Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I really can't describe the way I feel about this without using cutesy internet jargon. I just wanna be like....


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making Headlines

Remember when this guy

And the award for Best Shit-Eating Grin goes to....

said this thing: There is no such thing as a medically necessary abortion, LOL.

He was laughed out of Abortionland. Perhaps more importantly, he was laughed out of the 8th district of the state of Illinois. Tammy Duckworth, FTW!

And not a moment too soon. Consider Ireland, where you can't get an abortion to save your life (LITERALLY). This story is blowing up all over, about a woman who was denied a life-saving abortion while suffering a miscarriage and septicemia. Because Ireland is a life-loving country, they made her wait until the fetus died naturally, by which time her infection had wreaked havoc on her body and, soon after, killed her.

I don't really have much to say. I am completely heartbroken and ENRAGED over this, but the only thing we can do is keep whack-jobs like Walsh and Akin and King out of office. We did a fairly good job last week, and hopefully we can continue to set a global example. Not that I think the US is exemplary in securing the right to choose, but I gotta say: thank goodness I'm not in Ireland.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whee! Now Let's Get On With It.


Y'all, I am SO RELIEVED. My nerves thank you. Stupid Akin and Mourdock lost their stupid races, and so did stupid Romney. We get to keep expanded health insurance coverage (no pre-existing condition exclusions for me or Desembarazarme!) and copay-free contraception (my neighbor is looking into IUDs as we speak!), we sent many of the frightening rape apologists home, and we don't have to fear uber-conservatives being appointed to the Supreme Court in the next four years (the Arizona 18-week ban is rising through the appeals process right now, eek!).

Note I'm breathing a sigh of relief, not whooping for joy. To me this election represents a pause in the current onslaught -- a shutting-down (ha) of the presumption that anti-choice and anti-justice ideas have momentum -- but not progress in itself. Last night's votes did bring unexpected joy: we got to see several states protect marriage equality (Maine Maryland Minnesota Washington), one state elect the first openly-gay US senator ever (Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin), and one state elect an all-woman Congressional delegation for the first time ever (New Hampshire). But when it comes to the overall status of reproductive justice, I'm still feeling tentative.

We haven't accomplished progress in one night, but maybe now we can forget about those clowns and their circus and get back to work. I don't want to get TOO excited (GOP-controlled House of Representatives) but maybe Obama really will push for some serious advances now, like progressives have hoped all along, feeling so frustrated. Maybe we'll find a way to expand health insurance to ALL people, maybe EC will be available over-the-counter for everyone (and regular oral contraceptive pills too, please!), maybe provider "conscience" will be taken seriously and will also protect those who conscientiously DO provide, and maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe we can combine all our strength and push someone to do something about the Hyde Amendment (update: hey look, Abortion Gang explains!).

It's time, right?

Now...does anyone want to email Barack?

Otherwise I'm just gonna copy/paste this blog post that I just spitballed, and you'll have the embarrassment of being represented by an email written with way too many parenthetical expressions and words in all-caps. The clock is ticking!

Placenta Sandwich

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Plea from My Nerves on Election Day

Please vote, y'all. This brown woman's knuckles are turning white from the tension.

I don't even know if anyone DOESN'T vote because everyone on my facebook feed is already showing off their poll sticker and I'm feeling like a lazy ass for not having gotten to my station yet. (I'm heading there now!) But just in case anyone reading this was like "well, I dunno, maybe I won't bother this year because it's raining and the line is three hours long and I'm sure my district won't be swung one way or another by my vote," I'm writing this to implore you, do it anyway.

I was going to say, do it for me, but really won't you do it for us all?

Vote for the candidates and amendments and propositions and initiatives least likely to wreak havoc upon us -- upon our reproductive rights, of course, but not just that: also our access to health services, our ability to afford survival, our attempts to keep our families together and well-fed and well-educated and safe, and the respect we need from society to make our own choices in peace.

