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Showing posts with label abortion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abortion. Show all posts

08 June 2017

I can't believe I still have to blog about Planned Parenthood

Like a lot of people I turned to Planned Parenthood during college. 

Those were the days when Planned Parenthood sold birth control pills that fell under some weird rules that ended in the Dubya era so a pack of pills was maybe $10, maybe a bit less if I bought more than one at a time. But most of the time I bought a pack each month, having to hike over to the clinic off campus and say hi to the staff. Which might be why I love Planned Parenthood so much and ended up volunteering with them soon after college.


Ah, the good old days of the late 1990s when passing out free condoms seemed to be the height of being a radical.

That's how I spent one summer...passing out free condoms at street fairs in Chicago. But of course that was just to get people to the table. To get them talking. Once we lured people in with the free condom we would register people to vote, talk to them about how even with a Democrat in the White House, reproductive rights were being threatened. It was just a few years after the Illinois General Assembly passed a parental notification law, but was soon blocked from being active until just a few years ago. We also had issues with the rise of abstinence-only sex education, not to mention the so-called late term abortion bills of the 1990s. So yeah, handing out condoms to fellow Chicagoans was a crash course in WTF is going wrong in reproductive rights.



I also spent a year volunteering at the clinic that provided abortion services. While I did not work on the days the services were preformed, I did interact with many of the women who came in for post-care. I saw first hand the fear they had until they were assured that yes, you are no longer pregnant. I also interacted with young people seeking care and guidance with STIs, HIV, abnormal pap smears, and general not-feeling-wellness.

I stand with Planned Parenthood not just because they got me through college, but because of the work they did to help all those people I checked into the clinic get through life. And continue to get people through life. While I know that unplanned pregnancies do not have to ruin a life, I knew that I was not ready to become a mother in college. Thankfully Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed them.



Now we're living in a moment where not just the President flip-flops on his views around reproductive rights, but I live in Illinois where our Governor is a huge donor to Planned Parenthood, but says will veto a bill protecting abortion access.

So we must rise up and protect Planned Parenthood. We need to keep their doors open so people who need their care can receive it. We cannot live in a country where Planned Parenthood's doors are locked.

And the GOP is getting itchy about Trumpcare. They want a vote soon in order to kill it and move on to tax reform. But we have to MAKE SURE Trumpcare is dead. We can't rely on the GOP to mess it up.

There are FOUR ways to protect Planned Parenthood:


Ready? Then let's do this!!


This post is made possible with support from the Mission List. All opinions are my own.

30 April 2017

100 Days after the Women's March

While everyone is obsessed with how much damage the Fake Tanned One has done in 100 days, I'm more interested in what WE have done in the 100 days since the Women's March.

panoramic photo of the Chicago Women's March and skyline

Let's recall that 250,000 women, men, and children descended on Grant Park on one of the most beautiful days Chicago has seen in January. This so exceeded expectations that the march part of the March was officially cancelled, but you know when you have a quarter million people show up somewhere and they move, it's kinda a march.

I've been to a lot of marches and few compare to the optimism this one had. I know it was too happy for a protest and all the marches had issues, but the turn out was a great way to kick off four years of resistance. And the diversity of those in attendance made me hopeful that no matter how bad things would be getting, we would fight every fight and maybe even win a few. 

Crowd in front of Chicago skyline. People holding signs and banner reading "Power to the People"

I think in 100 days feminists have put on quite a resistance.

