Archive for the ‘Repro Justice’ Category

Abortion 101

Posted: February 5, 2015 in feminism, Repro Justice

So, I survived my first solo talk.  It wasn’t too bad.

Did you miss it?  Well, here you go!

My thoughts afterwards are thus:

I got a lot of thanks from folks, which is nice.

What’s up with the gross pictures?  That’s what pro-lifers love to use, it’s one of their favorite tactics when it comes to telling others how icky abortion is. Being perfectly willing to acknowledge that yes, abortion isn’t pretty, yes, depending how far along you are, the contents have features that will pull at some heartstrings (unless you’re just plain USED to looking at guts and gore, then you’re probably waaay smarter than I am), and yes, it’s gross as hell, means I take one of their bullets out of the gun.

It’s surgery. It’s icky.  It’s also has less complications than dental surgery. It also is a legal procedure and safer than giving birth.  It also is the choice of the pregnant person, made with the advice of their doctor. It also can improve the quality of life for families and single folk alike.

So, yeah, what now, fuckers?

So, as I was gearing up for my First Talk Ever for FtBCon 3 (which starts today, and my talk is at 8:00CST, and here’s a link just in case you’re interested, and if you can’t catch it then it’ll be on YouTube afterwards and I’m going to shut up now), I noticed something.

Correction, I’ve noticed this thing for forever, and this is finally as good of a time as any to talk about it.

Part of my talk involves pictures of fetal remains.  Good thing my stomach has been a churning bowl of sour for nearly two weeks, or I’d be worried about being ill from having to dive into those image searches.  Between the ones posed next to coins and pencils and curled up in ways that would be cute if they weren’t dead and probably rotting meat, finding accurate pics was a pain.  A gross, bloody, irritating pain.

But I see gross fetal remains pictures every Saturday and frankly, they don’t gross me out.  They piss me off.  They show me that “we have no other argument, so let’s make you feel sick.”

Or as I like to call it, “Argument from Ew“.

You see this same shit if you scratch a homophobe (not literally, they’re not worth touching). Underneath all of that concern about the children and the sanctity of marriage, you’ll probably find some “Two boys kissing are ewwww” (but let me secretly wank to two women, cuz that’s hot!). Or “people having sex I’ve never heard of are eww!” for anything that isn’t one man, one woman fucking for the making of teh bebbies.

Don’t get too smug, liberals, you do it too.  I get a little angry when asshole vegans (rare, thankfully, but still annoying) tries to show me factory farm pics in order to get me to stop eating animal flesh.  Yes, I’m aware where hot dogs come from.  And that my eggs are chicken menstruations. And that there’s pus in the milk that eventually becomes the dairy products I enjoy (milk in its basic form makes me nauseous). Um, nope, that’s not going to work for the same reasons fetal remains will make me pro-life anytime soon.

And don’t even get me started on anti-vaxxers.  Oh noes, vaccines contain ingredients that sound weird.  Eww, don’t let them put that gross stuff into your kids, no matter how useful it is if you bothered looking up the “why” and not just the “what”! Ditto with GMO fear and Big Pharma fear (you will take my life-saving meds from my cold dead hands), and so on and so forth.

Maybe it works for some people, but trying to gross me out into changing my mind feels like an insult.  Don’t try to convince my stomach that you’re right, appeal to my brain, damnit. That’s what I use to think! I’m grown and we’re not in elementary school.

And now that I’ve gotten that off my brain, time to panic about my upcoming talk!  Yay!

While escorting (been sick for two weeks, so no new fuckery to share, sorries!), two things never fail to break my shriveled black heart:

  1. A patient bursting into tears due to the harassment
  2. A patient asking me if there’s anything I can do to make the harassment stop

Number one makes me rage, makes me see red, makes me want to shove those brochures down the lying, pathetic. sanctimonious, bullying maws of our merry band of morons.  Number two makes me feel so helpless that I want to cry.  I wish I could do something, say something that would spare our patients from the deluge of bullshit and lies incapable of taking “no”, “leave me alone”, or “fuck off” for an answer.   

