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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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42 Responses

  1. Noh Mercy
    Noh Mercy March 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm |

    That is wonderful! I’ve read about that organization many times, I think it’s fantastic, and plan on donating in the future. Hallmark does have miscarriage cards. I can’t imagine post-abortion cards going over too well there, though.

  2. Chris T.
    Chris T. March 13, 2007 at 3:50 pm |

    This is quite excellent! Thanks for sharing these, Jill.

    To my mind, one of the greatest impediments to discerning an ethic regarding abortion that makes sense for most of society and is sensitive to the real lived experiences of women is the fact that it’s such a taboo. It’s so charged that any conversation about abortion, even about a particular woman’s decision, automatically becomes A Culture War Conversation. These cards affirm that abortion is also a private event in the lives of women and isn’t simply fodder for the culture war. That’s good both for the specific women who have abortions and for the conversation, IMO.

    Incidentally, this topic came up when the NC Religious Coalition screened The Abortion Diaries here in Durham. I highly recommend the film, which describes the experiences of a dozen women and brings interesting questions to light without pushing a particular agenda very hard.

  3. Noh Mercy
    Noh Mercy March 13, 2007 at 4:03 pm |

    Very thoughtful response, Chris T. Will check out the documentary!

  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa March 13, 2007 at 4:05 pm |

    This is pretty cool, and kind of makes me think of what it was like after having a miscarriage. There were people telling me I had an angel baby up in heaven, which I felt was patently ridiculous, but I also didn’t feel like it was just a clump of cells either.

    It also reminds me of those stupid anti-abortion people who had the giant 2-story tall billboards of aborted fetuses, on the grounds that they were educating women on what an abortion was ‘really like.’

    Fuck that noise, women know.

  5. F.Jardim
    F.Jardim March 13, 2007 at 5:21 pm |

    That’s pretty great. And I sincerely hope Hallmark joins the wagon. I’m sure it’ll make Bill O’Reilly implode on television.

  6. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey March 13, 2007 at 6:44 pm |

    How long until Hallmark catches on?

    Probably awhile. I can see Bill Donahue going on his morally rightous campaign against Hallmark. Which wouldn’t do nothing to decrease abortions, but would get Donahue on cable talk shows. Which is the whole point.

  7. Chris T.
    Chris T. March 13, 2007 at 7:02 pm |

    Probably awhile. I can see Bill Donahue going on his morally rightous campaign against Hallmark.

    More progressives need to subscribe to the newsletters of groups like the Family Research Council and purposefully shop at all the places they boycott. A friend of mine does this, and when the right-wing decided to boycott Walgreens for sponsoring the Gay Games, I sent them (Walgreens) a supportive letter and started shopping there more often.

    Although in the case of Hallmark, I’m guessing progressive (pro-)feminists are probably not part of their core customer base in the first place. :-)

  8. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl March 13, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    Uh, don’t hold your breath. Isn’t Precious Moments licensed through Hallmark? That company is ultra-rightwing and would never allow cards “glorifying” abortion to be sold.

    It’s not like the world needs more Precious Moments figurines, but they’re making fistfulls of money off of them somehow…

  9. M The Pedagogue
    M The Pedagogue March 13, 2007 at 7:49 pm |

    I’d like to see the Precious Moments figurine for the post-abortion angel babies.

    Wait, no I wouldn’t.

    Anyway – Jill, I hope you’re getting in touch with my friend at Yale. I haven’t posted here before but I do at IBTP sometimes, and I enjoy all the cross-blog feminist discussion.

  10. Julie
    Julie March 13, 2007 at 8:16 pm |

    So, does it make me a bad feminist if I like precious moments figurines? I love them, and I normally hate knick knack type things. Of course, I’m also overly sentimental and sappy, so that might explain it.
    On the subject of the post, I do love the idea of these cards and the wide variety that they have.

  11. Julie
    Julie March 13, 2007 at 8:58 pm |

    See, just when you think they like you, they push you out of the club. You really do hate puppies and babies and rainbows, dont’ you?

  12. Julie
    Julie March 13, 2007 at 9:12 pm |

    Well, of course Jill. Everyone knows feminists hate babies.