I truly believe that the March and the turnout at the March helped people who normally don't get engaged in politics empower themselves to act. How?
  • Protesting at airports: After signing the executive order Muslim travel ban thousands of people ran to their airport to protest the detaining of people. Countless lawyers joined the rush to offer pro bono services to reunite families. The immediate backlash was supported by court decisions that ended the ban. 
  • Community organizing: Barely a week goes by without me seeing a notice about a community action team starting. Most are focused on finding ways to educate undocumented people about their rights. Some are largely on fighting hate by putting up signs. All are about talking to neighbors and creating space where we know each other and have each others back.
  • Defending Obamacare: While I know Obamacare is far from perfect, the loss of Obamacare without a real replacement would be devastating to millions of people. While a lot of attention was placed on the far right Freedom Caucus, I was inspired by Senator Warren's perspective that we protested, called, wrote, and showed up at town halls and congressional offices enough that the moderate Republicans did not dare to support the repeal. I wish I could find that interview from public radio. 
  • Gorsuch: Yes, he is on the Supreme Court where President Obama's nominee should be sitting, but our outrage gave the Senate Democrats to actually do something. Our outrage was enough to force the Republicans to move to the nuclear option and kill the filibuster. They had to change the rules to get what they wanted. There is more than just a moral victory in there. 
  • Women Will Run: Thousands of women who never considered running for office before or who had been putting it off are getting off the bench and into the game. I personally know two women who won elected office in the last 100 days and one more who is planning for a run soon. If the 2016 election did anything is possibly kill the idea that one needs to be well prepared to run for office. No more "I need more experience!" excuses ladies. 
  • Democrats Must Support Body Autonomy: When the DNC launched a unity tour with Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders hitting the road, they hit a speed bump when it came to vocally supporting reproductive justice. Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, NARAL's Ilyse Hogue and their supporters hit back furiously. 
  • We're Still Marching: Even before the Women's March was over pundits were wondering if it would be a one off thing. It wasn't. In the days after the march we had other national marches announced such as a Tax Day March, March for Science, Climate March, Pride March, and so on. Chicago has been participating, as have I, in Resist Trump Tuesdays. These are far smaller protests, but they were great at maintaining a conversation about funding the EPA, working to protect Obamacare, and supporting public education. There's even a march from Chicago to Springfield, the Illinois state capital, beginning on May 15th.  
I try to keep these things in mind as we pass our 100 days mark. As we get deeper into the long four years of the current administration, as we anxiously await the next episode of "The Handmaid's Tale" (OMG, so creepy and gooood!), and as we hear the drum beats of war come out of the mouths of our so-called leaders...see, I got myself depressed right there. But we are strong, we will not win every fight, but gawd damnit, I know we will win this war. It is said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice...and we will bend it with the weight of our fight.

What is keeping you resisting and persisting?


This post is made possible by support from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
All opinions are my own.



02 April 2017

Review: Abortion: Stories Women Tell

According to the CDC,  664,435 legal abortions were performed in 2013. The Guttmacher Institute states that in 2014 1.5% of women aged 15-44 had an abortion. On average 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion over the course of their lifetime. This makes abortion or pregnancy terminations one of the most common surgical procedures, but most likely the only medical procedure that requires armed guards to ensure the safety of professionals performing them. The virulent attacks against reproductive justice - including medically accurate sex education, birth control, and abortion - has resulted in an atmosphere of fear. Fear that providers are assassinated in their churches or homes. Fear that providers being harassed outside their own homes. Fear that loved ones won't understand. This has resulted in silence.

And this silence has resulted in people worrying if their decision to abort means they are terrible people or if the fact they valued the lives of their children over their pregnancy means they are terrible parents.

In Abortion: Stories Women Tell these stories are here for consuming. We hear from women who have had abortions and now work in clinics to support other women. Women who regret their abortions and who are now those harassing women outside of clinics perpetuating abortion stigma.

For me, the most touching scenes are with those who chose adoption. The debate over abortion is often pitted against having one and not having one as if carrying a pregnancy to term is easy. But pick up an adoption narrative and one will know that allowing your child to be adopted is a tougher choice for many people. In fact in one scene the mother of a young woman admits that she could not be with her daughter as she gave birth because she needed to keep an emotional distance in order for the adoption to take place. That young woman made a decision to carry her pregnancy to term and her mother could not find the strength to be at her side as she gave birth and let her child join a different family. That is heart-wrenching. That pain is often ignored when anti-abortion advocates and law-makers scoff, "Just give it up for adoption!" as if it was as simple as dropping off a bag of donated clothing.

Abortion: Stories Women Tell beautifully highlights how abortion rights, especially in light of waiting periods, is a class issue. Considering how in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election pundits waxed on about the Democrats returning to economic issues and dismissing race and "identity" politics, few of those economic Democrats are running to include reproductive justice under the economic tent. Keeping the economics of "choice" out of the framing of our political agenda leads to not only Democrats throwing reproductive justice under the bus, but allows for upper class white women to think they are safe even if they vote for Trump. It also leads to the young white woman we meet who organizes against abortion even though she had zero personal experience with someone who had one. I bet she has a friend who had one, but can't trust her enough to reveal themselves.

