Abortion myths vs. realities: Part 2

13 Aug

Here we go – part two in my abortion facts vs. myths series.

If you missed the first part, here’s the background: several months ago I wrote a post criticizing the methods and arguments of anti-choice protesters. Last month, some members of an anti-choice group that I’d counter-protested found the post and began to comment on it. I got fed up with their lies and misinformation and decided to write a fact-based reply to some of the points that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

Just to reiterate my point from the introduction to part one of this post – I’m not going to argue morals here. I’m not arguing right or wrong, or personhood, or anything that is a matter of opinion. I am simply addressing the false and misleading claims that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

factsThe quotes in italics are from the comments on my original post. You can go back to that comment section if you’d like a better idea of the context.

(Please excuse the inconsistencies in spelling; I’m American so I spell things the American way, but many of the sites I’m quoting from are English. You say fertilisation, I say fertilization!).

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Monday Listicle Round-Up

11 Aug

It’s a Monday morning in August, so I’m not going to even try to be clever in this intro. Here are some feminist-y listicles to ease you into the week!

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Rape culture in real life: Poster edition

7 Aug

The other day, a woman I work with (Hi Sarah!) asked me what I thought about the controversy surrounding an NHS anti-rape poster that bore the words “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking”. The poster features a disturbing photograph of a woman curled up on the ground, her hand between her thighs, obviously in pain.

I'm really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I'm safer if I'm drunk?

I’m really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I’m safer if I’m drunk?

A petition on change.org is calling for the NHS to remove this poster. The petition calls the poster “a blatant and appalling case of victim blaming by our own Government, putting the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator.”

When the department of health was notified of the petition last week, their response was less than encouraging; they refused to apologize on the grounds that this particular poster campaign has not been in use for seven years.  While it was a bit of a relief for me to learn that this was an outdated campaign, they definitely missed a chance to send a message to the public that is more in line with the NHS’s stated position that “If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator.”

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I don’t need feminism because… oh. Wait. I do.

29 Jul

Several months ago, a friend sent me a link to the blog “Women Against Feminism,” figuring I’d appreciate its ridiculousness. I followed them for a while, even attempting to reblog and respond to several of the posts, before the overwhelming exasperation and rage I experienced every time one came up on my dash was just too much, and I had to unfollow them.

At the time, I thought about blogging about the posts, but never got around to it. However, the blog has now been discovered by Buzzfeed and is getting some online attention, so I figured now is as good a time as any to weigh in!

I'm going to argue that if you're unironically using the phrase "hysterical hipster whore", then you probably need feminism.

I’m going to argue that if you’re unironically using the phrase “hysterical hipster whore”, then you probably need feminism.

It doesn’t take long to get infuriated by the blog.

Some of their points are just lame. “I’m not a feminist because I love men”? We’ve been over that.

“I’m not a feminist because I believe in the equality of all people”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of what feminism is about.

“I like it when men hold doors for me and give up their seats for me on the Tube”? May I introduce you to benevolent sexism?

“The wage gap is a myth”? Nope.

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Abortion myths vs realities. Part 1.

19 Jul

Ok – so, several months ago I posted a bit of a rant about anti-choice protesters, outlining my frustration with their hypocrisy and with the ways in which they choose to act on their disapproval of abortion.

Early last week, that link must have been shared on the page of an anti-choice group, because I’ve gotten a lot of comments from anti-choice people. These comments have ranged from attempts to provide information and links to demonstrate that abortion is dangerous to name-calling and straight-up lies.

It’s easy to forget how easy I have it sometimes as a feminist; all of my close friends are brilliant critical thinkers and feminists, so I rarely encounter people who hold strong anti-feminist views. I was stunned by the inconsistencies, logical fallacies, and factual inaccuracies that were being shouted at me (often, while simultaneously calling me and the pro-choice side liars).

This is all I could think of when accused of lying by anti-choicers.

This is all I could think of when accused of lying by anti-choicers.

I tried to reply to some of the comments calmly and rationally, but quickly realized that that was not a practical or efficient response. However, the fact that they were using actual untruths as “evidence” for their agenda was something I couldn’t let go. My poor friends had to listen to me talking about those comments for days.

I’m not really sure why I’ve spent so much time researching this post. It’s certainly not because I think I’ll change anyone’s minds. I know that’s hopeless. Research has shown “misinformation is ‘sticky’ and is often resistant to correction” and that being presented with facts or research to the contrary can actually strengthen people’s incorrect beliefs (source).

