North Alabama’s only abortion clinic will be voluntarily closing its doors Friday, in anticipation of the state shutting them down in a week, thanks to Alabama’s new and, as ever, ironically named Women’s Health and Safety Act.
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.
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.
Guest post by Marcella Kocolatos
“No one is pro-abortion.”
Guest Blogger: Molly Westerman
It’s interesting to me to hear how individuals’ gut feelings and beliefs about reproductive justice–and specifically about abortion and fetuses–are affected by personal experiences of pregnancy.
My latest at Al Jazeera America is about how Catholic health care services put women’s health at risk:
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: