This past weekend, I spoke on two panels at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy’s reproductive rights conference. One of my panels, “Bringing Social Justice to the Family Table,” tackled how to combine an activist lifestyle with family life. Along with three other panelists/mothers, I spoke about how to foster awareness of the world around us and how to engage our children in social justice issues from an early age. We spoke about our pre-kid lives as activists and how we wove it all in when we became parents. For many on the panel, including myself, that involved work in the reproductive rights movement.
I’ve written before about how becoming a mother has only strengthened my pro-choice beliefs, and I made sure to reiterate that stance while on the panel. I think there is a fear surrounding motherhood, that the moment you pop out a baby, all other aspects of your identity cease to exist and you become solely “mommy.” While there was certainly a period of transition while I figured out how to connect this new aspect of my identity with what was already there, I eventually found ways to make it all work harmoniously together.
When my son was only a few months old, I placed him snug against my chest in a baby carrier and manned a table for Planned Parenthood during a sidewalk sale event in my town. I handed out condoms and pamphlets on birth control and STI prevention while discreetly nursing my son in his sling. I spoke with people about the best ways to schedule appointments while my gurgling baby babbled happily away. Nobody seemed to bat an eye at the fact that my son was with me as I volunteered. Keep reading »
Forty years after the landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions is still a hotbed of discussion in state legislatures and a target of lawmakers. Outside of these state capitals, talking about abortion is still largely taboo.
Sarah Erdreich is trying to open up a larger discourse about reproductive rights and the next generation of women. Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement tackles the difficult issues of stigma, activism, pop culture and how to talk about abortion as not just a scary political battle but a more nuanced, personal choice for all women.
I had a chance to speak to Erdreich about the book and what she believes are the biggest issues facing the women who came after Roe and the right to choose. Keep reading »
Yeah, that’s an actual thing an elected official said. Like, for real. Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas tweeted the remark today, which is cringeworthy on multiple levels — not the least of which shooting people with guns doesn’t sound very “pro-life” to me. Perhaps in his own well-documented twisted mind Stockman thinks that owning guns means you’re just protecting yourself, ergo fetuses (“babies”) need protection from big, bad Planned Parenthood; but this reads to me as an allusion to clinic violence against doctors who perform abortions. Dr. George Tiller was, after all, murdered by an anti-abortion extremist with a gun.
Ugh. There’s believing in a right to bear arms and there’s being a gun nut who suggests children should have guns. [Raw Story]
Abortion foes in the Arkansas State Senate passed a bill yesterday to ban certain funding grants to Planned Parenthood. The chosen grants heading to the chopping block? Sex education. Which sucks, because Planned Parenthood provided the state’s sex ed.
According to Think Progress, Arkansas lacks a codified set of sex education requirements, which is why Planned Parenthood stepped in to do HIV/AIDS and STD/STI education in the state. A Republican health education teacher, and assistant football coach, Darrell Seward, told the Huffington Post over the phone:
“I would challenge any legislator or politician in the state of Arkansas or higher to set foot in my classroom and listen to the curriculum and walk out and say it’s a bad program. This program has been one of the most well-received programs that our students have ever been engaged in. I am a Republican, but this is one issue I feel very strongly about, because I see the benefit for our kids.”
So why take away these funds? Well because the bill’s sponsor doesn’t like any state funding to go to any organization that has anything to do with abortion or abortion referrals. Keep reading »
Finally, something positive happening for the reproductive rights of women in Kansas. Four years after abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was fatally shot by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder in Wichita, Kansas, his clinic is re-opening.
Activist Julie Burkhart, who worked with Dr. Tiller for seven years, started the nonprofit organization Trust Women Foundation in 2010. The foundation purchased Tiller’s old office, and after raising nearly $1 million, is ready to open the South Wind Women’s Center.
There will be some changes: unlike under Dr. Tiller, the clinic will not provide late-term abortions. The Kansas City Star reports that despite the fact that Kansas allows abortions 22 weeks into a pregnancy, the clinic’s cutoff will be 14 weeks. South Wind Women’s Center will also provide other women’s heath services including fertility counseling and other routine health care, like Pap smears. Keep reading »
Beginning yesterday, France will provide access to free birth control for teenaged girls ages 15 to 18 without parental notification, as well as reimburse the cost of abortions to all women over age 18.
Pinch me. Am I dreaming? It’s not still April Fools’ Day, right? Keep reading »
Former three-term Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming is an equal opportunity critic, throwing judgement at both President Obama and his own Republican party. He’s known to be blunt with his opinions (regardless of hate mail) and this past week was no exception. He spoke frankly to a reporter at a local Chamber of Commerce in his hometown of Cody, Wyoming about gay rights, abortion, and why Republicans should stay out of social issues.
In a surprisingly candid comment, Simpson said, “[Abortion] is a hideous thing. It’s terrible. … But it’s a deeply intimate and personal thing. … Men legislators shouldn’t even vote on it.” Wow, that’s not even an opinion that man liberal politicians espouse!
More good Simpson-isms after the jump: Keep reading »