This is not an easy documentary to watch. It is emotional and you will most likely cry and scream at the TV. I'm holding back tears as I write. But this documentary is one you must watch, especially for those in the mushy middle of the debate and don't have a friend who has outed themselves as having had an abortion. Tracy Droz Tragos, the director, does not pass judgement on those who fight to make abortion harder to access, but the humanity they provide to the women who do choose abortion is fiercely feminist and pro-reproductive justice.


premieres on HBO
Monday, April 3rd at 7 pm Central

******

In light of the class issues discussed in this film and my longtime activism to support those who choose abortion, I am asking you to please donate to my effort to support the Chicago Abortion Fund who financially assists those seeking to terminate their pregnancies. Thank you! 
******


16 October 2016

Here’s to Planned Parenthood #100YearsStrong


100 years today Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in New York. It was soon shut down because 100 years ago birth control was outright illegal. While Sanger is fraught with complications due to her strategy to partner with wealthy eugenicists to bankroll the development of the bitch control pill and other aspects of the birth control movement, her work lead to the founding of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is where myself as well as many friends first sought out reproductive healthcare. It is where the protagonist in Judy Blume’s Forever heads to when she decides she is ready to have sex with her high school sweetheart. They have always been a target of conservative forces who wish to reduce women’s access to healthcare. From being painted as abortion mills to targeting communities of color, Planned Parenthood has had to fight for its existence from day one.

As an 18-year-old I was lucky to have plenty of Planned Parenthood clinics to choose from when I needed reproductive healthcare. Alas, too many parts of the USA have only one Planned Parenthood for too wide of geographic area.

Planned Parenthood as a brand is good for the entire reproductive health care movement in terms of knowledge. Being able to be name dropped in a timeless novel is important to young people identifying where they can obtain services without having to ask their parents. On her 13th birthday, our health care provider gave my daughter more privacy on our account. Now she can make her own appointments, but I can’t see how the system can give her total privacy since we do have health insurance and get statements. That said, I am glad that our health care provider gives young people a sense of autonomy. But that is why Planned Parenthood and other clinics are so important – privacy.

After college I volunteered at one of the Planned Parenthood clinics. I checked in patients, filed records, and other things required as the first face people saw. I will never forget a young woman, probably in college, who was frantic about her privacy, “My mom will never know, right? Even if she calls?” That said, I saw young women escorted to the clinic with their mothers as well.

In 100 years, Planned Parenthood has offered the women and men of the USA the opportunity to access confidential healthcare. From birth control, abortions, mammograms, and STI testing, Planned Parenthood has done a lot for us. I’m conflicted on what to wish them for the next 100. Ideally women wouldn’t need a separate healthcare clinic for pregnancy terminations or low-income women need to seek out free mammograms outside of their regular healthcare team. But until we get to that day, long-live Planned Parenthood and their kick ass services.

30 November 2015

Giving Tuesday

This year I am asking you to consider giving to one (or both) of these organizations:


Bitch Media is an almost-20-year-old feminist media organization. You may be most familiar with their magazine, but they also publish an amazing blog and podcast. They are independent and rely on reader support. Bitch Media has given a lot of writers their first paid outlet. Recently they launched a fellowship to further support their efforts to launch emerging writers.

Earlier this year, I joined the board of directors. As a board member of Bitch Media, I need your help to raise $1,000 by the end of December 2015. 
  1. Please donate an amount that is a slight stretch for you. It can be $10 or even $100.
  2. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month. When you do, you get to be a member of the B-Hive! How cool is that name?

The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) has a goal of $8,000 this year! They are a 25-year-old organization where countless individuals have turned to for help terminating a pregnancy. The Chicago Abortion Fund fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Through direct service, CAF assists women in obtaining safe abortion services. In partnership with the women we serve, CAF engages and mobilizes low-income and poor women to become advocates for expanded reproductive access.

As a former board member of the Chicago Abortion Fund, I am asking you to please help them make choice possible for the women of Chicago.  

Thank you!

