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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Let’s talk about the misogyny involved in this weekend’s shooting.

25 May

By now you’ve heard about the shootings in Isla Vista, California. You’ve heard about Elliot Rodger, the “lonely”, “spurned”, shooter. Perhaps you’ve even watched his chilling YouTube videos.

In the past few hours, you’ve started to hear about how women on Twitter are up in arms, proclaiming #YesAllWomen. This hashtag came on strong and fierce, and has quickly caught the attention of major media outlets, even over this holiday weekend.

Picture of a candle

This shooting was a terrifying, tragic incident.

This incident is a terrifying, sobering reminder of the ways in which men’s sense of entitlement to women’s time, attention, and bodies often leads to violence. It is something almost every woman has thought about. Every time we turn down a guy in a bar, every time we endure a catcall, every time we say “no” to a second date, a part of us is worried about violence, about retribution.

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May is International Masturbation Month!

23 May

Ok – here goes. A post that is going to make some people uncomfortable and make some people blush, and is definitely going to get some weird Google searches sent my way.

Today, we’re going to talk about masturbating. Particularly, about girls masturbating.

Because let’s face it – that’s something we don’t really talk about. Everybody knows that boys masturbate (even though we usually say “jerk off” or some other slang term. The word “masturbate” does sound kind of clinical and unfun). Boys’ masturbating is considered totally normal. It’s the subject of jokes (see “American Pie” and pretty much every comedy in that genre) and awkward PSAs. But girls’ masturbating? Rarely mentioned.


Comedy gold.

Our attitudes towards female masturbation are probably rooted in many other cultural attitudes about women and sexuality.

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Confessions of a former “cool girl”

15 May

I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the archetype of the “cool girl” these days, mostly in regards to Jennifer Lawrence, but also Mila Kunis and Olivia Wilde. The trope is nothing new; this fantastic Buzzfeed article traces its history. I’m particularly interested in the archetype and the issues surrounding it because I was once, briefly, a “cool girl”.

Now, let’s be clear. I am not claiming that I’ve ever been cool. Those of you who know me IRL know better than that. I’m talking about the archetype, which is famously described in Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl (a book I still haven’t read because I have a pathological aversion to reading, watching, or listening to anything while it’s still culturally relevant).

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding.”

The cool girl never nags, or "just wants one" of your chili fries, because she orders a giant order for herself.

This pretty much sums up the media image of Jennifer Lawrence, who smokes weed (allegedly), claims to hate exercise & diets, and speaks often about how much she loves to eat. She’s the kind of celebrity that everyone wants to be best friends with, because she seems fun, laid-back, and low-maintenance. And, of course, because she’s hot. Continue reading

Guest Post! We need to take street harassment seriously.

10 May

Today I am SUPER excited to feature a guest post from the brilliant Sarah, one of my most awesome former students and a kickass feminist.


Sarah wrote this editorial for a New York Times contest, and as much as I’m a little bitter that she didn’t win, I’m glad that I can post it here for you. Click below for her article.

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