Top choice-related stories of 2010


What a year it was for those engaged in the battle to protect a right we should all take for granted: a woman’s ability to choose. I don’t know about you, but I am pretty worn out, pretty frustrated at fighting for something I should not have to fight for, and ready to tackle 2011 with a lot of spunk, a lot of passion, and one very important friend on my side: the truth.

For those of you who missed it, here are some of the highs and lows that pro-choice warriors faced in 2010:

  • FDA approval of OTC Plan B for women under 18

  • Alaska votes in favor of parental notification [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

A Matter of Life or Death. New York Times.

How Groundbreaking was MTV’s Abortion Special? Los Angeles Times.

Late-Term Abortion Doctor Moves Practice to Maryland. All Media NY.

What Mel Gibson, the Tea Partiers, and Newt Gingrich Should have Gotten for Christmas. Alternet.

Women and Power Conference Looks at Leadership From a Feminist Lens

Today’s post is by Alison Turkos. Alison is a Development & Events intern with NARAL Pro Choice NY. She volunteers as a clinic escort, and she is currently attempting to enjoy all the feminist fun that New York City has to offer.

This past September I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the 9th annual Women and Power Conference at the OMEGA Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.

Each year OMEGA chooses a focal point for the conference, a reoccurring theme which stretches across multiple mediums throughout the weekend. This year the conference dialogue revolved around the topic of leadership. The conference was loosely based on a few core questions, such as:

  • How do we define leadership?
  • What are the critical issues women face as leaders at home, in families, at work and in the world?
  • How can we support each other in the shift to a leadership paradigm that emphasizes partnership with others?

With multiple keynote speakers including OMEGA co-founder Elizabeth Lesser, founder and CEO of Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi, and president and co-chair of the NoVo Foundation Jennifer Buffett, along with many more. The entire weekend showed attendees diverse forms, and definitions of leadership.

The conference began Friday evening with a wonderful OMEGA welcome. Carla Goldstein, director of the Women’s Institute at OMEGA opened the conference speaking about leadership as a whole. Carla asked the audience to “break the barriers that separate us,” and told us “the thing that unites us is our womanhood.” Her zest and overall enthusiasm was a wonderful beginning to the weekend. Carla ended her welcoming words with a amazingly powerful statement that not only excited me for what was to come. Carla told us that “the time for talking is over. The time to lead is NOW.” [Read more...]

Hospital Punished for Providing Medically Necessary Abortion

Earlier this year, Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and hospital administrator in Phoenix, Arizona, was excommunicated for allowing an abortion to be performed at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, a Catholic hospital. Now, St. Joseph’s has been stripped of its Catholic status.

The patient, a mother of four in her late 20s, was eleven weeks pregnant when she was admitted to St. Joseph’s. She was suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, and her doctors feared that, if the woman continued with the pregnancy, the illness could be fatal. The woman agreed to the abortion, and Sister McBride, a member of the hospital’s ethics board, approved the procedure. [Read more...]

MTV and Abortion

Last night, MTV aired “No Easy Decision,” a half-hour show that told the stories of three young women who had had abortions. Hosted by the omnipresent Dr. Drew Pinsky, “Decision” had a similar format to the network’s popular series “16 and Pregnant,” and in fact devoted the most airtime to Markai, a young mother whose first pregnancy was chronicled during that show’s most recent season.

Markai’s story was indeed compelling. She became pregnant again when her daughter was about eight months old, and neither Markai nor her partner James was confident that they could provide for another child, as they were already struggling financially. Their discussions about which option to choose – adoption, continuing the pregnancy, or abortion – were candid and thoughtful, as were Markai’s talks with her mother and a close friend. Markai eventually decided that having an abortion was the best choice for her and her family, even as she makes it clear that she never thought she’d have to make this decision. [Read more...]

Quick Hit: MTV’s “No Easy Decision” Airs @11:30pm Tonight

Kudos to MTV for airing “No Easy Decision,” its first show about teens who choose to get abortions. After 3 seasons of “16 and Pregnant,” the coverage is long overdue.

Pro-choice advocates will be live-blogging during the program to show their support for the young woman sharing their stories.

