Skip

How Abortion Used To Be
April 15, 2012 12:49 PM   Subscribe


 
Amazing how much we've lost in the last thirty years: looks like we're headed back to back-alleys and coathangers.
posted by easily confused at 1:25 PM on April 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


The arc of the moral universe is long, but it curves slowly toward... um... sigh....
posted by entropone at 1:33 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amazing how much we've lost in the last thirty years:

1978 was not a golden age of anything.

There are millions of legal abortions carried out every year in the United States where no one is called slut and this anecdote from 1978 cannot be remarkable in that regard. It seems to me only a plea of how it might be for everyone.
posted by three blind mice at 1:38 PM on April 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


And there is no comment section, so nobody will today, either. Blessed be.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:43 PM on April 15, 2012 [18 favorites]


I wonder if nobody would have called her a slut had she not been married, used contraception, already had children, professed to love babies, and had her husband not supported her abortion.

Not taking issue with her point, just that there seems to be a narrative emerging that abortion should be legal and accessible because the women who seek abortions are of high enough moral standards to deserve them. Which shouldn't be the argument. That's like saying black teenagers shouldn't be shot because they're good kids and all they're doing is getting Skittles and tea. No. Black teenagers shouldn't be shot even if they aren't good kids, even if they're sullen and stoned and shoplifting. And abortion should be legal even if the women who seek them are sluts and single and they already had an abortion last year.
posted by headnsouth at 1:44 PM on April 15, 2012 [186 favorites]


Nobody called you a slut then, but they're calling you one now.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:48 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


headnsouth: Given the framing around abortion now, where it's a shameful thing, I think there's a lot of value to more women who have had abortions to come forward and talk about their experiences. I think the "high enough moral standards" thing is a reaction to the framing from the antiabortion/forced-childbirth people who seem to be using abortion restrictions as a way to punish women for having sex.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


So, yes. Total anecdote. Maybe there were a great number of women called sluts back then too, and she just got lucky. Or maybe her being married etc. etc. saved her. The point is, she's pregnant and doesn't want to be, but:
All I had to do was call the clinic and make an appointment. I don’t have to be ashamed or terrified, because brave women before me fought to make abortion legal, have gone public with their stories of shame and terror and made sure that no woman ever again has to die from a back-alley abortion or bear an unwanted child.
No mandatory ultrasounds. No pickets, no fetus pictures, none of that bullshit. Yet every single day I go by our local Planned Parenthood there are both of those things, and many times I drove by the old women's health clinic that lost funding and was shut down it was the same thing, despite the fact that they didn't even provide abortion services there.

Insurance even reimbursed her the cost of the abortion. Jesus, I can't even imagine that.

I just spoke with my mother yesterday about how far back it seems we're headed. I wasn't even alive for any of the major progress (I was born in 84) but it's really painful and frustrating to see it slipping away, and especially because it seems like it's going so easily.

I'm really, really glad Mrs. Heath wrote this. We need to hear more like this. I want to hear from more grandmothers who weren't called sluts when they exercised their rights then, and shouldn't be called sluts now (although I don't actually trust certain people not to call them that). I want more people to draw attention to how much worse off we are now, because I feel like anyone who isn't keenly aware of this is either not paying attention or in denial. I want people to remind women of what it like before abortions were legal, and what the climate was like for women after it was made legal. And how far that's backtracked. We need to hear from everyone.

Leading up to the 2008 election my grandmother and I had a discussion in which I told her that I was concerned about the way the country was headed particularly with respect to women's and reproductive rights, all as part of our discussion on our own voting decisions. She told me about how horrible things were before Roe v. Wade, about how she'd had friends who had nearly died, and said with absolute certainty that our country would never end up that way again. I told her I wasn't sure, and that I thought we were heading back that direction, and that I sure as shit wouldn't be voting for a party that seems to put no value in my health as a woman. She still voted Republican. I'd like to say I wonder if she regrets her earlier stance, but I'm fairly certain she doesn't.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 1:56 PM on April 15, 2012 [31 favorites]


I agree with three blind mice. All was not sugar and roses back in 1978. Women in small communities who had abortions were certainly stigmatized for having made that decision. Was the process as visible as it is now, no, it was very, very subtle and just as hateful.

I'm glad her experience was as it was, and comparing her experience to that of those that are shamed makes a contrast everyone should see. But, the difference wasn't the presence or absence of the shaming, it was about the manner in which it was done.
posted by HuronBob at 2:13 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


No running the gantlet between pickets shouting at me that I’m a murderer, no fear that someone will throw a bomb.

