Today Roe is 40
And unfortunately, something we really need to stop focusing on.
Is that blasphemy? It might be. Is it hypocrisy, considering I’m currently writing a post about it? Perhaps.
But the movement for reproductive justice has got to move away from Roe and understand that we won that fight. We have to move on and fight the battles that are undermining Roe. We have to win the fight to protect access to this established right.
Because most people don’t want Roe to be overturned. But they are still OK with intruding one pregnant folks’ access to abortion services in other ways. They are still OK with policing those decisions or making sure they’re properly moral or deemed appropriately necessary.
And so it’s that attitude we need to combat.
I really think that the pro-choice or reproductive justice movement is at a crossroads now. We need to make some changes to the way we advocate for this issue. Planned Parenthood has already made changes to their political messaging around the issue, although I don’t agree with it.
Let’s drop pro-choice if it’s not polling well, which is PP’s actual justification for this change. But let’s replace it with an all-encompassing, inclusive, and sustainable message about the pregnant individuals’ right to bodily autonomy. Double down on that message. Link abortion rights to the right not to be sterilized against your will, or the right to have a child when you want to. Make a web of reproductive choices and make it clear how they’re all connected. That’s one way to get lots of people to connect personally to an issue and see it differently.
Caving to pressure not to talk about choices, though? That’s not gonna cut it in the long run. We may not lose Roe, but it will become irrelevant like it already has for so many people - low-income people, people in states that have one (or soon to be zero, like Mississippi) abortion provider, people affected by waiting periods or ultrasound bills.
Those are the battles we need to fight 40 years later. The opposition has gotten crafty. And we’re not going to effectively combat that by compromising our messaging during a time when we should be capitalizing on their rhetorical blunders.
I’m in for a future where we can commemorate this day without making more battle plans. I think the only way we’re going to secure that is dedication to the heart of this issue - the right to be self-determining in one’s reproductive health and bodily decisions. Let’s not lose sight of that now.
I didn’t want to spam you with asks, but I felt this was an important matter so I submitted instead
So, I recently saw your post about the “guide to a safe abortion”, and I’m kind of wondering where the hayhay anyone gets off posting something like that on facebook and tumblr? I understand that women are sometimes denied the right to choose whether they give birth, but the wide majority of the audience you’ll be reaching on these websites are going to be uninformed teenage girls/young women, who are likely in a state of panic over it all, and have access to more legitimate methods. And what you are projecting to these girls is that:
1) It’s okay to lie to people to get a false prescription
2) It’s okay to go to illegal means to get rid of this child that you do not want
3) These drugs will fix this problem for you
The first two obviously tie in together, and it’s fairly obvious the issues with those—Young women with means to get a legal abortion, who do not know the process to do so, shouldn’t have to go to those measures. It can land them in A LOT of trouble, and cause problems for them later on in life, too.
The third issue is one that’s an issue for women in any country. You tell them the name of a random prescription drug, a general idea of what it’s used for, they might settle for other drugs that aren’t so safe for them. Grandma’s arthritis medicine? Okay, that should work. Just gotta wait till she’s asleep and steal a couple pills, she won’t need them. But then, oops, it’s not the exact same medicine they said? Hm, well, it should work. It’s like Advil versus Tylenol, right? Oh, but this baby is just really, really, not gonna be good. Taking a few extra should be okay, right? And it’s not like there’s a possibility of a serious allergic reaction that someone might mistake for it working, right?
You see where my concern lies? I just don’t see why you would want to spread that around when the possibility of it damaging the women who use the information is so high. I understand protecting the rights of women, but the women whose rights you are trying to protect are not going to be the wide majority of the ones coming into contact with that image.
It is something good for people who need it, it really is. But I believe this is one of those cases where someone gets it so in their head that this is a great idea that they don’t realize the flaws and could end up really harming others. I think I started this off a bit angry, but really, it’s more from concern than anything. I really just don’t understand how this is, all things considered, a good idea to spread out on these websites.
I apologize for the length of this message, and thank you for reading all the way through it. If you could do me another favor, though, by perhaps explaining how the things I’m worried about shouldn’t realistically be a problem, if applicable, I would really appreciate it. This is something that has really upset and concerned me, and I believe that, as a blog dedicated to feminism, you might be able to understand such concerns, and, as the OP, you might have a better idea of what was posted and be able to assuage my fears on the matter.
This is in response to this post that has recently begun circulating again, for some of my newer followers.
Where I get off posting something like that is directly in what you wrote: Sometimes women are denied access to safe and legal abortions. There are plenty of women, girls, and others who can become pregnant who may need access to this information. Most of the reblogs that I’ve seen with commentary have been people reblogging because they know they have followers in these countries or are citizens of these countries themselves.
