Boston Walk For Choice


Posts tagged with "Pregnancy"



And personally I am sick and tired of people saying, “well why don’t you just put the child up for adoption instead of aborting it?”

For one, pregnancy and labor are among the hardest things the human body has to go through. It is no walk in the park. It is not easy. It is a huge deal. You have to change your entire lifestyle for 9+ months. You gain weight like crazy. Your immune system is compromised. Your life is at risk. Not to mention the social stigma that comes with being pregnant in certain social situations. Adoption does not fore go any of this. And the costs associated with just an uneventful pregnancy are astronomical let alone a pregnancy with complications. Abortion is the alternative to pregnancy. A person does not want to remain pregnant they get an abortion and that is their right. Their bodily autonomy dictates it to be so.

For two, I cannot speak for all countries, but at least in the U.S., the foster care/ adoption system is severely flawed. Single people cannot adopt. LGBTQ couples cannot adopt. There are thousands of children in the system that will be lucky if they are even considered for adoption. Why in the hell would I want to add another child to that? Why would I go through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy only to place a child in a severely flawed system and leave them with almost no hope of having a loving family? You call that love? You obviously have had no dealings with the system then.

Last but not least, when in the hell did it become the uterus-bearer’s job to carry children for those who cannot have them? Yes. If you cannot have a child of your own I am deeply sorry, but it is not my job nor the job of any other uterus-bearer to carry a child for you. If you want a child, there are children in the foster care/adoption system that need your love. If you don’t want o adopt one of those children, then you obviously do not want children as bad as you say you do.

I am going to leave you with this one more time, ADOPTION IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PARENTHOOD NOT PREGNANCY!

Feminists for Choice

What is Choice?
I believe that choice means having the power to make decisions about your own body. These choices include:

  • When, and if, you want to have sex
  • Who you want to have sex with
  • What types of sexual activities are right for you
  • What type of birth control is right for you
  • The choice to get pregnant and keep a child or put it up for adoption
  • The choice to terminate a pregnancy if that is appropriate for you
  • Access to medically accurate information about reproductive options
  • The right of transsexuals to change their bodies to fit their gender
  • The right of intersex children to not have surgery until they know which gender they are
  • The right to say “no.”

The pro-choice movement encompasses all of these aspects of reproductive health, and so much more.

Being Pro-Choice


Being pro-choice means more than supporting the right to an abortion. Being pro-choice encompasses all reproductive decisions, from contraception, to sterilization, to IVF, to adoption and surrogacy. It means supporting and respecting people’s choices of where and how to give birth, or whether to give birth at all.

It means acknowledging the variety of life experiences, and working to break down barriers, such as poverty, location, and lack of education, that impede people’s right to control their reproductive destinies. It means working to ensure that no matter what sexual orientation or identity, everyone has equal access to support for their choices.

It means understanding that many are not given choices, or that their choices are limited by their situation. It means helping those people in any way, from offering them a ride to the hospital, to lobbying for their rights in the capitol or online.

It means fighting for everyone’s rights before, during, and after pregnancy, as well as the rights of those who will never be pregnant.

What I am vexed with is the idea that, by having an abortion, a woman is somehow being unfemale and, indeed, unmortherly. That the absolute essence of womanhood and maternity is to sustain life, at all costs, whatever the situation.

My belief in the ultimate sociological, emotional and practical necessity for abortion became even stronger after I had my two children. It is only after you have had a nine-month pregnancy, laboured to get the child out, fed it, cared for it, sat with it till 3am, risen with it at 6am, swooned with love for it and been reduced to furious tears by it that you really understand just how important it is for a child to be wanted. How motherhood is a game you must enter with as much energy, willingness and happiness as possible.

And the most important thing of all, of course, is to be wanted, desired and cared for by a reasonably sane, stable mother. I can honestly say that my abortion was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what worktops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being, because I knew that to do it again - to commit my life to another person - might very possibly stretch my abilities, and conception of who I am, and who I want to be, and what I want and need to do - to breaking point. The idea that I might not - in an earlier era, or a different country - have a choice in the matter, seems both emotionally and physically barbaric.


How To Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

This is quite simply one of the single most honest, touching and convincing pro-choice arguments I have ever read.

(via petitefeministe)

Aug 3

Abortion: faith-based pregnancy counselling centres found wanting


A ciscentric article on faith based abortion advice services. Although I am ashamed by the ciscentrism displayed here, there are some really good important points brought up, especially in light of Britain handing over it’s care to independent charitys.

Women receiving advice from pregnancy counselling centres run by faith-based organisations are subjected to scaremongering, emotive language and inaccurate information about abortion, according to an undercover investigation by a pro-choice charity.

Hundreds of crisis pregnancy centres(CPCs) offer counselling independently of the NHS. They could take over work performed by abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), after the government said it was consideringhanding the counselling role to “independent” organisations.