  13. lauren
    lauren March 13, 2007 at 9:51 pm |

    At first I thought I wouldn’t like these because the whole “I think you did the right thing” part didn’t set well with me. I can really articulate why, other than it just wouldn’t be what I wanted/needed to hear after making that sort of decision. It seemed trite or something?

    After going to the site though, I really think these are a thoughtful gesture. Though I would love to see a day when no woman would need such a card, I think outreach to post-abortive women is very important. I am happy that Exhale and Stacy Zallie exist.

  14. syfr
    syfr March 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm |

    Naw, we loved babies! Braised babies, roasted babies, … mmm….

  15. Sayna
    Sayna March 13, 2007 at 10:44 pm |

    This is either a wonderful idea, or yet another cheapening of an important moment with pre-written sentimentality.

    I don’t know what to think yet.

  16. Melanie
    Melanie March 13, 2007 at 11:17 pm |

    While I agree that reaching out and offering support to post-abortive women is important, something about the idea of sending (or receiving) a pre-written and/or mass produced card really creeps me out. For many women, choosing to have an abortion is one of the most difficult decions she will ever have to make. Most likely, you will never hear about it unless you are a close friend. And if you’re that close of a friend, why are you not taking ten minutes to write a personalized note?

    I don’t know why, but when I first read the card in this post, my initial gut reaction was one of absolute disgust. Not that such a card exists, but in the thought that something that is so personal has been reduced to such a trite expression on an impersonal e-card.

  17. LS
    LS March 14, 2007 at 12:10 am |

    In reply to the last couple posts that mention the reduction of sentiment to something pre-printed and impersonal… Yes, there is that factor to it, but there’s also the fact that so many of us are just not very good with words, especially at times of great emotion. Otherwise erudite people become speechless faced with someone else’s crisis (and sometimes even joy) – that’s why we have such a hugh market in greeting cards of all kinds, I think. Moreso than the ‘and I couldn’t be bothered to write my own’ factor; it’s the ‘and I had absolutely no idea what to say’ factor. It’s far easier to find some words when you have a place to start — when was the last time you got a card from an actual friend (not your boss or your insurance company or any of the other random people that send cards because it’s expected…) that didn’t have a handwritten note in addition to the pre-printed sentiment?

  18. Isabel
    Isabel March 14, 2007 at 2:00 am |

    So, does it make me a bad feminist if I like precious moments figurines? I love them, and I normally hate knick knack type things. Of course, I’m also overly sentimental and sappy, so that might explain it.

    I love them toooo.

    Also: I think the sorts of people who spend a lot of time reading feminist blogs might also be the sort of people who think e-cards are lame. But I think a lot of people who are not as well-versed in the internet don’t have any such qualms. Some of my older relatives discovered e-cards a while ago and now send them to me every birthday (or sometimes just for kicks). If a friend who was my age (19ish) sent me an e-card, I’d be weirded out and tempted to roll my eyes, but when it’s my relatives wanting to show love for me while also being hip and technological (hee) and showing me something cute, I think it’s really sweet. My mom has a friend who sends her e-cards all the time (“Isabel, can you help me figure out how to open this thing my friend sent me?” “you click the button that says “open,” mom.” “thank you! now don’t go too far, in a minute I need you to show me for the 800th time how to send an attachment.” “…sigh”).

    So, in conclusion, I think this is sort of the epitome of “it’s the thought that counts,” and if someone IS close enough to you to know that you’ve just had an abortion, the two of you are also probably close enough that you wouldn’t necessarily take an e-card as an impersonal, trite gesture; you’d understand that it’s their way of genuinely caring.

  19. Lara
    Lara March 14, 2007 at 2:33 am |

    The idea might be nice, but the idea of a database of the email address of women who’ve had abortions creeps me out. How long before the anti-abortion crusaders get their hands on this data?

  20. Blurgle
    Blurgle March 14, 2007 at 3:50 am |

    Bravo, Melanie.

    It would be like having a pre-printed card that said something like, “Sorry you got cancer”. No matter how well it’s worded, a letter (or even an e-mail!) would seem more appropriate. Something you wrote, not something you bought and stuck a stamp on.

  21. woodland sunflower
    woodland sunflower March 14, 2007 at 8:01 am |

    (”Isabel, can you help me figure out how to open this thing my friend sent me?” “you click the button that says “open,” mom.” “thank you! now don’t go too far, in a minute I need you to show me for the 800th time how to send an attachment.” “…sigh”).