It’s also not to inform my regular readers; I’m sure most of you realize that legal abortion is a safe procedure, and are probably kind of sick of having the same arguments over and over (I know I am).

I think it’s because of how scared it makes me that the people who are spreading these lies are gaining traction; in America alone “In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 antiabortion measures, including previability abortion bans, unwarranted doctor and clinic regulations, limits on the provision of medication abortion and bans on insurance coverage of abortion. However, 2013 was not even the year with the greatest number of new state-level abortion restrictions, as 2011 saw 92 enacted; 43 abortion restrictions were enacted by states in 2012” (source).

The number of myths and lies about abortion is probably in the bazillions (that’s a rough estimate). In order to figure out which ones to address in this post, I went back to the comments on the original post. I’ve pulled direct quotes from the people who commented to give you a feel for their arguments. If you want to go back to the original post to get an idea of the context of the comments, go for it.

I’m not going to argue morality here. I’m not arguing religion or personhood. I’m just talking facts.

(Also, I’m going to have to divide this into a couple of posts, because there is a LOT of information.)

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Friday morning links round-up!

11 Jul

Sometimes, when it’s hot and humid, you don’t have the energy to read (or – ahem – write) a long, solid post. So here’s your July round-up of links to lists! A lot of these are applicable to some of my older posts, so I’ve included some links to those.

Abstinence-only education

Abstinence-only education

1. As many of you know, I’ve been getting some anti-choice people commenting in my post about anti-choice protests from a few months ago. The first two items on this list of 8 things America gets terribly wrong about sex help to explain why I feel the way I do!

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The Hobby Lobby ruling: why it’s hard to be rational sometimes.

2 Jul

If you’ve spent any time at all on feminist-leaning websites, blogs, or twitter feeds in the past few days (and I’m assuming you have because, well, you’re here) you know that a lot of people are outraged and scared by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Hobby Lobby, the Christian-run craft store, does not have to cover female employees’ contraception in its health insurance. The company cited its “sincerely held religious belief” that since contraception can cause abortion (what???), it is wrong, and the Supreme Court ruled that the company should not have to violate that belief by covering its employees’ contraception.

Click the photo for the source.

Click the photo for the source.

Now, the list of reasons for outrage here is a long one. First of all, I find it reprehensible that the Supreme Court allowed the “belief” that contraception causes abortion to be used as a reason Hobby Lobby shouldn’t be forced to pay for it. Contraception does not cause abortion. Contraception does not cause abortion. This is fact. Scientific. Medical. Fact. But because someone “believed” that it does, nobody is allowed to deny that.

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Why can’t I wear a bindi to the music festival? Looking at cultural appropriation.

24 Jun

If you pay any attention to celebrity gossip sites, you know that Kim and Kanye threw a Coachella-themed birthday party for little North West this past weekend. However, what a lot of people are talking about (besides North’s outfit and the fact that there are pictures of Kanye actually smiling) is a picture of Khloe Kardashian, Kim’s sister, wearing a giant Native American headdress as she sits next to a tipi.


As this picture comes on the tail of actual Coachella, with its legions of white girls sporting bindis, I figured this was a good time to talk about cultural appropriation.

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“Boys don’t get love” – on baby clothes and gender

18 Jun

As many of you know, I work as a nanny for the best 2-year-old ever (no offense to your 2-year-old, of course, but you know what I mean). The other day, her mother and I sat down to sort through her old baby clothes to see which ones would be appropriate for her impending little brother, and which should be given away.

Gender neutral baby shower gift

Giving yellow and green when you don’t know the sex of a baby has become almost a cliche.

I’ll bet you can see where this is going.

As we sorted the clothes, we got more and more frustrated at how obviously gendered they were, and at how strictly (we perceived) that society would police the way that the impending baby would be dressed.

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Book review: Wintergirls

8 Jun

I recently came across a book review of How to Disappear Completely and an interview with author Kelly Osgood at the Reel Girl blog.

Of the book, the reviewer states: “Osgood attempts to do what no other eating disorder memoir I’ve ever read has done: she de-glamorizes anorexia and exposes it as the ugly, stuck, boring, waste-pool that it is.”

Cover of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

That description reminded me of another book about anorexia that I’d read years ago – Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson – so I figured I’d re-read it to see what I thought.

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