17 November 2015

Texas women are attempting to self-abort

Hundreds of thousands of Texas women may have attempted to self-induce abortions, according to a “first of its kind” study released Tuesday by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP).  [link]

When I heard this stat today I wanted to puke.

It is actually quite difficult for me to form an intelligent rant about this. I am just. Ugh. I have been active in the reproductive justice movement for a long time and this is as bad as I feel it has gotten. I have heard stories of women resorting to self-induced abortions before. Heard rumbles of the return of back-alley abortions. Known of women who have given birth despite not wanting to add another baby to their family. But to have a study that quantifies how much we are failing women in this country? I'm sickened.

This is exactly the type of work that one Missouri state senator wants to stop by censoring a woman's dissertation.
In a letter to University of Missouri officials, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) argues that Lindsay Ruhr, a graduate student in the School of Social Work, is illegally using public funds to conduct her dissertation research on the state's law that requires a 72-hour waiting period before a woman receives an abortion. Ruhr is using Planned Parenthood data to analyze the effects of the law on women's decision making. In Missouri it is illegal for public employees and facilities to use state money towards "encouraging or counseling" a person to have an abortion not necessary to save her life.
In Texas, Latinas who live near the border appear to be more likely to be attempting to self-induce an abortion. This is quite disconcerting. It was also quite predicted by many reproductive justice activists. Bitch Media discusses the many obstacles that undocumented Latinas face at the border when attempting to seek any healthcare services, much less abortion services. Women who do not have access or limited access to healthcare will still attempt to not carry a pregnancy to term if she does not want to become a mother (again).

So while I am heartbroken over the results of the study, I am grateful that we now have data on the hardships that anti-abortion laws are doing to the people of the USA. Research on, feministas!




I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

03 August 2014

5th Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice


Monday, August 4 to Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice is an initiative that elevates Latina leadership, power and activism to transform the cultural narrative via a collective call to action on critical reproductive justice issues facing our community.

Despite what the NYTimes thinks, reproductive justice is not a new term, rather one that comes from women of color organizing beyond the "pro-choice" box to ensure our work is not about one procedure, one action, but rather a holistic view of women's lives and how we make decisions about when, how, and why we become mothers or not.

To mark this week you can:
  • Organize an in-district visit with your elected officials
  • Host a rally, street action, community meeting or cafecito
  • Write a blog (VLF is open for guest posts!)
  • Mobilize using social media using the hashtags: #WOA14 and #RJrevolution
  • Contact Angy@latinainstitute.org to learn more ways to get involved and share what you are doing

12 June 2014

Obvious Child: The rom-com where someone has an abortion!

Obvious Child opened in NY and LA already, but I live in the rest of the country, so we get the movie on June 27th.

AND YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

I was lucky to get invited to a media screening and seriously, this is the feminist movie of the year. Hands down. There's no way this movie can be beat. Why? Because for too long we have been subjected to movies and TV shows where women have a pregnancy scare, maybe consider abortion and end up 1) getting their period late; 2) miscarry; or 3) changing their minds.

I have written before pondering why Hollywood can not imagine abortion being part of a love story. And thanks to director & writer, Gillian Robespierre, we have it! It is far more in line with quirky Juno and slapstick Knocked Up with its comedic genius.

There are a few political moments (Thank the goddess for Gaby Hoffmann), but overall it is a sweet movie about a young woman in crisis. Her boyfriend dumps her, she drunk dials him a zillion times, she meets a far too adorable guy, has a one night stand and gets pregnant. Oh yeah, she also finds out she is losing her job. There's no way to spoil this movie because well, she gets the abortion. The beauty of this movie is how it all unfolds. The question at the end is if love can blossom after an abortion? As I state at allParenting,
"This film shows that the decision to have an abortion is not frivolous in the manner that anti-choice forces would want the rest of the world to believe. Rather women choose abortion as their best option and some struggle with the ramifications (Donna's relationship with her mother, whether to tell Max). But in the end, it is their decision.
I do think this is a travel pack of tissue movie. You won't need a box, but will need a few tissues. Or maybe even some salt-free napkins.

To find out when "Obvious Child" hits your town (pssst...Chicago, June 13th!) check out the movie's ticket page.

