Femme, feisty, feminist, finding it harder to alliterate than I expected. Twenty-something, veg, queer, polyflexible, book-loving, Jewish college grad. My feminism is intersectional or it isn't worth shit. Directing my life marginally better than a butterfly in a hurricane.
TW: Link to Project-Truth contains graphic photos of abortions, The Holocaust, and KKK activities
Considering their history, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by yesterdays coverage of Project-Truth, but I have to say the Emerald really dropped the ball on another critically important issue to do with women’s health and rights.
By calling counter-protesters “pro-abortion,” the author linguistically ignores the complexity of abortion as an issue of women’s health, economic empowerment, and social freedom. Abortion is one of the most important issues for college age voters in this election, and groups like Project-Truth do nothing to encourage rational debate of the issue in hopes of informing voters. Groups like Project-Truth are interested in one thing, and one thing only: making abortion illegal. If Project-Truth and groups like them actually cared about the lives of children, they would be lobbying for services like subsidized childcare, mandatory and state-protected paid maternity leave for both parents, access to exceptional pre- and post-natal healthcare for the woman and child, and economic equality.
The “welfare of the innocent life” argument made by pro-life activists doesn’t hold any weight. It is trite, emotionally charged rhetoric designed to obscure greater issues of economic disparity, and racial and gender inequality. It assumes that all pregnancies are healthy for the mother and child, that the potential parents are equipped financially, physically, and emotionally for parenthood, and that women who consider abortion are child-like and unable to make rational, informed decisions on their social, economic, and health situations.
The Emerald calling pro-choice activists “pro-abortion” only serves to solidify the asinine assumption that abortion is a black-and-white issue where you are either ‘anti’ or ‘pro.’ In my experience as a reproductive justice activist, I have never once had a pro-choice colleague argue for abortion as a form of birth control, or discuss it without a grave understanding of the complexity of the situation in terms of social and economic location. Instead of arguing in circles over where life does and does not begin, and pointing fingers at who does and does not hold sanctity for human life, we should focus our efforts on creating a world and system which does not privilege access to services like child and healthcare. If we lived with a system that made adequate food, housing, healthcare, childcare, and wages accessible to all people, the burden of having children would not be so great and abortion would be less and less common. Groups like Project-Truth should be focusing on social justice issues that equalize the playing field, not on outlawing abortion.
UO Alumna, WGS 2012
The first abortion clinic in Northern Ireland will open next week amid fears it will attract protests along the lines of violent opposition to similar facilities in some US states.
The privately-run clinic in Belfast will be run by the Marie Stopes group, which said it would offer “a wide range of family planning and sexual health services under one roof”.
It is extremely difficult to get an abortion in Northern Ireland, and pro-life groups and smaller political parties have already voiced opposition to the Marie Stopes clinic.
Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice party told BBC radio: “Where is the need for this clinic? There could not possibly be one.
“So there are ulterior motives and I suspect the ulterior motives might be to try and push the boundaries.”
Just 35 pregnancies were terminated in Northern Ireland in the past year and it is estimated that about one thousand women from the province travel to England every year for abortions.
The clinic will not have a police guard because it is privately-run.
I hope everyone there will be safe.
1,000 women go to England for abortions a year and 35 were done in the province even though it was illegal, but there “could not possibly be” a need for the clinic.
Rachel Maddow shares a clip from an Al Jazeera documentary featuring an Ohio State Legislator who is advocating extreme anti-abortion legislation.
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said, referring to conception following a rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
-representative todd akin on abortion in the case of rape.
whole article here:
File Under: Apparently Someone Skipped Sex Ed
*trigger warning: rape*
Dear Representative Trent Franks,
Today, I watched you debate during the markup for H.R. 3803, or, as you may know it, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks in Washington, DC. I watched you valiantly fight to save “the children” from their pain even in the case of rape or incest, or when a mother has been diagnosed with cancer and the treatment needed to save her life is incompatible with the continuation of her pregnancy. I watched you warn the rest of the judiciary committee that abortions are linked to higher rates of suicide, even though this “fact,” and the basis for the bill itself (that 20-week-old fetuses can feel pain) flies in the face of all accredited scientific evidence.
And all I could think about was September 7, 2007.
It may seem strange to you. September 7, 2007 was nearly five years ago. Why think about that now? And why such a specific date?
September 7, 2007 was the night I was raped.
