Because I am a Woman

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Posts tagged "politics"
Contraception is controversial only in politics. The fact is that people of every background and religious affiliation experience the public health and socioeconomic benefits of contraception; 99 percent have used contraceptives in their lifetime, and a majority of the public supports publicly funded family planning for poor and low-income women and men. In the November election and the months leading up to it, this majority made it very clear that access to women’s health care should not be endangered. As we celebrate the anniversary of Griswold, it is imperative that we honor the hard-worn path we took to get to this point and seize upon the moment to fulfill its promise and ensure contraceptive access for all.

This is a very clear breakdown. If you have questions about the implications of the sequester, I would check this article out.

In today’s binary political system, however, abortion has become oversimplified. Although fraught with social, economic, cultural, and political meaning, abortion has been reduced to a singular and isolated issue in the political arena. And yet, just below the surface of political silencing, those of us whose experiences with abortion do not fit neatly into didactic sound-bites and talking points for pundits and policymakers in their public debates about our bodies, the waters of human experience still run deep.

As a full-spectrum doula, I work with people across the spectrum of pregnancy, from abortion to birth, which can include stillbirth inductions and people who are considering adoption. I hold hands, wipe tears, massage shoulders, fetch snacks, calm nerves, make small talk, comfort, inform, listen, and remind folks to breathe.

Some patients hold their breath—sometimes because the decision to have an abortion is made reluctantly. Their circumstances can feel coercive: a lost job, limited income, negotiating rent and bills with potential expenses of a baby, or having parents who refuse to support their young daughter’s pregnancy because it sets a “bad example” for their other children. Others hold their breath waiting for a change in their heart or mind that may never come, deciding finally, despite the discomfort, that an abortion is what they want to do, or what they feel they should do.

Want, desire, and “choice” become murky concepts in a tangled web of social and economic inequality.

Some patients talk in circles:

I’m not one of those women who get an abortion.

I’m different than the other patients—I never planned to be here.

I’m not a statistic.

These examples show how women talk their way out of (or into) their internalization of public shaming and blaming, as if a certain kind of woman gets an abortion and other women do not. This circular thinking is another byproduct of the oversimplified binary of mainstream abortion politics, represented in policy and the media. But what gets lost in the respectability politics of abortion is how common an abortion procedure is: nearly 1 in 3 women have one in their lifetime.

Don’t get me wrong; there are people who are crystal clear that they don’t ever want to have children, or they don’t want a particular person to father their child, or they’re simply not ready for parenthood. But as a full-spectrum doula who has worked with patients who are primarily low-income women and women of color, I can’t help but notice that all too often the experiences of many women reside in the murky waters that become silenced, erased, or forgotten in mainstream abortion politics.

Taja Lindley, “Wading in Uncomfortable Waters: Abortion and the Politics of Experience,” Feministe 1/22/13 (via racialicious)

This was a really interesting article. Definitely worth a read. 


In honor of the Roe v Wade anniversary, WORD LA is distributing a fact sheet about abortion and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Check it out and share!


Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978)

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to public office in California, and the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interests; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until around the age of 40, after his experiences in the counterculture of the 1960s.

Given the hatred directed at gay people in general and Milk in particular—he received daily death threats—he was aware of the likelihood that he may well be assassinated. He recorded several versions of his will, “to be read in the event of my assassination.” One of his tapes contained the now-famous statement, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” His nephew, Stuart Milk, a teenager at the time, and close with his uncle, came out, along with countless others across the nation, on the day his uncle was killed. Shortly after Milk’s death, people marching for gay rights in Washington, D.C., chanted “Harvey Milk lives!”

Dan White, Milk’s assassin, was acquitted of murder charges and given a mild sentence for manslaughter, partly as a result of what became known as the “twinkie defense.” His attorney claimed that White had eaten too much junk food on the day of the killings and thus could not be held accountable for his crimes. He was sentenced to less than eight years in prison on May 21, 1979—the day before what would have been Milk’s 49th birthday—igniting what came to be known as the White Night Riots. Enraged citizens stormed City Hall and rows of police cars were set on fire. The city suffered property damage and police officers retaliated by raiding the Castro, vandalizing gay businesses and beating people on the street.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. In 2002, Milk was called “the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States”.Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.” Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Read more about Harvey Milk here: 

— Note: This is the 4000th post of Coming Out Journal and I am honored to dedicate this one for Harvey Milk. —