“States that embraced Obamacare — which presumably were more committed to public health in the first place — had lower uninsurance rates to start with and saw bigger declines. The states that resisted were the ones with the biggest uninsurance problems to start with and saw only token declines [in the number of people without health insurance]. In fact, the decline in states that embraced Obamacare was more than triple that in the other states, 2.8 percent vs. 0.8 percent.”—In Red States, the Uninsured Are Up the Creek (via smdxn)
While Republicans in state legislatures across the country are passing severe restrictions on reproductive rights, Republicans in Nevada have voted to drop opposition to abortion from the state party’s official platform.
The thing about being anti-abortion is that for most people, it is about making easy choices.
Once you’ve defined terminating a pregnancy (which is, by the way, the most likely natural outcome of a pregnancy) as “killing a child”, it really is a no0brainer. “Should I be for baby killing, or against baby killing?” is not a question most people need to ask themselves, or stop and think about.
Even better, this bit of mental gymnastics inexplicably leaves millions of people and the laws of many countries in favor of “baby killing”, which means there are that many million people you can feel better than.
You haven’t done anything. You have not improved anyone’s life. You have not made the world a better place. You have not helped any living soul on the planet, but already, you are better than millions of people.
And if you decide to “do something” about abortion?
Carry a sign.
Put some pennies in a box somewhere.
Reblog out of context, mislabeled, or misleading pictures of babies, fetuses, and parts of pregnant bodies.
Now you’re a superhero. Now you’re a crusader. Now you’re fighting the neverending battle for truth, justice, and precious little babies at Christmas.
Of course, if you really believed deep down inside that millions of actual babies are literally being murdered all the time, you wouldn’t be putting pennies in boxes, would you? It’s convenient to your self-esteem to be able to tell yourself that the stakes are as high as the lives of babies and the soul of a nation, but it’s convenient to your lifestyle that you know, deep down inside, that they really aren’t.
If you’ve got a lot of time and passion, you can go down to a reproductive health clinic (where there may or not actually even be any abortions performed, and where there are certainly a myriad of other necessary health care services being performed) and scream misogynistic insults at anybody who braves your gauntlet .
Maybe she’s getting a pap smear.
Maybe she’s getting an ultrasound for the baby she plans on carrying to term.
Maybe she’s going to terminate a pregnancy she really wanted, but can’t have.
Maybe she’s going to have an already dead fetus removed from her body.
Maybe she’s going to have an abortion because she’s pregnant and doesn’t want to be.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to you. All that matters is sides: you’re on the right side, she’s on the wrong side. And you get to engage in the most vile impulses that wrack the human brain: shouting, screaming epithets, hurling accusations, attacking the vulnerable, reducing another human being to a mass of tears and convulsions and you can do it guilt-free because you have constructed a reality where this person in front of you, whatever might actually be going through in their life, is a proxy responsible for the deaths of millions of tiny precious little babies and you, you are the fearless Soldier of Good who will save them.
Being anti-abortion is all about the easy choices.
That’s why you don’t hear about many “pro-lifer” who decides to bravely die rather than terminate a life-endangering pregnancy, trusting in God to decide whether parent and/or baby shall life.
Oh, yes, they’ll find people who make the decision to carry on with pregnancies that are high-risk, and they laud these people as proof of the lies of the pro-choice movement… never mind that there are many pro-choice people who make the same decision. That’s the nature of choice.
I’m not talking about high-risk pregnancies. I’m talking about situations where it’s not even a risk any more. Where are the martyrs to life? I can show you pro-life women who went and had an abortion when it was convenient for them, not even medically necessary. And it’s not hard to find pro-lifers demanding that other people carry a diagnosed dead or fatal-to-the-parent fetus to term because “doctors can be wrong”. Where are the pro-lifers who make this choice for themselves?
When the wives of conservative politicians have an abortion to end an ectopic pregnancy or other similar condition, it gets reduced to “a medically necessary procedure” that’s certainly not an abortion, no, don’t call it that because if there are two things the pro-life movement is sure about it’s that abortion isn’t a medical procedure and that it is never necessary.
