Why Film an Abortion?

Emily Letts is a woman who decided to film herself getting an abortion. I think what she did is amazing. The dominant image of an abortion in North America is of something emotionally upsetting and physically painful.

It is important that this image is challenged and the truth of abortion is shown. Many women have written and talked about their own experiences about abortion, but a video is a first.

I think a video is an especially good way to debunk abortion myths. By seeing a video you can see exactly what happens without any bias’ being placed on the experience.

For people who are thinking about getting an abortion this is very helpful. By seeing the procedure themselves before hand they may feel more reassured in their choice, and feel less nervous about the procedure.

Here is the video:
http://youtu.be/Y4xiVUeecNQ

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Shocking News for Some

You might want to sit down because I have some big news for you: social acceptance and availability of birth control lowers abortion rates. I know it’s crazy, ok no it’s not shocking at all. But conservatives, religious fanatics and anti choice lobbyists are very shocked. Shocked so much that they won’t even believe it’s true.
The Guttmacher Institute released a report that showed when society is more accepting of birth control and abortions the abortion rate lowers. It also shows that having a pro-choice president in power didn’t hurt. Anti-choice groups see this as a win because there are less abortions happening, but this is not the whole story. Not only are abortion rates lower but unintended pregnancies and birth rates are lower. Women are having less abortions because they aren’t getting pregnant.
If people have access to birth control they won’t need to have an abortion because they will not have an unintended pregnancy. It’s a no brainier to me, but try telling that to anti choice conservatives.

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Above: Shows the lowering levels of abortion over the period of five presidents. The red being anti choice and the blue pro choice.

To read more about this try here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/02/09/sorry-anti-choicers-abortion-stigma-doesnt-lower-abortion-rate/

How Not to Talk to Someone Who had an Abortion

It isn’t always easy to talk to someone who has had an abortion, but it is important to realise that your opinions need to be left at the door. The conversation should be about the person who has had the abortion and how they feel. Some people are happy and others are sad; people face a wide range of emotions when they get an abortion and you need to be there for them no matter what emotion they are going through.

Since it isn’t easy to find the right words I thought I would share an article by Kassi Underwood published on the website Exhale a pro-voice abortion support center created by and for women.  The article gives advice on eight things you should not say to someone who has just had an abortion. Not only does it tell you what not to say but it explains why you should not say it and what you should say instead. Hopefully this article and Exhale’s website will help you talk to someone who has had an abortion.

Here is the list of eight things not to say to someone who has had an abortion:

(To see the full article go here.)

1. But weren’t you unstable before the abortion?

We’re smart people. We are fully aware of the lives we’ve led. If our state of mind beforehand seems relevant, then we will discuss it in our own time. We came to you because we would like to talk about how we feel right now.

What to say: I’m glad you came to talk to me about this.

2. That was years ago, dollface. Isn’t it time to move on?

We know exactly how much time has elapsed. If we could have moved on already, we would have. Some people see their abortion as the loss of their identity, or their child, or their chance. While it is important to make no assumptions about why someone is having feelings around their abortion, you can tell us you know how normal we are for feeling the way we do. We are completely acceptable as-is.

What to say: I know this happened years ago, and it’s okay if you’re still really, really sad.

3. All this sadness makes you sound like you’re against abortion.

Our emotions may have nothing to do with our opinion about abortion. I know women who have marched on Washington for their right to choose while privately regretting their own decisions. I know women who believe very deeply that abortion is wrong while feeling that abortion was the right decision for them. Our personal stories do not always reflect our political beliefs. When we come to you, please do not match our emotions to a political narrative.

What to say: There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

4. You weren’t ready for a baby.

This tells us that we are inferior, irresponsible, and immature, which is simply not true. We made the most mature, responsible decisions we could at the time. Some of us feel proud of the independence we gained from all the footwork this decision required. If we tell you we didn’t have access to the resources we needed, feel with us. Remember a time when you didn’t have what you needed. Acknowledge that we are worthy of having everything we need. All of us.

