Monday, February 22, 2010

Live Tweeting Abortion

I'm sure that most of you that I know from Twitter have heard about this, but for those you haven't, @antitheistangie is undergoing a chemical abortion and is telling her story to all of Twitter by tweeting it under the hashtag "#livetweetingabortion". This has been controversial to say the least. Most pro-choicers have been very encouraging. Antis, however, are outraged. They say that Angie's story is "sick" or "horrifying" or "disgusting". Many of them have attacked Angie directly for telling her story. Others resort to gossiping about her behind her back. The question that I'm dying to get an answer to is this; Why are they so angry?

This isn't the first time that I've seen anti-choicers go nuts over women speaking out. Just a few days ago, Jill Stanek published a blog post bashing the new website,, which allows people who have had an abortion to let their voices be heard. This is nothing new.

Why are so many of them getting so angry? My guess is that it's a power thing. The oppressors love to silence the oppressed. In this case, anti-choicers are exerting dominance over women by silencing their voices unless their voice happens to contribute to their cause. If a confident woman like Angie shares her abortion story and proclaims that she feels no regret, people will try to silence her. However, if a woman who regrets her abortion speaks up and tells her story, antis give it all the publicity in the world. Her voice matters because it benefits their agenda, Angie's voice hurts their agenda. That is the difference. They won't hear our voices, just like most of them won't hear rape victim's voices.

I think that live tweeting abortion is a wonderful idea. There is a lot of stigma surrounding this procedure. This stigma hurts people and it silences people. So many people are afraid to tell their stories because of this. Antis are actually working against women who regret their abortions by encouraging this stigma, because it hurts them too. If we could get more women to tell their stories- verbally, by tweeting, blogging, etc- the stigma will slowly (but surely!) be erased. By using her voice, Angie is making it easier for other women to use their voices, too. So, Angie, I'd like to take a moment to thank you for the work that you're doing for women. You are amazing!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Anti-Choice Ideal

Many antis see abortion as a black and white issue. They think that, if we criminalize abortion, it will have no negative consequences on society. The slutty, evil little baby killers will go to jail, which will discourage women from having abortions. Everything works out just perfectly, right?


Criminalizing abortion will do nothing but lead to the invasion of women's privacy and to a takeover of their liberties. If you criminalize abortion, you make every woman who has a miscarriage a suspect of murder. After all, if a woman is pregnant and later miscarries, how do you know if she really miscarried naturally? What if she intentionally induced the abortion? What if she smoked? What if she drank alcohol? What if she took drugs? What if she rode a roller coaster? What if she intentionally fell down the stairs? How will we figure out if she did any of these things? Should we just lock all pregnant women in special institutions that watch over their each and every move so we'll know if she committed "murder"? Are anti-choicers willing to take away women's right to privacy in order to advance their agenda? My guess is yes.

A Utah bill that criminalizes miscarriage was passed recently. This brings us back to my prior questions. How do we know if it was a spontaneous abortion or an induced abortion? How do we know that she intentionally fell down the stairs? Will we start investigating every person who has a miscarriage? How far, exactly, are antis willing to go in order to give fertilized eggs special rights?

If you bring this up when engaging an anti, they're likely to tell you that you're just being paranoid. The sad truth is that this isn't just paranoia. It's not even a guess as to what is going to happen. It's happened already. This is what happens when we make abortion a punishable crime. Pregnant people, even those who want their pregnancies, become suspects. This is why I "Trust Women".

The criminalization of miscarriages ties into the "personhood" issue. The anti-choice attempt to grant "personhood" to fertilized eggs is nothing more than a distraction from the fact that women are persons. When you grant personhood to the fetus, you begin to strip away female personhood. Dr. Hern makes excellent points in this article about fetal personhood.

Does it matter that a woman may spontaneously abort (“miscarry”) a pregnancy before she is even aware of it? Does it matter that this may happen in at least 75 percent of all conceptions? What about a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) that happens when the woman is aware of the pregnancy? This happens in about 10-15 percent of all known pregnancies. Is the spontaneously aborted embryo a person? What if the woman smokes or drinks or takes drugs or rides the roller-coaster or hangs out with weird people? Is she guilty of homicide if she has a miscarriage because some or all of these activities are known or thought by some to cause damage to the embryo or cause a miscarriage? Who will document this damaging behavior, and who decides what is damaging?