2011 and 2012 have been rough on this front; the years leading up to an election usually are. It would be easy to dismiss our politicians' hundreds of anti-choice bills of 2011 as transparent distractions from their daunting mandate to fix the economy...except for the actual damage these policies would do (or have started doing) to individuals, families and society. So we have had to play defense, and it sucks. How many times did we find ourselves "celebrating" with the chorus, "Hooray, we made a horrible bill slightly less horrible before it became law."

We're as tired of living on the defensive as you are. And the day after the election (or whenever the vote-counting dust settles) we'll be back, up and at 'em and energized to push forward for something positive.

Until then, please go to the polls and cast your vote to minimize today's potential damage.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I enjoy Halloween. The kiddies, candy, the costumes (especially the punny and ironic ones). I like pumpkins, crisp Autumn leaves, and the occasional scare. I usually get a good laugh and reciprocate when the instigator least expects it.

But some things are too scary for me. When the first Paranormal Activity came out, on Halloween, I saw it and didn't sleep for days. Scares are fun when they're innocent, but when they mess with your mind it's simply not enjoyable. So I'm really not excited about the scares resulting from threats to abortion access. Read this story from HuffPo, about a woman in Idaho arrested for attempting a DIY abortion, and try not to react like this:

"Run girl, run!"

I'm getting really freaked out because this year's Halloween precedes the election that could make or break abortion access. We only have a week left!
Ugh, this movie kept me awake for at least a week. 
I say this to say 1) enjoy a safe and happy Halloween with childlike abandon, and 2) get out and vote for abortion access Nov 6, or earlier if your state allows. What if you get hit by lightening on Nov 6, or Hurricane Rizzo comes along?  Get it done!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Post: An Abortion Love Story, Chapter II

Welcome back to Rebecca, a fellow abortioneer who’s agreed to spin us a MOTA (mates of the abortioneers) romance for the ages. You can go back here to read about how they first had "the A-word talk." When you're done with that, read on below for Chapter II, which in my head I've unofficially but fondly titled "My Husband Sleeps With One Eye Open."

At first, C didn't really "get" the security factor at work. You know: the protesters. He's European and from a secular country; and he'd lived overseas for years. He wasn't aware abortion was such a contentious issue in the USA because it wasn't in his country. (I also think that because he’s a guy, he probably didn’t pay much attention.)

He was surprised to see all the protesters we'd get sometimes and how they'd harass clients. We were lucky at our clinic -- we didn't have TONS of protesters like many others did -- but he was still shocked to see them.

When we had more than the usual number of crazies out, I didn't like leaving my car at work. The protesters were taking pictures of our license plates; my car was registered to my home address. (I know, I know. Not smart!) I didn’t exactly feel like getting followed. I lived alone in a smallish city and my car was fairly easy to identify.

Early on in our relationship, the clinic was experiencing one of those big protester days, so I asked C picked me up from work so my car wasn't left in our car park all day. As we approached my vehicle, he dropped the car keys. I noticed he took a fraction of a second longer picking up the keys than I thought he would, and that made me a little twitchy. I wasn't sure why.

Later, when I was ranting about protesters, C told me he was concerned about my safety. And then he admitted he had dropped the car keys purposefully .

Why? With his diverse background, including a military history and working in war-torn countries, he had learned certain skills.  It was a trick they used in some of the places he'd been: they'd drop the keys, bend down to get them, and steal a glance under the car to see if there was a bomb.

A car bomb? I was a bit shocked. My first thought was, "That’s not necessary! Nothing like that would happen here!" Yet it was instinctual for him to check.

He explained how surreal it was for him to be so immediately, intimately, acutely impacted by my work: all because of protesters. Part of me was like, "Yeah, well, welcome to our world."

His reaction had been jarring, though. I usually didn't tell family/friends about protester activity or security threats. I didn't want to worry them. Really, I didn't want to deal with their worries on top of mine. They would've told me to quit. This was the first time I saw how security issues at the clinic directly affected someone I cared for. I wonder whether all abortioneers experience that, and how.

Throughout the years, C was vocal about his security concerns. Because of his experience, he didn't think my clinic always took those risks seriously enough. He’d often say he'd do things differently, or thought things like a better alarm system would be a smart move.