And you know what else? It is ok to lie to get a false prescription if you have to. These people that are in these situations didn’t make it so that they had to go to such extreme measures, so if they have to do so they have to do so. And if a young girl who is possibly in this country (The United States, for me) uses this information because she can’t access the abortion that should be available to her according to Roe v. Wade due to all of the various pieces of legislation that anti-choice duckfuckers have put in place to chip away at those rights? Yeah, I want her to be able to use this information, too. Because it IS ok to go to illegal means to obtain an abortion if you need one because no one should be forced to give birth because of unjust, misogynistic laws. Were it not for people like the Jane Collective in Chicago who performed safe abortions illegally during the time that it was totally criminalized in this country there would have been a lot more dead women. They thought that it was ok to do something that was illegal when the laws were unjust, and I absolutely agree with them.
I have faith in teenage girls. I was one once and at the time I knew every law regarding abortion access for someone my age in my state and I made my decisions accordingly. I knew of this organization then, and I knew of this method then, and if it had come down to it, I would have employed it.
I understand that not every teenager is me. But because of this I also know that not every teenager is as stupid, as scared, as ignorant, or as disempowered as you might think they are. However, I also know that not every teenager has access to the information they need to know their rights or how access them. And I would rather they try this method than some of the other methods that I know they already try. Do you not think this method, with the instruction provided by a legitimate organization like Women on Waves, who does this a lot and who has helped people through many situations like this, is better than sitting in a tub of bleach? Douching with bleach? Drinking caps of bleach? Physically harming themselves until they miscarry? You’ve thought of all of the ways in which this information can be harmful but none of the ways that not having access to it can also be harmful. I would much rather teenagers feel empowered to try this method than one of the ones that are absolutely dangerous that they heard about from their friends.
The website and the organization provide plenty of information as to how to properly perform this, and teenagers and grown women aren’t stupid even if they are sometimes desperate due to oppressive laws.
You seem to think that if people did not have access to this information, they would not otherwise attempt to abort. You are absolutely incorrect. Illegal and botched abortions are among the leading causes of maternal mortality in many regions across the world. This method, one of the safer home abortion methods to try, is much preferable to paying a back alley butcher or using a knitting needle. At least in my opinion it is.
I don’t really think you have any idea who is coming into contact with this image. Tumblr is a big wide world and many people have access to it - not just people in Western countries (and even some of those countries have completely criminalized abortion or, like the U.S., simply made it inaccessible for many people). And I think you underestimate the women who might be in these situations in the first place.
Women on Waves is a fantastic organization that provides abortions for people in these countries by taking them onto a ship that is located in waters where their native countries’ abortion restrictions no longer apply. They also disseminate information like this for those pregnant individuals that they may not be able to help in this way.
Using Tumblr and Facebook is a great way to disseminate this information to people who need it as it has the potential launch information onto a worldwide stage. I trust people with that information just as Women on Waves does. They’ve been doing this for nearly 14 years and are an award-winning organization.
You can disagree with me as to the level of responsibility this kind of post entails. That’s fine. But these are my reasons for posting this information, and I really don’t care what you or any other person on the internet thinks about it.
People need to access abortion care whether that care is legal in their country or not. People deserve access to abortion care whether it is legal in their country or not. If that means they have to do it themselves by any means necessary, I will do whatever I have to do to get them the best information and resources I can do to make sure they are able to exercise their right to bodily autonomy to the best of their ability under oppressive regimes.
I hope that answered your question.
Remembering Dr. Tiller and other anti-choice terrorism stories (Possible TW for frank discussion of violence)
3 years ago I had just woken up at my mom’s house. I had very recently come to stay with her for the summer since my semester in college was already over. I remember walking into the living room, somewhat bleary-eyed, and my mom (knowing me very well) just told me “They got him”.
I asked who.
“Tiller,” she said, “he was shot today”.
Usually when people are shot dead in their churches, surprise is the first thing that hits you. Or at least, shouldn’t it be? That’s not what I felt. What I felt was the opposite of surprise, because I knew that one day after repeated attacks his luck would have to run out. That’s just a numbers game.
I also felt scared, because I know people who work in clinics that provide abortions. Scared because of my own ideals and desires to work as an advocate for reproductive rights and justice.
That hasn’t waned. The numbers game is still continuing.
Anti-choice terrorism is still going on. I almost feel as though it’s getting worse. The attacks in the legislature are not enough for these people. Although pro-choice advocates know that anti-choicers who support and pass laws that restrict abortion have the blood of those who die in back alleys or even hospital waiting rooms on their hands, it seems as though that’s not enough. They seem to want to be able to see it. To make it real, to make it actual. To stand in a church - the place where many of them get these ideas of being “pro-life” - and put a bullet in someone else’s skull.
How many attacks does it have to be to call it terrorism?
Then again, I guess it can’t be considered terrorism if such violence is made legal.
