In honor of yesterday’s 40th anniversary of Roe, I wrote up a little something for Role/Reboot.
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Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Tomorrow, I’ll have something more concrete about what Roe means to me, but today there’s lots of great content roaming around the internet that I wanted to give you in the meantime.
First, I want to call out a friend’s blog, Dr. Coffee’s Brain Banter. Dr. Coffee is a med student in Florida, and as part of his program he participated in abortion training through a reproductive health externship. He writes extremely eloquently about about the medicine, but also about his patients and the process. Part one is mostly science, part two is mostly ethics. Just a sample:
Where these women are is often in a very bad place, and though I was only one cog in the machine, I began to take ownership of their plight. If they didn’t want to feel this way, and knew that ending this pregnancy was their path back to feeling healthy and free, I even felt some aggression toward that growing mass of cells. Let’s get that shit out, now, and without apology.
I mention this because despite the normal dark-cloud tone that hangs above most dirty Ab-word discussions, probably a third of the patients I’ve seen will actually smile… and smile a good amount! (Indeed another friend recently mentioned that her experience wasn’t much to write home about. Quick and easy.) They smiled as the team introduced itself, smiled as they laid back and vocalized their nervousness with a laugh, and were relaxed and calm in the recovery room.
When he first shared this writing, it reminded me an non-fiction essay called “What Comes Out” by Dawnelle Wilkie, which is also worth a read.
Have you read Caitlin Moran’s How to Be A Woman? She also has an excellent chapter on abortion that focuses on one of the most forgotten/ignored statistics: In 2008 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers. That number has actually risen to 72% in the last four years. You mean people have a harder time taking care of their families during a recession? Crazy talk! The reason I want to drive home this point about mothers is because it undermines that weird caricature that Republicans* like to point to, the “sex-crazed”, can’t-keep-her-legs-shut, slutty, irresponsible, 23-year-old. Sure, those 23-year-olds exist and I completely support their right to choose, but that’s not actually the average user of abortion services.
Abortion isn’t really about sex, it’s about economics, and childcare, and education, and healthcare. That’s not as salacious as some conservatives would like to make the story, but it is the truth.
*A commenter left an excellent point on this phrasing. There are plenty of pro-choice Republicans (and there are pro-life Democrats). This should have read, “that weird caricature that pro-lifers like to….” Thanks commenter, good call.
Related Post: Huffington Post and the changing iconography of the abortion debate
Related Post: Things that are not the opposite of misogyny.
Here are the words I can muster today: rape culture, rape apology, pseudo-science, control, misogyny, autonomy, willful misunderstanding, violence, rights, disrespect, faux apology, faux sentimentality, faux outrage, faux, faux, faux, phony, fake. Arrange them as you see fit.
Here are some words by other people that are pretty interesting. Read when you have the time or the emotional energy to absorb them:
And then there’s this video by Taylor Ferrera which is amazing, and is the bright spot in this week’s thundercloud of horribleness:
Some people give up. Some people write long eloquent essays. Some people link to other people’s long eloquent essays. Other people sing songs.
Related Post: The changing iconography of abortion.
Related Post: Daniel Tosh.
Have you seen the front page of the Huffington Post today?
Yowza, kinda smacks you in the face, doesn’t it? I’m not a huge fan of journalistic sensationalism, of which this most certainly suffers, but sometimes the digital equivalent of stomping your feet and screaming at the top of your lungs is necessary.
The lack of a rape exemption is only the most egregious piece of an egregiously sexist platform. The fundamental problem here is that the Republican party (not all Republicans, mind you), does not value the autonomy of women over their reproductive health. You want fewer abortions? Promote comprehensive sex education. Help women afford birth control the way you help old men get erections. Block discrimination against gay and single parents who want to adopt. Give me social services that might actually help me raise a child if I chose to carry to term an unplanned pregnancy. Give me choice and agency.
Do you remember when the established iconography of the abortion debate was the clothes hanger? Neither do I. History books tell me that there was a point when ending back alley abortions and protecting women from harm was a respected goal. Do you remember when the mental, emotional and physical health of women were prioritized above the potential of a fetus? It was not that long ago.
For those of us born in the 80s, as far back as we can remember, the representative image of the abortion debate has been a bloody fetus. The pro-life movement has been very effective (kudos?) at convincing us all that the question we need to be asking no matter the circumstances of the pregnancy is “what about the baby?” It used to be, “what about the woman?” and the shifting popular imagery illustrates that ideological change.
Mike Huckabee went as far as to call out exemplary Americans who were the results of “forcible” rape, as if their contributions to our culture justified the suffering of their mothers. What about the women that hemorrhaged to death after clothes-hanger abortions? Might they have changed the world for the better? What about teenaged girls who didn’t get a chance at college because no one taught them how to not get pregnant and they were left with no options? Might they have cured cancer or written masterpieces or saved the world? Potential for greatness is not the unique province of unborn fetuses.
Related Post: The Republican Roadmap for Your Reproductive Future.
Related Post: Things that are not the opposite of misogyny.
1. INCARCERATION: Photo series from Wired inside of juvenile detention centers. Remind me again how we justify putting children in rooms like these for any period of time?
2. BOOKS: Saundra Mitchell articulately points out that girls read books with boy protagonists all the time, and consequently the argument that we need more YA boy books is flawed. We need to teach boys that some stories are universal.
3. DATING: GOOD Magazine does a whole series on deal breakers. Since DealBreakers is one of my favorite I’ve-had-a-lot-of-wine-and-I-want-to-make-lists games, I enjoyed it very much.
4. ABORTION: Amazing piece in the NYT by Susan Heath telling the common, but often untold, story of married mothers who seek the services of Planned Parenthood.
