Antis Freak Out Over Nothing; Also Known As Monday

A recent op-ed by Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post shows off the anti-choice movement’s flair for using emotionally manipulative language and glossing over the facts. In “Planned Parenthood’s Defense of Infanticide,” Thiessen claims that a Planned Parenthood representative was “caught on camera defending infanticide.”

During a recent political hearing in Florida, Planned Parenthood’s Alisa LaPolt Snow was asked what the organization’s response would be if, in the case of a failed abortion, the fetus was born alive. Snow’s answer? “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

That seems like a perfectly reasonable response to me. After all, who else should be asked to make a decision in that moment? Isn’t that what happens with any child, whether they’re five minutes old or five years old? Let’s say that a five-year-old was gravely ill. Who would be in charge of making his medical decisions? His parents and physician. That doesn’t mean that I’m advocating killing five-year-olds. It means that in America, as in much of the world, parents are the ones that make medical decisions for their children.

[Read more...]

Abortion 101: What to Know Before You Go

Today’s post comes courtesy of FFC contributor Sarah Erdreich and guest contributor Sarah Cohen, who worked at the National Abortion Federation hotline for several years and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their cat.

January 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!

When you work in reproductive rights, people pepper you with practical questions about getting an abortion. How much does the procedure cost? How long does it take? Does it hurt? While the answers vary depending on the particular circumstances, there are a few tips you should know.

First, confirm that you actually are pregnant. This might sound obvious, but as many of us know, it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of when your last normal period occurred. If a home pregnancy test shows a positive result, you are probably pregnant; home test kits rarely give a false positive. If a home pregnancy test shows a negative result, it’s possible that you’re too early for the test to detect a pregnancy. Most test kits come with two in the package, so wait a few days and, if you still think you might be pregnant, take the second test. [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup

Arizona House OKs bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. USA Today.

Planned Parenthood sue after Texas excludes group from state’s women’s health program. Washington Post.

Ashley Judd Writes a Kickass Feminist Essay About Her Puffy Face. Jezebel.

Susan B. Anthony List Endorses Romney, Proving Itself to be Just a GOP Front Group. RH Reality Check.

Hilary Clinton & Michelle Obama Are America’s Most Popular Politicians. Politicus USA.

Pro-Choice News Roundup

The Real Impact of a 20-Week Abortion Ban. Feministing.

Mississippi Abortion Ban May Force State’s Only Clinic to Close. Huffington Post

Anti-Abortion Grandpa Facing Lawsuit.

Adrienne Rich, Poet of Change. The American Prospect.

Explosion at Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin. MSNBC.



Kicking Off Women’s History Month 2012

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

In my house, I traditionally mark the first of the month by giving the dog his flea treatment and heartworm pills. But March is different, and not just because it signals the first month that it might actually be warm enough for the dog to get fleas – but because it’s Women’s History Month!

The first two months of 2012 have brought an avalanche of stories related to women’s issues, from the Planned Parenthood-Komen debacle to the dangerously regressive politics of Rick Santorum to the never-ending debate about the role birth control plays in women’s lives. But as vital as it is to keep abreast of issues that affect women (and men, and families) on a real-time basis, it’s also important to take time to honor the women that have come before us, the activists and politicians and writers and artists and scientists whose contributions and innovations continue to influence our lives today.

This month we’ll be sharing women’s history content every day, and we welcome your input and ideas on which women we should profile. But before we launch into all the profiles and articles, I’d like to single out Feminists for Choice’s amazing founder, Serena Freewomyn, for her own work as a phenomenal online voice, kick-ass writer, and dedicated champion of abortion rights – Serena plays an integral role in running an abortion fund in Arizona. So on behalf of all the women you help, and all of us here at FFC, thank you, Serena, for all your incredible work.

Happy Women’s History Month!


A Day in the Life of a Clinic Escort

Editors’ Note: Today’s guest post comes to us from Miranda Pennington, a clinic escort from New York City who is in her first year of a Creative Nonfiction MFA at Columbia University. You can follow Miranda on Twitter, and check out her blog.

Saturday Morning, 26 Bleecker Street

What could they have said to her?

What could convince a young, pregnant Latina woman walking up to the doors of Planned Parenthood for a scheduled abortion to change her mind, to walk away with two bikers and the novice nun they pulled away from the rosary procession hailing Mary around the corner?

Was it a persuasive promise of affordable counseling, prenatal care, parenting classes, postpartum checkups, and birth control?

No, wait, that’s what Planned Parenthood offers. [Read more...]

Facing Massive Backlash, Komen Foundation Reverses Itself

After announcing on Wednesday that it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screening and education programs, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation said earlier today that it would revise the policy which led to Planned Parenthood’s defunding.

While the initial rationale for defunding the organization was that it was undergoing a federal investigation, Komen now states that its policy will be amended so that only criminal, rather than political, investigations would disqualify a group from receiving funding. The statement did not address another reason that Komen’s president gave for cutting the funding: that Planned Parenthood referred patients to other providers for mammograms, rather than performing them themselves.

Perhaps this reason wasn’t addressed because it doesn’t make a lot of sense – it’s hardly uncommon for a primary physician to refer a patient to a specialist for further testing. And referring out doesn’t take away from the fact that the patient has been alerted to a potentially serious problem. Just being able to perform the initial exam and educate women about next steps is a vital service, and one that Planned Parenthood is fully capable of providing.

Komen’s initial decision was swiftly met with both outrage and outpourings of support for Planned Parenthood. As the foundation continues its attempts at damage control, Planned Parenthood has released its own thoughts on the matter: “We are enormously grateful that the Komen Foundation has clarified its grantmaking criteria, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Komen partners, leaders and volunteers.”

Breast Cancer Organization Pulls Funding to Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that it would no longer provide funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screening and education programs. Komen, the world’s largest breast-cancer organization, had been providing grants to local clinics for at least six years; last year, Planned Parenthood affiliates received nearly $700,000 from the group.

Given that Komen’s mission statement includes the promise that “we’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures,” why would the organization cut funding for programs that help so many women receive potentially life-saving care? Komen’s official reason is that it recently adopted guidelines that prohibit funding organizations that are under congressional investigation. Last fall, Rep. Cliff Stern, a Republican from Florida, announced an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds.   [Read more...]

One Last Look at 2011

2012 is barely a week and a half old and the bad news is already pouring in for American women. People are actually  listening to Rick Santorum. 2/3 of all new jobs are going to men. And just in case we rang in the New Year with a smidgen of hope, an anti-choice charmer decided the day would be better spent by setting a Florida abortion clinic on fire.

Before we take a deep breath and stare down whatever else 2012 has in store, I’d like to remember that even in the year that was a war against women we had some good news. In no particular order–and in alarmingly varied degrees of significance–I give you my:

Top Ten Feel-Good Feminist Moments of 2011

1. Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords Appears In Congress (August 1, 2011)

In the midst of that nonsensical debt ceiling debate she was a one-woman argument for gender parity: for at least a second or two. Appearing in Congress for the first time since she was shot, she led by example, showing the nation exactly how having a woman in the room can change the culture of an overwhelmingly (dysfunctional) male institution. [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup

Mueller confirms FBI will update rape definition. The Raw Story.

Planned Parenthood resuming abortion services in two Phoenix area cities. AZ Central.

Fraternity Asks Members: Who Would You Rape? Care2Care.

Eight Reasons Obama Should Reverse His Mistake on Plan B. Huffington Post.