He criticized the clinic when they stopped having guards on clinic days, especially when protester activity increased. We lived in the Pacific Northwest where it's pretty normal to carry handguns. The clinic guards regularly pulled guns and knives off guys.

It was hard for me to listen without feeling defensive and thinking he wasn't critical, really, underneath it all, about abortion, about my job, about work that I loved.

I now understand that wasn't the case: he was just genuinely worried sometimes. Which is a shame. It's a shame we have to work in conditions, in the United States, where our family worries about us because of some crazies. Have you had similar experiences?

Friday, October 5, 2012


Abortion Rates Plummet with Free Birth Control 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post: An Abortion Love Story

Please give a warm bloggy welcome to Rebecca, a fellow abortioneer who’s agreed to spin us a MOTA (mates of the abortioneers) romance for the ages. Consider this Chapter I of the story of Rebecca and her husband C. I can't wait to read more. 

I can’t remember how I first told him I worked at an abortion clinic. We met online, which was sort-of new territory 10 years ago. I had this rule that I wouldn’t meet anyone in person unless they were pro-choice. We’d talk online and on the phone, I’d gauge how liberal they were, ask lots of leading questions, then pop the big one: “are you pro-choice?”

Even if a guy told me he was pro-choice, I’d still wonder how pro-choice he was. Wonder if he was pro-choice enough to handle me working at a clinic. So I’m sure C and I had an initial discussion about abortion, but I doubt I immediately told him I worked at the clinic.

Isn't it strange that I don't remember the first time I mentioned my abortion work to my husband? I must've told him very soon after meeting him, though, because he came home with me the first day we met...and I had clinic the following day! Ha.

Here’s something interesting. I just asked C if he remembered when I “outed” myself to him about working in a clinic. He doesn’t. He thinks that tells a lot about his feelings/thoughts about abortion: it wasn’t a big deal to him, he just admired the work.

He also wants me to point out that he wasn’t exactly a typical guy (that’s for sure!). He’s not American, and he had been doing overseas development work in emergency situations. So he was aware of the consequences of unsafe abortion in developing countries. Providing safe abortion, from his perspective, was a no-brainer. He remembers we did discuss my interest in women’s global rights and health, so that all tied in to the big abortion reveal convo…Which wasn’t a big deal after all.

So, C was traveling around the USA when we met. He had been on the Afghan/Pakistan border during 9/11 and got a little burned out from doing aid work. He wanted to be in a country with smooth pavement, clean water, and good food. Within a week of arriving in the States, he was hanging out at my house.

One evening, I came home from a long day at clinic, feeling exhausted. It was one of those days where you felt emotionally drained afterwards. Well, more than usual. We were having protester issues, to complicate matters. I couldn’t wait to open my apartment door, get a huge mug of tea, and fill up the bathtub. This was my ritual: soak in the bath for ages, read a book, then make phone calls from the tub and talk. I lived alone and it's how I relaxed after work, decompressed from work. How I tried to leave work at work.

So that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t stop to hang out, say hello, or have a chat with C. Just went straight into the bathroom to run the bath. C didn’t know me well enough to realize this was my usual routine. And I didn’t realize it needed explaining!

You can see where this is going.

C was left wondering if he had upset me, had overstayed his welcome – if I was sick of him being around. It made him very uncomfortable and he asked if I wanted him to leave!

That wasn’t the case at all, of course. But I realized I had to communicate about my needs, about how I had to take care of myself, especially after a really stressful clinic day. Obviously this work can be very stressful at times. I had to learn to become aware of my ways of taking care of myself and how they might impact my partner. That was new for me, and a first step in the gradual intertwining of our lives.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Army of One

In the wake of all this anti-woman sentiment that’s been blowing around the last few years, the public has started to take notice of the plight of enlisted women in the armed forces. Entrenched in a nearly all-male environment, women have been victims of discrimination and violence since they were first allowed to serve during WWII. Women have not been allowed to fight in combat with men; they do not receive coverage for abortion under military health plans, nor can they receive abortion services in military health facilities. Most egregiously, they are frequent targets of sexual  violence by officers and fellow enlistees. I take that back; the worst part of all is that complaints of sexual violence are rarely taken seriously, assuming a complaint is made in the first place. Most cases go unreported, for fear of retaliation or punishment. 