5. INK: Nerdy tattoos. Many are too nerdy for me to get, but I’m nonetheless fascinated by the things people choose to wear forever.
6. MASSACHUSETTS: List of fake town names from my home state in McSweeney’s. I’ve since learned this will probably not be funny unless you’re from Massachusetts.
Related Post: Sunday last, Trayvon and race, Peter Dinklage, used yoga mats.
Related Post: Two Sundays past, nail art, baby ear piercing, Romans vs. the U.S. military.
You know how when you study for a test, you reach a point where you just cannot cram another fact or figure or strategy or whatnot into your brain without forcing some previously committed idea out your other ear? It means you’ve hit your capacity.
I have reached that point with the news. Not all of the news, mind you, just the lady-bashing news. It’s not that I don’t care, or that I don’t want to be informed. It’s just that the weight of the horribleness has just crushed any ability I have to care about a specific issue. I see “birth control” or “transvaginal” or “conscience clause” in the headline of an article, or in the outraged tweet of a friend or colleague, and I just cannot bring myself to click. I know what it will say, horrible things, and I know how I will feel, powerless.
This week Argentina decided to allow rape victims access to abortions. Yay? Is this really the kind of verdict I’m supposed to get excited for? Should I feel encouraged? It’s like we are climbing out of a deep hole, and while we scramble and scrape our way out, Rick Santorum is at the bottom of it digging us closer to the molten core of the Earth.
My friend Lori Day wrote an essay for the Huffington Post called “The Loneliness of Being Female in 2012.” She writes, “What is at stake is women’s ability to have authentic and freely chosen lives — nothing less….I sometimes write about anomie. It’s one of my favorite words, acquired in college Sociology 101, describing the moral disconnect one can feel between his or her own personal values, and the values and laws thrust upon the individual by society. I am writhing in anomie these days, and it is a very lonely place.”
I couldn’t agree more, so props to Lori for putting the word out there for all the other lonely people to rally around.
Related Post: The fundamental differences are just too much.
Related Post: Who would think that “age-appropriate” and “medically accurate” are word you wouldn’t want associated with sex-education?
1. DISNEY: The most epic Disney a capella medley ever. Costume changes included. Prepare yourself, it’s seven minutes long.
2. TAPE: Artist Max Zorn uses only brown packing tape and a scalpel to make these images.
3. TECH: Geek out with me over this sweet graph tracking browser usage. Watch the life and death of AOL, the rise of Mozilla, and ridiculous longevity of Internet Explorer.
4. SAVAGE: Dan Savage + Ira Glass. Done and done.
5. WHALES: Salon has a fascinating look at the history and veracity of the man-in-whale folklore. Is it possible to come out the other side, as so many myths would suggest?
6. CHOICE: Really excellent essay about why pro-life advocate John Saveland supports Planned Parenthood. Imagine how much further this conversation could go if everyone employed such rationality and logic!
Related Post: Sunday 45: Peggy Orenstin, Tim Gunn, and Loving family photos.
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1. ADOPTION: This New York Times essay by Jennifer Gilmore might just break your heart. She’s trying to adopt, and begins an email chain with a pregnant teen only to watch it all fall apart in a mall diner.
3. LIBRARY: Who is the mystery artist leaving anonymous spectacular paper creations on the desks of European libraries? NPR investigates.
4. XMAS: From WebEcoist, eleven amazing alternative Christmas trees. The spinning fiber optics wins for me.
5. BOOZE: How much booze to consume at your office holiday party? Cut out NYMag’s handy dandy chart and stick to the rules. I suppose you have to know whether your company qualifies as cool or uncool first.
6. REPUBLICAN: This National Post graphic is the best thing I’ve seen yet tracking the rise and fall of the Republican candidates. Who will peak at the right moment?
Related Post: Sunday 38 was pepper-spray memes, 4.74 degrees of separation and Australian marriage equality ads.
Related Post: Sunday 37 was Beyonce titles, Questlove interview, and the Alan Cumming cologne.
Despite supporting Planned Parenthood and believing it serves a positive and necessary role in our society, many of their email pleas and donation requests go unread and unanswered. Yesterday, however, I committed to a $5 monthly donation. I would like to say that I was motivated by the good economics (my $5 was matched by $50), but that would be lying.
I donated because Amy Poehler told me to. You can read her whole letter (assuming she actually wrote it) here, but it begins:
You know who is awesome? Cecile Richards. She’s the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s totally dedicated to fighting for women’s health. And you know who else totally rules? Every single doctor and nurse and receptionist and volunteer who shows up at a Planned Parenthood health center to make sure that every person who walks through their door gets the care they need.
Why did Amy Poehler do the trick when dozens of moving testimonials, logical pleas and convincing political arguments failed?
Option 1: I want Amy Poehler to think that I’m cool. This is undoubtedly true, but even I am not delusional enough to think that Amy Poehler will know about my pittance of a gift.
Option 2: Amy Poehler lends legitimacy and credibility to Planned Parenthood. Now hold on, obviously Planned Parenthood is about as legit is it gets, practically speaking. But what I mean is, if Amy Poehler’s on board then maybe we do have a chance in hell to stop the nasty attacks that seem to grow bigger and stronger every day. Nobody likes to donate to a losing argument. I am of the belief that Amy Poehler doesn’t make losing arguments. Therefore, if Amy’s on board, my money is going to be used for good. If Amy’s on board, there’s reason to hope. And that is why Amy Poehler opens my wallet when all other arguments fail to move me to action.
In other words, Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood know their audience. Get Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, and Beyonce on board and you can clean out my bank account.
Related Post: My Road Map to Your Reproductive Future infographic was on Jezebel, and it doesn’t look promising.
Related Post: Kate at Smart Girls articulates why the terms of the Planned Parenthood debate are all wrong.