What to say: Sounds like you know what’s best for you.

5. Well, I support your right to choose.

This one sounds like support, but it ends the conversation. It may be a positive assessment, but it’s a judgment nonetheless. What we need is space to connect with you. If we would like to know your political views, please trust us to ask you. If we don’t ask, then perhaps we don’t need to know.

What to say: Take your time — I’m listening.

6. I don’t support what you did, but I’m here to support you.

It can be difficult to feel unconditionally loved and supported by someone who condemns what you did. You don’t have to support what we did, but when you are supporting us, please leave your opinions and expectations at the door. Then come in, listen to what we are saying, and try to put yourself in our shoes.

What to say: I’m here to support you.

7. No — it was actually a baby/child/fetus/embryo/zygote/clump of cells.

Many of us have done the research. We know the terminology. Sometimes it takes nerve to use the word we like best. Please don’t correct us. Instead, use our terminology when you talk to us.

What to say: You’re allowed to call it a fetus or a baby — it was yours and you can call it whatever you want.

8. But are you really happy now?

Some of us really are very happy right after the procedure for reasons so vast and diverse that I could write about them for pages. Even if we’re not happy right afterward, many of us become happy in our own time. If we tell you that we’re happy, we may have done a lot of work to reach this extraordinary place. Please celebrate with us. Do a little dance. Hip-bump. Yay.

What to say: I’m glad you feel relieved and rejuvenated.

Yes, Abortion is part of Reproductive Rights

New Jersey Republican Christopher Smith seems to think that he can trip up Hillary Clinton by asking if “reproductive health” “reproductive services” or “reproductive rights” includes abortion. Her response is perfect:

Not only does she go in the opposite direction of many anti-choice people by first saying that she respects his opinion and how he advocates for it passionately (I have never heard an anti-choice person say the same thing to a pro-choice person). Hillary also very clearly explains that she thinks access to family planning, reproductive rights and abortion are necessary for women and for women’s healthcare.

She is right. Women need access to family planning and abortions because, as shown in the stories of her own personal experience, abortions are going to happen if they are legal or not. There is no reason a woman should have to fight for her life after a botched abortion because reproductive healthcare should be available to all women no matter what country they live in. This is not a single issue, reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare is a problem in every country in the world, and this needs to change.

We need more women, and men, like Hillary out there fighting for the reproductive rights of everyone.

The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary

The Pro-Voice Project: A Documentary is “a film about the human stories and shades of gray hidden in our black and white abortion debate”. I believe this is an important project. It is a way to get out of the politics and controversy of abortion debates and just tell it as it is, without any interference. It is important for women to tell their stories. Story telling has always been an important way of healing and communication in women’s issues and movements throughout history. One of the best ways you can learn about something and truly understand it is when you hear true personal stories.

These women are very brave; not everyone would want to talk about abortion, especially not in a documentary. I think they are doing an amazing thing by creating this film. This film will be very helpful, and teach a lot of people the real facts about women who get an abortion.

But, the film is not done being made. Although parts of the it have been filmed already, there is still more that needs to be done. They plain on going to Texas and New Jersey and will need funding to get there. The funding will be used to afford filming, among other things. Making movies isn’t cheap and this is an important movie that needs to be made.

If you would like to help please check out there Kickstarter page. There is also a lot more information and a great video about the film on the page, if you just want more information on it.