Follow the conversation live on Twitter with the hashtags #16andloved, #WMCwatchin, and #provoice.

Become a fan of Exhale’s on Facebook to get daily updates on the campaign:

Is the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell a Victory?

Several of my friends have posted an article on Facebook arguing that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the military’s policy that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, is not a victory for economic justice. I agree.

But. I think the article misses some important points. My take:

The authors are right to say that military service should not be the only jobs program available and that government funds could be better used, and the poor better served, by other types of economic development. The problem is this: whether or not the military SHOULD be the de facto jobs program, it HAS been the de facto jobs program. This means that gay men and lesbians (who, contrary to popular notions, are not always better off economically) have joined the military as a way to better their economic situation. The repeal of DADT is a victory for them.

The repeal of DADT is a victory for other reasons, too. It is a victory for gay and straight service members who have been targeted and forced out using the ban’s vague language and murky enforcement policies. While I am fairly certain that a good number of gay service people will remain in the closet, despite the repeal, at least it will not be a weapon in the arsenal of people who would go to any lengths to ruin the careers of others.

Regardless of what people think about the military, military funding, war, peace, justice, etc., the repeal of DADT is a victory for GLBT folks in general. I’m not saying “wooo whoo, now gay people are included in the military and that means they will be accepted into society” (as though societal acceptance or “normalcy” is even a good thing, necessarily), but it is one more nail in the coffin of the extreme right and those that would use religion, hate, fear and misinformation to steer the entire country away from policies that include GLBT folks. And that’s a good thing. [Read more...]

Make Over the American Marriage

The big news from the release of The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America 2010 was that marriage is becoming a less important fact of American life. Worse, for the pro-marriage crowd that includes the groups behind the study, The Center for Marriage and Families and The National Marriage Project, it’s no longer just the left-leaning, latte-sipping cultural elite who are losing faith.

Class is no longer a reliable predictor of marital attitudes. Less educated Americans are now abandoning the institution of marriage at the same rate as their more educated brethren.

Conservatives, both fiscal and social, predictably see this as a sign of the apocalypse. If the good old Middle Class can’t embrace an institution as unapologetically bourgeois as marriage, what will become of the children? That is, after all, the biggest and best argument supporters of marriage have: American children do best growing up with two married parents living in the same household.

Fair enough. I’m not math-minded enough to argue with their statistics (though others are). The study has a much bigger problem: the decline in religious observance—also much lamented by the right—has left the National Marriage Project leaning harder on marriage’s secular and civic virtues. But they haven’t realized those virtues demand a different gospel. [Read more...]

Dr. Willie Parker Explains Why Abortion is Basic Health Care

Feminist Conversations is a weekly series at Feminists For Choice.  We spotlight activists from across the interwebs to find out what feminism means to them. Willie J. Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, is the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Metro Washington, and a board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH). We met earlier this year at a reception for Carole Joffe, and he has graciously agreed to be interviewed by me twice: first for my book Generation Roe, and now for Feminists for Choice.

1.  When did you first call yourself a feminist, and what influenced that decision?
That’s an interesting question. Long before I knew what to call myself, I realized that I had a compulsion around working on fundamental issues of fairness across gender lines. As I pursued my consciousness-raising, I came across a simple book by bell hooks called Feminism is for Everybody. In it, she simplifies the fact that feminism is less about biology than it is about how one perceives and operates in the world regarding issues of gender fairness. As I look back, I conclude that while I have been working for gender-neutral equality for a while, I have self-described as a feminist since reading that book about six years ago.

2.  What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism for me is the worldview and effort toward equality based on neutralizing differences in life chances based on gender. I look at feminism as a specific context in which to pursue human rights. I like the definition that I once saw on a bumper sticker: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”

3. What led you to become an abortion provider? [Read more...]

Ho, ho . . . Hell no!


Teaching kids to believe in Santa means teaching them to trust strangers who break into your home, and it reinforces class differences by telling kids that Santa rewards the “good kids” with presents.  If your kids don’t get anything in their stockings because you’re broke, guess Santa’s telling your kids they’re not good enough.  I say “hell no” to that!