    Precious Moments, euuwwwww!

    But it was worth it for the comment above, best laugh I’ve had in days. For years, it was my geeky spouse who sighed, but now my children are getting old enough to join the ranks: (“Now what do I do to burn this CD? You click on the button that says `burn’, Mom”.)

    Though I do think writing actual, you know, letters, are a good idea. Because as horrid as I find the precious moments, I don’t actually ever have to deal with any, and if I did, it would only be fair since their owner would have to deal with my screamin’ lime and purple taste, whereas I do get those asinine ecards, which as a previous poster pointed out, can come perilously close to rudeness via inappropriateness. And rudeness trumps personal ideas of pweschious any day.

  22. lauren
    lauren March 14, 2007 at 9:09 am |

    Lara, they said that the addresses of the abortive women would not be stored, only the address of the sender.

  23. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl March 14, 2007 at 9:15 am |

    Well, speaking as someone who always manages to say the *wrong* thing while trying to be supportive of a friend, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to have cards pre-written to convey that you want to be supportive, without letting you fuck it up in your own special, personal way.

  24. Erin
    Erin March 14, 2007 at 9:55 am |

    Thing 1: Hallmark is doing a line of cards for “difficult, sad or troubled occasions”, the line is called Journeys and they do have a coming out card, so maybe a post-abortion card isn’t too far behind.

    Thing 2: I checked Buy Blue and Hallmark does donate much of their money to Republicans, they are neutral on most individual issues. However, most of their stores are franchises so much would very from owner to owner.

  25. Sarah
    Sarah March 14, 2007 at 10:27 am |

    I don’t know why, but when I first read the card in this post, my initial gut reaction was one of absolute disgust. Not that such a card exists, but in the thought that something that is so personal has been reduced to such a trite expression on an impersonal e-card.

    I agree, mostly, but you could say the same thing for many other cards, such as the ones for breavement or illness, and it would not seem right to me to send an impersonal card for those occasions either. I might buy a plain card and write my own message, but not the pre-printed ones in general.

    Having said that, I think the message is a positive one, and it’s nice to see that abortion doesn’t have to be a guilty secret, though it can of course be a difficult choice and an unpleasant experience. .

  26. DDay
    DDay March 14, 2007 at 12:07 pm |

    I think an added bonus of these e-cards that it might direct women who are looking for some sort of post-abortion counseling to Exhale.

  27. Sadira42
    Sadira42 March 14, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    I’m really kind of ambivalent about this, but people who said that some don’t know how to put emotion into words or really want to support a woman but don’t know what to say do have a very good point. Personally, I’ve only known about abortions of women that I’ve known very well and I don’t think I’d use en e-card, but that doesn’t mean they are useless for the population at large. I think you really have to know how the person on the other will take it, though. Delicate topic and all.

  28. Caro
    Caro March 14, 2007 at 12:19 pm |

    I generally don’t like the idea of using e-cards for serious events… I mean, for “happy birthday” or “happy new year’s” or whatever, it makes sense… but I just think for a serious occasion, you can probably afford to spend a few extra minutes actually writing a real card and mailing it.

    However, I think the sentiment of these cards is wonderful. Perhaps they can give people who would otherwise be uncomfortable with the situation an idea of what to say when a loved one has an abortion. And, as Jill says, I support anything that recognizes that having an abortion is a very complex, difficult, and emotional decision for some (I would even say most) women. It fights back against the widely repeated anti-abortion tropes that women don’t understand what they’re doing, have no respect for potential life, or use abortion as a form of birth control.

  29. zuzu
    zuzu March 14, 2007 at 12:25 pm | *

    One advantage of a card, or even an e-card, is that you can express regret, sorrow, yadda yadda, about an event without having to put the recipient on the spot in terms of a reaction.

    I know, for instance, that right after my mother died, there was something very unsettling about having people at work walk up to me and express sympathy. I was at a point then that I was holding things together just fine until someone mentioned it, and then I would start tearing up. Which I didn’t really want to do at work.

    By contrast, when people sent me cards, I was able to open them in the privacy of my own home and have my cry on my own time and my own terms.

    And with a death, you sort of expect people to cry. With an abortion, you don’t really know how the person feels about it, and they might not be sure how much of what they’re actually feeling (particularly if it’s relief) they can let you in on. A card lets them know you are thinking of them without asking them for a reaction.