I really hope they reach there goal and the film can be made:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rebekahf/the-pro-voice-project-a-documentary

Missouri Women Losing Rights

“To the Missouri State Senate, women aren’t people. They aren’t American citizens. Pharmacists in Missouri can refuse to sell them birth control pills. It’s about belief. If your pharmacist believes you, a woman, shouldn’t be using birth control, he can refuse to sell you the drugs. It’s about his belief. He has a right in Missouri, according to the Senate, to see to it that you behave as he thinks you should. This is what it means to be a woman in America today? We’re back to this?” -Anne Rice

Women in Missouri are not being treated like real people who deserve rights, freedoms, and access to medical care. The Missouri senate has passed legislation, called HB 457, that will allow pharmacists not only the right to deny women* from accessing their birth control -even if prescribed by a doctor- but to also stop stocking birth control and emergency contraception (EC)in their stores. This law is in line with many laws currently taking shape in the United States. The republicans seem very determined to undermine everything feminists and suffragists  have fought for: they want women to have no reproductive rights and they are using religion as a mask to hide their misogyny. The law is meant to protect pharmacists from having to give out medicine that does not fit their religious beliefs, which greatly effects women. This law is misogynist because it is a law that has been created to harm women’s health.

HB 457 is harmful to all women but is detrimental to rape victims and rural women in particular.  Rape victims may not have access to or be provided with the medical care they would need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy caused by rape. Despite what Missouri Republican Todd Akin believes women need reproductive technology in every case of rape:

“”First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” -Todd Akin

I know there are many misconceptions about rape in the Republican party but Republicans being idiots is not a good enough reason for women to have to suffer. Women who are raped and are denied EC will be forced to suffer even further than they already have, and will be more likely to need access to an abortion in the future.

Women living in rural areas will suffer because they will not have the option to find a new pharmacist, if they are denied reproductive technology from the one they have. In many small towns there is only one pharmacist, and towns are spread out. In this case women who do not have the ability to travel to a different town for a pharmacist will no longer have access to the reproductive technology they need for their health.

I agree with Anne Rice when she said  “We’re back to this?”, because these laws are taking us back in time. Is it the republicans goal to have the same reproductive rights as “third world” countries like Chile where an 11 year old rape victim was forced to carry a child? Do they want the country to revert in laws for women to the point where women are no longer considered people? Because that is where they are headed. This is the backlash people; and it’s just the beginning. With rights being taken back one by one and new laws full of red tape for women to access their healthcare it’s only a matter of time before women have no reproductive rights at all. With the rate of unintended pregnancy in teens rising in the US it just doesn’t make sense that they would be creating even more laws to prevent women from reproductive technology.

Women need every kind of reproductive technology available to them at all times,  and the opinions of a pharmacist should not prevent them from having the health care they need. One person should not have the right to control the lives of others. Women need to be able to live their lives as they choose and to have the medical care they need in order to do so. The only way for true equality is for all people to have rights over their own bodies, and that means reproductive rights for everyone.

*in this article women refers manly to cis-gendered women but also to any person who would need access to birth control, EC and reproductive technology

11 Year Old Rape Victim Forced to Carry Child

An 11 year old girl in Chile known as Belén is being forced to go through with her pregnancy. Belén has been raped and abused by her mothers boyfriend since she was 9. Her mother claims that when the relationship started it was consensual. I don’t know about you but I do not believe that a child can consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, especially an adult who is in a position of power over them. Luckily Belén’s grandmother did not see the relationship as consensual and reported it.

The boyfriend admitted to the authorities that he abused Belén yet she is still not allowed to have an abortion. In the past Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons but when dictator Augusto Pinochet took power of Chile he banned all abortions. Although Chile is no longer a dictatorship it is still controlled by conservatives and the Catholic Church.

Many, including myself. believe that Belén should be allowed an abortion because of her age, the fact that she was raped, she is the victim of incest, the pregnancy is a serious health risk, and the health of the fetus is at risk. These are reasons that even anti-choice people would agree with. How anyone can expect an 11 year old to be able to physically and mentally handle a pregnancy and birth is baffling to me. Even if the pregnancy hadn’t occurred in such a horrendous way she is still too young. Her body is not ready to carry a child. She will suffer great health risks if she does not have this abortion.

This story is shockingly similar to that of a woman in El Salvador