ArticlesVolume 3, Number 1 (1992)

Beyond the Solitary Self: Voice, Community, and Reproductive Freedom


The body of this paper is an attempt to find hope in hope, even as we witness the moral bankruptcy and utter inefficacy of sole reliance on individual rights.’ To halt our downward slide, we must reject the notion of the solitary self. We must recognize instead that we draw our meaning through our connection with others and that our communities in turn exist only through their synergistic relationship with us. In order to effect change in our communities, we must facilitate these dynamic, transformat- ive relations by encouraging the interchange of diverse voices. First, however, the disempowered must be free to speak. While it is next to impossible to speak from a state of hopelessness, voice is fueled by hope. For most women, nothing provides more hope than regaining control over their own reproductive capabilities. By locating reproductive freedom in community, we can touch voice-enabling hope, amplify silenced voices, and thus improve the functioning of communities.