But anyone else undergoing the same procedure? That’s an abortion. And it’s wrong.
Because the pro-life movement is about making easy choices and easy judgments. It’s convenient crusading. Invent an enemy so unconscionably horrific that you can’t help but look good and feel good opposing them, so widespread and close to home that you don’t have to give up your life at home to combat them, and so ultimately harmless that there is literally no risk to you in standing up to these horrible, bloodthirsty monsters.
But if it happens that you need an abortion, you’ll have one. Because you’ve been making the easy choices all along. And if you get pregnant and choose to keep it, in spite of… whatever… you tell yourself that’s a triumph against choice, when in fact it’s a triumph of choice.
The propaganda stresses that intercourse can give a woman
pleasure if she does it right: especially if she has the right attitude
toward it and toward the man. The right attitude is to want it…
Despite the propaganda, the mountains of it, intercourse requires
force; force is still essential to make women have intercourse—
at least in a systematic, sustained way. Despite every
single platitude about love, women and men, passion, femininity,
intercourse as health or pleasure or biological necessity, it is forced sex that keeps intercourse central and it is forced sex that keeps women in sexual relation to men. If the force were not essential, the force would not be endemic… If the force were not essential, the force itself would not be defined as intrinsically “sexy, ” as if in practicing force sex itself is perpetuated. […]
The force itself is intrinsically “sexy, ” romanticized, described as
a measure of the desire of an individual man for an individual
woman. Force, duress, subterfuge, threat—all add “sex” to the sex
act by intensifying the femininity of the woman, her status as a
creature of forced sex.
After Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed HB 2, the state’s omnibus anti-abortion bill, into law in the summer of 2013, abortion providers in the state rapidly began closing due to the law’s medically unnecessary provisions, which require abortion-providing doctors to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and severely restrict doctors’ ability to prescribe medication abortion. The …
A new post on my Wordpress blog, ProchoicePlus, detailing my own abortion experience. I know it’s hard to find a step-by-step account of abortions and I just want to share my experience with people who may be debating on the option.
My personal experience has to do with dilation and aspiration. There are other ways of going about having an abortion, so this is not the only method.
As always, my inbox is open if anyone needs to talk or ask questions. :)
I was once a war reporter. Now I write about war from a distance. These deaths only motivate me to return to the field, capture what’s on the front line, and tell the rest of the world. But I stop myself each time I get the urge.
I spent the first seven years of the millennium covering the United States’ wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and I’ve spent the last seven years trying to adapt to peace in a California suburb. I left Kabul three months pregnant with my firstborn in summer 2007. On my last day, I clutched my notebook and pen as I stared at pieces of flesh hanging on a tree after a suicide bombing had killed 29 Afghan soldiers. I haven’t returned since. I grew up with the dark demons of war, with nightmares and flashbacks of bloodshed. How could I raise a child in war?
From age 5 until 9, I lived through the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. I saw a classmate’s head severed, my favorite uncle disappear, my family’s history unravel. My family fled when I was 9 years old in 1982. I spent my adolescence in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I didn’t forget what I had seen. I returned to war as an adult so I could face my demons, so I could understand this crime of humanity. I’m still figuring it out.
Now back in the Bay Area, friends and family tell me to disengage from war. But I can’t stay away. I’m Afghan—I don’t have the luxury of turning my back. For me, war has become normalcy. I still have relatives, in-laws, and friends left in Afghanistan. I return to war zones daily on social media and the Internet. I witness the deaths from afar, seeing photos and paeans to the dead, reading the details of how they were killed. I heard about the attack against the AP women getting shot from a close friend and AP photographer Massoud Hossaini on Facebook. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Afghan photographer worked closely with both women and was one of slain journalist Ahmad’s best friends. He saw the tragedies up close. I emailed Hossaini, begging him to leave Afghanistan. I told him no story was worth his life.
“You are so kind my friend, I will leave some day but I have to fight for freedom yet. Thank you very much,” he quickly replied.