September 7, 2007 was the night that my rapist’s sperm met my egg and I was impregnated with the child of my rapist.
I thought about all of this as I watched you passionately advocate on behalf of “the tiny little babies” and the only reaction I could muster was “how dare you.”
How dare you, Representative Franks.
What a jackass.
1) That’s like saying “if you go to an OB/GYN, there’s no CHOICE when it comes to childbirth.” Because most OB/GYNs don’t perform abortions, and will only make money if you choose to deliver with them.
2) That’s also like saying “if you go to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, there’s no CHOICE when it comes to adoption.” Because those CPCs are typically affiliated with Christian adoption agencies, who only make money from wealthy white Christians if they can provide healthy white babies from unsuspecting pregnant people.
3) Planned Parenthood, a major provider of abortions in the US, provides references to adoption agencies and counseling in choosing one. They also provide prenatal care for those choosing adoption or parenting. While it is possible to find non-abortion services, like prenatal care, subsidized by PP, most pregnant people have to pay at least a little money.
4) Seriously, this is the most ridiculous anti-choice slogan I’ve ever heard you people come up with. Guess what: there’s no CHOICE in higher education, because colleges only make money if you choose to go to one. There’s no CHOICE in food, because grocery stores only make money if you choose to buy some. There’s no CHOICE in driving a car, because car dealerships only make money if you choose to buy one. There’s no CHOICE in any medical procedures, because doctors only make money if you choose to have one.
See where this is going?
All pregnant people get to choose between abortion, adoption, and parenting. At least until shitbags like you take one of those choices away.
You win the Worst State of the Day Award (previously held by Wisconsin and constantly held by Florida).
People don’t STOP having abortions just because you don’t want them to. People also don’t STOP having abortions just because the only legal, safe and sterile abortion provider is now shutdown. You know what people do when they don’t know where to turn and don’t have any options? They either have unwanted children they can’t afford and can’t handle, or they find an ‘abortion provider’ with no moral qualms, who can charge them what they want and don’t have to guarantee a level of service.
Don’t believe me Mississippi? Well I’m glad you asked-
Please examine exhibit A-Z. Meet Dr. Gosnell. He may or may not be your state’s future.
(TW: Really graphic descriptions, terribly sad etc etc)
Dr. Gosnell ran
an abortion clinica House of Horrors in Philadelphia. Dr. Gosnell is an illegal abortion providera Murderer. He is also a perfect example of why we need to keep abortion legal, accessible and SAFE.
Dr. Gosnell took advantage of people who were pregnant. Without a need for standards of care he not only murdered pregnant people, he also murdered ‘Hey, I can breathe on my own, carried almost to term babies”. Much like prohibition, banning anything can make it criminal, but the ban itself CREATES criminals. Mississippi is creating an environment ideal for tragedies fed on by predators like this:
PHILADELPHIA — When Davida Johnson walked into Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic to get an abortion in 2001, she saw what she described as dazed women sitting in dirty, bloodstained recliners. As the abortion got under way, she had a change of heart — but claims she was forced by the doctor to continue.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and he smacked me. They tied my hands and arms down and gave me more medication,” Johnson told The Associated Press.
Johnson, then 21, had a 3-year-old daughter when she became pregnant again. She said she first went to Planned Parenthood in downtown Philadelphia but was frightened away by protesters.
“The picketers out there, they just scared me half to death,” Johnson, now 30, recalled this week.
Someone sent her to Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, at the Women’s Medical Society, saying anti-abortion protesters wouldn’t be a problem there. She said she paid him $400 cash.
A few months after the abortion, she began to have gynecological problems. An examination revealed venereal disease. She blames Gosnell, 69, for the lifelong illness, which she declined to identify, and for the four miscarriages she has subsequently suffered.
Johnson learned last week that Philadelphia prosecutors believe Gosnell frequently delivered late-term babies alive at his clinic, then severed their spines with scissors, and often stored the fetal bodies — along with staff lunches — in refrigerators at the squalid facility. Tiny baby feet, prosecutors said, were discovered in specimen jars, lined up in a macabre collection.
“Did he do that to mine? Did he stab him in the neck?” Johnson asked at her North Philadelphia home. “Because I was out of it. I don’t know what he did to my baby.”
Gosnell was charged last week with killing seven babies born alive and with the 2009 death of a 41-year-old refugee after a botched abortion at the clinic, which prosecutors have called a drug mill by day and abortion mill by night. The medical practice alone netted him at least $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash, they say.
