Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Elle Publishes "Real Stories from Real Women" About Their Abortions

Elle: Ending the Silence That Fuels Abortion Stigma, by Cecile Richards:

It’s hard to imagine a medical procedure in this country that carries the stigma and judgment that abortion does. Women’s experiences are often seen through the lens of cultural and political battles. If a woman says that she’s relieved after having an abortion, she may be judged for being heartless or unfeeling. If she says that she feels regret, anti-abortion activists use this to push for laws that restrict access to abortion or laws that assume women are incapable of making their own decisions without the interference of others.

So instead, we just don’t talk about it. That’s how abortion came to be discussed as an “issue” instead of an experience. . . .

Elle:  "I HAD AN ABORTION": Real stories from real women:

In ELLE's November issue, features director Laurie Abraham wrote a trenchant, honest essay about her abortions. Here, we share stories from other women who had abortions, to show that different women have different reasons for having an abortion, and that the procedure inspires all sorts of feelings—all of them, valid.

October 24, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

California's Expansion of Abortion Provider Pool Helps Reduce Stigma Around Abortion

The Los Angeles Times: New class of abortion providers helps expand access in California, by Lee Romney:

Ever since the Planned Parenthood health center here opened, the six cushioned recliners in the recovery room had been in steady demand every Friday.

That's when a physician would rotate through to perform abortions for four hours. When everyone in the crowded waiting room knew why the woman next to her was there, when they all had to walk past a cluster of antiabortion protesters.

But a state law that went into effect in January has authorized nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform a method of first-trimester abortion known as vacuum aspiration. Previously, only doctors were allowed to do so.

With the expanded pool of providers, this Marin County clinic can now carry out the procedure as routinely as breast exams and birth control consultations, stripping away the taint of "abortion day." . . .

October 24, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Reviews of Katha Pollitt's "Pro," And Interviews with Pollitt

The New York Times: Take Back the Right: Katha Pollitt's 'Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights', by Clara Jeffery:

“I never had an abortion, but my mother did. She didn’t tell me about it, but from what I pieced together after her death from a line in her F.B.I. file, which my father, the old radical, had requested along with his own, it was in 1960, so like almost all abortions back then, it was illegal.”

Thus begins “Pro,” the abortion rights manifesto by the Nation columnist, poet and red diaper baby Katha Pollitt. While parents with F.B.I. files may be exotic, her departure point is that abortion was and is not. . . .

The Chicago Tribune: Review: 'Pro' by Katha Pollitt, by Martha Bayne:

. . . Over the book's 200-odd pages, Pollitt — longtime columnist for The Nation and all-around feminist public thinker — charts with passion and intellectual rigor just how much the lives of American women have changed since 1960, and how very much they haven't. . . .

Here's an interview with Pollitt:

Democracy Now: Abortion as a Social Good: Author Katha Pollitt Pens New Vision for Pro-Choice Movement

And a roundtable on Minnesota Public Radio among Pollitt, Sarah Stoesz, President of the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, and Teresa Collett, Professor of Law at the University of St Thomas:

MPR News: The politics and policy of abortion

October 17, 2014 in Abortion, Books, Culture, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 12, 2014

NYT Op-Ed Author Shares the Story of Her Abortions

The New York Times op-ed:  This Is What an Abortion Looks Like, by Merritt Tierce:

I MET Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator and Democratic candidate for governor, for the first time last week, and I told her how much it meant to me that she wasn’t afraid to talk about abortion. But we need a much larger conversation about abortion — one that also includes, without prejudice, the stories unlikely to generate much sympathy. Stories like mine.

Ms. Davis’s background feels familiar to me. She became a single mother at 19, her first marriage lasted only two years, and she worked as a receptionist and waitress until she could afford to go back to school. I had two children by the time I was 21, filed for divorce at 23, and worked as a secretary and waitress. Thanks to the support of friends and family, and especially my ex-husband, the father of my children, I was able to go back to school in 2009. And like Ms. Davis, I have also had two abortions. . . .