28 March 2014

Stop Parental Notification Advocacy Day (#StopPNA)

I reported last summer that Illinois now has a parental notification law being enforced and on my sidebar is a link to resources for minors who need a judicial bypass. But we know that a bypass is not the solution for every minor who is need of abortion care. That is why the ACLU of Illinois and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health are heading down to Springfield to call for a repeal of this harmful law.


#STOPPNA Advocacy Day 
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Buses leave Chicago at 6am
Buses then leave Springfield at 3 pm
Register for the day!  

Of course, if you are not in Chicago, get to Springfield anyway you can.

You can join the campaign, even if you can't make it to Springfield (I can't) by submitting your story and/or taking a selfie of your shadow and tagging it with #StopPNA on Instagram or Twitter.

I am asking all #365FeministSelfie participants, especially those in Illinois to submit a shadow selfie on April 3rd. Share your thoughts on the parental notification law in Illinois...or in your state! 25 states require parental CONSENT and 13 require notification. That is not good news for minors who need to handle their medical needs with privacy from their parents or guardians.



26 March 2014

Time to bowl for abortions!

Yes, it's that time of the year again when the Chicago Abortion Fund holds its annual bowl-a-thon! Sadly this year I can't make the actual event, but I'm still fundraising for them. I started the day out waaaaay behind in fundraising, but got a good number of donations to bring my total up to $390. So I'm only $110 from my goal of $500!

So I'm hoping that I can count of my readers here to bring me over the finish line!

How do you help do that? IT IS EASY! Simply head over to my fundraising page and click donate next to my avatar.

I got a $200 donation on my team page & $50 off page, thus the thermometer thing will always be $250 off. But who cares as long as I reach my goal of $500.

OK, Ok, you want to know why you should donate to the Chicago Abortion Fund? This nifty infographic tells the tale...

The stat that always bowls me over (see what I did there?) is that 79% of the women who call CAF for assistance are mothers. They know what bringing a baby into the world means and they know they are not in a position to do that.

I've been privileged to know some of the women who have received assistance and some have said CAF saved their lives. They were at a point of desperation and could not imagine what they would do to support a new baby plus the others they had. Failed birth control. Perhaps unable to insist on birth control. For me, I don't spend time finding out the why a woman calls CAF, but rather that she did. Because I know if she as called, she has made her decision and I want to support that.

And I thank you for joining me in helping her.

15 March 2014

CFP: Interrogating Reproductive Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth

CALL FOR PAPERS
Demeter Press
is seeking submissions for an edited collection, entitled
Interrogating Reproductive Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth 
Co-Editors: Emily R.M. Lind & Angie Deveau
Deadline for Abstracts: June 1, 2014
Deadline for Acceptances: July 1, 2014
Deadline for Completed Papers: November 15, 2014
Publication Date: Early 2016
Feminist theories of the body, reproduction, and the institution of motherhood typically focus on issues of rights, autonomy, and choice. These themes become increasingly complicated when applied to questions of reproductive loss. Interrogating Reproductive Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth seeks essays, poems, short stories, and artwork that imagine a feminist epistemology of loss.

Whereas biomedical and feminist literature treat abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth as differently conceptualized events, this collection explores the connections between these three categories.  How have feminist debates and activist strategies around reproductive choice invigorated the cultural conversation about miscarriage, and stillbirth? How can we imagine more nuanced engagements with the spectrum of experiences that are at stake when a pregnancy ends? And how can we effectively create a space where women and trans people are given the opportunities to "identify and 'own'" (Cosgrove 2004) the ways that loss makes meaning for those who grieve and/or celebrate the end of pregnancy?

Submissions from researchers, parents, healthcare experts, community workers, artists, and activists are welcome. Chapters from a wide range of disciplines and cultural perspectives, both theoretical/scholarly and creative (e.g., stories, narrative, creative non-fiction, poetry, image-based), are highly encouraged and will be considered.