I completely appreciate what she's trying to say, but even in 1978 there was the threat of a bomb. Maybe she just didn't know it. There are 7 incidents of bombing/arson listed on the NAF website for 1978. Four the previous year.

However, it seems that the 1970s and 1980s did not have any extreme violence (started in 1997), murders and shooting (started in 1993), butyric acid attacks (started in 1991), or anthrax attacks (started in 1998).

Sad that my thought was, "Wow, she published this under her own, real name."
posted by Houstonian at 2:14 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


rmd1023: I know that. My point is that the framing is wrong. The pro-choice side needs to reframe the argument. There just shouldn't be a public backstory necessary at all if the pro-choice's point is that it's between a woman and her doctor.

And that the only pro-choice stories being told are sanitized ones like this one, prefaced by disclaimers that scream "but I'm really a good person, really I am!" then the pro-choice crowd will lose the argument every single time. Because all it takes is one facebook photo or one person who dated her before she got married or one ex-friend with an axe to grind or one mistake she made when she was a teenager to invalidate that narrative. And if you look hard enough, every pregnant woman has done something that, spun just right, would invalidate her narrative if she had to justify her abortion. Even the squeaky-clean ones (maybe this one) are vulnerable to the "oh you only wanted an abortion for convenience!" argument. To which I say so what! Take the public backstory necessary out of the discussion altogether.

Again I'm not taking issue with the author of the opinion piece. Her story is valid and her point was that she wants every woman seeking an abortion to be able to have the abuse-free experience she had. So I appreciate that.
posted by headnsouth at 2:17 PM on April 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


A woman I used to date* had an abortion in Arizona in the 1980s and it was just like what was described in the article. Arizona: A state where in 2012 they redefined life as the first day of the woman's last period instead of the reality-based date of conception.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Colorado River, my state senator introduced legislation to allow non-doctors to perform the non-surgical abortions. Although the bill probably won't make it into law, it sort of shows the very different view of accessibility to abortion happening in this country.

What the restriction on abortion means is there will be like it was pre-Roe. Women who could afford it would go to where it was legal and possible. Poor women had the kid or would get an unsafe back alley thing.

Last Christmas I talked to my mom about abortion after we saw a news story about the crazy direction we seem to be heading. She talked about the time pre-Roe (in her case late 60s early 70s) when her friends would get abortion and how from her place in rural AZ the only choice would be to drive to California to find a sympathetic safe way to get an abortion. Without that access, she'd have a harder time and some of those methods would be quite dangerous.

My biggest problem with the militant anti-abortion people (aside from their terrorism and shaming of women) is they don't see that fewer abortions happen when people use birth control. Abstinence only sex ed and sex purely for reproductive purposes doesn't work (see the seven billion people on our planet). If you don't want to have sex before marriage and only get it on for reproductive purposes, that's great. If you're against abortions in all cases and find yourself pregnant, go ahead and have the baby. Have legal abortion does not mean it is mandatory.

The current tact of the anti-abortion people seems to be to frame it as being all about the safety of the woman. That AZ law I linked to above has women's health in the title. The people framing the debate about the invasive ultrasound in Virginia completely base their talking points on it being all about the safety of the woman. An ultrasound means a safer medical procedure they say. I don't think anyone objects to situations where a doctor would find it necessary to do an ultrasound while doing an abortion, but showing the patient a photo has zero, zip, nada medical necessity. Fuck them.

*It wasn't' mine. It happened before I met her. I'm very pro-choice and would support her decision even it was mine. When she told me about the abortion I didn't suddenly think she was a slut or any different. If I were in her shoes, I'd do the same thing.
posted by birdherder at 2:19 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not taking issue with her point, just that there seems to be a narrative emerging that abortion should be legal and accessible because the women who seek abortions are of high enough moral standards to deserve them

Agree (as a cranky lady of fairly low moral character in all respects who had two abortions simply because she didn't want to carry a pregnancy to term), but the writer of that article isn't the one doing that framing, and I honor her experience and her candor and eloquence.

People did shout at me and call me names when I went for my abortions. Not "slut" as I recall, but "murderer" and similar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


All was not sugar and roses back in 1978. Women in small communities who had abortions were certainly stigmatized for having made that decision. Was the process as visible as it is now, no, it was very, very subtle and just as hateful.