September 12, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Mindy Project Won't Address Abortion -- But Shouldn't It?

Slate -- The XX Factor blog:  The Mindy Project Really Needs an Abortion Storyline, by Amanda Marcotte:

Dr. Mindy Lahiri, the loveable lead played by Mindy Kaling in the sitcom The Mindy Project, is an OB-GYN. Her job functions as more than background decoration, as Jessica Goldstein of ThinkProgress notes. “One of the most standout things about The Mindy Project is the way its setting has allowed for stories that explicitly deal with women’s health,” she writes, citing storylines about birth control, condom distribution, and even The Talk.

But there's one aspect of reproductive health care that Kaling has no intention of touching on in the sitcom: abortion. “It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom,” she recently said in the October issue of Flare

Sorry, but that's total nonsense. . . .

September 4, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Radical Feminists and Transgender Rights

The New Yorker: What is a Woman?, by Michelle Goldberg:

The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.

O May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made radical feminism anathema to much of the left. First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to participate in events organized exclusively for women. . . .

August 5, 2014 in Culture, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Catholic Sistas" Explain Why They Don't Use Contraception

Salon:  Women who don’t use birth control explain why not, slut-shame those who do, by Jenny Kutner:

Hint: It's because they don't understand how birth control works

In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby ruling that will effectively allow corporations to prevent their female employees from accessing certain forms of contraception, BuzzFeed posted explanations from 22 of its own female employees about why they use birth control. The responses ranged from medical — “for my endometriosis” — to ethical — “because it’s none of your business” — to practical — “because condoms break sometimes.” All were different, but each reflected some of the most common reasons that more than 99 percent of sexually active adult women use some form of contraception.

Well, the <1 percent of women who don’t use birth control took it upon themselves to respond to BuzzFeed by explaining their own reproductive choices, listing the reasons theydon’t use birth control on the faith-centered blog Catholic Sistas (not a spelling error). But instead of simply offering up their “logical” (read: totally putative) justifications, the women also illustrated a general lack of understanding of how birth control works, as well as what it means not to try to “force others to follow what we believe” by sending preachy messages about the virtue of sexing to make babies. . . .

July 23, 2014 in Contraception, Culture, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Planned Parenthood Fights NBC's Refusal to Air "Obvious Child" Trailer

The Wrap: Planned Parenthood Jumps Into ‘Obvious Child’ and NBC Abortion Flap, by Eric Czuleger:

Planned Parenthood is lashing out at NBC for refusing to air the trailer for Jenny Slate's new film,”Obvious Child.” The organization has launched an online petition to pressure the network into reversing its decision. . . .

June 24, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

More Reviews of "Abortion Rom-Com" Obvious Child

NPR: 'Obvious Child' Tells An Abortion Story With Rom-Com Heart:

Obvious Child's story goes like this: Boy dumps girl; girl is sad; girl rebounds with nice guy she meets at a bar, and then things get complicated. Comedian Jenny Slate plays Donna, the main character:

"Donna's in her late 20s. She's a comedian in Brooklyn. ... It's going pretty well for her at the start of the film. [But then] she ends up getting dumped and fired and then pregnant all in time for Valentine's Day. ... It all really starts to circle the drain a little bit."

Slate and director Gillian Robespierre join NPR's Rachel Martin to talk about the challenges of making a romantic comedy about abortion.

Listen to the story here.  See also:

TIME:  The Obvious Question About Obvious Child: How Do You Make a Rom-Com With an Abortion?, by Lily Rothman

The Huffington Post:  'Obvious Child' Is An Abortion Rom-Com -- And The Year's Most Revolutionary Film, by Emma Gray

June 8, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Obvious Child a Rare Movie that Doesn't Avoid or Demonize Abortion

Slate - DoubleX blog: No More Shmashmortion, by Amanda Hess:

Obvious Child is the most honest abortion movie I’ve ever seen. It’s about time.