Anti-choice attempts to take away women's basic liberties are real, and we must expose this to the public. Women being jailed for falling down stairs and the senate criminalizing miscarriage are two very small glimpses into what the future will look like if we let the anti-choicers win. For the sake of your sisters, aunt, best friend, cousins, and even for the sake of anti-choice women, we have to fight against this.

God bless all of you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1 of 40 Days for Lies

In case you haven't heard, it's the start of another 40 days against women's lives. If you don't know about the "40 Days for Life (sic)", it's basically when the antis choose to go to abortion clinics and stalk and harass the patients there (well, more than they normally do, anyway).

Sadly, we can't stop them from harassing patients at reproductive health clinics. However, that doesn't mean that we can't help the clinics and patients get through these next 40 days. There are a few ways that you can help. You can:

1) escort at a clinic. This is probably one of the best ways to help the patients bear with the protesters. If you don't already know, escorts act as a buffer between the antis and the patients. They help the patients get through the protesters . If you're interested, you can call a clinic near you and ask about escorting. You can also look on the "40 Days for Life (sic)" website to see the list of targeted clinics, so you can see where help is most needed.

2) donate! Donating to a clinic/abortion fund/pro-choice organization is a good way to help. Any amount of money is great, but I like the idea of donating $40 dollars to make a statement against the 40 days for lies.

3) counter-protest. Before you go to a clinic to counter-protest the antis, you may want to call the clinic and ask if they'd appreciate it. They may like having you there, or they may not want the extra commotion.

The 40 days for lies starts today and ends on March 28th. God bless all of you that are going to help the clinics and patients. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anti-Choicers and Rape Apologists

When I first became interested in feminism, the topic that interested (and horrified) me the most was rape, and in particular, rape apologists. Rape apologists are the people who say things like "I'm against rape, but it really was her fault for wearing that skirt". They're the people who would rather blame victims of rape for being raped, as opposed to blaming rapists for raping people. Rape apologists have a long list of things that people, particularly women, should do/not do in order to not get raped. If these rules were to be made law, America would start looking a lot like some middle eastern countries. Rape apologists use rape as a tool to exert their dominance over women, and sadly, it's working.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the vast majority of rape apologists that I've met have been anti-choicers, and that many (most?) antis that I've met have been pro-rape. The similarities between rape apologists and anti-choicers are striking. Antis, like rape apologists, like to blame the woman for the pain that she's in. If she's hurting from an unwanted pregnancy, you'll hear them say "It's her fault, she shouldn't have been having sex". Rape apologists deny the pain of rape victims by saying that "It's just sex. Sex is natural". Anti-choicers do the same thing by claiming that, since pregnancy is natural, forcing a person through a pregnancy won't hurt hir. Anti-choicers use pregnancy, a beautiful and natural occurrence, as a weapon to keep women "in their place", just as rapists use sex, yet another beautiful and natural occurrence, to exert their dominance over people and to put them "in their place". Antis believe that the fetus has the right to use another person's body against hir will, much like the belief that people should always have access to a woman's body for sex, despite what she says. Their beliefs show a complete disregard for people's bodily autonomy and the right not to be violated. Rape apologists and anti-choicers just don't get that sex and pregnancy are both beautiful. Forced sex and forced pregnancy are not.

If you try to discuss the subject of pregnancies that resulted from rape with an anti, you're not likely to hear a lot of sympathy coming from their side. Whenever I try to have this discussion, the antis are never able to sympathize with the women. It's always about the fetus for them. They'll include both the rapist and the fetus into the discussion by saying something like "It's not the baby's fault that its father was a rapist!", but there will be no mention of the person CARRYING the fetus. Rape victims are invisible to them. They speak of us as if we're objects that feel no pain.

Now, if you're lucky, the anti MIGHT acknowledge a rape victim's existence by saying that she can just "give the kid up for adoption". This is just another way to ignore the pain that the person carrying the fetus might go through. I've never been pregnant, but I'm willing to bet that pregnancy is no cakewalk. I can't imagine how some people may feel when they get pregnant as a result of rape. Giving the child up for adoption doesn't mean that you don't have to go through 9 months of pregnancy. It won't erase the trauma. The abortion issue isn't just about the nine months of pregnancy, or just about the responsibility for the child afterwards. It's about the whole picture. Pro-choicers don't ignore some people's pain by narrowing the scope. If an anti isn't trying to make rape victims completely invisible, then s/he will most certainly try to make hir pain invisible.