Topics may also include (but are not limited to):

Epistemologies of loss; policy directions for reproductive health; queering pregnancy loss; 'planned' pregnancies and ideological constructions of 'time'; feminist models of grief/remorse; expectations/impositions of grief; limitations of 'pro-choice' rhetoric; decolonizing reproductive 'freedom'; third and fourth wave engagements with reproductive loss; narratives of silence/silencing; reinvigorating feminist praxis in the face of reproductive loss; reproductive loss, ambivalence, and the contradictory politics of choice; health care service delivery from a feminist perspective; gaps in public health care service delivery and assessment tools; discrimination in health care; reproductive loss and the social construction of 'unfit' bodies; reproductive loss in the digital age; maternal activism in relation to fertility and reproductive loss; feminist critiques and analyses of post abortion stress syndrome; sudden infant death syndrome; postpartum depression following reproductive loss; memorializing reproductive loss and bereavement; experiences of miscarriage, preterm labour resulting in loss, stillbirth, and early- and late-term abortions; the paid and unpaid work associated with reproductive loss; intersectional analyses/critiques of reproductive loss; reproductive loss and the potential for empowerment; surrogate loss; selective abortion and loss; reproductive loss and support or lack thereof; and infertility and involuntary childlessness.
Abstracts:
250-word description of the proposed paper, including a tentative title. Also, please include a 50-word biography noting citizenship, and your full contact information.
Deadline for abstracts: June 1, 2014
 
Full Manuscripts:
MLA style, between 15-18 pages, double-spaced (3750-4500 words). Shorter stories/narrative works, image-based and/or creative submissions are also welcome (500-2500 words). Final acceptance of the manuscript for inclusion in the collection rests upon the strength and fit of the completed full piece.
Deadline for full manuscripts: November 15, 2014

The book is to have 50% Canadian content, so Canadian contributors are especially encouraged to submit.
 
Publication date early 2016.

To Submit:
Please direct all submissions and inquiries to Emily R.M. Lind at
  DEMETER PRESS
140 Holland St. West, P.O. Box 13022 Bradford, ON, L3Z 2Y5 (tel) 905-775-5215
Disclosure: I am getting a complementary membership to MIRCI and subscription to the journal in return for posting these updates. It is, however, something I would have agreed to do for free because I think their work is so wonderful.

13 November 2013

Must Read: 26 Women Share Their Abortion Stories

New York Magazine has an amazing feature this week and the title says it all: 26 women sharing their abortion stories. Honestly, they are heartbreaking to read because of the wall of shame the women know they are breaking. No woman should have to hide their experience, yet society or families keep these tales from being widely shared.
As their stories show, the experience of abortion in the United States in 2013 is vastly uneven. It varies not just by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family; by whether a boyfriend offered a ride to the clinic or begged her not to go; by the compassion or callousness of the medical staff; by whether she took the pill alone at home or navigated protesters outside a clinic. Some feel so shamed that they will never tell their friends or family; others feel stronger for having gotten through the experience. The same woman can wake up one morning with regret, the next with relief—most have feelings too knotty for a picket sign. “There’s no room,” one woman told us, “to talk about being unsure.”
 The first story, Nicole, 19 of Kentucky, exhibits why women need to share their stories:
When I cry about it, I cry alone. [My boyfriend] thinks it would make me sad to talk about, but I don’t want our baby to think we forgot. I’ve never heard of anybody else having an abortion here.
Cherisse, 39 from Illinois, exhibits why women need as much information as possible about our bodies AND why so-called crisis clinics should be illegal:
The technician said, “If you have an abortion now, you’ll rupture your uterus and won’t be able to have children in the future.” I had no idea what was true. I didn’t want to regret not being able to have children. I went ahead and had my son. Those people weren’t there after I lost my job and couldn’t afford my COBRA, utilities, rent, food. Since then, I’ve had three abortions. I didn’t understand my body. I had no information. After the third time, I ran into a reproductive-justice advocate who finally taught me how to understand my fertility.
Red, 30 of Pennsylvania, says simply: "The secret was devastating." Not the procedure. The secret.

When I hear women tell stories where the staff treat her poorly, I get pissed. And that's an understatement. My heart goes out to Heather, 32, of Tennessee, for having to endure this:
The doctor was grotesque. He whistled show tunes. I could hear the vacuum sucking out the fetus alongside his whistling. When I hear show tunes now, I shudder. Later, he lost his license. 
Perhaps if we could talk about abortion, we could lessen the stigma and the anti's would have less power over who decides to provide abortion care. How many amazing, gentle and caring doctors are too scared to provide abortion care because they don't want anti's to picket their homes or their children's schools?

