abortion laws

Recent posts

Revisiting “Safe, Legal, And Rare”

The idea that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare” was articulated by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and President Obama recently used that same language again, saying: “I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is abortion should be safe, legal, and rare…I think it’s something all of us should recognize is a difficult, oftentimes tragic situation that families are wrestling with.” While I like his emphasis on letting families decide what’s right for them in that statement, I also think we should reevaluate the “safe, legal, and rare” language that has become common in the abortion debate. This Feministe article discusses why abortion, like any other medical procedure, should indeed be safe, legal, and rare… but that we, its defenders, should drop the “rare” part of the sentence because it opens us to attacks from the opposition who are essentially saying, “well if you’re so in favor of it, why should it be rare?” The author argues: “Outside of a few truly horrible types of people, few would argue that we need to outlaw balloon angioplasty because we’d all rather people not need it, because ouch and ew. Safe, legal, rare angioplasty is seldom up for debate. Until you talk about abortion. Continue Reading →

The Problem With The Texas Senate Tampon Confiscation

Those following the saga of the anti-abortion laws being passed in Texas likely saw that tampons were being confiscated from those entering the Texas capitol. Without even getting into the strange irony that guns were still allowed inside (because how are tampons more dangerous than guns?!), I’d like to talk a bit about the dissonance between an abstract idea and the concrete reality that follows. The idea here, of course, was to prevent protestors from using tampons as projectiles or launched items within the capitol. The concrete reality of that idea being enforced, however, went beyond implementing that idea and in fact revealed a lack of regard for the consequences for individual women. What if a woman were on her period that day and actually needed a tampon? Continue Reading →

Anti-Abortion* Rhetoric: Where It Fails

*Note: I do not accept the term “pro-life” as a valid or accurate description of those who claim to be against abortion, and hence I use the term “anti-abortion” instead. Read this to find out why. After Wendy Davis’s epic 13-hour filibuster, successfully delaying the Texas senate from voting on an anti-abortion bill that would’ve closed nearly all the state’s abortion clinics (for the time being – sigh), I thought it would be a good idea to examine some of the arguments coming from the anti-abortion side. Sometimes what they argue, and what they’re actually implying, are two quite different things. First, as this Patheos blog post points out, Anyone who makes the “take responsibility [for having had sex]” argument, regardless of whether they also believe abortion involves “murdering babies,” opposes abortion at least in part out of a desire to control women and their sexuality. If abortion is murder, then it doesn’t matter how or why the woman got pregnant, and whether one makes an exemption for rape or incest – and yet those arguments and exemptions are made. If abortion is murder, then why talk about women needing to take responsibility for the choice to have sex? Continue Reading →

Abortion Laws In Africa

The HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa receives much media attention, but there is another problem: the illegal status of abortions in many countries, which makes them that much more dangerous for women. This article gives a thorough overview of the issues at play, including how outdated colonial laws interact with local norms about sex and birth control. As in many cases, greater access to and education about sex, contraception, and abortion appear to be the best options for maximizing women’s health. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →