• The Daily Beast, pinkypills

    Political = Personal

    Women Share Secret Abortion Stories

    One in three women has had an abortion in the United States—but their stories often remain private. A new campaign aims to change that.

    Brittany Mostiller had just turned 23 years old when she found out she was pregnant again. She thought about suicide. The Chicago native was already a mother to three girls under the age of seven, and was just getting by, working a part-time job as a grocery store cashier and living in a two-bedroom apartment with her sister and her niece. Since Medicaid doesn’t cover an abortion, she thought of ways to circumvent the high-cost procedure. “I thought about throwing myself down a flight of stairs or have my eldest daughter pounce on top of me,” she said.

    Mostiller did terminate her pregnancy, with the help of Chicago Abortion Fund, a non-profit that helps low-income women obtain abortion services. She now works on behalf of the group.

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  • Handout

    No Heartbeat

    Charged With Murder for a Miscarriage

    A woman survived kidnapping, rape, and savage beatings—but her unborn child did not. Now Oklahoma City police are calling the death a homicide, and her missing ex is wanted for murder.

    The woman was six weeks pregnant when her ex-boyfriend allegedly locked her in a room for three days without food and repeatedly raped and sodomized her while savagely beating her with his fists, a hard-soled sandal, and the buckle end of a belt.

    “Beaten to the point she was almost unrecognizable by her family,” says a June 16 affidavit filed by the Oklahoma City police. “[The woman] had both eyes swollen shut, severe bruising all over her body, severe trauma in her vagina, and numerous deep cuts from the belt buckle.”

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  • Fox Searchlight/Everett

    History

    Hollywood’s Backward Stance on Abortion

    ‘Obvious Child’ is the belated inheritor of a pro-choice movement gestating in Hollywood for decades—a movement aborted the moment politics turned contentious.

    Obvious Child is the movie that Hollywood should have been making 40 years ago, the second that the Supreme Court legalized abortion with the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. It’s the movie Hollywood should’ve made 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan was waging war against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health-care providers, and it’s the movie Hollywood should have been making 10, 20 years ago, when states began passing laws that limited women’s access to safe and legal abortions.

    It’s to the immense credit of writer-director Gillian Robespierre that Obvious Child never seems to register the weight of our expectations.

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  • Peter Dazeley/Getty

    Our Bodies

    Fame at All Costs—Including Abortion

    When a U.K. woman announced her plan to get an abortion in pursuit of a stint on ‘Big Brother,’ the Twitterverse was horrified—even pro-choicers. So can you be selectively pro-choice?

    If a woman has the right to have an abortion, is of sound mind, and is an adult, is there any reason to oppose her decision to have an abortion? This question was prompted by a recent event that seems popular when outrage meets retweets and Internet comments: digital public shaming and shunning.

    Josie Cunningham is a British woman who captured media attention for her attempts at fame. Her Facebook page describes her as “an aspiring model looking to break into the world of glamour modelling.” (This makes her no different or worse than many people.) Recently, she publicly announced that she would be getting an abortion to help further her goals. “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now,” she said. “An abortion will further my career.”

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  • Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT, via Getty

    Wendy’s Abortion Compromise

    The Texas state senator suggested she might support a 20-week abortion ban if it deferred to women and their doctors—and her position shouldn’t surprise us.

    Earlier this week, Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis made some waves by suggesting she might support a 20-week abortion ban in the state as long as it pays strong deference to women and their doctors. Davis told The Dallas Morning News editorial board: that less than one-half of one percent of Texas abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those were in cases where fetal abnormalities were evident or there were grave risks to the health of the woman. “I would line up with most people in Texas who would prefer that that’s not something that happens outside of those two arenas,” Davis said.

    This would seem a bit of a shift for Davis, who of course rose to national prominence with her 13-hour filibuster to block a bill in the Texas legislature that included a 20-week ban. Davis now says that her primary objection to that bill, which ultimately became law, was not the 20-week provision but the onerous restrictions on abortion providers and clinics. Her statements on the matter came as a surprise to those in the state and nationwide who think of Wendy Davis as a champion of reproductive freedom.

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  • Signs advocating for and against a late term abortion ban hang on a fence outside of a voting site at Eisenhower Middle School in Albuquerque, N.M. on Nov. 19, 2013. (Juan Antonio Labreche/AP)

    Reproductive Rights

    The People Have Spoken On Abortion

    Voter rejection of a late-term abortion ban in New Mexico, a reliably purple state, spells trouble for the GOP.

    Republicans are in trouble.

    After its shellacking in the 2012 election, the Republican Party issued an “autopsy” report that foretold continued losses unless the party moderated its positions, especially on social issues. Voters, the party found, identify Republicans as being “scary”, “narrow minded”, “out of touch” “stuffy old men”. Which was a sufficient problem in 2012 but as the electorate gets younger and more racially diverse, those labels—and the retrograde policy stances that inspire them in voters—are basically a death knell for conservatives.

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  • Getty (3)

    Culture Wars

    My Texas Abortion Telethon

    Why I’m joining a telethon to raise money for abortion services in Texas, land of Wendy Davis and Jane Roe.

    For a while in America, when the reproductive freedoms of women were fairly set in stone or even taken for granted, there was a concern that the next generation of women and women in general were not sufficiently prioritizing choice within their feminist agendas and political litmus lists in general. Consider that concern once and for all, well, aborted.

    Nothing fires up a resurgence of pro-choice fever and fervor in America like the wholesale unilateral attack on the basic rights of women to control their own bodies, restricting access to everything from contraception to in vitro fertilization to abortion services. This is, after all, 2013, not 1813, and modern American women have become used to a certain amount of autonomy over their own bodies and their own lives. When misguided conservative legislators literally invaded that autonomy with transvaginal probes, women decided they would not take it lying down. One by one, millions of American women have been standing up and speaking up for comprehensive reproductive justice—yes, including the right to all women have an abortion if they choose.