Prosecutors said uncounted hundreds more babies died there.
“(He) regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors,” said a report of the grand jury that investigated Gosnell and his clinic for a year.
The grand jury said while it believes Gosnell killed most of the babies he aborted after 24 weeks, it could not recommend murder charges for all of the cases.
“In order to constitute murder, the act must involve a baby who was born alive,” the grand jury said, adding that it was stymied by files that were falsified or removed and possibly destroyed.
“His entire practice showed nothing but a callous disdain for the lives of his patients,” said the nearly 300-page grand jury report, released Wednesday.
The panel also had scathing criticism for Pennsylvania state health and medical regulators, saying they had numerous opportunities to shut Gosnell down over the years but ignored complaint after complaint about filthy conditions and illegal operations.
Someone stickerbombed (is that a word?) a Birthright bus ad with Planned Parenthood info. Ha!
This is great!
File Under: Fucking Fantastic Things
Republican Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins all support an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, to expand abortion access for military women who are raped. But despite bipartisan support in the Senate, Shaheen’s proposal may not make it into the final version of the 2013 defense authorization bill—because House Republicans oppose it.
If Shaheen’s measure passes, military families will finally have the same access to abortion that other federal employees already receive. Unlike the rest of the federal government, the Department of Defense currently only provides abortion coverage if the life of the mother is at stake. Under current law, if a State Department employee is raped, her government health insurance plan will pay for an abortion if she wants one. But if an Army medic serving in Afghanistan is raped and becomes pregnant, she can’t use her military health plan to pay for an abortion. If she does decide to get an abortion, she will have to pay for it with her own money. And if she can’t prove she was raped—which is difficult before an investigation is completed—she may have to look for services off base, which can be dangerous or impossible in many parts of the world.
“We have more than 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military,” Shaheen tells Mother Jones. “They should have the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as all of the civilians who they protect.”
That appears likely. A GOP staffer “familiar with defense issues” told Army Times last week that the Shaheen amendment “stands little chance of surviving” when the House and Senate meet to work out their differences on the defense bill. “Historically, social provisions that are not reflected in both bills heading into conference don’t survive,” the staffer said—conceding that the House version of the defense bill will not include anything like Shaheen’s proposal.
Shaheen says the story of a young woman stationed in Korea who was raped by a fellow soldier demonstrates why this law needs to be changed. The woman’s military health insurance wouldn’t cover an abortion, and she could not find a safe place to have one off base. In the end, she lost her job, and later had a miscarriage. “This is somebody who wanted to make the military her career, and she was ultimately forced out because of a situation that was not of her making,” Shaheen says. ”Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”
Current Pentagon policy is more restrictive than the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to provide abortion services except in the case of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is endangered. The DOD enacted its stricter, life-of-the-mother-only limit on abortions in 1979. In 1988, the law was tightened again—Congress now forbids women from using their own money to pay for abortions in military health centers unless they are a victim of rape or incest, or if their life is at risk.
The military reported 471 rapes of servicemembers in 2011 alone. The true number is likely far higher—the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office estimates that only about 13.5 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults in the military are actually reported. The Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress estimates that several hundred women in the military become pregnant as a result of rape each year.
But despite numerous reform efforts over the past several decades, including failed proposals in 2010 and 2011,the Pentagon’s strict anti-abortion policies endure today.
Support the troops!!!
(Minus the raped, pregnant ones, obviously.)
“Hypothetically speaking, what if someone doesn’t have enough money?” I asked.
The social worker looked at me, her eyes alighting on the silver Jewish star necklace I was wearing.
“Are you Jewish?”
I nodded. My face flushed, and I looked down at my shaking hands. I taughtHebrew school at my synagogue. I received the Rabbi’s Scholarship for Outstanding Work in the Jewish Community. I kept kosher. And I was 19 and pregnant.
“Ok that’s good, because there is a philanthropic Jewish women’s group that offers a scholarship of $250 to help cover costs. Would you be interested in that sort of thing?”
I wondered if I would have to write an essay or give them my SAT scores or show them my Bat Mitzvah certificate.
“How would I qualify?”
“By being pregnant, and by not wanting to be pregnant. And by being Jewish,” she replied. “Look, I’ll contact the president of the organization, and I can have a check made out to you by the end of the week. Sound good?”