You're missing the point. Of course abortion was controversial even after it was legalised, and the women who took that choice did run the risk of being stigmatised for it, just like it was here in Europe. Yet in Europe we don't have 24/7 protesters at abortion clinics, local politicians running on anti-abortion platforms or a huge well financed propaganda machinery against it. Worst you'll see in the Netherlands are some loons at the parliament building plus the occasional poster promising help to "mother and child" for those unexpectedly pregnant and thinking of abortion.

It's not that the US now is so much different from Europe or from what it was thirty years ago, but that there is a political movement/party that makes use of such social issues as abortion to whip up its base and has been stoking these flames for the last three decades. It's an artificial campaign that only exists because the Republican party can use it to win elections.

That's the difference this article illustrates.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:31 PM on April 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm glad this story is out there. I turned 11 in 1978 and remember that it wasn't all sunshine and roses, but there are ways in which things for women have really rolled back since then. Abortion is one of them. (and her insurance paid for it!)
posted by immlass at 2:31 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Abstinence only sex ed and sex purely for reproductive purposes doesn't work.

Nobody pushing this actually cares about that though. This is not about facts or what's best for women, it's about controlling women and using abortion, birth control and the slutty slutty sluts using them as weapons to get into power. It's sort of backfiring at the moment because the lunatics really have taken over the asylum in the Republican Party and all the craziness has escaped into the wild where normal voters can see it.

Meanwhile the Tories are attempting to import those culture warrior tactics into British politics (google Nadine "help, I'm being stalked by a voter asking questions at an election rally" Dorries if you want to be depressed), largely for the same reasons as the Republicans use them, to form a smokescreen while they're dismantling the welfare state.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:36 PM on April 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Frank Schaeffer, who was one of the architects of the US "Christian Right" movement's anti-abortion policies and strategies, has written very candidly about how these policies and strategies were constructed. In his memoirs Crazy for God and Sex, Mom, and God he gives pretty specific details of how he and others enlisted leading figures within Evangelical Christianity (Billy Graham, in particular) to engage with anti-abortion initiatives as a cause.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:45 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


The whole right-wing Christian raising Hell over abortion thing has gotten so old!
That said, I was in my teens during the 1970s and abortion was always controversial and always a tough decision for women.
I for one am glad it's legal and I do not want to ever see it made more difficult, or made illegal. In fact I more and more favor abortion on demand. It is absolutely no one else' business.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:56 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


in Europe we don't have 24/7 protesters at abortion clinics

I lived in Romania for a while and abortion was legal there despite the country being pretty Catholic. I asked about the dichotomy and they said that it was because it was basically illegal under the Ceaușescus who were trying to build a creepy Romanian nation so much so that they made pregnancy tests mandatory in the workplaces and gave women a hard time who were married and not conceiving. Birth control was illegal. So when the Ceaușescu regime fell and abortion became legal, people had it framed there as much more of a "Thing you probably don't want to do but it's your RIGHT to have accessible to you" in a way that you don't have as much unity about in the US. Even though a lot of people felt that abortion was, to them, at some level wrong that was totally distinguished from people's right to have them. It wasn't even a women's issue, really.

Romania as a whole, when I was there [a few years post Ceaușescu] was a weird place, sort of xenophobic and a little unclear about what was going to happen next so I found this little peek into the way they dealt with an issue that is really pretty touchy in the US sort of fascinating.
posted by jessamyn at 3:06 PM on April 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


three blind mice: "There are millions of legal abortions carried out every year in the United States where no one is called slut"

Perhaps not as such, but the state legislature in many states is sure to stick it's nose so far up the ass of abortion providers that even the patient can be absolutely certain that is precisely what the legislature is saying.

So yeah, maybe not the docs or the nurses, but the people standing outside protesting and the state legislature certainly are.

The worst part is the climate of fear the unchecked violence has established. In many small towns where there was only ever one doctor who would do abortions there is nobody else to take up the cause once he or she passes.
posted by wierdo at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody pushing this actually cares about that though. This is not about facts or what's best for women, it's about controlling women and using abortion, birth control and the slutty slutty sluts using them as weapons to get into power. It's sort of backfiring at the moment because the lunatics really have taken over the asylum in the Republican Party and all the craziness has escaped into the wild where normal voters can see it.

Exactly. I try to look at things rationally and when dealing with these irrational people I keep damaging my forehead from all the head palms.