His response paralyzed me and filled me with the survival guilt I have been carrying for seven years. I was angry with myself for leaving the country. I quietly shed tears, grieving the loss of colleagues I barely knew but wishing I had been them. These reporters had been brave enough to stay and so was my friend Hossaini. I was the coward who left.
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: We are hiring a Senior Communications & Media Manager
The Senior Communications & Media Manager will lead the development and execution of a creative and results-oriented communications strategy – across multiple platforms – to support RH Reality Check’s brand, content, and issues. The Senior Communications & Media Manager will:
Work with the President and others on the team to create and execute a communications and media strategy using new and traditional media platforms;
Be up-to-date on news and news cycles, working to inform senior staff of opportunities for informing/shifting/disrupting media framing of our core issues;
Build relationships with reporters, editorial writers, and columnists in broadcast, online, and print media;
Serve as the main point of contact with media for RHRC writ large;
Proactively pitch and promote RHRC articles and investigative research to other media outlets;
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Convene and manage press conferences, media briefings, and other related outreach strategies;
Write and/or edit talking points, press releases, and other materials as necessary;
Manage our digital and communications team to ensure delivery of high-quality work product;
Develop and maintain strong relationships with communications counterparts at partner organizations;
Work others in the progressive movement to move key messages;
Develop and execute an approach to test/evaluate the effectiveness of communications activities;
Develop and maintain a communications calendar;
Provides detailed reporting on media outreach and coverage;
Perform other duties and projects as assigned and as the site and organization grow.
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: We are hiring a Director of Development
Director of Development
Reporting to and in partnership with the President and senior staff, the Director of Development will be responsible for expanding upon and carrying out a strategic plan for raising the funds necessary to support the growth and success of RH Reality Check. The Director of Development will:
Work with the President, Director of Online Fundraising, Director of Operations and other senior staff and consultants as necessary to develop and execute a fundraising strategy focused primarily on expanding and diversifying foundation funding, building a base of major donors, and expanding our online fundraising capacity;
Oversee existing foundation grants and work aggressively to identify new sources of foundation funding;
Craft proposals, reports, letters of interest, briefings, and other related materials for donors;
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Manage fundraising consultant(s) and fundraising staff when and as necessary;
Create and manage a fundraising calendar to ensure all proposal, reporting, and other deadlines are met;
Manage grant reporting, and oversee monthly and quarterly reports for internal communications and for the Board of Directors;
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Perform other duties and projects as assigned and as the organization grows.
“We are unequivocally for women’s rights. It’s that simple. We believe every woman should have access to safe, affordable health care, and when that right is threatened, we’re not afraid to tackle those threats head-on.”—
Shout out to Cosmopolitan (yes, that Cosmopolitan) for its new direction: taking on the fight for reproductive health and rights!
“Voice of Choice” was established as a calm, measured response to anti-abortion activists. They got sued for it, for $23,000,000. Their lawyers worked for free and got the case dismissed, but it cost them $28,000. Voice of Choice would appreciate your help with any amount to try and make up the difference. vochoice
“It’s important to debunk the idea that criminalizing surrogacy should be part of the feminist project. The assault on surrogacy, as well as fertility treatments in general, is yet another piece of the right’s battle against reproductive self-determination.”—Erin Matson, ‘Is Surrogacy Feminist? No, It’s Anti-Choice’
[A] common message spread about teenage pregnancy is that children born to teenage parents are more likely to become teenage parents…However, there has yet to be a collective acknowledgment that without supporting the parents now, we are failing the children of teen parents and by extension maintaining an environment where these children can experience an unintended pregnancy just as their parents did.
Building support systems for education, health care, housing, child care, and career services, as well as comprehensive sex education, will go so much farther than our current framework of shame and scare tactics!
“For anti-abortion ‘abolitionists,’ high schools are the new ‘front lines’ of an anti-abortion movement that situates itself well to the right of mainstream ‘pro-life’ organizations. These new ‘abolitionists’ have co-opted the language of 19th century anti-slavery groups, positioning themselves as ‘immediatists’ who see any regulation of abortion as capitulating to the moral failings of a sin-soaked society that condones some, if not all, abortions.”—Andrea Grimes, ‘Portrait of an Anti-Abortion Abolitionist’
To reproductive justice advocates who do anti-racist work, the deliberate conflation of abortion and slavery is a familiar—and facile—attempt to drive a “racial wedge” both in black communities and in pro-choice communities. Feminist activist and theorist Loretta Ross, the former national coordinator of SisterSong, a women of color-led reproductive justice collective, has been fighting this kind of rhetoric for decades.
