Recent posts

Assessing Facts About Abortion And Contraception

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates that the national abortion rate has dropped recently. Moreover, this drop is not correlated with a decrease in the number of accessible providers. What does this all mean? Will Saletan at Slate discusses the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, arguing that it proves that pro-lifers have it wrong: limiting access to abortion does not actually cause the number of abortions to go down. This is for a couple of reasons: first, overall birth rates are down nationwide (a 9% decrease by some counts), and second, the decline in abortions occurred nationwide, not just in states with overly restrictive laws. Continue Reading →

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 →

Way To (Not) Go, Ohio

photo courtesy of Ben at Lifehacksimmediately
In general, I love Ohio. I’ve mentioned before that I am also a huge fan of Cleveland, so my only consolation with this story is that it’s from another city in Ohio. A dry cleaner in Cincinnati has decided to share their opinions regarding abortion via their hangers. RH Reality Check refers to Springdale Drycleaners’ hangers as the “worst marketing decision ever,” and I have to agree that it’s not the best choice. The paper covering the hanger includes a picture of a smiling child, and the words “choose life!” Continue Reading →

Why I Refuse To Use The Term “Pro-Life”

In light of Savita Halappanavar’s death due to being refused an abortion after miscarrying, using the term “pro-life” to mean “anti-abortion” is increasingly problematic. As therapist Lyla Cicero points out, “when a choice must be made between a mother’s life and a child’s, choosing abortion is still being pro-life, isn’t it?” Her piece on a pregnant teenager who identified as pro-life yet choose an abortion exemplifies this dilemma: the girl was choosing her life, choosing to delay having children, choosing to commit her time to working her way out of poverty. The irony, as Cicero notes, is that “The politicians who so vehemently call themselves pro-life are the same politicians who would resent [the teen mother's] living off the government.” That quote leads into the connections between pregnancy, poverty, and abuse. Continue Reading →

Confusion About Whether Pregnant Women Can Die

Republican Representative Joe Walsh has said that abortion is never necessary to save the life of a mother because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of a pregnant woman dying. Um, no, sorry, that’s not the case. Medical advances have certainly aided women in surviving pregnancy and childbirth, but it’s not been an absolute triumph. For instance, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have stated in this article: “Abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a risk-free life event.” Continue Reading →

A Biblical Perspective On Abortion

Abortion is a tricky issue, resonating with people on multiple levels (personal, religious, political, among others) and I feel that I should state that in this post I’m not trying to convince someone to think differently here, or come over to my view (which is pro-choice if only because I’m hesitant about people without wombs making decisions for people with wombs, and because I believe that abortion needs to be safely available as part of the effort to provide social equity and begin to fix the socio-economic-educational problems that lead to unwanted babies in the first place). However, I recently discovered that the Bible does not necessarily unilaterally condemn abortion, so I thought I would share some of that information here in case others find it as thought-provoking as I did. I followed a link (I forget from whom) to the site of a Christian blogger who provides close readings of Biblical passages. The first post, What the Bible Says About Abortion, discusses a passage in Numbers wherein God tells Moses that if a husband suspects his wife is pregnant with another man’s baby, they can perform a ritual that will cause the woman to abort. Whoa… Continue Reading →

A Jewish Perspective On Abortion

Discussions of abortion frequently focus on Christian perspectives, as pro-life Christians tend to be the ones out protesting the most visibly. However, other religions certainly have perspectives on abortion. This narrative by my Jewish friend Sarah, on finding support from other Jewish women while choosing to have an abortion, shares an experience that is thought-provoking, interesting, and unique. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Clarifying Arizona’s 20-Week Abortion Limit

I’ve seen a lot of furor online at Arizona’s proposal to ban abortions after 20 weeks – especially regarding the definition of pregnancy as starting two weeks prior to insemination, at the start date of the last menstrual period. Yes, this legislation is absolutely infuriating and wrong-headed, but not just for the reasons you think. As explained at Feministe, doctors have always calculated gestational age using the first day of the last period. It’s weird but that’s how it’s  done. So in medical terms, the new law wouldn’t change anything in terms of how we count… Continue Reading →