A survey of 10 centres operated by Christian and anti-abortion organisations found evidence in most of them of poor practice and factually incorrect advice, while the quality of counselling differs widely. Advice ranged from scaremongering – linking abortion with breast cancer, for example – to actions apparently designed to steer women away from abortion, such as showing them baby clothes and talking about “the child”.

Researchers pretending to be young women in the early stages of pregnancy conducted the survey for Education for Choice, a pro-choice charity providing education and training on abortion.

Centres visited included those run by Life, recently appointed to a panel advising the government on sexual health. That appointment, as well as renewed pressure from socially conservative MPs to tighten abortion laws and strip abortion providers of their counselling role, has sparkedalarm among pro-choice supporters.

At a Life centre in Covent Garden, London, the undercover researcher was given a leaflet entitled Abortions – How they’re Done, which said incorrectly that 85% of abortions are carried out using vacuum aspiration. It stated that “the unborn child is sucked down the tube” and that “the woman should wear some protection. She has to dispose of the corpse.”

The counsellor was said to have focused on mental health issues that she associated with abortion, telling the researcher she was of a good age to have a child, showing her baby clothes and using terms such as “baby” and “grandchild” when referring to the pregnancy.

While a counsellor on Life’s helpline was regarded as being “friendly and non-judgmental”, she was unwilling to answer questions about physical aspects of abortion, saying she was not qualified to do so. When asked whom to talk to about arranging an abortion, the counsellor stated that the organisation was pro-life and could not recommend any service. She claimed not to know the names of abortion providers.

A counsellor at City Pregnancy Counselling and Psychotherapy (CPCP), London, which came under Life’s auspices until the end of May, repeatedly suggested the client should wait two to three weeks before making her decision on abortion.

The counsellor said the embryo was a fully formed human life and that the client would have to grieve for her loss: “Abortion, whatever reason you might go for that, will become bereavement because this is a baby that’s going to die, if you go down that route. That’s the reality of it.”

A counsellor at Choices Haringey in north London, part of a network overseen by Care Confidential, a Christian organisation, did not know the legal time limit for abortion, claimed that there were no statistics on the number of women who have terminations and had little idea about local services.

The counsellor frequently referred to “The Journey” – a training manual – and handed out photocopied pages from its 10-step “road to abortion recovery”, including steps entitled “guilt and shame” and “forgiveness”.

Other sections of the manual (which were not given to the researcher) state: “Part of the healing journey to post-abortion recovery involves repentance – the only remedy for guilt. If we are to walk this journey with a woman then we need to clearly see which boundaries she has crossed … immorality, coveting, lying, as well as taking innocent life.”

A counsellor at Alternatives Pregnancy Choices Newham, a Care Confidential affiliate in east London, was said to have been friendly, well-informed and able to recommend abortion providers, including Marie Stopes and BPAS.

At Skylight Counselling, a Care Confidential affiliate in Coventry, the counsellor was said to have listed physical and psychological effects she linked to the “post-traumatic stress” of abortion. Literature suggesting risks such as “sub-fertility or infertility” and “increased risk of breast cancer” was given out.

Julia Acott, Care Confidential’s counselling and support services manager, said the organisation was sorry the service provided at Haringey “fell below the standards expected”. The adviser in question would be retrained.

She said Care Confidential became an independent charity on 1 July, adding: “One of the first actions we are implementing is a full review of quality control, training and support across the centres.

“Part of this will include a review of all the published materials, from websites to training manuals, including that for The Journey, where circumstances, thinking and language has moved on in the years since it was published. The training manuals will be updated and rewritten in language that reflects the diversity of people, of different faiths and none, who will use and benefit from it.”

Life said: “We are wholeheartedly committed to offering the best service possible to women facing crisis pregnancies by providing them with non-judgmental, person-centred counselling and skilled listening in line with guidelines set out by the BACP [British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy], of which we are a member.

“The misinformation which allegedly a Life worker gave to a mystery client was apparently contained in a leaflet that was not produced by Life. We therefore can’t comment on it but are investigating the overall complaint.”

“If asked, we give factual information about abortion and, if the client wants to explore what is involved, we will help her to do so.”

CPCP said its policy was that counselling should be non-directive and keep to BACP guidelines.

Lisa Hallgarten, director of education for Choice, said: “We investigated a range of CPCs because we are asked so regularly by commissioners whether this or that centre is OK to signpost young women to.

“We felt it was in the public interest to learn more about how these services operate. We chose to send in ‘mystery shoppers’ to use services as this is a tried and tested technique in mainstream sexual health provision - commonly used to test how young people friendly a service is and get a real sense of what it feels like to be a service-user.