And you know what the fucked up part of it all is?  If I was walking downtown and one of those friendly vest wearing hawkers for Save The Children or Amnesty International came up to me and I said, “No Thank You”, they go away. I don’t have to hear them out first, I don’t have to give them a second of my time, I don’t even have to be POLITE about (though I usually am), and they go away.  If they didn’t, I could find a cop and say, “This person is harassing me”, and the cop would do something.  Talk to the person, if there’s enough complaints, even arrest this person.  Downtown, I have the right to not be harassed, no matter how good of a cause they think they are representing to not be harassed.

So, why is it any different when I’m walking into a women’s clinic?  Isn’t me saying “I’m not interested, leave me alone” enough of a hint that I don’t want to be followed and or pestered?  

Hat tip to Jezebel, San Francisco seems to be taking the first step in the very correct direction to stop the harassment of clinic patients and escorts:

Supervisor David Campos announced a joint-effort with San Francisco’s police department along with Planned Parenthood and the City Attorney’s Office, working on legislation that would act as an anti-harassment ordinance. The legislation seeks to prevent the more aggressive harassment that protesters launch at abortion clinics, namely following patients or clinic employees around. It would give police the authority to temporarily move protesters away from a clinic, allowing them to return.

This is exactly what we need, for every clinic in every city in this country.  An anti-harassment law that is aimed to keep patients safe and unbothered by the more pushy and obnoxious elements of the pro-life side. Those who show up to just pray are still allowed (even though personally, I think that’s a form of spiritual bullying), those who show up and just hold up a sign are still allowed, those who even get the occasional, rare patient that will stop and hear them out are still allowed.  

What isn’t okay is reaching into cars, shoving papers at someone, following them to the door (or property line), beckoning them from windows, pestering someone while they pay for parking, and all the other bullshit I see every Saturday and that you can have a lookie by following the #notcounseling hashtag on Twitter.  

Their right to ‘sidewalk counsel’* ends at the right of the patients to say “NO”. 




*And don’t even get me started on what bullshit “sidewalk counseling” is.






It’s been a rough day.  I won’t go into details, because let’s face it, this ain’t my Facebook (and I’m one of those weirdos who only friends people she’s actually met),  but it was a crappy day.

Okay, one detail.  Some jackhole at the bus stop today declared that my N7 t-shirt was obviously my boyfriends’.  My ladies’ cut N7 t-shirt (no link, as it was on sale when I got it, and now it’s gone).  Thankfully he got on a different bus, and I remembered that I’m too sick to go to jail to smacking him on both sides of his shorts with my cane. Really, we’re still on the “fake geek girl” kick?  Oh well.

So I’m kinda cranky, so I decided to dig up an article I shared on Facebook that I’d promised to address here.  It’s from the particularly fuckbrained branch of the pro-life movement, Secular Pro-life, “Refuting the Ridiculous Pro-Abortion Claim: The Pro-Life Movement is Anti-Sex”.

So, let’s not even talk about the place where this article is posted, LifeNews, with its usual brand of twisted nonsense. Oh wait, maybe we should, because this article is PERFECTLY rife with building up strawmen and then knocking them down.

First that title: Ohhh, “pro-abortion”, soooo scary!  I’m sure that’ll go over really well with the intended audience. Well, I am pro-abortion, so that doesn’t really scare me.  I’m pro safe, legal abortion in the same way I am pro safe, legal dental extractions, cancer surgeries, and transplants.

Let’s begin with the post (all bolds are mine, btw):

The pro-abortion claim that pro-lifers are anti-sex is nothing new. From Canadian abortion advocates’ recent attempt to make some kind of point by dressing up as penises and vaginas, to Amanda Marcotte’s bizarre assertion that pro-lifers’ motive in protesting outside abortion facilities is “to gawk and yell at women whose soon-to-be-terminated pregnancies constitute solid proof they’ve recently touched a penis” (I guess we’ll be protesting outside maternity wards next), nothing really surprises me anymore.


