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Reproductive Rights National Network records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00576

Scope and Contents

The records include materials pertaining to R2N2 political actions and activities; files on affiliate organizations and women's clinics across the U.S.; information about abortion legislation; and subject files concerning many related topics, including the anti-abortion movement. Member organization and subject files comprise the bulk of the records. In addition to materials about R2N2, the records contain significant materials about allied organizations including the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA), Mobilization for Survival (MfS), Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights (CDRR), and Women Organized for Reproductive Choice (WORC). Subject files focus heavily on women's health issues, defined widely, but emphasizing abortion and sterilization in particular. The subject files also document the rise of the Moral Majority/New Right and the activities and policies of the Reagan administration.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1970-1985


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Katherine Acey has assigned the copyright in the Reproductive Rights National Network's works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by the Reproductive Rights National Network, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

The Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2) began as a "non-organization" brought together informally late in 1977 by the Chicago-based New American Movement. It was a coalition of local grassroots organizations formed to counter right-wing anti-abortion movement's lobbying, activism, and propaganda and to provide visibility for a reproductive rights perspective in the women's and health movements. In February 1979, the coalition decided to form a centralizing national organization to support local efforts and coordinate strategy. More than 80 autonomous member groups eventually joined the Network, committing to its "principles of unity."

R2N2's goal was to bring women together from diverse groups that had not worked successfully together before. While early efforts focused on abortion access and sterilization abuse, over time the group came to define its work more broadly including work against racism and all forms of oppression, infant mortality, and violence; and advocacy for quality health care, child care, sufficient income, and lesbian and disability rights. R2N2's work included publishing the Reproductive Rights Newsletter, organizing national meetings, and promoting direct action on a wide range of issues. Periodic national conferences served as the "main political and organizational decision-making body" for the Network.

"Chronic decline in the movement" during the politically conservative Reagan Administration challenged the Network's ability to sustain its funding and membership which in turn made tensions over racism and heterosexism within R2N2 particularly difficult to address. In the face of burnout and dwindling participation, R2N2 organized a national conference in November 1984, "Beyond Rhetoric: The Realities of Multi-Racial Organizing," with "serious doubts about survival of the network." Women of color at the conference challenged R2N2's failure to address internal racism as a priority issue and ultimately decided to leave the Network to form a separate women of color group. According to a report of the conference, "total communication breakdown" and pressure from women of color, prompted white women at the conference to commit to come together early in 1985 to discuss the conference and their roles and responsibilities in addressing racism within themselves and their local groups. They ultimately decided they did not want to continue as a Network of white women.


8.667 linear feet (19 containers)


Reproductive rights advocacy group. Records contain materials on political actions and activities; abortion legislation; affiliate organizations; women's clinics across the U.S.; and subject files. Member organization and subject files comprise the bulk of the records. In addition there are significant materials on allied organizations. Subject files include abortion; sterilization; other women's health issues; and the anti-abortion movement.


This collection is organized into five series:

  1. SERIES I. ADMINISTRATION, 1978-84, n.d.
  3. SERIES III. EVENTS, 1979-83, n.d.
  4. SERIES IV. SUBJECT FILES, 1970-85, n.d.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Katherine Acey donated the Records of the Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2) to the Sophia Smith Collection in 2007.

Related Materials

Associated material can be found in the Sophia Smith Collection in Saralee Hamilton Papers and in the Alliance Against Women's Oppression Records, and in oral histories with Marlene Fried and Meredith Tax that are part of the Voices of Feminism Oral History Project.

Additional records are housed at the Wisconsin Social History Archives, the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University, and in Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University.

Processing Information

Processed by Kate Sumner, 2014.

Reproductive Rights National Network records
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Kate Sumner.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of the Reproductive Rights National Network Records was made possible by the generous support of the Smith College Program for the Study of Women and Gender.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:20-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063