Archive | January, 2013

How having an abortion made me a better parent

30 Jan

What makes a person a good parent? I don’t know the answer for everyone, but for me, it means that I’m committed to teaching my son how to be non-judgmental, confident, and caring. It also means teaching my son the importance of education for himself and for all people, to talk about human rights, and to emphasize that he should always try to be open to new ideas and to spot and challenge certain forms of group thinking.

If I had another baby screaming at night, the creeping feeling of utter aloneness would be worse than I have ever experienced–I can almost assure anyone that. To raise another human being, alone, would not be a confidence building feat in myself, and thus I know with utter certainty that instilling confidence in my son would be difficult.

To have another child would be to fail at giving all that I can to my existing son.

When my son was 3 years old, I was newly divorced having finally escaped an abusive relationship. I was depressed, broken, and very lacking in any sense of self. Who I was and what I wanted from life seemed foreign. I was floating around like a ghost in my father’s house, too angry to talk to anyone without yelling, and barely able to make it up each morning to get into work. I had dropped out of college, and I felt like nothing but the biggest failure ever. This time of my life still haunts me for a number of reasons, not the least of which being how emotionally closed off I was to the people rooting for me: my son, and those closest to me in my family.

I went out a lot, drank too much, and although those things aren’t inherently wrong or bad, the alcohol made me especially careless with sex partners. It was as if I cared so little for myself that making my partner wear a condom during sex didn’t really matter.

One afternoon, I was sitting at my desk in the cramped and lifeless cubicle that I used to joke was “as barren and lifeless as my soul,” when suddenly I felt the urge to eat. So I grabbed a bite of my half eaten Subway sandwich, chewed, and promptly bent over the trash to throw it all up. I went home sick, not because I felt physically ill, but because I knew now what I had been trying to deny: I was pregnant.

I didn’t even take a pregnancy test for another week because I wouldn’t get paid until then and no, I didn’t have a dollar to buy one from the Dollar Tree. I was that broke, and had just emptied my change jar into my gas tank and purchased a few kitchen staples so my son wouldn’t starve. When I finally did take that pregnancy test, it was positive immediately, as I knew it would be. I wasn’t upset, or shocked, or any other emotion beside absolutely terrified.

I could not be pregnant, I did not want to be pregnant, I felt to be pregnant would be like dying for nine months.

After consulting with a doctor, who confirmed with another pregnancy test that I was in fact pregnant, she told me “you have some options, “ and I replied, “ when can I schedule a termination?”

She said quietly, “ you need to wait to schedule with us for at least twenty four hours.”

My mind screamed and my eyes dried up because I wouldn’t cry in front of her and have her think this was a tough decision. I wanted to say, “lady, I have been here before, literally and figuratively, and I know in the deepest depths of my soul what I am going to do, so get the appointment book and write!”

I thanked her and walked out alone, sat in my car, slumped, before I called my boss and said,

“I’m pregnant, can you see which days are going to work for me to take off so I can get an abortion?”

Boss: “Oh my gosh, are you okay? Sophia, why didn’t you use a condom!?”

“Because, I don’t know, but I know I’m not going to be pregnant so which days work for the department for me to be out. One day off should be fine, I just don’t want to schedule for a day that ya’ll need me to be there.”

Boss: “we’re in the middle of open enrollment. Um, I’m leaving on Friday for some broker meetings, so try if you can to schedule a few weeks out. Just one day , though? Is that enough?”

“Yeah, should be, I don’t really know though. I’ll fill out a request for time off, I’m just going to put medical leave as the reason.”

Boss: “okay, good luck.”

She was a wonderful boss, and I stay in contact with her still, years after leaving that god-awful place. We were always close and she shared my pro-choice sentiments. I always told her , as she told me, that an unplanned pregnancy would be terminated, that I just couldn’t emotionally, physically, or financially care for another pregnancy or human being. I called her then because she was the only one available in that moment that I knew would listen to me and be at least a little supportive.

Although she is my friend, her response was very much a boss-like reaction. I was needed at work to cover for her absence and do my work on time for our clients, and any absence would be troublesome. Hence her suggestion that I schedule things a few weeks out. This is typical and most certainly a barrier for many people seeking to make time to have an abortion.

