constitutionally, medically, morally and ethically wrong. That's the end of my sentence.

Cervical cancer can be prevented. When detected early it can be treated and cured with surgery. As we mark the one year anniversary of the "Cervical Cancer Elimination Day of Action", I reflect on the role of surgical systems in eliminating cervical cancer.

Adolescents make up 16% of the population and straddle the sometimes uncomfortable gap between childhood and adulthood. Seeking out information on the internet makes sense but at what cost?

Periods don't have to cost us education, equity and the environment

We had no say in the decision of when, how, where and to whom we were born. Yet this was one of the most important decisions in our lives, which continues to impact us today.

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