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
Women are more likely to regret casual sexual encounters than men. Is that because women are evolutionarily predisposed to feel shame after sex? A team of UCLA evolutionary psychologists says yes. I say no:...read more
The current Republican temper tantrum over health care — you know, the one where they forced a shut-down of the entire government because they don’t want the American public to have health care coverage — is just the logical conclusion of a long line of GOP healthcare shenanigans. But usually, they’re targeting poor people, and poor women in particular. In my Guardian column this week, I’m writing about how this all goes back to the Hyde Amendment:...read more
Every time female genital cutting is mentioned on Feministe — every time — someone from the “intactivist” community shows up to derail the conversation and make it all about the alleged horrors of male circumcision. Intactivists, for the unfamiliar, are men (and a few women) who oppose male circumcision. They claim it’s a violation of human rights, that’s it a physical mutilation, that it’s medically unnecessary and that it reduces sexual pleasure. They’re incredibly active online, and I was interested to see that they aren’t just trolling feminist blogs — they’re showing up in the comments of every article written on circumcision....read more
A truly remarkable piece of reporting (including actual good news on maternal health) by Jina Moore in Al Jazeera America:
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo – At first glance, Central University Hospital in Brazzaville looks like so many other hospitals in so many other African capitals – home to dimly lit waiting rooms and dirty floors. But inside the freshly painted mint-green walls of the hospital’s maternity ward, a revolution is happening.
An anti-abortion siege is under way in Albuquerque, and activists there are using tactics and rhetoric we’ve heard before — tactics and rhetoric that have a marked history of getting abortion providers killed. I’m detailing the pro-life strategy of violence in Salon:...read more
Well here’s your depressing study of the day: A quarter of men in some Asian nations admit to rape; more than half committed their first rape as teenagers. The vast majority of rapists — been 72 and 97 percent — faced no legal consequences. And men rape because, well, they feel entitled to sex and to women’s bodies:...read more
The right-wing anti-sex “real woman” backlash seems to have hit the feminist movement this month, with the publication of books telling women to swear off the Pill and to swear off sex. I’m writing about it in the Guardian: That we’ve come a long way, baby, but gender relations remain fraught, and living with a wide variety of choices that look wide-open but end up constrained is much more challenging than having one or two paths to choose from. It’s easier, in many ways, to offer simple proscriptive advice about “real” femininity than to have to figure out how to be a woman when the definition of “womanhood” is increasingly broad:...read more
At some point, when your organization is picketing Holocaust museums and when your organization is run by a felon who conspired to bomb medical facilities and when the last doctor your organization targeted ended up murdered by a person who shares your political views (and a few before him were killed or shot at), don’t you pause for a second and think, “Hmmm. Maybe we don’t have the moral high ground here?”...read more
Hormonal birth control isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that it’s part of a patriarchal capitalist plot to force women to work while menstruating (WORK WHILE MENSTRUATING?!?! IMPOSSIBLE). Yet that’s the argument from a feminist writer in her new book Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control. Lindsay Beyerstein handily addresses her arguments in Slate:...read more
Rape is in the news again this week with another widely-publicized gang rape in India and a 31-day sentence for an American teacher who raped a 14-year-old student (she later committed suicide). In the Guardian I’m writing about how certain cultures abet rape and keep reporting rates low:...read more