Making abortions illegal or so restrictive it might as well be illegal will not stop abortion. Like all prohibitions based on morality (like alcohol prohibition in the past and the current drug prohibition) it just doesn't work. Women will still seek abortions and if they have the financial means they'll have a safe abortion, others might find underground safe providers, and others will go back to the barbaric days of coat hangers and worse.

I certainly hope that these candidates overplayed their hand. But it does seem that the whole anti-abortion movement is actually growing in parts of the country.
posted by birdherder at 3:22 PM on April 15, 2012


I've been battling the debate on the basic human rights of women to their own bodies and choice all weekend.
Taking away choice devalues the conscious decision women make to have babies, which should be a conscious choice, not punishment for birth control failure, accidents, having sex, or being forced to have children because you have been deemed too incompetent to make one's own life decisions.
I've been told all week by professors, grad students, random people, that my human value for having any effect on the future is all based on my ability to breed. Because my brain, my work, my contributions to society and science do not matter as much as using the resources one could use to raise an army or take care of lots of children that should be dedicated to raising my own child. And what flummoxes me is that no one is surprised by this attitude.
posted by provoliminal at 3:22 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


For Canadians, related: Motion 312 is a threat to women's right to choose. More information at the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

One opposing online petition is here: Oppose Motion 312 / Rejetez motion 312
posted by Decimask at 4:12 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


(posted because I only found out about it yesterday)
posted by Decimask at 4:15 PM on April 15, 2012


As a self-described Beaner Chick, I don't think I'll step foot in Arizona.
Stuff like this also reminds me of the number of childfree women I knew on Usenet who got tubal ligations within a year of the 2000 election. We saw the writing on the wall back then.
posted by Val_E_Yum at 4:18 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Insurance even reimbursed her the cost of the abortion. Jesus, I can't even imagine that.

Almost two-thirds of [US] insurance companies cover elective abortion to some degree.
posted by Majorita at 4:33 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given the framing around abortion now, where it's a shameful thing, I think there's a lot of value to more women who have had abortions to come forward and talk about their experiences.

It helped in France.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:52 PM on April 15, 2012


The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal

Abortion has traditionally been quite ok in Christianity. It's only in the last few years that it's been changed to a Bad Thing, but this change is never presented as a recent about-face. It sounds like part of that change was manipulative and politically expedient, but I'm curious how much of it was driven (or made possible) by medical advances.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:56 PM on April 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.

That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.

posted by -harlequin- at 4:57 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I may...

I can only offer anecdotal evidence, but I've never heard the word "slut" used to describe a woman getting an abortion except here and some feminist blogs, and I know hundreds of anti-abortion protesters and sympathizers. Usually the term "single mother" or "young mother" is used if the child is out of wedlock and the purpose of bringing it up at all is to encourage financial support of the women who need it (which is readily offered.) Some hard words are said about the doctors and coercive partners, but never the women.

Here's a short, famous passage from Proverbs that actually says pride and lying, which is what such talk is, are as bad as what abortion-providing doctors do:

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

posted by michaelh at 5:11 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


michaelh, I may not be parsing your comment correctly -- who are the prideful liars in your example?
posted by ndfine at 5:30 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I am being dim but are you suggesting that Proverbs offers a refutation to the assertion that life beings at conception? Are you really intimating that anti abortion campaigners who make this assertion are prideful liars? Because the whole of the anti abortion movement is predicated on precisely that assertion
posted by dmt at 5:34 PM on April 15, 2012


michaelh, I honestly don't know whether you're saying that the suggestion that some anti-choice activists call women seeking abortions "sluts" is a "false witness" (because I could literally bring in hundreds of links for you if you want) or if you are using the passage to suggest that attacking individual women for their choices is an un-Biblical strategy because it involves haughtiness, judging others, and stirring up dissension (with which I agree).
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:49 PM on April 15, 2012


Some hard words are said about the doctors and coercive partners

Because a woman never has any agency in these matters? Everyone I know who has had an abortion, myself included, chose for herself, without coercion.

Also, if abortion really is murder, why no hard words for the woman? There should be.
posted by gaspode at 6:01 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reproductive coercion is far more frequently used to get women pregnant against their will, it to force them to carry to term, than to cause women to terminate wanted pregnancies.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:21 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, dear. I meant that people who go around calling unwed mothers sluts are proud and lying. I can see the ambiguity there.
posted by michaelh at 6:24 PM on April 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Abortion has traditionally been quite ok in Christianity.