“I’m not surprised that they’re adopting the language of the anti-slavery movement,” Ross told me. “It’s what they try to do, to co-opt the language of civil rights, anti-slavery, to assume that they can take the moral high ground while they’re trying to subsume the rights of women—particularly Black women.”
If abortion is slavery, what of the American slaves who had no control over their own reproductive choices, who were raped and forced to birth their own children into slavery? What of their decisions to end their pregnancies, prompted, as Ross writes when she paraphrases Angela Davis, by “the miserable social conditions that dissuaded them from bringing new lives into the world”? What of the Black American families torn apart at slave markets, of parents permanently separated from their children?
“One of the fundamental contradictions of [the anti-abortion ‘abolitionist’] position is that they’re going to deny the human rights of Black women as a way to call themselves protecting the rights of fetuses,” said Ross. “You can’t save Black children by discriminating against Black women.”
Anti-abortion “abolitionists” believe the only way to end abortion is to convert the entire country to their version of Christianity, thereby making the very concept of abortion “unthinkable” to the masses.
“"I love women," is not a get out of jail free card. Thicke pulled the same bullshit when he was accused of degrading women in "Blurred Lines": "When we made the song, we had nothing but the most respect for women," he said. How nice of you to say so, Mr. Thicke. Alas, your work shows the opposite to be true. I am fairly certain many of the men who buy sex and consume porn also think they do it because they really, really, love women. NOPE. You love women like I love wine — as something I consume selfishly for my personal benefit and as a product.”—
Meghan Murphy (No, “female-appreciation” is not the same thing as feminism)
Governor Brewer is in negotiations with the legislature to increase funding for child welfare services, and we’re asking her to include a full restoration of the childcare budget for the estimated 33,000 children who’ve been cut out of subsidized care programs in recent years. Arizona’s new child welfare department shouldn’t be tied up dealing with loving parents caught in a terrible choice between watching their children and trying to feed their children. Arizona’s parents need better options to keep their families together and well provided for.\n\nWhile parents in Arizona have been forced to make hard choices when they couldn’t afford childcare, the Arizona state legislature decided to do nothing on behalf of these families. Their recent budget includes no funding for childcare subsidies for low-income families, which have been cut 40 percent over the last four years, and even underfunds Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposal to fix a state child welfare agency that had failed to look into more than 6,500 child abuse and neglect cases. Will you join RH Reality Check, and our friends at Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), in asking Governor Brewer to work for the restoration of Arizona’s childcare subsidy budget?
“I continue to do abortions after 25 years because the voices of gratitude and relief from my patients drown out the hatred and intolerance from the protesters outside. In the small still hours of the night I am at peace with myself and with God, who gave me this mission in life.”—
The $5 million San Antonio facility is being planned in anticipation of the enactment of the final provision of Texas’ new omnibus anti-abortion law that mandates all abortion procedures be performed or administered in ambulatory surgical centers.
Certainly, if the right wing can frame contraception as a “lifestyle” choice, like watching porn or using sex toys, then it becomes much easier to strip away insurance coverage or federal subsidies to make contraception more affordable, all while playing dumb and pretending they’re not trying to take people’s contraception away.
Can this framing take hold? It’s an open question. On the one hand, more than 99 percent of sexually active women have used contraception at some point in their life, and 62 percent of women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method. That level of ubiquity, plus the undeniable fact that pregnancy is a major medical event, makes it hard to imagine that the right could get very far with the attempt to kill our current understanding of contraception as a health-care decision and instead get people to think of it as a “lifestyle” choice.