“With the localism agenda, new health commissioning arrangements and the Department of Health considering changing abortion counselling regulations, we expect commissioners to come under increasing pressure to use CPCs.”

“Only two of the 10 centres we looked at provided good quality information or support.

“We strongly urge the Department of Health to think carefully about removing women from the professional decision-making support currently offered by abortion providers while the current alternative is a network of unregulated individuals, many of whom are in breach of good practice.”

Critiquing the Pro-Choice Frame: 10 Reasons to Rethink Reproductive Choice

Here are 10 compelling reasons why advocates for abortion rights should move away from “choice.”

1. Choice resonates most with women who see themselves as having choices; not with those who don’t. Because they are dealing with high rates of poverty and lack of access to education, jobs, and healthcare, low income and poor women often do
not experience reproductive decisions as choices.

2. Choice homogenizes reproductive experiences. Women’s reproductive lives vary tremendously, because they are shaped primarily by their race and class. White middle class women have gained increased control over their sexuality and reproduction with the legalization of contraception and abortion. Poor women and women of color have not.

3. Choice has not included the right to have children. Most often, reproductive oppression has consisted of attempts to prevent low income women and women of color from having children. While women of color have consistently resisted these practices and fought for their right to be mothers, the pro-choice movement has not.

4. Choice disconnects abortion from the rest of women’s lives. Like all other reproductive experiences, abortion occurs in the context of a woman’s entire life – including her economic and educational status, her sexual orientation, her other healthcare needs, and whether she is in a violent or abusive situation, has a disability, has other children, is incarcerated or homeless, and so much more. A woman brings all of these aspects of who she is to her reproductive decision-making. Therefore, while preserving the legal right to abortion is a central aspect of reproductive freedom, it is only one part of what is needed.

5. Choice is a conservative framing. “Choice” became the primary way of talking and thinking about abortion in the 1980s when advocates were overwhelmed by the power of the New Right and the growing anti-abortion movement. The mainstream reproductive rights movement responded by trying to widen its base of support to include people who were more conservative. Thus the movement became “pro-choice” instead of being for abortion rights, sexual rights, and insisting on women’s bodily autonomy.7 Pro-choice politics were framed defensively by what was considered winnable rather than by a positive vision of reproductive freedom.

6. Choice is a market concept. In our capitalist society, choices are consumer decisions. If something is for sale, then supposedly we can choose it. This model is not adequate for dealing with basic needs, especially when almost 50 million people in the U.S. have no health insurance at all.

7. Choice is individualistic. The underlying assumption of the choice framework is that an individual is responsible for her economic status and for solving her own problems. With this understanding, childbearing and abortion are privileges, not rights. That there are social, political, and economic conditions required to enable individual choices is completely invisible.

8. Choice focuses only on women's reproductive decisions. While women must have the right to decide whether to become pregnant or to continue a pregnancy, this is only one aspect of reproductive autonomy. Gay men, lesbians, and intersex and transgendered people are also fighting for reproductive, sexual and health rights. These include the right to be parents, to bear children and to have access to the technologies and services which support their parenting decisions. If we understand the right to abortion as a necessary aspect of bodily integrity, equality, and full citizenship, it is integrally connected to these other struggles.

9. Choice lacks moral force. In the abortion debate “choice” is pitted against life as the underlying ethical conflict, conceding the issue of “life” to the opponents of women’s rights. This allows the debate to center on the status/significance of fetal life as the primary moral question. Instead, advocates of abortion rights need to re-focus on the morality of forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will and the ethical consequences of preventing women from terminating a pregnancy. At issue are women’s lives and livelihoods — their status, health, relationships, and ability to be in charge of the major decisions which affect their lives. Women who have abortions talk about them in terms of necessity and survival. Our language should reflect the significance that women attach to these actions.

10. Choice is not the adequately compelling vision needed to mobilize a broad and inclusive movement. Reproductive Justice provides that vision. Since abortion was legalized, the opposition has organized a movement aimed not just at re-criminalizing abortion, but one that is inspired by a holistic conservative vision of gender roles, familyand sexuality. Restoring traditional gender hierarchies and behavior, and taking back gains made by movements for women’s equality, gay liberation and reproductive rights, are all part of that agenda. In order to combat the multi-faceted nature of this attack, and to fully encompass the reproductive needs and concerns of all women, we must build a reproductive justice movement — a movement that is broad-based, linking issues and communities.

This is a slightly shortened version of the PDF on the linked bage, “10 Reasons to Rethink Reproductive ‘Choice’” by Marlene Gerber Fried.

What does everyone think of this?

Aug 2

August first victory: Insurance providers will now be required to cover all contraception as well as well-woman visits, STD and pregnancy testing, domestic violence screenings, and family planning services as they all fit under the umbrella term of preventive care.
Methods such as voluntary sterilization will also be covered. All of the plans that began on/after August first will include this requirement.  From then, it will go into full effect January of 2013.
Also, did you know that birth control is already required to be covered by insurance in 28 states? True story.