Because I did not want to wait 24 hours to schedule an appointment, I called around to the many Portland-area clinics that perform abortions and asked for openings and pricing. The consensus was that an abortion without anesthesia would be about $300 cheaper, and the abortion pill being approximately the same price as non-anesthetic D & C.

I had heard from a family member that the abortion pill was awful for her, so I scheduled an appointment for the non-anesthetic procedure 2 weeks out, the same day I would be getting paid. The entire check did not cover the almost $500 cost, so I sold some clothes and purses to Buffalo Exchange to just barely meet the cost. I knew that I wouldn’t be paying my bills that month and that I would probably have to ask my dad for some money, but I didn’t care. I was relieved to have the appointment scheduled and was finally able to get some rest.

I have written before about the procedure itself, so I won’t rehash that in full detail. It was painful, and a bit awkward as the doctor talked openly about miscellaneous topics, but it was no where near as traumatic or as painful as childbirth. The antibiotics and pain meds they gave me put me to sleep quickly and I had my dad pick up my son from pre-school. I told him that day that I had a kidney infection (I have suffered from those periodically throughout my life) and locked myself in my room. When I woke the next day I called sick into work, eliciting a big sigh from my boss and serious guilt on my part, but I just wanted to rest and sleep.

That month, I asked friends and family for money. Twenty dollars here, twenty dollars there to meet all my missed bills and payments. The stress of the financial sort is always awful, but this time, doubly so. During that time, it elicited a gnawing feeling of guilt and treason as I lied to family members in order to get a few dollars to pay for groceries, feeling as if I couldn’t be honest with them about where my pay check had gone.

Those bubbling notions of worthlessness were only kept at bay by one simple fact: I was not pregnant.

Even though an abortion can be a serious thing for some people, I felt nothing but relief and happiness afterward. I hugged my son tight and took him to the park the weekend after my procedure. We laughed, and giggled, he read a little to me and I read a little to him.

I have never felt true happiness and have struggled openly with depression and bi-polar disorder, but that weekend was a good one. I was so incredibly relieved to not be pregnant and I felt I had a fresh lease on life as a parent. Having an abortion saved me and made me a better parent.

Fast forward five years and I’m a college graduate, abortion rights activist, freelance writer, and career -with-a- 401k-and-savings-account woman who loves her work. My son enjoys an array of curricular and extra-curricular activities, runs around the neighborhood with his friends building tree forts and constructing launch-able spaceships in our back yard. He’s happy and joyful in a way I don’t remember feeling. His joy brings me joy, and while I continue to work through my depression and serious bouts of self doubt. I know that if I were to have had another child, five years old now, my son’s quality of life would have been decreased as would that of the child.

I spoke with my dad on the phone the other day about the pros and cons of entering law school or graduate school, and I said, “with my son, and I love him to death, but everything is twice as hard to do.” With another child on my hip, everything would be 4 times as hard. His response to me,” just because you’re a parent, and a very young one at that, does not mean you don’t get to have and to live your dreams. You can only control you. ”

A year after I had that abortion I broke my leg. My dad was there to cook and clean, take and pick up my son from school, and help out in general. He noticed a stack of papers on my desk with a sticky note reading, “to be filed.” So as I slept, he helpfully went to file them. He happened upon an itemized receipt for tax purposes from the clinic where I had the abortion. When I woke up, he asked me if we could talk , in that voice from your parents that indicates something very serious needs to be said. He showed me the receipt and said, “ I love you very much.”

Today, he gets it. As do many others in my family. They see first hand how things are hard for parents, single parents at that. My dad’s support on the phone was in part his way of asking me not to be too hard on myself. And he is right, because we can only control ourselves.

I sometimes imagine not being able to control whether I had a baby or not. To not be able to control myself.

It’s a nightmare I’ve had, where I have woken up in a panic feeling my belly, making sure I wasn’t eight months pregnant and waiting for that feeling of relief as my mind slipped back into reality.


25 Years after R. v. Morgentaler: Where does the law go from here?

28 Jan

It is scary to think that when my mother was pregnant with me more than 27 years ago, she would have been required to ask permission of a panel of (mostly male) doctors to have an abortion. Two years after my birth, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Criminal Code provision relating to abortion and made Canada one of an elite few nations that has no law restricting abortion. While having no laws restricting abortion is an important part of reproductive justice, it is by no means sufficient. The law must also actively protect access and remove all barriers.