In the new movie Obvious Child, twentysomething stand-up comic Donna gets pregnant after a drunken one-night stand, loses her job, attempts to schedule an abortion at her local Planned Parenthood clinic, and—cherry on top—discovers that the only available appointment is on Feb. 14. Turns out, it’s the perfect day: This is a romantic comedy where the girl gets an abortion and gets the guy. Along the way, she doesn’t even have a change of heart, contract a nasty infection, or succumb to a tragic death. That makes Obvious Child a run-of-the-mill story for a woman in America but an exceedingly rare tale for a woman on film. . . .

June 5, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Columnist Sees Lesson about Sex Ed in Elliot Rodger's Rampage

TIME:  What’s Desperately Needed in Sex Education Today, by Jaclyn Friedman:

The tragic story of Elliot Rodger and his misogynistic path to murder in Santa Barbara should compel us to have a truthful conversation about sex ed and intimacy with our teens. It's time. 

Most sex education messages in the U.S. go to great pains to elide one basic truth: that sex can be an incredible, pleasurable experience. In theory, that’s to avoid encouraging young people to have sex, but what it does in practice is deprive us all of the expectation that sex should be great. And increase the odds that the sex we do have will live down to those suppressed expectations. When we don’t expect sex to be a mutually satisfying experience shared by two people, it leaves us vulnerable to some truly poisonous alternative ideas, including the stubborn myth that sex is a precious commodity that men acquire from women. . . . 

May 28, 2014 in Culture, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Emily Letts Explains Why She Filmed Her Own Abortion

The link to Letts's essay is here:

Cosmopolitan:  Why I Filmed My Own Abortion, by Emily Letts

TIME: Here's Why This Woman Filmed Her Own Abortion, by Charlotte Alter:

Emily Letts works as an abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey, so when she herself got unexpectedly pregnant, she didn’t take long to decide she would terminate the pregnancy.

It wasn’t a difficult decision for her, she wrote in a Cosmopolitanessay, because she knew she wasn’t ready to have kids. But Letts took it one step further– she decided to film the abortion to show other women that it wasn’t scary. . . .

The Huffington Post:  Emily Letts' Abortion Video Garners Angry Reaction From Right-Wing Media, by Emily Thomas:

When Emily Letts found out she was pregnant last November she knew she would get an abortion. In an effort to help inform women facing a similar situation, the 25-year-old abortion counselor decided to film herself undergoing the procedure. Reactions to the award-winning clip, however, have been quite mixed. . . .

May 11, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Publicly Shames Ex-Fiance for her Alleged Abortion

Jezebel: Floyd Mayweather Posts Ex's Sonogram, Accuses Her of 'Killing Babies', by Erin Gloria Ryan: 

Earlier this year, boxer Floyd Mayweather got dumped by his fiancee Shantel Jackson after he allegedly cheated on her. But Mayweather has since apparently gone batshit insane, insisting that it was he who dumped her, and that he did it because she had "a abortion." To support this accusation, he posted what he claims are images from a sonogram Jackson had in December. Holy shit.

Mayweather posted the images — complete with identifying details and measurements, which we've blurred out — to Facebook this morning . . . .

May 3, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Men and Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Anti-Choice Groups Boycott Thin Mints

ABCnews: Anti-Abortion Groups Don't Want You to Buy Thin Mints, by M.L. Johnson:

Anti-abortion groups angry over what they see as the Girl Scouts' support for abortion-rights advocates, including Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, have launched a cookie boycott.

The groups have taken issue with tweets and Facebook postings that link to articles recognizing Davis, who shot to political stardom last year with a filibuster of abortion limits, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another Democrat who supports abortion rights. . . .

February 6, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sarah Silverman Chats with Jesus About Reproductive Rights

E! Online: Sarah Silverman and Jesus Chat About Abortion, Women's Reproductive Rights—Watch Now, by Rebecca Macatee:

Sarah Silverman might've known that a PSA with her "Jesus f--king Christ" talking about abortions would get people's attention.

