Notes From Pro-Choice Parenting

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about the intersection of personal beliefs and independent thought. Specifically, she was wondering if buying a onesie that said, “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” for her infant son would be expressing her beliefs through her child’s clothing or if it would just be cute. (We agreed that it would be both.) I was reminded of this conversation recently, thanks to a situation that caught me totally off-guard.

As part of our seemingly endless quest to find reliable daycare for our child, my husband and I set up an appointment at a small, local center. I did some research on the facility before our meeting, and came across information that indicated that one of the directors worked at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). Since it’s not uncommon for online searches to turn up misleading information, I decided to keep the appointment, and was impressed with the facility. Yet my concern lingered, and further conversation with the director revealed that she did, in fact, work at the CPC.

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Top choice-related stories of 2010

Wow!

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

http://www.medpagetoday.com/OBGYN/GeneralOBGYN/13867

  • Alaska votes in favor of parental notification

http://www.adn.com/2010/08/25/1423557/voters-approve-measure-requiring.html

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/08/25/alaskas-parental-notification-law/ [Read more...]

Crisis Pregnancy Centers? More Like Anti-Abortion Extremism Shelters

Thanks to Roxana Bennett for submitting another hard-hitting guest post, which was originally published on Roxanna’s site Choose Your Own Adventure.

The current issue of MS. Magazine, Fall 2010, features an article by journalist Kathryn Joyce titled “The Clinic Across the Street.” One of the most well-researched and insightful articles I have read in a long time, Joyce details links between ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centres’ and known anti-abortion extremists.

A ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centre’ is a delightful misnomer for an anti-abortion ‘clinic’, usually placed next door to, on the same floor as, or as geographically near to as possible, an actual abortion clinic. If a CPC is at ground level, chances are they will be fenced with ‘sidewalk counselors’, people who try their utmost to lure pregnant women away from the abortion clinic to the CPC. In her article, Joyce uncovered the alarming truth that many of these CPCs are used as shelters and storage for people who are known to be violent anti-abortion extremists. The kind of people who shoot doctors who perform abortions and blow up clinics. The kind of people who advocate ‘justifiable homicide‘ and regularly stage clinic blockades.

I had the privilege of speaking with Kathryn Joyce about her article and research. One of the points she makes in her article is that many CPCs falsely advertise their services; thankfully, many states are requiring these clinics to post signs in their offices advertising exactly what they do and do not provide, or face a daily monetary fine. [Read more...]

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Behind the Doors of Deception

Today’s post comes from guest blogger Amanda, who is a pro-choice volunteer from the Phoenix area. Amanda recently discovered that she is pregnant. This is her story about seeking out prenatal services.

Would you feel comfortable if you went to a clinic and had the counselor that you spoke with laugh that “she could say anything to her clients” and not have anyone to answer to? What if you were young, scared, and pregnant? This is what I experienced at a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) in Mesa, AZ. I knew that these places were shadier than the guy with the van that has ‘Free Candy’ spray painted on the side, but I must admit that I previously thought the morale of these places and the character of those involved with them had to be exaggerated. I went because I wanted to obtain an ultrasound and my insurance wouldn’t cover one in the first trimester. It wasn’t for medical purposes, just my romantized desire to have one for my pregnancy scrap book. I also knew that they could provide a variety of items that I otherwise couldn’t afford (clothes, baby items, cribs, etc) in exchange for my participation in their parenting classes.

I knew that these places were “pro life” centers, and I knew that the pro life movement was primarily Christian. I accepted that I might be confronted with some religious idealogy. I have a lot of devout religious friends and I grew up in the Church, so I thought that I had thick enough skin to handle what they dished out. I was clear about my intentions from the time I arrived, and I checked my personal beliefs and ideals at the door. I was informed that a counseling session was mandatory before anything else. I had only seen my regular counselor once since I had learned of my pregnancy, so I obliged thinking it would feel good to have someone to talk to about my situation. They had me leave a urine sample and directed me to a room where I waited for the counselor.

One of the first things that I was asked was my religion. I politely answered that I didn’t really partake in one, that I was raised Baptist, but now only labeled myself as spiritual. I was hoping she would leave it at that, but instead she began trying to interrogate me. I tried to explain that even if I told her right then and there that I accepted Jesus as my savior, I just couldn’t force myself to believe it as true. She persisted to keep pressuring me, and even told me her own story of how her “sinful” teenage years had somehow led her to be unfaithful in her later marriage. After the first few minutes, I stopped trying to defend myself and just let her go. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

dogs in costumes

Dogs in funny costumes . . . part 4.  Oh yeah, and your pro-choice links!

Condoms Rival the Pill’s Popularity – BBC
AIDS Vaccine Seen as Only Modest Help – New York Times
Mexico City Launches Pink Cabs for Women Only – Feministing
Exposing Fake Clinics – Feminist Campus
Former CPC Worker Tells All – CPC Watcher
FAQ’s About Abortion – Sex, Etc.
Unsafe Abortions: Why Money Matters – RH Reality Check
The Cost of Being a Woman – Newsweek

Thursday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Details of Your Abortion Online? – Broadsheet @ Salon.com
2 Million Babies Die at Birth Worldwide – AP
Breaking the Silence About Birth Mothers – Shakesville
Jewish Perspectives on Abortion – RCRC
CPC’s Accused of Coercive Adoption Procedures Receive Gvt. Funding – RH Reality Check
9 Bizarre Birth Control Methods – Momversation
No Surprise: Good Sex = Mental Well-Being in Women – Sexual Justice

Why I’m a Clinic Escort

protest3Guest Blogger Peggy Cooke is a feminist, activist, writer, gumboot dancer, and cat-admirer from Fredericton, NB, Canada. She is a clinic escort, and a volunteer coordinator at her local Morgentaler Clinic. She regularly blogs at Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome. Contact her via e-mail for more information.

How I became a clinic escort is still a bit of a mystery to me. The abortion debate is something that never interested me as much as some other issues in feminism; obviously I understand its importance to the idea of women’s freedom, but it never captivated me as much as, for example, body image and the beauty myth, or the intersectionality of feminism and trans issues. I barely knew who Henry Morgentaler was until three years ago; all I knew was from my dad’s insistent rants that the doctor’s Order of Canada was long overdue.

However, when I came back from a post-university, discovering-myself trip to Costa Rica in early 2007, it was to the news that my mother, a counselor, had taken a position at our local abortion clinic (which is not just our local clinic, but the only private abortion clinic in the maritimes). Until then, I didn’t even know people still protested at abortion clinics! Even in our small city, I had never noticed them. I certainly didn’t know that the New Brunswick Right to Life had their headquarters in the house directly next door to the clinic, where they run a highly questionable crisis pregnancy center. [Read more...]

Get the 411 on Crisis Pregnancy Centers

The Feminist Majority Foundation and RH Reality Check have teamed up to take a look inside the crisis pregnancy center (CPC) movement. This short film highlights the gross misinformation that CPC’s provide clients. They tell women who come to them that abortion causes breast cancer and that women who have abortions are 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who carry a pregnancy to term. They even claim that having an abortion will cause women to start abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Never mind the fact that the only study they have to support the supposed breast cancer-abortion link is from the 1970′s. Right wing nut jobs never were big fans of science, anyway. But many times, the CPC’s don’t even perform an actual pregnancy test. Their strategy is to delay a person’s realization that they’re pregnant until they’re already too far along in pregnancy to get an abortion. Talk about lies and the lying liars who tell them. [Read more...]