Wow, it take a special kind of assumption to drop that kind of load. It’s not that we think pro-lifers are “anti-sex”, it’s more like they’re “anti-sex that is happening without their permission and beyond their stated purpose”.  Premarital sex, gay sex, non-procreative sex, you name it, they hate it and fight against it. Now, most pro-lifers mask this as God’s plan, but this is “Secular” Pro-Life, so…yeah. Next time, try reading those links for comprehension.

Allow me to propose a simple logical argument.

Major premise: Pro-lifers constitute a little less than half the adult population of the United States.
Minor premise: The vast majority of American adults have sex from time to time.
Conclusion: Most American pro-lifers have sex. And I’ll bet they enjoy it, too

Well, you’ve got “simple” down pretty good. Logical? Not on your life.

You’re starting from the assumption that we think pro-lifers don’t have sex. Given the number of sidewalk bullies who are beyond eager to gab about children and grandchildren and even sometimes bring the little darlings along to frolic around the dismembered fetus signs, I have no fucking clue where this even comes from.  Hell, I’ve had a bully practically dangle a baby in front of the escorts as if we were supposed to either instantly change our minds by the power of cute (granted, she was adorable!) or hiss and hide like vampires exposed to a cross. Yeah, we know they have the sex, so this “logic” does nothing but punt a strawman who you haven’t even bothered to prove in the first place.  You went from “concerned  about people having the wrong kind of sex” straight to “all sex is icky” and only the most uncharitable of readings could get you there.

Then again, given the surprise some pro-lifers have when some pro-choice folk manage to both support the right of an abortion AND have kids of their own (to the point of downright asking pregnant escorts why they don’t abort their wanted pregnancies), strawmen are part and parcel.

Do pro-lifers want people to have sex irresponsibly? Of course not. People shouldn’t have sex until they are ready, and people certainly shouldn’t have unprotected sex if they aren’t prepared to handle the baby who may be conceived as a result. But that doesn’t make the pro-life movement anti-sex.

This may surprise you, but I agree.  As a matter of fact, our side totally agrees with you.  And it’s YOUR side who’s against arming people, especially young people, with the comprehensive knowledge that would help them make responsible choices when it comes to sex.

(and also..nice touch with the wedding couple pic there.  It gives us a hint at what might be defined as “responsible”, and that is where we start to disagree)

 It makes us anti-irresponsible-sex. Most pro-choicers are opposed to irresponsible sex too; given the alarming spread of STDs, you’d have to be stupid to advocate a lifestyle of unprotected, promiscuous sex.

…which is why very few people are for unprotected, promiscuous sex. Very good.  You get points.

Many pro-lifers believe that the only responsible course of action is to abstain from sex altogether until marriage, and I respect that. But others do have sex before marriage (or engage in premarital sexual activity other than vaginal intercourse), and there’s no sense in pretending that the pro-life movement is made up of virgins.

See, we were going good for a minute there. Good for you for bucking the trend of your more theistic kin and acknowledging that sex outside of marriage and sex that isn’t penis in vagina is a thing that people do.  I would recommend promoting that even more…and seeing just how welcoming your ‘godless’ ways are then.  But yes, we were rocking until that last part. Holy record scratch, Batman.

No one’s pretending that part. At all.  Again, it takes a very uncharitable reading to glean “pro-lifers are virgins scared of naughty parts, nya!” from any of what you linked to earlier.  The breeze from the point whizzing over your head must be oh so refreshing.

There is a large space between the two extremes, between the slut-shaming, chastity-belt-wearing caricature and the needless-risk-taking sex maniac. The pro-life movement is made up almost entirely of people in the middle. (And so is the pro-choice movement, for that matter.) We aren’t going to faint at the sight of a nutjob in a penis costume, or scream in horror at women who’ve had sex. But we are going to stand up and oppose any attitude toward sex that treats abortion as just a form of birth control, and that is willing to sacrifice the lives of unborn children in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.

And here you ends things the exact same way as the previous paragraph, start with a reasonable point, and then end with nonsense.  As for the “abortion as birth control” I will direct you to my previous blog post about how nonsensical that claim is. As to your oh-so-dramatic description of abortion as a “sacrifice” to sexual pleasure, well, you’re kinda negating your whole “pro-life isn’t anti-sex” point.

