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
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
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
The state of North Carolina has passed a $10 million compensation plan for victims of its eugenics program, which ran from 1929 to 1974. It’s estimated that 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under the program; 177 have since been identified.
[Strong content note for ableism and racism]...read more
I’m not a fan, but at least Republican rape philosophers shine a light on the GOP’s radical views on abortion. As it stands, they’re passing laws that include no exceptions for rape survivors, and they’re doing it quietly:...read more
With much of England and half the U.S. on Kate Middleton Baby-Watch this week, I’m writing about motherhood in the Guardian. It’s great (and normal) that we’re all excited about a new (and royal!) baby. Babies are really cute, and all of them should enter the world into the arms of folks who are excited to welcome them. But our celebrity pregnancy obsession, coupled with our unrealistic and condescending view of motherhood (it’s THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WOOOOORLD!) make real political change difficult, and keep parents (mostly mothers) unsupported. A bit:...read more
Abortion restrictions are being introduced, debated and mostly passed across several states in the U.S. Texas has been the most notable, but many others — Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi and North Dakota — are ramping up their anti-abortion legislation. But while the GOP claims to focus on “life,” many of the states dedicating enormous amounts of time, money and energy to limiting abortion also see incredibly poor health outcomes for mothers and children. I outline some of them over at Al Jazeera; here’s a bit:...read more
Holy cow is a lot, according to this New York Times feature. In fact, it’s more than any other nation in the world, but our health outcomes aren’t substantially better....read more
In what’s actually a pretty reasonable and thoughtful piece, one woman says yes: That abortion rights given women an out from being parents, and we shouldn’t tell men that having sex means taking on the responsibility to have a child:...read more
I’m sure many Feministe readers have been closely following the story of Beatriz, a young Salvadoran mother with lupus who was pregnant with an anencephalic fetus. The pregnancy, which was doomed because the fetus had only a brainstem but no brain, was killing her. Her kidneys were shutting down, and the longer they were under stress, the higher the likelihood that if she didn’t die, she would need to be on dialysis for the rest of her life — a major hardship and almost definitely a life-shortener for a woman living in rural El Salvador with very limited access to health care. Doctors said Beatriz needed an abortion, but El Salvador has some of the strictest pro-life laws in the world, and their courts refused her the procedure under the logic that her life wasn’t imminently threatened (apparently since she would die in a few days or weeks, not minutes) and that it’s never ok to prioritize a woman’s life over a fetus’s life. Doctors in El Salvador got around the law by waiting until the 26th week of pregnancy and then performing a Cesarean section — a procedure everyone knew would result in the death of the fetus (which it did) but which can be construed as a “birth” instead of an abortion, even though the end result is the same. Of course, a C-section is significantly more dangerous than an abortion (and especially more dangerous than an earlier abortion, which Beatriz could have had two months ago if she didn’t live in a “pro-life” nation). C-sections are invasive surgical procedures, which are significantly more complicated than early abortions, and pose much higher risks of infection or complication, especially when performed on someone whose health is already compromised by lupus and potential organ failure. They take longer to recover from, and they’re more expensive. Beatriz, thankfully, seems to be doing fine. But she was still legally compelled to undergo a more dangerous, invasive and complicated procedure — and forced to have her body suffer through declining health — so that ideologues could feel better about the intent of a more dangerous procedure that everyone knew would have the exact same outcome as an earlier, safer one....read more
Stories of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace are all too common, and that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was introduced in Congress today.
Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act over 30 years ago, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, some employers continue to deny pregnant women the minor job modifications that could protect not only a woman’s pregnancy but also a family’s economic security, forcing pregnant women out of their jobs.
The PWFA would make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t treat pregnant women worse than other workers who have certain job limitations and instead must make reasonable accommodations if doing so doesn’t pose an undue hardship on the business....read more