Rape victims are invisible to a lot of people. Most people won't hear our voices. Most people don't even know what rape is, beyond the idea of a young, pretty cis girl being attacked and raped in a dark alley. Anti-choicers neglect us, because they know that hearing us out is detrimental to their political agenda. They know that listening to our voices can't possibly benefit their agenda, so they ignore us. It seems like they'll hurt anyone and everyone, as long as they get their way.

I've had a lot of triggering conversations with antis about this subject. Their complete disregard for the experience and emotions of rape victims horrifies me. It's made me come to the realization that, if we were to let them win, the rape culture would win, too. It wouldn't be just the right to choose that would be flushed down the drain. Other rights would go, as well. Any right that has to do with protecting our bodily autonomy will be destroyed. Anti-choicers and rape apologists have similar beliefs and goals and, in a sense, they make perfect partners in crime.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Mother's Right to Choice

"What if your mom had aborted you?"

If you're involved or ever going to be involved in debate with anti-choicers, this talking point is bound to come up at least once. It is yet another emotionally charged point that's most likely coming from an anti that won't bother to listen to your answer, anyway. It's also full of crap.

Seriously, I don't even know where to begin with this one. I'm pro-choice because I care about people, I really do. I care about pregnant people. I care about their right to choose. I also love my mom. Of all people, I'm going to stand up for her rights, first. What makes these people think that I want all people to have reproductive rights EXCEPT for my mom? I know this is hard for some antis to believe, but it's not always all about you. It's not about me. It's about my mom, my cousins, my aunts, my best friends.. It's about everyone BUT me.

What if my mother HAD chosen abortion when she was pregnant with me? The truth is, I wouldn't really care. I wouldn't have the potential to care. Why don't anti-choicers ask us what would have happened if our parents chose to stay up and watch TV instead of having sex? What if my parents never met? What about all of those brothers and sisters I would have had if my parents had children back to back? Isn't it wrong to deprive those potential children of life? Shouldn't we force people to have children back to back, so we won't be depriving anyone of life?

If you ever debate with antis, you're going to be bombarded with a myriad of stupid arguments. This is just one of them. Be prepared.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Living In A Rape Culture

You know you live in a rape culture when all of your "friends" still hang out with your rapist, even though they know what happened to you.

You know you live in a rape culture when, upon telling someone about your rape experience, they reply by saying "What's the problem? It's just sex"

You know you live in a rape culture when it's not really considered "rape" if you were wearing revealing clothing, involved in sex work, on a date, married, not carrying pepper spray, living by yourself, walking alone at night, passed out or asleep, flirting with your rapist prior to the rape, wearing your hair the wrong way, wearing the wrong shoes, not loud enough when resisting your rapist, not threatened at gunpoint, not a virgin, walking "suggestively" or otherwise carrying yourself in a "flirtatious" manner, drunk, not trained in self defense, raped in a way that does not involve intercourse, or doing anything that involves leaving the house.

You know you live in a rape culture when rape is portrayed as humorous in our movies and our music.

You know you live in a rape culture when, almost 100% of the time, the victim is blamed for the rape, as opposed to the rapist. We don't teach people not to rape. We teach people not to get raped.

You know you live in a rape culture when "no" is understood to mean "wait a few minutes, then try again."

You know you live in a rape culture when every other porn video that you find features someone being assaulted or raped.

You know you live in a rape culture when, upon talking to someone about those videos, they reply by saying "What's the big deal? It's all staged."

You know you live in a rape culture when your "friends" start making rape jokes, and a victim in that crowd of "friends" can only stand by and pretend to laugh, because s/he will be shamed into silence if s/he speaks up.

You know you live in a rape culture when 1 in 33 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, along with 1 in 6 women.

You know you live in a rape culture when even children are blamed for their own rapes.

You know you live in a rape culture when people think that only pretty cis girls get raped. "Ugly" people, men, and trans women are hardly ever mentioned.

You know you live in a rape culture when, if a woman consents to sex and then withdraws consent later on, it's not really rape.

You know you live in a rape culture when most people think of rape as a pretty young girl being attacked by a stranger and raped in some back alley, when in reality the majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

You know you live in a rape culture when people still use the term "gray rape".

You know you live in a rape culture when, if you're a survivor, you can't live through one god damn day without someone ripping open your wounds.

I was raped when I was 14. It was years ago, and I still wake up in the middle of the night crying. I love life, and I find happiness in every single day. But, in every day, I find anguish because of a society that just won't get it. Please, let's end the rape culture.