That’s right. In the US Armed Forces, you can be punished for being raped. It sounds like something that might happen somewhere far away, like the woman from Morocco who killed herself after being forced to marry her rapist. But nope. This is happening right here at home. It would surprise me, but little does these days. 

I first learned about this phenomenon a few years ago watching The Coathanger Project, in which a former soldier told her story of being dishonorably discharged for having sex and then attempting an abortion. More recently, I watched The Invisible War, a documentary about women enlistees (and some men) who were raped, even drugged and beaten, and received no help from those in charge. They were slut-shamed, victim-blamed, or plain told to suck it up. When a group of victims brought a lawsuit against the military for mistreatment of them and their cases, it was dismissed on the grounds that sexual assault is an occupational hazard of being enlisted. 

Gag me with a spoon. 

If you haven’t seen the film, DO. I can’t remember the last time  I was so angry, so if you’re interested in draining yourself emotionally it’ll do the trick. One issue that wasn’t addressed in the film was the what happened to those who became pregnant as a result of rape (which can happen!). As we know, you can’t get an abortion with military funds or in military facilities, so I’m sure those people have quite interesting (and horrific) stories to tell. But I suppose that would become a six hour movie. 

You know, I’ve gotten lots of flack in my life for not loving my country as I should. For threatening to move to Canada if Bush was elected. For not buying that the military has anything to do with protecting my freedom. For hating American flag  and “Support our Troops” bumper stickers. For questioning why our defense budget is out of this world but we can't feed the poor. For not identifying as a patriot, because being a patriot these days apparently means toting a gun, driving a big car, and popping off firecrackers in a South Carolina rest stop in a "USMC" t-shirt. But the reason I don't love my country as I should is because, call me crazy, I believe in an America where women are treated as equals. Where they can fight alongside their brothers without fear of incest. Where they can love their country so much that they'll die for it without feeling unsafe around the people who supposedly keep us safe. Support our troops? Not as long as they're raping our other troops.

 Look, I have lots of thoughts on this, but sadly I don't really know what I can do except stand together with victims and support reform in the military. I think some minor changes are happening (better moves than these god-awful posters, and these, and these), but I'm pessimistic that nothing will change on a large scale until misogynistic looneys are six feet under. I guess I just want to raise awareness, and give readers the opportunity to learn and pass on their learnings to others. Talk about it, make sure that people understand why this is such a problem. And pray not only for our troops, but for the sad, angry place this country has become in hopes of REAL security and freedom. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

AB Playlist

You, know, there’s some good stuff coming out on the music scene about abortion right now. Good timing. Necessary timing.  Sadly, there’s still a need for timing in all this.

But, while we’re still fighting all this misogyny that I ranted about here, the least we can do is soothe ourselves with a music balm.

A previously unreleased Michael Jackson song, The Abortion Papers, has been discovered. You can read about it here in the  Atlantic.  I love what MJ had to say about the piece: 
"I have to do it in a way so I don't offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully....I have to really think about it."
side note: did you just read that in MJ's voice? Oh, good. I'm not the only one! Whew! Moving on...

I love that he realized abortion can be complicated. That the reasons surrounding the decision to choose abortion are often complicated.  Love him for that.  You can hear a little snippet of the song on snippet.

A quirky, fun, and danceable song “Won’t Go Back” has gone viral onYouTube. Haven’t seen it yet? Oh, please check it out It will really put you in a good mood. I promise. WE LOVE THEM!

But one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard on abortion is from Digable Planet.   Nothing else needs to be said. They said it all.  It’s encouraging. It’s empowering. It tells women that no matter the choice they make, feel pride.  Be proud.  It’s full of love. 

It needs to be played over and over and over and over.  I wish my clinic streamed it through their speakers. 

The lyrics, the lyrics, the lyrics. Here. It's poetry. 

And...these guys need to get back together and TOUR THIS SONG. FOR REAL. 

Digable Planet: hear us? Please, please, please re-release this song. Before the elections. Thank you.

