Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Joya Misra


Given the lack of support by the U.S. federal government for reproductive health, this dissertation examines a puzzle: why are Indo-Caribbean women from Guyana and Trinidad journeying to New York for reproductive health care? I focus on a global community in Queens, New York, to unravel this puzzle. I conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with 82 Indo-Caribbean women and participant observations in women empowerment groups hosted by activists in New York. Each chapter in this dissertation focuses on various motivations and negotiations during reproductive journeys. First, this dissertation finds that social networks and grassroots organizations in New York facilitated reproductive journeys and challenged gendered norms around motherhood through gender consciousness-raising at events, workshops, and dialogues. I also found that these challenges and negotiations were informed by their class, as women from middle-income households are more likely to challenge gender norms outwardly. In contrast, women from low-income households are more likely to challenge gender norms secretively. Secondly, these journeys became a home away from home that exposed journeyers to new ideas and values within the Indo-Caribbean community while also being surrounded by family, food, and music that reminded them of Guyana and Trinidad. Culture also became important during doctor visits as some health care providers were aware of the norms in the Indo-Caribbean community. Some women wanted culturally distant doctors due to their experiences of discrimination in their home countries. Thirdly, I found that intimate partner violence influenced women to obtain reproductive health care and create distance from abusers. I contextualize their experiences within the histories of colonialism in Guyana and Trinidad to understand the current structural conditions that contribute to IPV and reproductive injustice. Importantly, experiences of intimate partner violence led to reproductive control, lack of access to reproductive health care, and maternal health risks. While these findings serve as reasons why they journeyed, they also navigated various hardships in New York. This dissertation expands on sociological theories of gender, gender-based violence, medical tourism, migration, and grassroots organizing. Importantly, I show the importance of understanding reproductive health experiences through a reproductive justice lens. I center the work of black and brown feminists and womanists in my study and draw from their methodological tools to carry out this research. Ultimately, I shed light on the broader systems influencing transnational reproduction to lead to healthy reproductive lives.