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.


A Hypocritical Tragedy

May 31, 2009 § 2 Comments

UPDATE: There will be a vigil in honor of Dr. Tiller TONIGHT, May 1st, at 6pm in Union Square. I hope some of you can make it.

I just got word (via an email from NARAL Pro-Choice America) that a Kansas doctor, Dr. George Tiller, was killed for his “commitment to providing abortion services and other reproductive health care services to women and their families.” Apparently, Dr. Tiller had been violently harassed in the past by anti-abortion protestors, but he never stopped using his resources, time, and education to help those around him. Here’s NARAL’s apt and eloquent expression of grief and vision for the future:

“Dr. Tiller’s murder will send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers and other professionals who are part of reproductive-health centers that serve women across this country. We want them to know that they have our support as they move forward in providing these essential services in the aftermath of the shocking news from Wichita.

We understand that the investigation is ongoing and that law-enforcement officials have detained a suspect. If it proves to be an act of anti-abortion violence, as we suspect it is, then the full weight of the law must be used to send a clear message that these types of attacks will be prosecuted fully and swiftly.”

Here is another example of the terrible ‘weighing of lives’ that goes on within anti-abortion groups and minds. The life of a fetus is sacred, but Dr. Tiller’s wasn’t? It’s wrong to kill…unless you’re exterminating someone who threatens your system of beliefs? The sheer hypocrisy makes me mad, and the malicious intent underlying that hypocrisy makes me scared.

New Yorkers: Support the Reproductive Health Act!

May 6, 2009 § 3 Comments

Lalena Howard of NARAL Pro-Choice NY was kind enough to speak at yesterday’s meeting of the school club Shira and I run, Feminist Focus. She told us about NARAL’s campaign to get people to send personalized letters in support of the Reproductive Health Act. These kinds of letters can have serious impact, since politicians really don’t get them too often.

I wrote mine today, following NARAL’s tips:

  1. Use our website to look up the names and contact information for both your State Assemblymember and State Senator.
  2. Always tell your legislators you live in their district! Legislators want to represent the interests of their constituents, especially if they know your vote depends on it!
  3. When drafting your letter, refer to our resources to get an idea of what others are saying.
  4. Share your unique perspective on why your legislator should support the Act. Are you a parent who wants to ensure your daughter’s rights are protected? Are you a doctor, nurse, teacher or social worker who works with women facing unplanned pregnancies every day? Tell your legislator about your unique perspective and how it has led you to support the Reproductive Health Act.
  5. State clearly that you would like your legislator to vote in support of the Reproductive Health Act. Make sure that he or she hears what you are asking loud and clear.
  6. Include your contact information (especially your home address, so that they know you live in the district). Be open to continued communication and updates.
  7. Encourage your friends to write letters of their own. The New York State Legislature needs to hear from pro-choice voices throughout the state to pass the Reproductive Health Act. It’s up to all of us!

My own letter is after the jump.
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Doctors for Teens

April 14, 2009 § 2 Comments

Hey folks – my posting has been light this week since I’m in San Francisco visiting family. But here’s some quick information passed on by Tara from NARAL Pro-Choice New York (one of my fave organizations!).

I thought you’d be interested in this new resource for teens in NYC that NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health are unveiling: Doctors for Teens. This website helps teens find providers they can talk to openly and honestly, who specialize specifically in adolescent needs, and who will respond to teens’ needs confidentially and without judgment. Teens can search by borough to find which providers near them offer things like low-cost service, birth control, HPV testing, and primary care. The site is also available in Spanish.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for young women to speak without shame about sex. If you’re uncomfortable talking to your parents or regular doctor about sex, these websites are fantastic resources.

Adventures in activism

March 25, 2009 § 15 Comments

Shira and I spent the afternoon volunteering with NARAL by handing out condoms and information about emergency contraception (Plan B) on the street. It was seriously fun times, and felt particularly relevant just days after a fresh accusation of youth apathy.


Shira spreads some condom love.


Me: “Yes, they’re really free.”


NARAL’s Community Organizer/fellow young repro rights activist/fabulous person Lalena Howard (in red), surrounded by volunteers.

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just all that fire in these young bellies?

UPDATE: Lalena reports that over 90 New Yorkers volunteered at 23 different subway stops. “Those of us working at Union Square and Herald Square alone handed out over 10,000 condoms and 6,000+ info cards in less than 4 hours,” she says. Sweet. And for even more incentive to get on the activism bandwagon, these pics really show how much fun everyone had.

Happy Back Up Your Birth Control Day!

March 25, 2009 § 6 Comments

Today is National Back Up Your Birth Control Day! It is a day dedicated to awareness, action, and education about Emergency Contraception (EC). Today, pro-choice activists around the nation will be fighting for women’s rights to birth control and for equal access to responsible choices. 