August first victory: Insurance providers will now be required to cover all contraception as well as well-woman visits, STD and pregnancy testing, domestic violence screenings, and family planning services as they all fit under the umbrella term of preventive care.

Methods such as voluntary sterilization will also be covered. All of the plans that began on/after August first will include this requirement.  From then, it will go into full effect January of 2013.

Also, did you know that birth control is already required to be covered by insurance in 28 states? True story.

How to be an Everyday Reproductive Justice Hero

1. Support a friend through a pregnancy.
When a friend tells you she is pregnant, be there for her. There is no need to be overbearing, but just let her know that you are there every step of the way if she needs you. If she decides to terminate, offer to go with her to the clinic, and check in with her afterwards. If she is continuing the pregnancy, ask her what she needs – time, ice cream, someone to hold back her hair, space. And when the baby comes, be a supporter, a babysitter, a researcher of daycare options, if that’s what she wants/needs. Show through your love and trust of the women in your life that women are worthy of love and trust.

2. Be a safe sex educator to your friends.
I know there is somewhere in your area where you can get free condoms. Go get some, and give them out to your friends. Keep a dish in your bathroom with a “help yourself!” sign on it for visitors. Hand them out relentlessly. Ask your friends what method of birth control they are using. Educate yourself and be a source of information and support. Use whatever you have up your sleeve – an air of compassion, a sense of humour – to make it ok to talk openly about sex around you.

3. Volunteer at your local clinic.
Always contact a clinic first and find out what they need. Most clinics do not need counter-protesters; they make patients nervous and incite anger. See if you can be a clinic escort: usually it’s a weekly commitment of a couple hours, and you will be directly helping women accessing sexual health services. Some clinics need other support – people to drive patients from the airport or neighbouring towns; people to host out-of-town patients overnight; people to answer phones or stuff envelopes. If you have the time to give to make yourself useful at a clinic, I promise you it will go far and be very much appreciated.

4. Lead a creative resistance.
If you are a creative person, create something. Write a letter to your representative or to the newspaper; write a blog; paint, write poetry, build a sculpture; do something big and amazing and thought-provoking or something small and quiet and cathartic. Sometimes the challenge of the movement can be so frustrating and make you so angry and sad and lost; express yourself. Often art has a way of reaching others and clarifying the issue in a way that simple explanations cannot.

5. Be an ally.
Who are the people in your community who are suffering most from the lack of access to reproductive healthcare services? Find out what they have to say. Figure out a way to use what privilege you have to be of service. This is a hard one, and a longterm thing. You will screw up. But it’s worth the effort.

6. Learn.
In whatever spare time you have, read about reproductive justice, and ask questions. Talk to people, whoever you can access – doctors, nurses, friends who have had abortions, friends who have had babies, doulas, midwives, your mother, your partner. Read blogs and articles. Inform yourself as much as possible; put yourself in a position of being able to speak to this issue and to help and support and inform the people around you. Knowledge is power.

7. Love.
I feel that this is at the root of it – true activism is an act of love. Never forget why we fight for access and the health and lives of our sisters. If we live every day and act out of love, we can’t lose. When in doubt, follow your heart.

Please feel free to comment with your own ideas and suggestions. Remember, the revolution will not be funded; we all have to keep in mind that service provision, while good and essential work, is only one piece of the puzzle. The battle will be won by the small, everyday acts of resistance that all of us can do.

8. Support mothers. Fight for legislation and local resources to help mothers feed, clothe, and educate their children as they see fit. Participate in local programs that will help mothers and families with childcare and basic needs. Help mothers who want to raise up their babies themselves to do so without judgement or shame. Fight the societal impulse to criticize mothers for anything that happens to their child and every decision they make on behalf of their own family. Support mothers.

The Last Remaining Abortion Provider in Mississippi


Two weeks ago, an anti-abortion extremist invaded the waiting room of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Mississippi - the only abortion provider in the entire state of Mississippi.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s legal coordinator traveled to Jackson to discuss ways to improve security, to assess legal needs and to devise new ways for the local community to support the facility. 

Now they’re asking pro-choicers around the country to make an emergency, tax-deductable contribution to keep the organization open and its patients, doctors and staff safe.

To donate, please click here.

I don't like that you do abortions, but if you didn’t, I would probably be dead


She looked at me and said, “I don’t like that you do abortions, but if you didn’t, I would probably be dead and not celebrating this new life. My husband isn’t thrilled that I am seeing you. He just can’t wrap his head around the fact that women sometimes really need someone who can do what you do. But I don’t see how I could go to anyone else. You saved my life.”