Dana, 42, of Colorado, shares a thought that I have heard many times. That she could never believe she could make the decision to terminate a pregnancy, especially one so late in term:
After Dr. Tiller was killed, I watched the man I didn’t know would become my doctor talking on the news, rubbed my belly, and wondered how anyone could possibly have a late-term abortion. A month later, I understood.
Women think they could never because we don't share stories. I have a friend who use to volunteer at Dr. Tiller's office and heard this over and over...from women who the day before were protesting and harassing women seeking care....and would end up back on the protest line a few weeks after having her pregnancy terminated. The shame breeds hypocrisy.

Kassi, 29, of Vermont, sums up how we just don't know who gets abortions because we don't talk about it:
I wore a black turtleneck and very nice jeans—I wanted to impress the nurses. I think I even mentioned that I was in the honor society! Now I think, Who did I think I was? I had no idea that the average abortion patient is all of us.  
It's a long read and you may need to take a few days to read through them all. But you should. Some stories include supportive parents, awesome partners and world-class staff members.
You may require a tissue or two.

To all the women who shared their stories....

THANK YOU

06 September 2013

First comes love, then comes an abortion?

The NY Times broke new ground earlier this week when they published Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat and Faith Rein's wedding announcement and included how they decided to abort a pregnancy while they were in college. It is little shock to me that this story is popular. One of the most popular posts for this blog is one where I mused about why we rarely hear about abortion being part of love stories.  

Popular culture is filled with stories of men who push women to have abortions. That they are emotionally wrecking to women. That abortion happens when a man walks out on a woman. Yet, rarely do we see or hear about couples who are deeply in love, yet know that having a baby RIGHT NOW is not the answer. That it may actually harm their love and thus impair their ability to parent to the best of their ability. And before you think that is selfish, I am sure we all know some couple who had a baby, split and now are the worst of enemies that their parenting is seriously impaired by their hatred and hurt.

I hope that Udonis and Faith's story helps not only change the rhetoric around abortion and love, but also couples who are going through or will go through that same difficult decision.

19 July 2013

What minors need to know about Illinois' Parental Notification law regarding abortion services

Starting August 15, 2013, minors seeking abortion services will need to either notify their parents/guardians or obtain a judicial bypass. And there is help for this!


Young women in need of their sevices can contact them:
  • Call toll free: 877.44BYPASS
  • Call or text: 312.560.6607
  • Email: judicialbypass@aclu-il.org 
Additional resources can be found on their website too. Y en Espanol, tambien!

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS LAW IS NOT IN EFFECT UNTIL AUGUST 15, 2013!

29 April 2013

Does President Obama have to say "abortion" for him to support abortion rights?

There's a lot of chatter about how President Obama addressed, in person, a Planned Parenthood conference. In my opinion he gave a fab speech, filled with all the things I would want him to say. The first time I met the President he was still an Illinois State Senator and it was at a Planned Parenthood lobby day. He bought us lunch. He took the time to come say hi and thank us for our work. Honestly, I can't remember if he said the word "abortion" or not. But he was there. For me, that says a lot.

But to some the fact he did not say the word "abortion" last week was a disappointment. What say you?

BTW - The Illinois Planned Parenthood Gala is coming up soon. 

26 January 2013

Chicago Abortion Fund's Leadership Group in Ebony!

I am so honored to know Brittany and even more proud of all the work she has done in the reproductive justice movement. She's like a fish to water. Here she is telling her story in Ebony!
When 28-year-old Brittany Mostiller got an abortion in 2008, talking about it with her family was hard enough. She never expected she’d be telling her story in high schools or in the Chicago neighborhoods where she now passes out condoms and information on laws related to reproductive health.

But the organization that helped pay for her procedure, Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF), invited her to join a group of women who meet regularly for peer support and to organize in their communities. Last year, CAF raised $60,000 to help 184 low-income women access second trimester abortions. Four out of five women who receive funds from CAF are of color, said its executive director, Gaylon Alcaraz.

The process of getting these women engaged takes time. After checking in to see what help they need post-abortion – from sexual health information to housing and employment referrals – the organization supports the women in building trust and friendships. That’s the necessary foundation to storytelling.