This year’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day is especially momentous because two days ago, the Supreme Court ruled that EC can be obtained over-the-counter for women ages 17 and up, progress from the previous ruling that required prescriptions for minors wishing to obtain EC. 

Thanks to some fabulous NARAL training, I was able to be educated on EC and all the myths that various sources have instilled in my brain were dispelled.

Emergency Contraception gives people a second chance to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex by delaying or inhibiting ovulation. It contains the same ingredients that are in normal Birth Control Pills, minus the estrogen. 

As for the dissipating falsities…

1. Myth: EC is the abortion pill. Reality: EC cannot have any effect if the woman is already pregnant. The abortion connotation of the pill simply comes from anti-choice unscientific groups that recoil (shocker!) when women are given accurate information with which to access reproductive health services.

2. Myth: EC is the morning after pill. Reality: Although EC is commonly referred to as the “morning after pill,” this is a medical misnomer. An EC expert said in the training that it should actually be called “the morning after and the morning after that and the morning after that and the morning after that and the morning after that pill” because it can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, though the sooner the better! Because saying “morning after” five times fast might prove a tongue twister, just go with the medically and choice-accurate name: EC.

3. Myth: EC has extreme side-effects. Reality: It has been proven that the side effects of EC are similar to PMS.

4. Myth: Teenagers can’t access EC. Reality: To access EC on their own, teenagers need a prescription or they need an adult (anyone over the age of 18) to pick it up for them. It is not illegal for an adult to buy Plan B and give it to a teen. 

It is so important that these myths stop perpetuating because they interfere with women’s individual choices. To see where you can access EC in your neighborhood, visit the Book of Choices.

Miranda and I will be handing out information on EC in front of the subway today (as she mentioned yesterday). All it takes to make a difference in the world of choice is to educate others.

What will you do to spread the empowerment?

Feministing’s Fire in the Belly Series

March 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

I just wanted to take a few minutes to highlight Feministing‘s Fire in the Belly series, a response to the Times asking if young women should be passed the reproductive rights torch and us replying that we are more than up to the task. From Feministing:

Sally Burgess, executive director of the Hope clinic, who is also chairwoman of the National Abortion Federation, said [in the article]: “What I observe for women in their 20s and 30s — there are fewer who really have the fire in the belly for this.” Then it devolved from there with Debra Dickersen over at MotherJones.com, demanding “Tell me exactly what today’s feminists are doing for the struggle.”

As young feminists, we’re unfortunately all too familiar with this blatant ageism. The pervasive stereotype of youth as apathetic, lazy people who take the struggles of those before us for granted is unproductive and destructive to the feminist movement. The time we spend bickering amongst ourselves about who does more for the cause is time we should be spending fighting the good fight.

Here are just a few things that myself, the rest of the Women’s Glib crew, and other young’uns are doing to keep the fire in our own bellies alive:

  1. We are spending election season talking to our friends and relatives and calling voters in support of pro-choice candidates nationwide.
  2. We are distributing condoms and information about emergency contraception at subway stops all over the city as part of NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action (keep an eye out for pictures later in the week!).
  3. We are starting clubs (Shira and I created Feminist Focus this year at our school; Silvia spearheaded The F-Word at hers) – and blogs! – to make feminism accessible to youth and to amplify our too-often-silenced voices.
  4. We are talking back to doctors who ask, “What’s the rush?” when we confide that we’re sexually active.
  5. We are speaking out in support of comprehensive sex education and against manipulative abstinence-only rhetoric.
  6. We are buying condoms, taking birth control, having sex, and making our own reproductive decisions without shame.

 With all that pro-choice goodness in mind, Feministing is bringing us wisdom from five young women working in reproductive justice fields throughout the week. Links and tidbits from the first two women are below; check back with Feministing for the rest.

Part I: Liza Fuentes.

I had never really questioned before that having an abortion was something that I shouldn’t talk about. But then I thought about what I went though trying to get the abortion–being shunned by my doctor and figuring out how to pay for it. And I saw that the whole process was made to ensure that women are ashamed of themselves no matter how they go about it. And I decided that I didn’t want to stand for it anymore.

Part II: Alma Avila Pilchman

While it may be true that some of us haven’t gotten the message that we are under attack in the U.S. –that our rights are being taking away with laws like “parental notification” and “24-hour waiting periods”–there are many of us who are dedicating ourselves to this issue. I think that mainstream reproductive rights organizations are still in the process of recognizing that, and are only now beginning to accept young women, and especially women of color, as strong activist leaders.

Also, it is imperative to redefine what being pro-choice means. Young people are seeing abortion rights differently than those who were part of Roe. For us, abortion is only a piece of the huge puzzle of women’s rights, and ultimately human rights.

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