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Anti-Abortion Legislators Get Flak

by Louise Melling

April 15, 2012

For nearly two years, legislatures across the country have proposed and passed an unprecedented number of laws aimed at restricting a woman's access to critical reproductive health services. All too often, anti-choice state politicians claim they only want to ensure that women are making informed choices. But if they were honest, they would have to admit their real goal is to restrict access to abortion, contraception and more -- no matter the consequences to women's lives.

They would also have to admit that their real goal is to infantilize women and stigmatize abortion. They press for

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Anti-Abortion Legislators Get Flak
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Volunteer Abortion Funds Ramp Up in New York, Nationally

by Mary Lou Greenberg

April 10, 2012

When two Barnard college students arrived to escort patients into a New York City abortion clinic one winter day in 2001, they had no idea their experience would affect the lives of over 700 women. And that number grows daily.

As the students, Irene Xanthoudakis and Lauren Porsch, welcomed women to the clinic, they noticed that one woman and her male partner kept going in and out. The couple looked tense and kept lighting up cigarettes. Xanthoudakis and Porsch struck up a conversation with them and found out they didn't have insurance that would cover an abortion procedure and had come to the clinic hoping the woman could get Medicaid. But she …


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Volunteer Abortion Funds Ramp Up in New York, Nationally
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Reproductive Rights: Sinking or Swimming?

by Charlotte Taft

April 3, 2012

As I write this, I'm not sure whether reproductive rights activists are in a boat that is sinking, or on the brink of the next chapter of transformation for women and the planet.

I'm voting for transformation. But my feet are getting wet. And I am asking some not-very-useful questions, like "Where did we go wrong?" I have taken to wearing goddess jewelry from the 1970s and quoting some of my favorite feminists. I know that the next chapter of the women's movement will not be a copy of the last one. But I don't want the fierce energy of the second wave to be lost. Perhaps when someone finally rediscovers Loretta Lynn singing that Mommy's got

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Reproductive Rights: Sinking or Swimming?

Fighting Back with Sperm Personhood and Viagra Limitations

by Ann Rose

March 28, 2012

Since 1976 when the Hyde Amendment passed, I've been hopelessly annoyed with the pro-choice movement for always being on the defensive. We are always fighting insane bills cooked up by the anti-abortion movement and never advancing our own agenda.

Thankfully, in retaliation for the states passing more anti-abortion legislation in 2011 than ever, some creative state legislators are now introducing their own tongue-in-cheek legislation to highlight the absurdity of anti-abortion personhood, waiting period and see-your-sonogram proposals.

The legislature in Mississippi is currently trying to legislate fetal "personhood" -- only …


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Fighting Back with Sperm Personhood and Viagra Limitations

Reproductive Health Locked Up

by Janna Frieman

March 22, 2012

In January, a woman prematurely gave birth to twins in her cell within 24 hours of entering a Pennsylvania county jail. Despite the fact that she was known to be pregnant, and despite the fact that this was obviously a high-risk pregnancy due to drug use (detected during intake) and a lack of prenatal care, when the new inmate complained of nausea and vomiting, she was only cursorily checked and sent back to her cell. Jim Baylor, a nurse at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility where the incident occurred, was interviewed on a local news radio station. When asked about why the woman was sent back to her cell when she was still in distress, he had this to say …


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Reproductive Health Locked Up
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Violence is the Unifying Narrative of Anti-Abortion Chatter

by David Burress

March 14, 2012

The right-wing anti-abortion movement's every argument against abortion has a coherent pro-violent subtext. There are no exceptions.

Does that sound implausible? It certainly surprised me. But that's what I found after close reading of internet anti-abortion rhetoric, especially organizational websites and blogs that support criminalization of abortion.

I reached that conclusion by looking at narratives, which is to say the concrete stories of human beings in action implied by abstract rhetoric or theoretical arguments. In the end, I found only one single narrative: the fetal rescue narrative. It is used in a highly disciplined and …


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Violence is the Unifying Narrative of Anti-Abortion Chatter

Help Global Victims of War Rape: End Anti-Abortion Restrictions

by Sarah Morison

March 8, 2012

In August 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unprecedented visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC) to meet with victims of war rape. She pledged $17 million in aid, reflecting a new level of U.S. commitment and concern for girls and women targeted by the enemy for sexual assaults.