  30. jimmyb
    jimmyb March 14, 2007 at 9:23 pm |

    Do they have one for when you purchase a new firearm?

    I love that choice.
    I can see it now… So, you bought a new Colt M4!

    This card here, however, makes me feel a tad ill…

  31. Mighty Ponygirl
    Mighty Ponygirl March 15, 2007 at 5:21 am |

    Don’t worry, jimmyb, they have plenty of get well soon cards when you get the vapors over women not being ashamed of doing what they had to do.

  32. ACG
    ACG March 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm |

    I can’t speak from personal experience, but might there be women out there who would be comforted by the mass-produced nature of it? I mean, if she’s feeling bad about the whole thing (which not all women do, but some do), the idea that so many women have gone through what she’s going through that there’s an e-card about it might make her feel a little less alone.

    Like I said, though, I have no experience there myself, so YMMV.

    I’m trying to decide I how I would have felt receiving a “Sorry you backslid; you’re a strong woman, and you’ll beat this ED!” e-card. Might be kind of cool.

  33. George S
    George S March 15, 2007 at 6:13 pm |

    Men should not have the right to question a woman’s choice to murder her own child.

  34. Laser Potato
    Laser Potato March 16, 2007 at 7:56 am |

    You’d be truly amazed at how much mouse embryos resemble human ones.
    http://www.med.unc.edu/embryo_images/unit-welcome/welcome_htms/contents.htm

  35. Laser Potato
    Laser Potato March 16, 2007 at 8:16 am |

    Oh, and George? We’ve been over this so many times it’s not funny. A fetus is not a baby-it is a fetus. It is not a baby until it is BORN (a neonate). It is alive, yes, but it cannot survive outside of the womb. Neonates can survive outside of the womb, fetuses cannot. A fetus trying to survive outside of the womb would be like trying to get a chicken embryo to live outside its egg.

  36. Marnanel
    Marnanel March 16, 2007 at 10:00 am |

    ED? …not erectile dysfunction?!

  37. Kelpie Wilson
    Kelpie Wilson March 16, 2007 at 12:07 pm |

    Greetings all! I have felt for years that some ritual acknowledgement of abortions is a good thing. Women have a variety of feelings about their abortions ranging from ho hum to anguish, but regardless of the intensity of feelings, it helps to acknowledge them. Please check out my website earthislandangels.com that gives a history of abortion and many myths and rituals that women have used in different cultures. There is also a wonderful small book by psychoanalyst Ginette Paris called The Sacrament of Abortion that describes some nice rituals women and their partners can do to release the spirit of an embryo or fetus.

  38. philosophizer
    philosophizer March 16, 2007 at 12:41 pm |

    Men should not have the right to question a woman’s choice to murder her own child.

    hmmmmm………..yup, sounds about right to me.

    for the faint of clue: /snark

  39. Kim
    Kim March 16, 2007 at 3:12 pm |

    While I agree that reaching out and offering support to post-abortive women is important, something about the idea of sending (or receiving) a pre-written and/or mass produced card really creeps me out.

    Agreed.

    I’m not really a pre-written card person though. If I’d gotten that card, I would have laughed. It’s just… precious or something. A simple “Get Well Soon” would be more fitting in that situation, I think, as wicked awful cramps can happen afterwards.

    But I would LOVE to see a Precious Moments Post-Abortion card, for the sight gag of it.

  40. Tracy
    Tracy March 16, 2007 at 3:18 pm |

    After my abortion, my friend Penny sent me a Bust e-card that said “Congratulations! What a fantastic day!” and “Smile, it’s your uterus” to say she was proud of me for “being the religious right’s worst nightmare… with more style and flair than they could ever hope to imagine” — and I quote the card’s exact words, because I printed it out and still have it posted in my room almost five years later. I think maybe I’m just too punk rock to appreciate the Exhale e-cards, which strike me as trying entirely too hard to be inoffensive, but then again I also want wedding invitation reply cards that say “congratulations but no I’m not coming because it’s just too alienating, but I hope we can still be friends.” My point is really that if the Exhale cards are helping people talk about abortion instead of keeping it a secret shameful thing, then it’s all good, even if I’d like a little more overtly political “go you” in all those conversations, e-carded and otherwise.

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