“I think that women of color want to tell their stories,” Alcaraz said. “There’s no platform. And let you be poor, or let you be fat, or let you be gay. The media is not friendly to that.”

To get around the gatekeepers, CAF creates its own media, including a monthly local TV show called “The A Word.” Mostiller, who is mother to four girls and attends college full-time, has been on the show. At the start, the host introduces herself by saying, “My name is ________, and I’ve had an abortion.”

It was difficult to speak those words on camera early on, Mostiller said. But that’s changed.

“It’s my story. It’s mine to tell,” she told me. “And it’s someone else’s truth also.”

22 January 2013

Blog for Choice Day 2013


First, for the past few days I've been posting infographics from the Guttmacher Institute. I love infographics. They pack in so much information in an easy-to-consume format. They really could act as a FAQ on their own, which is why they were posted without comment. I know I get asked those questions a lot.

This year's theme is for Blog for Choice 2013 is to share personal stories of choice. This was cross-posted at Flyover Feminism yesterday:



I cannot recall how many times people have asked me if becoming a mother has changed my feminism. It is a question that I suppose people think I will answer with a tale of being changed by having my daughter grow inside of me for 40 weeks and that I believe in feminism in theory, but in practice, I am a wee bit conservative now. A so-called feminist mom wrote such a post for the NYTimes Motherlode over the weekend:
“Yes, we believe in a woman’s right to choose. No, we don’t actually believe she should use it in the face of women choosing to have their children. This is the feminist mother’s greatest taboo.”
Yes, I said so-called feminist mom. I do not believe everyone should have abortions, but I do believe with every inch of me, including the cells of my daughter that will float inside me forever, that I do not get to make reproductive decision for others.

Moreover, that includes my daughter. She is only nine, but every time I notice that she is getting just a smidgen taller, older and yes, more woman-like, my feminism strengthens. My adherence to supporting full reproductive choices for every woman in the USA and around the world becomes more rabid. For the past eight years most of my activism has revolved around raising money for the Chicago Abortion Fund in order to assist the girls and women who call the hotline a chance to make their own decision. The thought that anyone could decide when and if my daughter becomes a mother infuriates me to no end.

Therefore, yes, becoming a mother has changed my feminism. It has made me more radical and adamant to ensure that she can make her own decisions when the time comes. I pray to all the gods that she will come to me for advice, but I know there is a chance she will not.

I fight for reproductive justice for not just my daughter, but also everyone out there.

VLF -- I did edit the last line to be more inclusive than just daughters.


I'll end with some of my favorite books about reproductive choice and reproductive justice. Please leave your favorite books in the comments!

Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice
I'm going to quote a friend's review for this book, "I hate when people say the pro choice movement is made up of white, middle class women. Mostly because it is, but also because non privileged women have been fighting for within the reproductive justice movement, not the pro choice movement. Confused? Read this book and it'll clear it all up."
This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor
 Anyone who has been reading this blog for some time knows that I have a bit of a crush on Dr. Susan Wicklund. Considering that I wrote about her a zillion times in 2007 & 2008, her memoir being on my fave list is not a huge surprise. [my review]

Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room

You can read my review of this intriguing book and my interview with Merle.



Motherhood and Feminism: Seal StudiesBecause being a mom should be by choice. You can read my review "Motherhood and Feminism."


Unwind (Unwind, #1)
I had to include this because it is haunting my thoughts. I read it last last year and it is a doozy. The premise is that sometime in the future pro-choice and pro-life forces have come to a compromise...an awful compromise...where all pregnancies must be carried out, but you have until age 16 to decide if you want to "abort" your child through unwinding, a procedure that harvests every piece of the human body in order to use it for others. I wouldn't say it is pro- or anti- abortion, rather a fairly good piece of fiction that makes you think, "WOW, I did NOT think this debate could be more fucked up."

21 January 2013

Roe at 40: Poor Women and Abortion

Infographic courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute 

19 January 2013

Chicago Abortion Fund Gets Shout out on MHP Show!

I was too busy with homework to see this live, but OMG, so happy that the Chicago Abortion Fund got a mention on the Melissa Harris Perry Show. According to their latest newsletter, there should be a shiny new CAF website on the 22nd.


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18 January 2013

Roe at 40: Women of Color and Unintended Pregnancies

Infographic courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute

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