Yet, despite being a longtime proponent of access to safe abortion, she did not disclose a dirty little secret – that USAID policy, which falls under her jurisdiction, prohibits all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments and humanitarian aid providers from receiving U.S. funds if they provide abortion counseling or services. The …


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Help Global Victims of War Rape: End Anti-Abortion Restrictions

Professionals and Activists: Nursing Students for Choice

by Erika M. Staub RN, PHN and Jacqui R. Quetal RN, FNP

February 28, 2012

Nurses are trusted professionals, and the importance of being good listeners, great teachers and educated providers is stressed from the start. Because of the key role that nurses play in patient care, it's no wonder that the idea of organizing nurses and nursing students around reproductive health and choice drew renewed attention in the past several years.

Although it's well understood that nurses are advocates and educators for patients, how would nurses be able to improve sexual and reproductive care when we ourselves were not getting information in our nursing school curricula about condoms, birth control or abortion? Where would we even …


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Professionals and Activists: Nursing Students for Choice
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Being A Jane: Past, Present and Future Tense

by Judith Arcana

February 16, 2012

I’m a Jane. Another Jane said – when she heard me use the past tense a few years ago – No. Once a Jane, always a Jane; it’s not something that passes. We are Janes.

Immediately, I knew she was right. I’ve been dealing with abortion, one way or another, since October, 1970, when I went to a meeting in a small neighborhood church and joined the Abortion Counseling Service of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (most often called JANE – though mostly called “the Service” by Janes).

One of the ways I deal with abortion now is explain to folks much younger than I am that people in the U.S. used to think, feel and talk …


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Being A Jane: Past, Present and Future Tense
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Lady-Parts, the Church and Planned Parenthood

by Sara Benincasa

February 9, 2012

I'm a comedian, not a scientist or another type of professional smart person, so I have a limited understanding of that which occurs at the microscopic level inside my lady-parts. However, I did once have a job at Planned Parenthood Federation of America for six weeks, which taught me a few things about the goings-on in the general vicinity of my undercarriage. Plus, I like to read the ladyblogs to learn more about these issues.

And lest you think I've only exposed my tender brain to leftist influences, I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, where a very serious lady showed me very serious photographs of very serious fetuses when I was a …


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Lady-Parts, the Church and Planned Parenthood

Abortion is a Moral Decision

by Rev. Debra W. Haffner

February 2, 2012

I have been an advocate for safe and legal abortion for more than 35 years. The Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade during my first year of college, and I remember thinking, "thank goodness, this fight is over."

By now, we surely know that this fight is not over. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if we will ever reach a moment where the cultural divide over legal, safe and accessible abortion services will finally be settled.

There are many reasons this schism exists, beginning with profound disagreements about when life begins and nonprocreative sexual relationships. But I think that part of the continuing political struggles …


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Abortion is a Moral Decision

A Counselor's View: Embracing A Holistic Perspective of Abortion

by Linda Weber

January 26, 2012

Imagine the whole universe -- the vast expanse of reality in which all things move from the formless to form and back again in a dance of infinite creation. All relationships manifest in this context. None exists without it. All perceptions reflect this. Not one exists outside of it.

Now, imagine the whole earth in your mind's eye. See the body of our dear planet and how it is made up of a complex web of life forms, each of which is in relationship with other life forms. The intricacy and beauty of earth's living being is astonishing to behold. It is impossible to take it all in. Within the flow of life forms, human beings come into bodily …


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A Counselor's View: Embracing A Holistic Perspective of Abortion

"Marching" Together, Online: Trust Women Week and the Silver Ribbon Campaign

by Gabrielle Korn

January 20, 2012

It's no secret that the United States is in the midst of a War on Women: in 2011, 36 states enacted a record 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But as our reproductive rights are slipping away from us, activists are mobilizing.

During January 20-27, women and allies from around the country will come together to fight back -- online. The Trust Women WEEK/Silver Ribbon …


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"Marching" Together, Online: Trust Women Week and the Silver Ribbon Campaign
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Occupying the Air: Banners Wave Truths about Abortion & Rights

by Elizabeth Creely

January 19, 2012

On the first day of 2012, an abortion clinic in Florida was firebombed. The clinic is now out of business. The arsonist, a man named Bobby Joe Roberts, told police that he had a "strong disbelief in abortion." Bobby Joe is a part of a nationwide anti-choice choir that is preached to frequently by the leading choirmasters of that movement. Like any well-trained choir member, when Bobby Joe is asked to sing a certain part, he will.