Other than piecemeal laws and injunctions protecting individual clinics, many patients attending at private abortion clinics, and sometimes even hospitals, must face protesters simply to get in the door. In Fredericton, New Brunswick, the protestors have their “home base” within 1 foot of the Morgentaler Clinic and are able to physically get in the face of patients. There is no law in N.B. to protect a woman’s right to access abortion services free from harassment. In the case of N.B., the political will to protect women is almost non-existent and so woman are screamed at, shamed, and tormented simply for trying to access healthcare. To add insult to injury, they are forced to pay out of pocket, in violation of the Canada Health Act, or endure the humiliation of asking two doctors for permission to access healthcare. This in a province where I knew a girl who was forced to keep her family doctor despite his refusal to provide her with contraception because she was unmarried, because of a shortage of family doctors. She certainly would not be able to get a referral from him, and if not him, who? Dr. Morgentaler has launched yet another legal case against the province of N.B. for their violation of the Canada Health Act. Similar lawsuits in other provinces started by Dr. Morgentaler have been successful and it seems that it is only a matter of time before this is the case in N.B.; however the Province has dragged the case along for almost 10 years since it was launched in 2003, with procedural motions and hopeless appeals.

In Ontario, there are laws and injunctions meant to protect women from harassment when attending at clinics, except there are a handful of anti-choicers who show flagrant disregard for the law and not only protest outside the clinic, but trespass and enter the clinics so as to terrify, torment, and shame the patients and clinic staff. The courts continually throw these individuals in jail but the moment they walk free, buoyed by the support of an ever dwindling number of Canadians, they are immediately back to their old tricks. The laws protecting clinics and women are weak and anti-choice politicians award medals to the individuals who perpetually break the law.

Unfortunately for women in Canada, Dr. Morgentaler, our tireless crusader, is aging. He may have survived the Holocaust, but he will never be able to cheat death. Without him I have serious concerns about where we will go from here. It takes significant pressure from individuals to effect political change and aside from a few kamikaze politicians, most will not touch abortion, pro or con, with a 10-foot pole; it is political suicide in Canada. Although the majority of Canadians support unrestricted access to abortion in all circumstances (up 9% between February and October 2012), they are blissfully unaware of how difficult it is for underprivileged women to access abortion services. Women in PEI must travel out of province for an abortion and in order for it to be covered by their provincial healthcare it must be done in a hospital and she must have a referral. The far north of Canada has very limited abortion services, forcing women to embark on hours-long travel at great personal expense.

Although effecting political change requires large numbers of supporters, effecting change through the courts can be done if one is willing to be the “face” of abortion rights. Dr. Morgentaler has dedicated his life to that task. He has been involved in dozens of lawsuits across the country with great success. He can gather the financial resources that it takes and he is not easily intimidated. Unfortunately, there is a minimum of 2 levels of court that every case has to proceed through provincially before reaching the Supreme Court, where decisions apply to all provinces. Without Dr. Morgentaler I have serious concerns about how far the law will advance. To date, in Canada, judge made law has strengthened abortion rights almost exclusively; however the common law is a slow beast. It is not enough to rely on no legal restrictions; we must fight for the positive right to access abortion without shame or barriers of any kind. The law must actively enforce access and punish those individuals or politicians who interfere. Access to reproductive justice must be a positive right, just as one has the right to freedom of religion or freedom of speech, women must have the right to abortion and reproductive justice.

In the next 25 years, the law must create a positive right to abortion so that every single woman who wants an abortion can receive one without delay and without any financial burden more than the cost of a bus ticket. Women, men, and doctors must bring lawsuits and all pro-women individuals must pressure their politicians to do more. Where we could rely on Dr. Morgentaler to tackle every abortion-related issue in the past, the same cannot be said of many others. It is a heavy burden and Dr. Morgentaler has borne it with the grace and strength of character reserved for so very few on this Earth. Thousands of Canadian women literally owe him their dreams and their lives.

Thank you Henry.

— Not Guilty


Where does activism go from here?

