I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story....read more
Guest Blogger: Thilde Knudsen, Head of Marie Stopes International’s Europe Office
Women’s sexual and reproductive rights at risk: Spain is about to criminalise abortion; politicians in the UK repeatedly attempt to reduce the 24-week limit and today (Apr 10) in Brussels, a Parliamentary hearing is discussing a European Citizens’ initiative that if successful would block European Commission (EC) development funding for maternal health....read more
Twenty-three years ago, Anita Hill testified before Congress in the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, who is now a Supreme Court justice. Hill’s testimony brought the term “sexual harassment” into the general American lexicon, and changed the way we talk about gender, power and the workplace. At the time, Hill was vilified by the media and treated horribly by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her testimony, and the hostility she faced, galvanized women and feminists across the U.S. On Friday, a new documentary called “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” will be released. I’ve seen it, and it’s excellent — go check it out.
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hill — one of my personal heroes — and to interview her for Cosmopolitan. You can read the whole thing here. A bit of it:...read more
Are We Inadvertently Conceding Moral Ground? The Importance of Language Choices in the Reproductive Justice Movement
Guest post by Marcella Kocolatos
“No one is pro-abortion.”...read more
Can’t say I’m usually a huge Caitlin Flanagan fan, but this investigation into American fraternities is very very good. Frats not only cause a whole lot of serious injury to college students, but they protect themselves quite thoroughly — even to the detriment of their own members. Do read the whole thing. But if you don’t read the whole thing, read the lede, which is possibly the best lede I’ve ever read....read more
Kigali, Rwanda – In December 1990, the Rwandan Hutu-supremacist paper Kangura published The Ten Hutu Commandments. The first three:...read more
Conscience laws. Fucking conscience laws. In this case, the fucking “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” Alabama HB31, which would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would “violate their conscience.”...read more
It’s no secret that a woman dressing all sexy-like is all it takes to negate a rape accusation. But just how sexy is all sexy-like? I don’t know for sure, but courtesy of Virginia state Senator Dick Black, we can guess that in marital rape it goes as far south as “flannel nightie.” Meanwhile, In the House of Representatives, Virginia rep and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte defends the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” as a job creator because of all the care that will be necessary for all the kids that will be born to mothers who have no other options....read more
We already posted this fantastic piece on internet harassment by Amanda Hess, and over at TPM I’ve riffed off of it to discuss some of my own experiences, and how being targeted with rape and death threats online shaped my “real world” interactions and relationships. I hunted around but couldn’t find any studies on the real-world impact of internet abuse, other than a few documenting the impact of self-harm forums on the people who seek them out. But years after I was the subject of ongoing abuse by fellow law students, I’m wondering just how much it’s changed me — and coming to terms with the fact that it has, significantly, in ways I don’t like. The internet isn’t just a virtual space; it’s real, for most of us. It’s how many of us spend large chunks of our days. There isn’t a clear dividing line between the online world and the offline. And when so many women face so much abuse online, it has to have an impact on our offline lives. How, and how much, is something I would love to see studied and documented. You can read the whole piece at TPM here [content warning: misogynist abuse]....read more
Hot on the heels of Arizona news that one Christian woman was assaulted by another Christian woman in Phoenix because she said “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” (!) comes a New Jersey report that two men attempted to burn down a “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” billboard put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (to counter a “Keep Christ in Christmas” banner hanging over Pitman’s main thoroughfare). It’s not the first attempt to deface/destroy the FFRF billboard since it was unveiled last week....read more
Around the world, old and new media is examining the legacy of Nelson Mandela following his death aged 95.
Please link to pieces of interest you have found discussing the legacy of Madiba....read more
Would you limit abortion to 12 weeks if it meant getting a full range of other reproductive health benefits?
That’s the question I’m addressing at Al Jazeera this week, and I actually say yes, I would sign on to that deal. With the Texas abortion law restricting the procedure to 20 weeks and a series of other proposals in states across the U.S., there’s been all sorts of discussion as to when we should limit abortion rights. My general stance is that abortion should be entirely unrestricted up to the point of fetal viability, and then it should be permissible in cases of the pregnant person’s health (including mental health), life or fetal anomaly. But with the uptick in abortion restrictions, pro-lifers now routinely make the argument that in places like France, abortion is limited to 12 weeks, and the French have lower abortion rates and better health outcomes than Americans. Pro-choicers typically respond that France also has a bunch of other health benefits that make the comparison impossible, including good state-sponsored childcare, parental leave, free and accessible abortion before 12 weeks, affordable and accessible contraception, good sex education and on and on. But I’m curious: If there were an actual horse-trade and pro-lifers were willing to come to the table, would pro-choicers agree to limit abortion to 12 weeks if we could get all that other stuff? It’s a supreme hypothetical because in no universe would this actually happen, but if it did, I say yes....read more