The clinic bombing felt like an exclamation point to the prodigious anti-choice activism of 2011, which saw the Right wing introduce 1,100 legal provisions intended to limit access to abortion and end funding for …


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Occupying the Air: Banners Wave Truths about Abortion & Rights
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Intimate Wars: Sex is Intimate. So is Pregnancy.

by K. Salis

January 18, 2012

War can be an intimate experience, often in a deeply personal way, even though it’s a shared collective event. People experience the physical effect of war through their bodies and perceive their emotional experience in their minds. My grandmother lived through an occupation, and her strongest memories were of being hungry. Of her brother being killed. She never mentioned religion or politics because her experiences were rooted in her own personal survival. Theoretical frameworks often fall short in times of desperation or intensity, when decisions need to be made in real life and real time.

The reason I am pro-choice, and why the …


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Intimate Wars: Sex is Intimate. So is Pregnancy.

Intimate Wars: A Faithful Feminist

by Manis Rayles

January 18, 2012

I am a believer. If I had to name my religion, it would be “Judaism-Islam.” As the believers of both religions believe in One God, my heart stays indivisible. It is a paradox. I cannot choose between these two religions, the two principals of my family (in which there are also devout but very tolerant Catholics). In recent months I have attended evangelical churches in France, not to convert myself, but to study the Gospel and Scriptures that I know very little about. I accompany my best friend, who is an evangelist.

Hold a Dialogue With Believers

Thus, in recent months my feminist “action” has taken place …


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Intimate Wars: A Faithful Feminist
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The First -- and the Next -- Time I Stood Up for Abortion Rights

by Sunsara Taylor

January 18, 2012

The first time I stood up for abortion rights was back in 1994 in the middle of a freezing cold North Dakota winter. As I stood in the sub-freezing wind outside of that clinic, being screamed at by a hysterical mob of religious zealots, I was terrified. I had never even been out of town without my family before, had never been the object of so much passionate vitriol. But I had been simmering with anger ever since the first abortion doctor (Dr. David Gunn) was killed in front of his clinic down in Florida.

So even as fear coursed through my shivering body, I also felt for the first time that I was doing something that mattered more than …


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The First -- and the Next -- Time I Stood Up for Abortion Rights

Discussing Abortion During Polite Dinner Conversation

by Sarah Flint Erdreich

January 17, 2012

It had been a lovely wedding, and now the reception was packed. We sat down to dinner; at my table was my husband and three of our friends, along with three of the groom’s friends from grad school. Introductions were made and small talk ensued, and as our salad courses were cleared away one of the men I’d just met struck up a conversation about abortion with one of my friends.

My husband nudged me and one of my other friends grinned as I inclined myself towards the conversation, trying to discern the tone and content of the discussion – or was it debate? After a few minutes, the man noticed me listening and asked my opinion, and I …


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Discussing Abortion During Polite Dinner Conversation

My Body, My Choice, My Intimate War

by Abigail Collazo

January 17, 2012

What does war look like? Taste like? Smell like? Images and soundtracks come to mind from centuries of conflict: guns roaring, cannons booming, flesh burning, bombs exploding.

These are the sights and sounds that remind us of what we know to be a universal truth: no matter where, when, how, or why . . .

War is hell.

Children crying, blood spraying, families weeping. Our moral compass cracks as it falls prey to what Clausewitz refers to as the fog of war – the uncertainty that accompanies the confluence of events, too many of them utterly beyond our control. Frightening us. …


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My Body, My Choice, My Intimate War

Intimate Wars Blog Series: My Abortion Story

by Merle Hoffman

January 17, 2012

It's been over 40 years since I founded Choices Women's Medical Center, one of the first and currently the largest and most comprehensive women's health care centers in the country. Two years before the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, I opened the doors of Choices to provide women with services they desperately needed. To give them not just health care services, but also hope and the courage to go on with their lives.

As we celebrate the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the release of my memoir,

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Intimate Wars Blog Series: My Abortion Story
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From Israel, With Questions: Learning To Do Abortion Care

by Gabrielle Korn

January 12, 2012

Maayan Melamed, a first-year medical student at The Medical School for International Health at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, came to Choices Women's Medical Center in Queens for a three-week externship in Fall 2011. Melamed was born in Heifa, Israel, and grew up both in the U.S. and Israel. After graduating from college in Baltimore, she served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and then began medical studies in Israel. Gabrielle Korn interviewed Melamed about her experiences at Choices for On The Issues Magazine.

What brought you to Choices Women's Medical Center?

I know I want to work …


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From Israel, With Questions: Learning To Do Abortion Care
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