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  • Getty

    Enough

    Nebraska's Abortion Shame

    A 16-year-old foster teen asked for an abortion—only to have her request denied by a radical judge. Sally Kohn on why America should be outraged by the case.

    Conservatives don't want our government intervening in the economy to make it more fair or to help people who don't have enough money to help themselves. Conservatives don't want our government intervening to regulate pollution or global warming. Conservatives don't want our government intervening to improve public education. Conservatives don't want our government to collect taxes to support Social Security or Medicare let alone public parks and space exploration.

    But conservatives are thrilled about government intervening in the uterus of a 16-year-old girl.

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  • Eric Gay

    Battling Abortion With Boredom

    Clinics are being regulated out of existence with rules about hallway width, the size of procedure rooms, and vast amounts of other red tape.

    The recent revelation that nearly one in 10 abortion clinics in the United States have closed during the past two years has received a lot less coverage than Todd Aiken’s asininities or proposals to force transvaginal ultrasounds on unwilling women. Nor has there been much chatter about the new round of assaults on RU-486, which have led to a case that’s been accepted before the Supreme Court, with potentially far-reaching conclusions. Partly, this is due to fatigue—these days, news of broad new abortion restrictions is barely news at all. Partly, it’s because there’s so much going on in the world—public attention is, understandably, focused on Syria. But it’s also because the anti-abortion movement has been making epochal advances using regulations that are as tedious to read about as they are to describe. In the abortion wars, boredom has become a powerful weapon.

    Let’s start with the clinics closings. To find out what’s happening on the ground, Bloomberg’s Esmé E. Deprez did the painstaking work of reaching out to abortion providers all across the country, tallying 58 that have closed since 2011. “A wave of regulations that makes it too expensive or logistically impossible for facilities to remain in business drove at least a third of the closings,” she wrote. According to the Dallas Morning News, at least four more clinics are about to close in rural Texas. The sole clinics in North Dakota and Mississippi remain open only because courts have temporarily blocked the regulations that would shut them down.

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  • Mark Wilson/Getty

    Reproductive Rights

    West Bucks Abortion Trend

    A handful of blue states are creatively pushing for ways to expand abortion access even as the rest of the country looks to pass more restrictive measures on providers. By Amanda Marcotte.

    Things are looking pretty bleak in the world of abortion care. A wave of states has already been disturbingly successful at shutting down abortion providers by passing medically unnecessary restrictions on clinics, despite the new laws frequently being blocked in court. In the past three years, 27 states have lost 54 clinics, and while not all closures were due to anti-abortion regulations, plenty were. Considering how few abortion clinics are left in the country—a count in January by The Daily Beast found only 724 left—this loss represents a dramatic decrease in abortion accessibility, especially in states like Texas and Arizona, where huge numbers of clinics shut their doors.

    Because of this, pro-choice efforts to increase abortion availability have become all the more important. Luckily for pro-choicers, there is one advantage they have in the abortion arms race: In the first trimester, at least, abortion is incredibly safe and quite simple. Particularly in the era of the abortion pill, you don’t actually need expensive equipment, separate facilities, or even necessarily a medical doctor in order to provide one. As reproductive-rights advocates in the pre-Roe days understood, early abortion is safe and easy enough that even people who were previously not too familiar with the human body can be trained to do it. It’s this straightforwardness that has allowed pro-choice activists to come up with some innovative options to expand access.

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  • Backsliding

    From Back Alleys to Abortion Drugs

    Amanda Marcotte on why abortion access in red states is about to become worse than in the pre–Roe v. Wade era.

    Should the new abortion laws signed by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas last Thursday, which are expected to close 37 out of 42 abortion clinics through needless red tape, survive a court challenge to go into effect, it will certainly usher in a new era of restrictions on women’s ability to get a safe, legal abortion. Conservative writer Ross Douthat of The New York Times called it the “Texas experiment,” though his reasoning for the term is foggy at best. But he’s not wrong to note that what’s going on in Texas is an experiment. What Rick Perry and the Texas Republicans are trying something unprecedented: seeing if you can end legal abortion without directly banning it.

    Outside of the 20-week ban, this new law doesn’t technically restrict a woman’s right to obtain an abortion or force her to give a reason for the abortion, but it makes it so hard to operate a clinic that it will make getting an abortion physically impossible or prohibitively expensive. It will force most women to travel out of state, often across many states, to get to a clinic that has the room to see them, pushing the cost into the thousands of dollars, the opposite of free. The strategy is to take away abortion without banning it, and it’s something that has never really been done before.

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  • Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

    Tasteless Tweeting

    Pundit Thinks Coat-Hanger Abortions Are Funny

    Conservative pundit Erick Erickson taunted liberals with a back-alley abortion tweet after Texas passed its anti-choice bill—and says his feminist critics just can't take a joke.

    Emotions have run high in Texas since Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster of an abortion bill banning procedures after 20 weeks and imposing new regulations on providers. After the state legislature went ahead and pushed through the measure last week during a raucous special session, conservative pundit Erick Erickson decided to stoke the fire with a particularly tasteless tweet: “Dear Liberals, go bookmark this site now,” he taunted, with a link to an online warehouse selling coat hangers.

    Needless to say, the joke (if you can call it that) was not appreciated. Pro-choicers lashed out at what they perceived as crass disregard for the very real danger of illegal abortions, while pro-lifers chastised Erickson for hurting their movement. In an “apology” posted on RedState.com Saturday at 2:16 a.m., Erickson called his opponents “kid killers” and punted, “I forget that feminists and other pro-abortion activists really are as humorless as they are stereotyped to be.”

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