That's rather overstating the case. That the fetus was not traditionally seen as ensouled (or, at least, that the question was not one on which there was widespread accord in Christian teaching) does not mean that abortion was seen as hunky dory. Abortionists were seen as criminals in Christian societies long before the Happy Meal was invented.

That said, it is true that Protestants (and evangelicals in particular) were not very doctrinaire on the issue in mid-20th Century America. And it is fascinating how completely that history has been forgotten. Family Planning used to be something championed by the conservative Republican crowd. Nixon was the one to start that change.
posted by yoink at 6:33 PM on April 15, 2012


I asked about the dichotomy and they said that it was because it was basically illegal under the Ceaușescus who were trying to build a creepy Romanian nation so much so that they made pregnancy tests mandatory in the workplaces and gave women a hard time who were married and not conceiving.

A fantastic movie about abortion in that Romanian era is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Both a chilling look at the way things were and a fairly terrifying cautionary tale about the way things are going in the U.S.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 6:40 PM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying, michaelh!
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:53 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been told all week by professors, grad students, random people, that my human value for having any effect on the future is all based on my ability to breed. Because my brain, my work, my contributions to society and science do not matter as much as using the resources one could use to raise an army or take care of lots of children that should be dedicated to raising my own child. And what flummoxes me is that no one is surprised by this attitude.

Well, I'm appalled by that attitude, if it matters. And they're wrong. It's your body and your life and if you don't want to use either one to have children, that decision is yours alone, and it in no way affects your worth as a person.
posted by caryatid at 7:10 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


It can be the case that abortion is the result of shaming or pressuring. That may affect my opinion, leading to hesitancy about completely supporting abortion on demand. Interviewing and counseling might be painful but I'm afraid of the possibility that too many women are shamed into having an abortion, rather than the other way around. Since we are concerned about women being called sluts, we ought to think about protecting those who may feel that abortion is the only way to escape being called sluts (single mothers), un-loving (those who put up their newborn for adoption--see the wanted adds on this post), or incompetent at the all-important skill of producing a male.
(My experience may be rare, and this is quite separate from arguments about fetal suffering.)
posted by TreeRooster at 7:35 PM on April 15, 2012


I don't think any pro-choice activists would disagree that nobody should be coerced into having an abortion by anyone, for any reason, TreeRooster. However, the "interview and counseling" programs mandated in laws in US states were formulated with the specific intent of discouraging women who actively want to terminate a pregnancy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:55 PM on April 15, 2012


headnsouth: I think you just discovered the opposite of thread-shitting: I dub it thread-jerking.
posted by GIFtheory at 8:46 PM on April 15, 2012


I disagree that this makes it sounds like this type of abortion is "okay" rather than other types because of, you know, good reasons. There is definitely the perception by anti-abortion types that the people having abortions are young women who are doing it because they're irresponsible. I'm sure that's why "my abortion is the moral abortion" mindset abounds with a lot of anti-abortion types - because they're not the irresponsible type, and therefore shouldn't be punished like all those other abortion seeking sluts.

Hearing of all types of people getting abortions for all reasons I really believe will help make the case that someone getting an abortion isn't an other - that there are a world of personal situations that would lead to someone choosing to have an abortion. There is a profound lack of empathy from those against abortion, and hearing real stories from people that could be their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and daughters is only bound to help.

Lately, I've been arguing about women's rights and abortions on facebook with friends and friends of friends. It's a lot like yelling at a brick wall. Except in one respect. A lot of the people arguing aren't exactly internet strangers, and many don't have a chip on their shoulder about this particular issue, so I'm frequently hearing off-the-cuff opinions - many that are obviously not well thought out, which makes them different from many of the opinions I see in news articles, in forums, etc . . . Because they're more about the persons gut instinct and I can see the source of their feelings on this particular matter.

What I've found surprised me a bit. I realize this is just a small sample, but I was surprised to see that a majority opposed abortion but were pro-birth control. I realize its a small sample, but I wonder how true that is for the people who are voting against abortion? Pro-birth control and anti-abortion at least kind of makes sense. I don't agree with it, but it's at least internally consistant with the belief that abortion is the worse possible outcome and should be avoided at all cost. I was surprised because it's not reflected by the voices in politics and the media that are anti-choice and anti-birth control.