See, pro-life is anti-sex.  They are anti-sex they deem “irresponsible”, a definition that is narrow as all fuck, and they make silly claims that abortions are sacrifices, and that having sexual pleasure outside of their narrow definition is apparently a bad thing, which in turn leads to various and sundry shame tactics like the ones I see every damn Saturday morning. While I am glad you are willing to accept the reality of sex being slightly wider than that narrow definition, banning safe and legal abortions aren’t going to a damn thing but sacrifice living born humans in the pursuit of someone else’s sense of righteousness. If you really cared about that “middle”, you should be telling your side to tamp down that shamey shit and stereotyping those who seek abortions as ‘irresponsible”.


And now that I’ve gotten myself all snarked out, behold, folks, my moment of Zen. Ooh-rah!:

...and now all is right with the world. Good night, folks

…and now all is right with the world. Good night, folks!

(This is part of a FB and Twitter post that I am expanding on.  Trigger Warning for fetal picture and frank discussion of medical squick below)


You won’t believe this, but, I have a lot of respect for certain pro-lifers.  The ones that would not chose an abortion for themselves or suggest not doing it if asked, but will not get in the way (physically, legally, or otherwise) of anyone who wants and/or needs one. They don’t pass around links chock full of gory pictures of ripped up fetuses, and they sure as shit don’t show up to bully patients outside of clinics. They do themselves, and let others…themselves.

I respect that. Honestly.

On the other hand, I have NOOOO respect for so-called “pro-choicers” too chickenshit to say what they are, lest someone ‘think’ they support abortions in situations that DO. NOT. FUCKING. HAPPEN. (i.e. for “funsies!”) or who have some-odd conditionals a person has to meet in order for them to be OK with it.

Because if you had the first fucking clue what is involved in any abortion procedure, that idea would hopefully die a quick painful death. Now, I have proposed a talk for the upcoming FTBCon 3 in which I go through the three most common procedures in the hopes of educating folks who want to know exactly what a person goes through.  Hopefully, hearing about the pain, the discomfort, the awkward positioning, will be enough to finally squash the fear of the supposed spree abortionist!

You know, the ones who treat it like birth control*, those who get it done for FUNSIES? Those harlots who sneak into the “pro-choice” tent, who must be tolerated, but never accepted as One Of Us.  They make us look bad, and pro-lifers love to mention them first when they fight to strip away our rights!  They suck.

They are also, for the most part, imaginary.  I mean, think about for more than a second.  Abortions are expensive, and in most cases you have to cough up that dough up front.  A lot of clinics are closing, so the ones that are still open are miles and miles and hours and hours away, if you’re lucky enough to not live in or near a major city. You will have to take time off work.   A lot of laws limit how long you can go before you can’t have an abortion done, and a lot of laws demand that you take a day or so to “think” about it between appointments.  Some laws force you to look at an ultrasound, whether you want to or not.  Some laws force doctors to rattle off long debunked claims about abortion, whether you want to listen or not.  And that’s just GETTING in the doctor’s office.

You show up for the actual procedure, probably hungry (you can’t eat that day until the procedure is done), probably cranky, probably mourning.  In a lot of places, you have to walk past a gauntlet of bullshit.  Merry bands of morons, waving signs, yelling at you, calling you “Mommy”, calling you a murderer, begging you to stop so they can ‘counsel’ you, shoving brochures of complete crap at you.

According to the back of this brochure, this is an 11 week old fetus.

According to the back of this brochure, this is an 11 week old fetus.


You get inside, and you wait.  Nearly all day.  In a waiting room with other people who are in the same spot as you.  And that’s not even counting the “put your legs up in the stirrups, let’s numb and dilate your cervix in ways that you will absolutely feel. For those without the requisite parts, just imagine having your urethra dilated, with one of these:

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Did your legs just slam shut?  Then welcome to the party!

Oh, and I forgot, afterwards, you might have what has got to be the heaviest period of your possible life.  And if you think taking the pills are a neat way to skip all that, heh, you are aware the contents of the uterus has to go somewhere, right?