How many people do we have to remember?
How many threats of violence must there be to be taken seriously?
How many times and by how many people or groups must we be targeted?
Today is a sad day for me and for a lot of pro-choice advocates, I imagine. I didn’t know Dr. Tiller, I never needed his services. But I’ve watched interviews with him and seen his dedication to his practice and seen his dedication to women*. He should be remember for the bravery that it takes to be aware of those that want you dead in the name of life yet still push on and do what’s needed and what’s right. He should be remembered because he was a fully aware sentient person who was killed for making choices others disagreed with - not only a martyr for the pro-choice cause but nearly a metaphor for it.
However, he should be remembered most for the two words most associated with him and most forgotten by legislators who think they’re qualified to micro-manage the very biology of others - “Trust Women” - although we must remember to trust everyone who is capable of becoming pregnant.
There’s little more powerful than that, and that is why Dr. Tiller will and should be remembered by pro-choice advocates and the people that used his services.
If only God-fearing people who gun down others in churches could have had that much faith. If only.
*as he states, although not only women need abortion services
Blog for Choice Day, a letter of thanks/apology to Roe vs. Wade
Dear Roe vs. Wade,
You’re turning 39 this year. Congratulations! I know that you’re much older than I am and so you probably don’t need my wisdom (if you can even call it that), but I still think you deserve a hearty “yahoo!” on your continued existence, because although it often has its good points, life can also be hard.
Life is especially hard for those that help people in unpopular ways. Or for people who help those no one else deems worthy of it. When an entity does that, there are others who fight against them. They either create head-on clashes and challenge that entity directly, or they go through back ways, manipulate, and disempower in ways that become invisible - creating stealth attacks on progress, forming the culture to make it seem like snatching dignity from others is something that’s ok to do.
People now know that you’re too powerful at 39 to challenge you directly, so they’re trying to bring you down little by little. They’re trying to take your power (and the power of your siblings, Griswold v Connecticut, etc.) piece by piece, and so far it seems like its working.
So this is where I’d like to offer an apology, Roe v Wade, because I personally feel as though I’ve let you down. You’re much older than me, you see, and therefore in my eyes you’re a monolith. Ever since I heard of your existence it seems you’ve been able to withstand any weathering brought your way - too tall, too strong to be toppled by lies and misconceptions offered by those that oppose your very being as well as the rights and protections you afford me.
But now I realize it’s not like that. While I’ve been staring at the summit, folks have been tunneling through the bottom.
They have attempted to bar you from the domain of those you most need to help. They have cut-off the resources you need to do your work. And for the most part, I stood by and watched because I thought you could handle it.
So I’m sorry for standing by while a record number of anti-abortion legislation was passed. I’m sorry for standing by while white cis-male politicians waxed poetic about the evils of your work. I’m sorry I haven’t offered you the support that anyone in a taxing and, in some instances, dangerous line of work needs to be successful.
So now, on the anniversary of the day your were handed down from the Supreme Court, I would like to thank you. Thank you, Roe v Wade, for being there for so many people that needed abortions. Thank you for being there to calm the nerves of people who haven’t needed that yet, but might. People may be trying to take you away from us, or rip you apart from the inside out, but you still have an enormous amount of power for the people that depend on you in order to be able to access safe, legal abortion.
I’d like to make existing a little easier for you, Roe v Wade, and as such I am re-offering my support to you and the rest of the decisions and laws that protect my freedom to my own reproductive choices. I am also offering my support to any new legislation which will also work to those ends, and I am promising my effort to the fight against the insidiousness of anti-choice attacks, be they through patient dismantling of reproductive liberties or full-on charges against the front lines.
I’m damn tired of politicians, pundits, and anyone else who thinks they can step all over you, wear you down, or disregard you all together. Your fight is for me, so my fight should be for you.
Thanks again for everything that you do to ensure me the independence and equal societal access that I deserve as a human person. I will do my best to make sure that you and other forms of legislation that secure my rights are treated with the dignity that you have afforded me these last 39 years.
(P.S. Hey Roe v Wade! Read other folks talking about how awesome you are here.)
I’ve seen some reblogs of my post saying that the abortion instructions are really terrible because you need a prescription to get misoprostol.
That’s not always true.
Some sites sell it without a prescription, like this one.
Also, for those concerned that the instructions aren’t safe, it clearly says that there is more information on the website, and the group is headed by a doctor, the woman who originally posted the image. Her name is Dr. Rebecca Gomperts.
So chill out folks. Women on Waves has been helping pregnant folks in countries in which abortion is illegal for many years. Pretty sure they’ve got this shit on lock. I’d feel much better about someone trying their prescribed methods of self-induced abortion than to try some of the other methods that are performed out there.
Also, as an update, Facebook apologized for the removing the image, so I guess that’s good.