And just why is God's son (an actor portraying Him, actually) paying her a visit in this controversial YouTube clip? To discuss women's reproductive rights and specifically to talk about access to safe abortions in the state of Texas. . . . 

January 24, 2014 in Culture, In the Media, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

26 Real Abortion Stories

New York Magazine: 26 Women Share Their Abortion Stories, by Meaghan Winter:

Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, perhaps none seems further from being resolved, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion. It’s a fight now in its fifth decade, yet in the past two years, 26 states have passed over 111 provisions restricting abortion. In Texas, the state where the single, pregnant woman who became Jane Roe sued for access to an abortion 41 years ago, Wendy Davis became a national hero for filibustering abortion legislation, as did her governor for signing it into law. . . .

November 16, 2013 in Abortion, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Public Service Campaign Uses Humor To Educate About Contraception

The New York Times: Using Humor to Talk About Birth Control, by Tanzina Vega:

FEW things may be less comfortable to talk about with one’s parents than sex and birth control, and with that in mind, a new public service campaign hopes to offer guidance through a series of ads and online videos. . . .

November 11, 2013 in Contraception, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Commentator Sees Progress in NYT Wedding Announcement's Discussion of Abortion

Jezebel: Progress! NY Times Wedding Announcement Openly Discusses Abortion, by Doug Barry:

Signs of real social progress are often very subtle. They ought to be, by nature, since real progress is really a process of normalization. When same-sex marriage doesn’t merit the “same-sex” modifier, for instance, in most mainstream news publications, it’s a signal that most members of our society think beyond the man + woman = monogamous married couple for ever and ever paradigm. Or, when a wedding announcement in the New York Times openly discusses abortion as a difficult yet pragmatic decision a young couple made before they were financially and emotionally ready to have a kid, it’s a signal that a vast majority of Times readers (at the very least) recognize that having an abortion is a completely legitimate option.

On Friday, the Times announced the wedding of Faith Rein and Udonis Haslem, a power forward on the Miami Heat’s championship-nabbing team. . . .

September 2, 2013 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 19, 2013

At Pro-Choice Rally in Mississippi, Mark Ruffalo Invokes His Mother's Illegal Abortion

Bustle: Mark Ruffalo Gives Pro-Choice Speech, Talks About Mother's Illegal Abortion, by Rachel Krantz: 

You can add this to your weird The Kids Are All Right sperm-donor-dad fantasy: Mark Ruffalo is also apparently a pro-choice activist. The 45-year-old actor gave a moving speech at a rally for abortion rights in Jackson, Mississippi this weekend, opening up about his mother's own illegal abortion.

"My mother’s illegal abortion marked a time in America that we have worked long and hard to leave behind. It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives," Ruffalo said. . . .

August 19, 2013 in Abortion, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Researchers Compare Emotions of Women Who Are Denied Abortions and Women Who Receive Them

Guttmacher Institute Press Release: One Week Later, Women Denied an Abortion Feel More Regret and Less Relief Than Those Who Have One:

Both Groups of Women Experience Mixed Emotions

Women who are denied an abortion feel more regret and less relief one week later than women who undergo the procedure, according to “Women’s Emotions One Week After Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion in the United States,” by Corinne H. Rocca of the University of California, San Francisco, et al. Specifically, while 41% of women who had an abortion near the provider’s gestational age limit reported feeling regret about it, 50% of women turned away because they requested an abortion beyond that limit did so. And while 90% of women who obtained a near-limit abortion reported feeling relief, 49% of those turned away expressed this emotion.

Researchers used data on 843 women seeking abortions at 30 U.S. facilities between 2008 and 2010, who were interviewed as part of a larger, five-year study on the health and socioeconomic consequences of receiving or being denied an abortion in the United States. The women were asked about six emotions: relief, happiness, regret, guilt, sadness and anger. They were questioned separately about their pregnancies and their experiences seeking an abortion, so as not to confuse their emotions about the two.

Continue reading

August 5, 2013 in Abortion, Culture, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)