Doesn’t that sound like fun? Sign me the fuck up!

Now, just think about for a moment.  Who the fuck would sign up for this…unless they had a DAMNED good reason?

Also, when we, as pro-choicers, entertain that little “..for the lolz” myth, we are repeating the same nonsense the other side does as if such a thing actually exists. And we should stop that shit immediately.  We can’t call ourselves for the right to abortion, if we’re going to separate some into “good reasons” and “bad reasons”.  That’s what the other side does when they are kind enough to offer such “generous’ compromises like the “rape, incest and health of the pregnant person” exemptions, because it’s damned hard to run on the backs of rape victims, incest victims and dead people.  Not that the more far off types don’t try.

There are three reasons we should be acknowledging for any and all abortion procedures:

  1. The person doesn’t want to be pregnant. That covers a lot of ground.  Lack of support, done with having kids, not wanting kids at all, was raped or a victim of incest, they all boil down to “I don’t want to be pregnant.”
  2. The pregnancy is wanted, but will harm/kill the person carrying it. Only the most special of the pro-lifers find any problem with that.
  3. The pregnancy is wanted, but no longer viable. Tragic. And yet, the special pro-lifers don’t seem to care, from what I’ve seen on the sidewalk.

We can force both sides to deal with this reality.  We especially need to step in and make sure those who say they are our allies realize this as well. A lot of people need to reexamine what they mean when they say they are “pro-choice”.  Adding exceptions, or a “but..” isn’t pro-choice. Right now, the right for a safe, legal abortion is under attack, and the other side so far is gaining ground.  We need our side to remember what we are fighting for, and to stop wasting our time and breath acknowledging silly hypotheticals like “what if the person’s going in for her seventh abortion and she’s just doing it for fun or something?”.

In the words of my favorite meme:

Preach it, sister!

Preach it, sister!





*Yes, everyone has a story of some friend’s cousin’s sibling twice removed who used abortion as birth control.  They never seem to know anything more about the person though. I can’t find the link, but there was a tumblr post from a woman who, because of her various reactions to various BC methods, chose with her partner to, I think, use fertility awareness, and had a couple of abortions done.  I think we can be grown-up enough to realize there are always exceptions to the “abortion as BC” line, and those reasons are usually more than just “too lazy/poor/stupid/whatever to put on a condom” or whatever.

“They’ll rape you on the table!”

“You’ll die!”

“They’ll rip your baby apart!”

“Have you seen Silent Scream?”

“You don’t know what happens in there!”


“You don’t know what happens in there!”


And who’s fault is that?

Look, I’m gonna propose something pretty fucking radical today, so strap in.

Abortion procedures ought to be part of comprehensive sex-ed.  In schools. Why?  Because protesters and anti-abortion activists thrive on our collective ignorance. Think about it.  Could you, right now, without Google, explain a 1st trimester clinical abortion?

Go on, I’ll wait (no cheating, clinic workers!)

How about a medication abortion?

Fess up, for a second, you probably conjured up a brief image of what I’ve been calling “fetal snuff porn”, the graphic pictures protesters love to smear all over the damn place.  I know, before I educated myself (as an activist AND as an Abortion Doula to be), I sure did.

This is why we need people telling their stories, their videos, showing up close and personal what actually happens. And I think we should have this knowledge right along with “this is how to make a baby” and “this is how to prevent making a baby” – because it counts as “prevention”.  Arming our young people and ourselves with facts is one of the ways we’re going to defeat the current attacks on reproductive justice. Let’s support these brave folks who have put their peace of mind on the line (because holy crap have Emily Letts received attacks and self-righteous condemnation from pro-lifers AND mealy mouthed pro-choicers*) in order to give us facts.  Let us embrace every story that comes forth.

Embrace this knowledge.


*Oh yeah, if your ‘pro-choice’ has conditions as to when it’s “okay” to have an abortion, AND you try to shame someone who doesn’t meet those conditions, YOU ARE NOT VERY ‘PRO-CHOICE’.