Of course, abortion is also really common. It’s rare compared to contraception, which many women take on a continuous basis, but about one-third of women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Yet abortion is treated as far rarer and more marginalized than it is, with quite a few people not even realizing how many women they know who have had one. Women who have abortions usually don’t talk about it with most people in their lives; conservatives were able to shame and demonize women who have abortions to the point where such discussions are incredibly hard to have. Most of the discourse about abortion deals with the politics of it, rather than the experience of it. Because of all this, abortion has been successfully marginalized in health care, not covered by government insurance, and understood by most people to be a medical experience separate from your everyday health care.
It’s clear this is what the right is trying to do with contraception, and they have a potent weapon to do it: sexual shame.
“If contraception can be marginalized rhetorically, then it will be that much easier to make the case for restricting access. Certainly, if the right wing can frame contraception as a “lifestyle” choice, like watching porn or using sex toys, then it becomes much easier to strip away insurance coverage or federal subsidies to make contraception more affordable, all while playing dumb and pretending they’re not trying to take people’s contraception away.”—Amanda Marcotte, ‘Conservatives Really Want to Make Us Believe Contraception Isn’t Health Care’
The voices that are strongest on reproductive rights often falter when it comes to the cultural dialogue. At least part of this absence is because so many of the pro-choice movement’s leaders and funders are secular and civic in their orientation, awkwardly uncomfortable with the moral and spiritual dimension of the conversation, or, for that matter, even with words like moral and spiritual. From language that seems moderately wise–Who decides?–we fall back on “safe, legal and rare” (a questionable effort to please everyone) or even the legal jargon of the “right to privacy.”
The other side talks about murdering teeny, weeny babies and then mind-melds images of ultrasounds and Gerber babies with faded photos of later abortions. And we come back by talking about privacy?? Is that like the right to commit murder in the privacy of your own home or doctor’s office? Even apart from the dubious moral equivalence, let’s be real: In the age of Facebook and Twitter, is there a female under 25 in who gives a rat’s patooey about privacy, let alone thinks of it as a core value?
The right to privacy may work in court. But it is a proxy for much deeper values at play. Privacy simply carves out space for individual men and women to wrestle with those values. In the court of public opinion, it is the underlying values that carry the conversation.
Far too often those who care most about the lives of women and children and the fabric of life on this planet limit themselves to legal and policy fights. Fifty years ago, reproductive rights activists took the abortion fight to the courts and won, and they have kept that focus ever since. But the legal fight has drawn energy away from the broader conversation. And the emphasis on “privacy” has meant that even the most powerful stories that best illustrate our sacred values are too often kept quiet.
My friend Patricia offers a single reason for her passionate defense of reproductive care that includes abortion: Every baby should have its toes kissed.
If life is precious and helping our children to flourish is one of the most precious obligations we take on in life, then being able to stop an ill-conceived gestation is a sacred gift.
Whether or not we are religious, deciding whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy is a process steeped in spiritual values: responsibility, stewardship, love, honesty, compassion, freedom, balance, discernment.
But how often do we hear words like these coming from pro-choice advocates?
When Samantha Field was deciding where to go to college, she had precious few options. As a woman who had grown up in an independent fundamentalist Baptist household, it was unusual for her to go to college in the first place. She lived in Florida, a short drive from Pensacola Christian College. It seemed like the obvious choice—her family could afford it without loans (the school is unaccredited), and she liked the music faculty she had met on a summer program. And, she says, the notoriously strict honor code was actually more lax than the rules in her church. “It allowed knee-length skirts and sitting at the same table as boys, or next to a boy during church. Initially, I felt liberated,” she told me.
But by the time Field reached her junior and senior years, she had undergone numerous sexual assaults at the hands of her then-fiancé. When she broke off the relationship and was honest about the toxic abuse she had been a victim of, she found herself shunned by much of the student body, and she was disillusioned. She couldn’t transfer out of the school because her credits wouldn’t go anywhere due to the school’s lack of accreditation. She would have to start over if she left. So she stayed and endured. “It got so bad that I stopped going anywhere in public—I had a friend who was a [graduate assistant] and she had a kitchen, so I would get up, go to my classes, and then hide in her room for the rest of the day,” she told me. “Being around campus was agony.”