Women As Out Of Control Breeders

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee discussed the forced sterilization of female inmates in a California prison after the Center for Investigative Reporting found that at least 148 women received tubal litigations which violated prison rules.

Females thought likely to return to prison were the targets of coercion, according to former inmates. Also, when discussing the payment he received for performing the tubal ligation, the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich stated that: “Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”

I have heard plenty of comments accusing women of breeding wildly and irresponsibly. Statements such as the one by Heinrich confirms such believes and in many cases, for example when discussing abortion and reproductive choices and rights, women are accused of becoming pregnant and by extension are expected to carry the responsibility of pregnancy all on their own while the men involved, and the responsibilities they carry, are not even mentioned. It is so rarely discussed that the father of a child is just as responsible as the mother of a child. It should not have to be mentioned, but unfortunately it does. [Read more...]

40 Years Later–What the Roe?

For Khan ArticleJanuary 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. All month, we’ll be running posts examining various aspects of this landmark ruling. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. But 40 years later, does the ruling matter? The easy answer is no. While American women still have the right to have an abortion, many cannot exercise that right. Abortion opponents have successfully reduced women’s access to clinics that perform the procedure and placed unneccesary restrictions on many of the clinics that do. Four states have only one abortion clinic, the past two years have seen a record amount of antiabortion legislation passed in state legislatures, and 2013 is already promising more of the same.

But easy answers never tell the whole story. If they did, we would have stopped arguing about abortion ages ago–right around the time “Abortion is Murder” met “My Body, My Choice.” The uneasy answer is that Roe v. Wade very much matters in 2013 … except when it doesn’t.

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#talkaboutit – Discussing Sexual Grey Areas

TRIGGER WARNING: this post talks about sexual abuse and sexual grey areas and might be upsetting to readers.

#Talkaboutit is the international version of a project that originated under the name #prataomdet in Sweden in 2010. Its founder, Johanna Koljonen, discussed “sexual grey areas” with a friend on Twitter under the hashtag #prataomdet; eventually, hundreds and then thousands of people joined the conversation to discuss their feelings and behaviors concerning these grey areas as well as abuse, force, and doing things that one does not feel comfortable doing.

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Oh, Brother! Jane Romney Speaks

Jane Romney could have lived out the rest of her brother Mitt’s presidential campaign in relative anonymity—at least among me and my uppity abortion rights-demanding, birth control-loving friends. But then like many a big sister before her, Jane had to go and open up her mouth and get all newsworthy …

Mitt Romney would never make abortions illegal as president, Jane Romney said when National Journal asked her about the subject after a “Women for Mitt” event.” He’s not going to be touching any of that,” she said. “It’s not his focus.”

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Notes From a Pro-Choice Pregnancy

This summer has seen quite a few high-profile news stories about various aspects of women’s reproductive choices, from motherhood to maternity leave to abortion. The recent selection of anti-choice politician Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate will likely draw yet more attention to the issue of reproductive rights; Ryan has said that he can “never not vote pro-life,” and supports the Sanctity of Life Act, a bill that declares that life begins at fertilization.

I’ve had more than just an academic interest in these stories, as I’m about eight months into my first pregnancy. I’ve had a pretty easy time of it so far (knock wood); the greatest physical issues have come from pre-existing chronic pain conditions, and every test and appointment has confirmed that the fetus is developing normally. My biggest irritation is with the frequent comments from relatives, co-workers, friends’ parents, and random acquaintances about my breast-feeding plans and whether this was a planned pregnancy and why I don’t look “more” pregnant. But while those and other inquiries can get annoying, I know just how lucky I am – for my health, for the fetus’s health, and to have so many concerned and caring people around to even be nosy in the first place. [Read more...]

What Do You Do When Your Family’s Anti-Choice?

Inspired by Merle Hoffman’s new book Intimate Wars, we’re sharing some of our own most memorable pro-choice/social justice personal actions this month. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

My family members are anti-choice. This usually hasn’t been an area of conflict for us, because we typically keep our opinions about abortion to ourselves. There are two notable exceptions to that, though. I don’t know that my response in either of these conversations was ideal, but I did the best I could to defend my pro-choice beliefs.

The Older Brother
My older brother and I couldn’t be bigger opposites. He’s staunchly Mormon. I’m a heathen Wiccan. One of the last phone calls we had with each other pretty much sealed the wedge between us. I was telling my brother about how excited I was to meet Gloria Feldt and Gloria Steinem at an event I had helped organized. This was a big deal for me. My brother changed the subject and started talking about cat poop in the litter box. I swear I’m not making this one up, ya’ll. I decided that I wasn’t going to let it go this time. [Read more...]

Discussing Abortion During Polite Dinner Conversation

Inspired by Merle Hoffman’s new book Intimate Wars, we’re sharing some of our own most memorable pro-choice/social justice personal actions this month. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

It had been a lovely wedding, and now the reception was packed. We sat down to dinner; at my table was my husband and three of our friends, along with three of the groom’s friends from grad school. Introductions were made and small talk ensued, and as our salad courses were cleared away one of the men I’d just met struck up a conversation about abortion with one of my friends.

My husband nudged me and one of my other friends grinned as I inclined myself towards the conversation, trying to discern the tone and content of the discussion – or was it debate? After a few minutes, the man noticed me listening and asked my opinion, and I offered it up, along with the caveat that I was writing a book about that very subject and had worked in the field for years. [Read more...]

Talking About Choice Over Turkey

If I’ve heard it once, I have heard it a hundred times. Thanksgiving finds confident pro-choice activists trapped in an uncomfortable conversation with a family member that is less-than-thrilled about their involvement with the reproductive rights movement, and can’t wait to confront them about it post-turkey.

Want to use the holiday as a time to find common ground and educate your loved-ones about the passion you have for all things pro-choice? Here are some helpful tips that I have learned through my experience as a Planned Parenthood Activist Boot Camp facilitator and my own humble experience as a pro-choice activist in this big, bad world:

  • Leave your favorite bumper sticker where it belongs. When having a conversation about choice with someone with a different view, avoid reverting to “my body, my choice!” The slogans do not facilitate dialog, and are not adequate tools when discussing reproductive rights with a hostile audience. Also, most anti-choicers have heard them all before. Instead, focus on your… [Read more...]

Choice Chat with Gloria Feldt: Margaret Sanger’s Legacy

gloria feldtHappy Sunday, ya’ll! Welcome to our very first Choice Chat. Today’s guest is Gloria Feldt, the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of American. Gloria is the author of several books, including The War on Choice, as well as Behind Every Choice is a Story. Her latest book, Send Yourself Roses, was co-written with Kathleen Turner. Feldt’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and MS Magazine. Among her honors, Vanity Fair magazine named Gloria one of America’s “top 200 women legends, leaders, and trailblazers.”

We’re very honored to have Gloria as our guest today. To join the conversation about Margaret Sanger’s legacy, please click here.

Reyna Queen Speaks: Abortion and Ten Year Olds

Episode 2 of Reyna’s pro-choice rants.

What’s your take? How do you talk to kids about choice?