From an activist’s perspective, the Morgentaler decision can tell us two things: first, that ordinary people working together can change the law (for while some of the folks who rallied around Dr. Morgentaler during his struggle were influencial lawyers and doctors, for the most part it was grassroots activists who pushed the movement forward); and secondly, that changes in the law are not enough to combat systemic inequality; a system of which the law is a participating component.

In Canada today, as it was 25 years ago, it is the poor who are disproportionately disadvantaged by barriers to reproductive and sexual health services (including abortion). And despite the lack of legal barriers in comparison with other countries, significant obstacles do still need to be overcome. It doesn’t really matter if abortion is legal when there isn’t a doctor in your community who will perform one, for example. Or if there is a doctor – even a clinic – but the cost is prohibitive. In Fredericton it costs $700+ to obtain an abortion. Some folks in urban Toronto might not bat an eye at that sum, but in the Maritimes there are fewer people who have that kind of cash lying around. And money is simply one possible obstacle among many.

Activists believe a better world is possible. That’s the whole point of activism. In the case of abortion in Canada, it seems like much time is spent – especially in the urban centres where abortion is readily available – celebrating our country’s progressive laws, and congratulating an older generation of activists who made them possible. Of course we know that what our mothers and grandmothers did was courageous, and that it changed the world for the better. I was four years old when the Morgentaler decision came down – I could never begin to understand what it was like before that. But it’s been twenty-five years, and our poor sisters, our rural sisters, our Northern sisters, our First Nations sisters, our queer sisters and our racialized sisters continue to struggle. Why haven’t we listened to them, all this time?

When you are a white, cis woman from a middle class background, it is difficult to see beyond how easy the Morgentaler decision has made things for you. But one thing the Idle No More movement should show us is that when we hold the reins, the only ones served are ourselves. The pro-choice movement in Canada did a great job getting the abortion law struck down, but it is time for us to step back and add our voices in support of a larger movement – a reproductive justice movement – that is led by people tired of trickle-down activism.

A lack of abortion laws means little without free and accessible birth control, comprehensive sex education in all the schools, support and resources for new parents, significant reform to the adoption system, and a national daycare program. And none of that means anything until we learn to respect the sovereignty of the First Nations of this land, the rights of every person to control their own body, and the value of people over money or resources. We have a big mess to untangle. And the our colonial legal system is not going to be that great at untangling it.

But like I said, activists believe a new world is possible. And the youth of this country are making that belief a reality. We just need to listen to them.

— Peggy

How did you first learn about Roe?

22 Jan

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. According to a recently released Pew poll, only about 44% of Americans under 30 could identify the Roe decision as having to do with abortion. We know that what matters isn’t that young Americans know all the details of a Supreme Court case that happened before they were born, but instead, that they support abortion rights. And they do, overwhelmingly–almost 70% of young Americans believe abortion should be legal.

Nevertheless, here at the Abortion Gang, we decided to reminise about when we first learned about Roe or abortion rights in honor of today’s momentous anniversary.

Steph: Planned Parenthood’s latest video saying that most people think about abortion as personal, not political, rings true for my first experience with abortion. I always remember being vaguely pro-choice, but I never had to think about what that actually meant until a friend of mine became pregnant while we were in high school. She had an abortion, and for the first time I had to think about access: how would she get to the clinic without a driver’s license? without her parents knowing? how would she pay for it without an income? would she have to skip school for the appointment? what would she say?  Thankfully, my friend had a supportive partner who helped her navigate the system with ease, and she had a safe abortion. But I remember in that moment being profoundly glad that she didn’t have to bend the law to access the care she needed. This experience led me to work at an abortion fund all through college, where I learned the painful in and outs of the Hyde Amendment, and how the legality of abortion doesn’t mean that everyone is able to access it as easily as my friend did.

Nicole: As a linguistically frustrated high schooler, I replaced French with constitutional law.  Though my guidance counselor thought it the kiss of college admissions death, that class introduced me to Roe, and the wider world of social justice.  I have yet to look back.