It sounded great. And not because I had found a way to finance my abortion. But because for the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I realized that I wasn’t the first–nor would I be the last–knocked up Nice Jewish Girl.
h/t to my friend, SS, who sent me this link last week
[NB: More people than just cis women need and want access to abortion care.]
This story gives me all the warm and fuzzies.
I am so glad I’m Jewish.
Women, especially young childless undecided women voters, are talking about jobs, not abortion rights, right? What women really care about is not contraception, not access to family planning resources, not social issues like gay marriage, abstinence-only sex “ed” or Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying. Nope – it’s the economy. Women, “like everyone else,”– that would the norm – men, just want to be able to go to work, earn a fair wage and support their families. These “social” things are a “distraction” leading Americans to avert their gaze from what’s really important: the economy. Polls are clear: jobs and the economy are their number one concerns.
This oft-repeated juxtaposition, superficial and irresponsible, between The Economy and Social Issues (especially, in polls, “jobs” and “contraception”) is like a political media Greek chorus. People believe it, especially women who are disinclined to think about themselves as discriminated against by virtue of their sex. Young women answer these questions and pollsters ask them the way they do based on the assumption that women, armed with education and “girl power,” have equal access to newly created jobs and will be paid fairly for their work. Those are false assumptions that women, especially young childless ones, need to consider before they vote, because this year’s elections, both state and presidential, will affect their ability to do both for years to come.
We’re engaged in a mass delusion that misleadingly pits The Economy against what are at their core, Reproductive Rights. Don’t be fooled when considering who to vote for – women can’t participate equally in the first until they have the second. The very phrasing of the questions and the reporting of the answers hide the complex and interdependent relationship between the two. Contraception, reproductive rights, gay marriage (defined as it is by conservatives as a threat to male/female hierarchies) – all have critical implications for women’s economic well-being and for the economy at large.
Insistence on splitting these two concerns is particularly useful to Republicans, because it allows them toblame women’s economic woes on their “choices,” a specific irony. If a woman gets paid less or doesn’t have a “seat at the table” it’s because she chose a lower paying job, or because she chose to have children and works part-time, or she chose to not complete her education. If women make “bad choices” it’s their own fault, their decisions and they have to pay the consequences. Which gets us to the second half of this equation. Simultaneously, for the “less important” Social Issues, the word “choice” is completely anathema to Republican legislators and presidential hopefuls. Girls and women cannot possibly be trusted with “choices” when it comes to their own bodies, sex ed, birth control, health care, sexuality, domestic violence and marriage.
Most importantly, however, in terms of the economy, is that what all of these secondary-in-importance social issues boil down to is that women especially cannot be allowed to “choose” for themselves when to become mothers – arguably the single most important contributing factor to their, and our economies, long-term well-being.
What single factor arguably has the greatest impact on a woman’s work life? In other words, what enables women to participate in the economy and become productive workers and engines of economic growth and expansion?
That would be motherhood.
So, even single, childless, undecided women who may one day get pregnant, should consider what happens to a woman when she gives birth:
- She is 44% less likely to be hired
- She makes 11% less than her non-mother female counterpart (who is already just making 78cents to the male dollar)
- She is less likely to go to school or complete her education.
- She works part-time with more frequency, so that she can provide child care for which she is uncompensated and can derive no benefits as child care is invisible labor.
- She is less able to work overtime.
- She is unable to get maternal health care coverage as part of a basic insurance policy. Already discriminated against by gender rating in insurance prices, she is now doubly financially harmed by the fact of her parenthood.
- She is more likely to have to limit herself to lower paying job sectors where she thinks she will have more “flexibility” even though this has been proven not to be the case.
- She is more likely to be impoverished and become state dependent.
And, what is motherhood? In it’s simplest terms, it is reproduction.
Control of reproduction is an economic issue. This isn’t an academic abstraction, it is a practical reality for any human endowed with a uterus.
This is why instead of The Economy and Social Issues being unrelated as people keep suggesting, they are integrally related. The very nexus of The Economy and Social Issues then, from a policy perspective, is the question “Do you believe women should work, for (fair) pay and outside of the home?” Republicans do not. That’s why their dedication to controlling female sex and reproduction is an economic policy choice – it affects women’s abilities to pursue education, get hired, be paid, stay in the workforce.