All this made me think about the need for an abortion playlist. I found only a few lists out there on the subject. I came up with one here over a year ago - but it was a playlist I hoped clients would play for themselves. Sarah, a blogger on Feminists for Choice, came up with a great list. Of course, Ani DiFranco (thank goodness for her!) is mentioned: Hello Birmingham and Last Woman Song

One of the things you're gonna notice is a lot of these songs are not current. We're talking the 70's, the 80's, the 90's. And we're STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS SHIT. These songs are relevant NOW. And just wrong.

 Here’s a list of others with links to YouTube videos:
  • Tiptoe, Ani DiFranco (antipicate/tiptoe mix: great video! please wait til the end where she does her spoken word bit. it's amazing.)
  • When Under Ether, PJ Harvey  You may not know of PJ Harvey: I don't think she's too popular in the US yet; but this song is clearly about an abortion + it's powerful. Lyrics here.
  • Red Ragtop, Tim McGraw *it’s neither really pro-choice or anti-choice, but I put it here b/c it’s good the country music scene has at least two songs that aren’t anti abortion.*  Also - this is an acoustic video by the songwriter, Jason White. It's beautiful.
  • Nine Month Blues, by Peggy Seeger *sadly, no YouTube video, but you can listen to a bit of it at the link*
  • Judge’s Chair, Peggy Seeger *about a girl who can't get a judicial bypass. No YouTube video, but you can check out the lyrics at the link.*
  • Oasis, by Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls *she's been ridiculed for writing music in such a 'happy beat' way about a rape that caused a pregnancy which was terminated. But, come on. Sarcasm. Hello! Also, the lyrics are not all happy-go-lucky. Please, please, please, please read this AWESOME article she wrote for the Huffington Post about her song.

Enjoy. Pass along. Think about. 

Oh, and Digable Planets? I was serious.  We need you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dear America: It's Time to GROW UP

*had to do some digging to find out who Cristy Cardinal is. Cardinal works at HAVEN in Michigan, I think. This quote was picked up by The Nation, August 21st. Article here. Cardinal - we love your quote!*

Misogyny in this country is staring straight at us. Looking us in the eyes and slapping us across the face. It doesn't care there's an audience. It doesn't care that generations of women who have fought for reproductive freedom have just watched. It doesn't care that this 13 year old was raped by her step-father and is now pregnant. The misogyny in our country is THAT blatant. THAT rampant. That disgusting.

When you're slapped so hard, with such force, it's shocking. The magnitude of disregard for women is strong enough that I feel stung every time I read. Every time I turn on the TV. There's always a new slant. A new way to get us on our knees.

But misogyny forgets that we are strong. Misogyny thinks of himself with such ferocity, that it doesn't notice the rumbling in the once quiet audience. Women are starting to speak out.

Maybe they began to feel safer to do so after Obama promised women at the national BlogHer conference that he would not "give ground" on abortion. Maybe quiet women are realizing just how loud the hate is.

Whatever has prompted it, women are using their voices.

I read a beautifully written post here from a woman who had been raped at 17. The blogger shared this private information with her community, and was shaking in her boots doing it.

Another blogger bravely wrote her abortion story here.

I'm in awe of women being prompted to talk about their experiences. And I know our abortioneer community is grateful. Not to mention many other American women.

Women have the right to be outraged. At least one in three of us will have an abortion. That's a lot of us. So, lots of women should be outraged, really.

Women blogging on abortion is a good thing. It's a terrible thing that all the insensitive and flat-out-jaw-droppingly-stupid things politicians have been saying has occurred. For some, it's like being raped all over again.

No matter how you put it, all this hate being spewed is a violation. It crosses the line so far that you can't even SEE that line anymore.

That is jarring. And it's making some of us talk. But they're so scared. So worried about being judged. And they're worried because we live in a society that shuts women up.

This society makes us think we can't use our voice, lest we are shunned and bad and wrong and selfish or a whore or had it coming to us. Or worse: that our bodies can shut off what we had coming to us.

Our society needs to change.

Our society needs to grow the fuck up and starting showing its humanity.