Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

High Stakes: Choice

When I was in my teens abortion was illegal and sex and resulting unwanted pregnancies were a big gamble. I’ve seen abortions and all forms of contraception become legal and available in much of this country. Now I’m seeing that in too many parts of the US and the larger world, the risks are increasingly greater and the deck is being stacked against women. I have known too many women whose choices were constrained by bad odds. What we need to do is stack the deck in favor of all women. Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Guest Blogging, Politics, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | Comments Off on High Stakes: Choice

In Virginia, nighties excuse marital rape and anti-choice legislation creates jobs

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. Continue reading

Posted in Law, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Assault | Tagged | 42 Comments

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. Continue reading

Posted in Body image, Health, Law, Politics, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 212 Comments

Sexual regret is about culture, not evolution.

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:
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Posted in Feminism, Gender, GLBTQ, Rape Culture, Reproductive Rights, Sex, Sexual Assault | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Angry about health care? Look at Hyde.

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: Continue reading

Posted in Class, Gender, Health, Politics, Poverty, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 7 Comments

Science doesn’t back fetal pain at 20 weeks

But that doesn’t mean there’s no purpose to fetal pain legislation:
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Posted in Politics, Reproductive Rights | Tagged | 2 Comments

How Intactivists Are Ruining the Debate on Circumcision

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. Continue reading

Posted in Gender, Health, Politics, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , , | 293 Comments

A Maternal Health Revolution in Republic of Congo

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.

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Posted in Gender, Health, Medicine, Reproductive Rights | 4 Comments

Playing with Murder

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: Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Feminism, Health, Politics, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A quarter of men in some Asian countries admit to rape

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:
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Posted in Domestic Violence, Feminism, Gender, Rape Culture, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Assault | 8 Comments

The Feminist Anti-Contraception Crusaders

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: Continue reading

Posted in Domesticity, Feminism, Gender, Health, Medicine, Politics, Reproductive Rights, Sex | 20 Comments

Anti-abortion terrorists descend on New Mexico

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?”

Not if you’re an active member of the pro-life movement. Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics, Reproductive Rights | Tagged , , | 88 Comments