Palin’s anti-choice legacy

July 6, 2009 § 1 Comment

Via Feministing, a post by Clara Jeffery of Mother Jones tells us that one of Palin’s last acts in office was to accelerate a parental notice and consent law for women under 18 who are seeking abortion.

We see this shit all the time: my sisters’ rights to our own bodies are routinely taken away in the name of paternalistic “protection.” We saw it in the conservative media hoopla when the FDA approved over-the-counter access to emergency contraception for women 17 and older, as opposed to an earlier 18 and older policy (my favorite Mike Galanos quote: “With Plan B, they can do it now and deal with it later”). And we’re seeing it again with Palin. Nevermind that young women who don’t tell their parents about their abortion have damn good reasons for keeping quiet.

Before news of the resignation, Beverly Wooley and Jay Butler, two of Alaska’s public health experts, were essentially forced out of office for meddling in Palin’s anti-choice crusade.

Both [Wooley and Butler] made the critical mistake of wanting to present scientific evidence on the impact of parental consent laws to the state Senate. They never got the chance; the Senate “ran out of time.” From the Anchorage Daily News:

Wooley said she also intended to answer questions from legislators and said she would rely on data, not anyone’s personal beliefs. Whether she personally agreed with the governor is beside the point, Wooley said.

She intended to refer to studies from states that already had passed similar legislation, she said. Some of the research shows that, with parental involvement requirements, girls tend to get abortions later in their pregnancy, which is riskier and more expensive, she said. Other research shows fewer girls get abortions, which abortion foes like Palin likely would applaud. Wooley cautioned that the studies are small and not definitive because such laws are still fairly new.

That was enough to get her canned. And guess what? The next day, the very day that Palin resigned:

A proposal to require parental notice or consent before a female younger than 18 could have an abortion was certified Thursday by the state so that its backers can seek enough signatures to get the initiative before voters next year.

So, Sarah Palin may be gone soon. But her policies live on.

I’d just like to say: this is outrageous. Not only that Palin is so clearly shaming young women for having sex (how crazy is that? Women having sex?! News to me!); not only that she is firing staff for, in Clara Jeffery’s words, making the “critical mistake of wanting to present scientific evidence…to the state Senate” (I mean, I know Palin is scared of science, but come on!); but also that a young woman’s fundamental right to control her own body is being set aside in favor of abortion statistics.

Even if the stats show that requiring parental consent for teenagers’ abortions lowers rates — party at the Palin anti-choice mansion, anyone? I love me some barbecued moose — I still need the right to get the procedure without my parents knowing! Statistics and evidence are of course vitally important to crafting effective legislation, but reproductive rights and bodily integrity should not depend on whichever survey is being considered. They are fundamental.

Cross-posted at Feministe.


Choices: Abortion

June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Coming up next week is another of NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Choices events.

Choices: Abortion
Wednesday, July 8th
6:30 PM- 8:30 PM
NARAL Pro-Choice New York
470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor, NYC

NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health in partnership with co-sponsors the New York Abortion Access Fund and Exhale presents Choices: Abortion.

Presenters will share the work they do each day to provide financial assistance to low-income women who cannot afford to pay for an abortion, support and counsel women after they have an abortion, ensure that all women have the health care coverage and access necessary to obtain reproductive health care, and work on the legislative and political levels to ensure that all people have access to safe and legal abortion.

Presenters include:

Event is free and open to all with RSVP to Lalena Howard at or 646-520-3506. Event space is wheel-chair accessible.

I hope to make it, and I’d love to see lots of people there!

Quotes That Are Deeply Disturbing: Coulter on Murder

June 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

The one millionth way that Ann Coulter simultaneously terrifies and disgusts me:

“I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.

— Ann Coulter on The O’Reilly Factor on June 22, 2009

And may I ask — what the fuck is an “abortionist,” or even an “abortion doctor”? Ann, you can save those extra syllables and just call them doctors — you know, the kind who go to medical school, get certified, and save lives.

via a NARAL Pro-Choice America email.

Quotes That Are Deeply Disturbing: Nixon on Abortion

June 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.

— President Richard M. Nixon on January 23, 1973

Abortion & Parental Consent

June 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

Go read this: I helped teenagers get secret abortions.

The author, SteelRigged, reflects on their experience working for a Texas nonprofit called Jane’s Due Process, which is one of few if not “the only organization in the country that helps teens navigate the judicial bypass process to get abortions without parental consent or notification.”

The very first call I took at Jane’s Due Process (again: Google [it] and [donate] money) was from a 17 year old who said bluntly, “My mom’s in jail and my dad’s in Iraq” she was living with her older sister who was 22, but the clinic were not allowed to accept the sister’s consent because she was not the legal guardian. Both sisters thought they could get either of their parents to consent, but there was a timing issue. My state only allows abortions up to 21 weeks. It routinely took two or three months for mail to circulate from the base address the girls had to the frontlines where their father was, and then back to them. Their mother, they said, couldn’t receive registered letters at all. So, by the time the permission form got back, a legal abortion would be unavailable. We set her up with a lawyer to try and get a bypass.

These, the author writes, are the “easy cases.”

I even sent a girl to Kansas once; she was a marathon runner and a track star. She lost her period every year during training season and so really did not know she was pregnant until the middle of the second trimester. Her parents were hard core religious, and she knew that they would turn her out on the streets no matter what happened with the pregnancy. She didn’t want to be homeless.

None of these teens get to speak out. We get to pass laws that endanger their lives, but they can’t protest…I don’t have a T.V. show, I don’t have security guards, all I have is the residual fear that somewhere there is a man with a gun, looking for our office, who is absolutely certain he has the right to shoot me, because I help teenagers get abortions.

This absolutely necessary piece dispels the myth that teenage women make “secret” decisions because we’re stupid, sly sluts. It’s not like we keep these decisions from our parents because we love the thrill of rebellion. We stay quiet because people like Bill O’Reilly and Mike Galanos try to speak for us. We keep secrets because our parents, like our government, do not respect us; because the only people we can truly trust are ourselves; because our lives depend on the silence and shame.

Young women, like other particularly marginalized groups (women of color; disabled, queer, poor, and immigrant women; many many many others) are an easy target. We need to speak up and keep telling the world that we do not take our personal decisions lightly, and that our conviction does not conform to age restriction laws.

Via Feministing.


April 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

NARAL Pro-Choice New York has been doing some great work with the Choices Series, “a six-part series of events examining the full range of reproductive choices available to women.” Next week is the Choices: Parenting event, hosted by Sistas on the Rise.

Thursday, May 7th
6:15-8:15 pm
Sistas on the Rise
835 Dawson Street
Bronx, NY 10459

The second installment of the series will be Choices: Parenting, a look at the work being done on the ground to ensure that parenting is an accessible and supported reproductive choice for all. Co-sponsors and presenters include Sistas on the Rise, Baby’s First Home, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the Red Hook Initiative.

Free with RSVP to Lalena Howard at or 646-520-3506.

Event is open to all and space is wheelchair accessible.

Hope some of you can make it!

Quick, Awful Hit

April 25, 2009 § 2 Comments

The Dominican Republic has outlawed abortion. As Cara reminds us, women will die because of these “pro-life” policies.

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