Abortion Evolution

By Joel Pett

By Joel Pett

I think that with a new republican majority, it’s expected that there will be a lot of new legislation reflecting more conservative ideas.  One of the big topics I am concerned about it birth control and abortion.  This article does a good job of explaining what exactly could begin happening.

Personhood Punted

Referenced from the Milwaukee Journal

Referenced from the Milwaukee Journal

Now that the election is [mostly] over, here’s an update on the amendment I previously covered in “Incongruous Terminology” from North Dakota: it failed.  It failed by a lot.  That doesn’t mean that anti-abortion measures and restrictions are done and over with though.  In Tennessee an amendment of similar importance was passed.  It’s a measure that has been long in the making, having originally been introduced more than 10 years ago.  It, just like Colorado and North Dakota, seems to use relatively bland language to avoid offending either side of the pro-life, pro-choice debate.  To me, it looks to use vague-ness and confusion to its benefit, attracting voters much like the other two amendments aimed to.  Tennessee already offers many restrictions on abortion and abortion rights.  This will simply make it easier to enact more of those.  The reason this becomes an issue that involves more people than just those who live in Tennessee is that Tennessee is surrounded by states with heavy restrictions on abortions.  In places like Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi, it’s almost impossible to find anywhere that can still offer abortions.  The ridiculous restrictions being put on these places in an effort to close them has worked.  So many women in these states have relied on neighboring states like Tennessee to keep their abortion clinics open.  I don’t think I need to say that without these regulated, clean, responsible clinics, dangerous alternatives begin popping up.  An underground medical clinic is not the place to get an abortion.  When you hear about all the dangers of abortion: this is where they come from.  They come from places that aren’t government approve.  They show up when government-approved clinics can’t exist anymore.  That is why, regardless of your beliefs regarding abortion, you should carefully rethink your opinions regarding restrictions on abortions.

Incongruous Terminology

referenced from grimmy.com

referenced from grimmy.com

I almost wish I hadn’t used the “personhood” cartoon in my “History Ignored” post, because it would fit perfectly here.  How was I to know that it was becoming such a current issue in North Dakota?
This article is the first I’ve seen that indicates the the personhood movement may be making serious progress.  Dangerous progress.  They’re relying on confusion to pass a very significant legal decision in the form of an amendment qualifying an embryo at any stage as a person with inalienable rights.  The article lists some of the many issues with both the ambiguous phrasing and the momentous potential behind them.  It would open up pathways for fertility clinic regulation and lawsuits, birth control restrictions, and basically anything else that could be even remotely connected with the idea of “personhood.”  The amendment is designed to attract people who would otherwise be unsure about the pro-life vs pro-choice arguments that are typically made.  It essentially seems designed to trick people.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that amendments should be passed based on informed decision.

History Ignored

by Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune

by Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune

I’ve covered the topic of abortion from a sort of abstract perspective in the past.  I’ve talked about the political perspective and the women’s rights perspective, but here is yet another angle.  Historical instances of abortion and pregnancy terminations are rarely discussed.  This article from Katha Pollitt’s Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, which can be purchased here.  Alternet was able to post an excerpt that recalls instances and trends of abortion throughout cultures and decades of history.

It’s an incredible perspective on an issue that is viewed as very current and divisive.  Even I tend to tiptoe around the subject.  However, when you consider how long abortions have been occurring, how ubiquitous they were between locations and cultures, and how similar previous legal battles and limitations have been, it adds another dimension to the debate.

The article addresses misconceptions and stereotypes projected by the media relating to abortions today, even though a lot of the statements aren’t exactly popular.  It strongly focuses on how abortion needs to be viewed as something that affects both woman and child.  Typically people address the fetus while viewing the woman as simply a vessel, as if her body (and mind) are no longer something to be taken into account.  It discusses how abortion has positive impacts on some women, and negative on others (and for some, a mix of both).  Many pro-life movements will state how abortion induces depression, suicidal tendencies, and a variety of other things that aren’t universal reactions.  There are even regulations requiring the results of these (incredibly biased) studies to be read to those considering abortion procedures in certain places.

This article takes an incredible standpoint in an old and tired discussion.  It seems that all religious reasons, personal reasons, medical reasons, and women’s rights reasons for pro-life or pro-choice standpoints have been said again and again.  This is the first thing I have read in a long time that has offered an alternative perspective.  Regardless of where you stand in relation to this schismatic topic, this is an article well worth reading.  It may not change your mind on anything, but it will definitely offer you an education that you won’t find easily anywhere else.