But back to the article at hand. None of the people I've discussed it with believe it's possible that the woman seeking an abortion is anything other than a "party girl" (dog whistle for slut) or someone that is just casually having abortions without any thought or regret. "Eh, babies are hard, let's kill that bastard!" The possibility that other situations, especially like the one described, were impossible for them to comprehend and acknowledge. In their minds, the people that have abortions are bad, irresponsible people (who deserve to be punished). In that case, yeah, I absolutely think this kind of humanizing of people who seek abortions is important. I agree that anyone's reason for abortion is none of anyone else's business. However, before anyone is going to change someone's mind on abortion, they need to see that it's not "bad people" getting abortions, it's everyone, and they all have real, valid reasons for doing it, even if those reasons are None Of Your Fucking Business.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:33 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


[One comment edited as per poster, for privacy concerns, and a couple of responding comments deleted. Additionally (different commenter), if you want to discuss bible positions on this issue, please go ahead and spell out what you are indicating as opposed to just quoting biblical passages. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:24 AM on April 16, 2012


I wonder if nobody would have called her a slut had she not been married, used contraception, already had children, professed to love babies, and had her husband not supported her abortion.

Most abortions are performed for women who are already mothers. This stat doesn't get much press as it doesn't make a very good talking point for the anti-choice crowd.

From Policy Almanac:

For women for whom data on previous live births was adequately reported, 39% of women who obtained legal induced abortions were known to have had no previous live births, and 86% had had two or fewer previous live births. The abortion ratio was highest for women who had three previous live births (285 per 1,000 live births) and lowest for women who had one previous live birth (194 per 1,000 live births).

86% of abortions performed for women who already had kids. And yet, the anti-choice rhetoric is about sluts who can't keep their legs together wanting an easy way to avoid responsibility.
posted by sonika at 6:03 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone linked to this blog from an abortion clinic escort in a recent AskMe. I found it fascinating and am glad there are people out there attempting to reduce the chaos for patients.
posted by salvia at 7:25 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked this article, primarily as a reminder that sometimes we backslide as a society, and we don't often realize it. Sort of like discovering that, yes, high speed rail came into public use in 1963, and even the Pioneer Zephyr averaged 77mph from Denver to Chicago in 1934 (top speed: 112.5mph.)

Not that everything in the past was good, but it is good to have a reminder of what we've lost, so we can ask the question: why can't we have that again?
posted by davejay at 8:40 AM on April 16, 2012


Back in 1997, my then-partner and I (and my daughters, then 6 and 4) moved to Greenville, SC, not realizing at first that the house we'd rented shared a backyard fence with the only abortion clinic in the state. It didn't take long to realize that there were picketers there regularly, any day that wasn't too cold or rainy, and figure out why.

It being just a few months since we felt we'd had a narrow escape from death at the hands of a radical anti-abortionist (we'd been at The Otherside, my favorite bar, just days before Eric Robert Rudolph bombed it, just after bombing abortion clinics), my partner was terrified that these picketers or their allies would bomb this clinic yards from where we slept, and that if they knew there were queers living behind the abortion clinic, that might just add to their motivation.

I wasn't as frightened as she was (call me naive), and used to watch the picketers from our back porch. One day, I was spotted, and a picketer (a sixtyish woman dressed in purple from head to toe) walked up to the house to speak to us. All four of us came out on the front porch to see what she wanted, and she reeled off a spiel trying to get us to support her cause, presenting me with gory pamphlets featuring fetuses in varying states, and began to get gory in her speech as well, until I let her know I didn't think that was appropriate in front of small children. It was apparent to me that she thought it was acceptable to scare small children with such, which seemed likely a tactic many of them used with their own children. I so wanted to tell her exactly what I thought of her and her fellow picketers and their cause, but didn't out of concern for our safety and respect for my partner's fears.

We moved out of the house in less than a year of moving in, and not long thereafter the clinic closed its doors. I wonder if the women of SC have anywhere to get a legal abortion without traveling to Atlanta anymore. These picketers are absolutely convinced that their cause is just, and too many of them secretly or not-so-secretly condone the violence carried out against clinics, doctors, and clinic workers, all in the supposed name of saving lives, but really in the service of keeping women in their place.
posted by notashroom at 8:41 AM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone linked to this blog from an abortion clinic escort in a recent AskMe. I found it fascinating and am glad there are people out there attempting to reduce the chaos for patients.

I have a great admiration for the people who are able to do that time and time again and still remain calm and non-violent. I would be going for a baseball bat the second time around myself. These protests are nothing more than terrorism under the guise of free speach.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:52 AM on April 16, 2012


« Older Honor your enemy   |   Photographic experiment shooting clouds everyday Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post