If you believe yes women should be able to work and be paid fairly outside of the home, then you do everything possible to create family friendly work structures, fair pay regulations, health care access, planned parenting provisions, that enable women to do just that. If no, then you don’t. You do the opposite. You create a disabling “social issue” legislative scaffold on which to build a “it’s your own fault” Temple to Patriarchy. This is precisely what the Republic party is doing. If you are an undecided woman voter you should pause to consider the impact of these intersections on your own life and the lives of other, often far less privileged, women.
As it is now, even for a woman who has access to birth control, health care, safe and legal abortion, becoming a mother in this country, planned or unplanned, is the single worst economic decision a woman can make. She is still cobbled by inadequate health care, higher gender-rated insurance premiums, discriminatory pay, poor return on her educational investment, greater responsibility for child care and an inability to save effectively for security in her old age.
Republicans have shown repeatedly and without remorse that they want to keep women vulnerable, dependent and at home:
- Lilly Ledbetter? What’s that? “Money is more important for men.” I finally support it, but (wink, wink) my surrogates will make sure it never happens. Fair Pay in Wisconsin? Don’t want to force employers to prove they are paying women fairly. Definitely don’t want to “clog up the legal system” unless, of course, it’s to send black boys and men to jail.
- Domestic Violence? Let’s make sure the Abuser Lobby is happy, given the mail order bride business and more, and ensure that women most vulnerable to violent abuse are isolated and left even more at the mercy of mostly men who will rape and beat them without recourse to the law.
- Reproductive Freedom? Let’s pursue husbandry-informed blunt force trauma legislation ensuring that women’s bodies and reproduction stay in the control of men. Eliminating Planned Parenthood, making it hard to find birth control and abortion services, mandating transvaginal ultrasounds that women themselves have to pay for, requiring waiting periods that require expensive travel – all of these things impede women’s freedom and ability to compete fairly in the job market.
- Health Care: What, you mean the stuff that keeps people healthy and able to go to work? Hell, no. We’ll not only fight against affordable health care (the opposite of which is unaffordable health care) but we will also stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, even including monies dedicated to non-abortion services like…family planning – often the only services that poor women have access to. Title IX? The only federal program devoted to family planning, you almost cannot make this up it’s so ridiculous: Romney will eliminate it entirely, to save money for The Economy.
- And yes, even Mitt Romney’s 50 year old bullying of a gay boy. Why? Because the exact same attitudes that informed that incident inform his support of abstinence-only education, gendered societal roles, fair pay provisions, reproductive freedom – namely, there are rules, boxes which people are supposed to fit into – and when they don’t conform to his world view they should be punished and forced to. The roots of his high-school bullying escapades and his “Social Issue” policies both reside in an inability to empathize with people who don’t look like and sound like him. It’s why he saw nothing wrong in explaining that Ann Romney was responsible for translating females. Empathizing with women is just not a possibility if you’re a man.
All of these issues profoundly affect women’s ABILITY TO ENGAGE FULLY AND EQUALLY IN THE ECONOMY WITHOUT PENALIZATION. If Republicans were serious about their commitment to women’s unimpeded equality in the workplace, then they would not insist that “social” policies are unrelated to “the economy” and they would not be pursuing broad legislation that affirmatively harms women’s ability to participate in the economy on multiple levels. Basic control over her own body, that would be reproductive freedom and health care that is affordable, non-discriminatorily priced, and relevant to her body and not men’s, affects whether a woman can seek and complete her education. The type of job she can get. How many hours she can work. If she can afford to start a business. Whether or not she can work full time or has to work part time. Whether she can afford childcare and health care, if she works. Whether she can safely leave an abusive spouse without fear for her children and seek work to support herself.
That’s why Social Issues, like contraception, are ABOUT The Economy not separate from it.
Today marks the third anniversary of the murder of Dr. George Tiller.
Democracy Now has made a short news segment and article on Dr. Tiller, his compassion, his patients, and the void the loss of Dr. Tiller has left in the reproductive justice community. (*tw*) Before you click the link, I would just like to warn you that there is a mention of rape.
I would just like to say that you are not pro-life when you murder a caring doctor. You are not pro-life when you bomb clinics. You are not pro-life when you harass people outside of clinics. You are not pro-life when you stalk clinic workers and threaten them. You are not pro-life when you block people from receiving healthcare.
Rest in power, Dr. Tiller. We will always remember you, your work, and your compassion.