Pro-Choice Disguises

by Cathy Throne

by Cathy Throne

Interestingly enough, this article posted by Alternet.org mirrors a lot of the issues and opinions I covered in my “Heinous Masquerade” post.  Seeing other people as concerned and devoted to change as I am is a bit comforting.  If you read the post, you know I was absolutely appalled.  Understandable, the Alternet writer who posted it understandably had a bit more information than I did at the time, so I encourage everyone to read the article.
Apparently some new legislation was put in place that required the Crisis Pregnancy Centers to advertise that they do not provide abortions.  They responded by rebranding themselves and saying that they provide services to “undecided women.”  This is better than nothing, but it’s still deceptive, in my opinion.  The article points out that they still make an effort to appear pro-choice, even though the connected videos and undercover reporting on the subject quite obviously proves otherwise.  I’m not saying that these centers are solely bad, or even that they should be shut down completely.  I’m simply suggesting that they need to be much more transparent.  If they improve in that area, they will attract women who actually want the type of counseling and help that they are offering, instead of bringing in women who are looking for alternative options, and then verbally berating them until they can worm their way out.  These centers (although not the most professional places), can have their own place within pregnancy counseling.

The article includes lots of other information regarding abortion legislation.  It also talks about politicians who, like the Pregnancy Centers, disguise themselves as pro-choice when their bills and other propositions say otherwise.  It’s incredibly informative, and it’s something that every women should read.  In fact, if you care about women, you should also read it.  Obviously by that I mean everyone.  There are lots of current issues that are important for women’s rights and reproductive rights that are being hidden, swept under the rug, and generally not being discussed at all.  If you want to know what’s happening, you need to inform yourself.  It’s not going to be broadcast like many of the other big-ticket items in the current elections.

Family Planning

I’m not planning on having a family.  At least not in the traditional way.  I’ll probably have lots of dogs…

Ironically, this makes me very invested in “family planning” legislation and debates.  The term doesn’t quite sound right when applied to people without families, but the sentiment stands.  The term “family planning” actually applies to lots of things, birth control, STI/STD testing, prenatal health, and fertility testing included.  This category is full of lots of helpful medical measures that keep both women and babies alive and thriving.  Without access to them, both women and babies tend to be more prone to issues like ectopic pregnancies that are both hard to detect and life-threatening.  Salon.com posted an article that defends access to family planning measures, but also explains why providing them is fiscally responsible.  Their results come via the Guttmacher Institute, which is an EXCELLENT resource for all of your birth control, reproductive health, and public policy questions.  They dedicate all of their time to educating and researching these methods.  I hope they sent a copy of their study straight to Washington.

Heinous Masquerade

By Peter Steiner

By Peter Steiner

There are very few topics I wont discuss on this blog.  That, however, doesn’t mean that I’m confident and comfortable in regards to every single topic.  This one, for example, I find incredibly distressing.  To be honest, writing this post has taken me probably five times longer than any other post.  A friend sent me a link to a video published by Vice News documenting the the threat of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and the similar institutions.  The video displays the work of undercover reporting via The Crisis Project and other investigative forces.  I encourage everyone who cares about the current state of women’s healthcare (and frankly, anyone who thinks they don’t too) to watch the video.

Trigger warning: the video contains aggressive language regarding pregnancy, abortion, and religion.

Because this blog is so openly opinionated, I’ll share my opinion here with you.  I think that women should have the power to choose what their bodies ingest, support, and produce.  I don’t think that concerns other people.  However, that isn’t my main beef with this video and investigation.  In light of the legislation in place, the restrictions placed upon, and the discrimination applied to abortion clinics, I have to wonder why so little is applied to these clinics.  If taxpayer money is going to be used for these “pregnancy support centers,” they should be ethical at the very least.  I can’t understand why public money would be applied to such a plainly biased institution.  On top of everything, I find myself outraged at the people allowed to operate within these facilities.  Impersonating a policeman is an offense taken very seriously and prosecuted harshly.  Impersonating a doctor should have the same severe restrictions.  They seem to have the same potential to harm people, so why shouldn’t the outrage be equal?  Misleading, exploiting, and harassing women who are vulnerable and asking for help is something that makes me physically shake with anger.  I don’t care whether you are pro-choice, pro-life, or somewhere in the middle.  This isn’t how an event this life-changing should be handled.  Regardless of the circumstances a woman asks for help in, she deserves basic respect and correct information.

It’s hard for me to understand how these clinics can continue to operate with this evidence available for public viewing.  There are politicians taking a stand, but there are far more claiming the pro-life movement and endorsing or ignoring these clinics.  This isn’t something to ignore.  This isn’t something to dismiss as “not my fight.”  Every day that these places continue to function, women are being verbally abused, lied to, and taken advantage of.  I can only hope that the more this information is shared, the more outraged people will be.  The more change is demanded, the more it will be achieved.  This needs to change.