Megan S.: I don’t know how I learned about Roe, but I do know how I learned about abortion access. I started college identifying as a feminist but not involved in abortion activism or familiar with reproductive justice issues. I considered myself to be pro-choice, but I didn’t think anything more of it than that. My sophomore year I started a work-study job at an abortion fund, which opened my eyes to the struggles of people trying to obtain abortion care. That experience made me question the differences between legality and reality. Although Roe was passed in 1973, it certainly did not and does not mean that all people have equal say in their bodily autonomy or equitable access to reproductive health services. My experiences at an abortion fund challenged me, changed me, and made me want to devote my life and work to ensure that people did not have to struggle to obtain reproductive health care.

I don’t know how I learned about Roe, but I do know how I want to teach my children about it. I want them to think of it as a momentous victory and to celebrate it as such. I also do not want them to think of it as the final piece of our fight for reproductive rights, but instead as a critical first step toward reproductive justice for all people.

Rachel: I’m pretty sure I first learned about Roe v. Wade from watching the national nightly news. When I was growing up it was my family’s habit to watch the news during dinner. My most distinctive memory of Roe came from the coverage of the 1991 Wichita, Kansas protests lead by Randall Terry (the so-called “Summer of Mercy” campaign). I remember the protests sparked days of national news coverage. To be on the national nightly news for several days in a row was a big deal, even more so before there were multiple cable news networks. I would have been 15 in 1991, and I’m sure I had heard of “abortion” before, but the sheer chaos and anger of the Wichita, Kansas protests is where my specific memory begins. At some point watching the news I asked my father why he was pro-choice, and I remember him saying to me he didn’t want any politician telling his daughters what they could do with their bodies.

Shelby: I think I may have heard the word Roe uttered a few times in my younger, Southern Baptist years in the same tone one uses to talk about Hitler, but I don’t recall ever connecting how it had anything to do with the tiny plastic fetuses they handed out at church presentations.

The first time I remember really thinking about Roe was when I met the 2 NY women who came to Lubbock to make the film that would eventually be The Education of Shelby Knox. They’d done a film called Live Free or Die about Dr. Wayne Goldner in NH, who was fighting a Catholic hospital merger in New Hampshire and had been friends with Dr. Slepian, who was killed for providing abortions. They told me it had showed at the Roe v. Wade 30th anniversary celebration and I remember finding it curious that people celebrated a Supreme Court decision. Only when I started working in the sex ed world and with older, more seasoned feminists did I understand the context of the case and the celebrations. By the time I was a 17 year-old senior in high school, I wrote a paper in Government class defending the case — and realized that the school computers had a block on accessing anything about it other than anti-choice websites. By the time I was 21, I was a full fledged reproductive justice activist who understood that Roe was a crucial first step but that there was still a long way to go before a theoretical right is a reality for all people, all the time.

Today, I’m 26, the same age Sarah Weddington was when she argued the case in front of the Supreme Court. When I met her and realized how young she had been when she changed history, it was a confirmation that a young feminist from Texas like me could really change the world for women…because one already had.

When did you first learn about Roe? What did you learn? From whom? Tell us in the comments.

40 years after Roe, we must celebrate and push for change

22 Jan

40 years ago in a momentous Supreme Court victory abortion became legal in the US. Politicians were changed by the champions of the feminist movement. They agreed that all people deserve to plan families and space their pregnancies and that the days of back alley abortions and coat hangers were over. No longer would anyone have to risk their lives to end and unwanted pregnancy.

That was the dream, but it is not the reality. There is no question that Roe made history and laid the foundation for the work we do in abortion access today. But we also know that it didn’t ensure complete accessibility and affordability of care. Despite the passing of Roe in 1973, the Hyde Amendment, prohibiting federal Medicaid dollars from covering abortion, was passed only three years later in 1976 and set the stage for the many abortion restrictions that have followed.

Every person deserves to be able to make the best decisions for themselves and for their families, but abortion coverage restrictions can make that difficult or even impossible. Abortion fund volunteers talk to people unable to afford abortion care every single day. People without insurance coverage of abortion have to struggle, some by putting off paying bills, rent, or even risking their personal safety to come up with the money for an abortion. There is a big difference between making abortion legal and making it accessible.

Our feminist leaders spoke up 40 years ago to legalize abortion and made significant change. As feminists, reproductive justice activists, families, and communities, must speak up again, and shout until the current administration hears us. To continue to let people struggle to afford abortion care, to make it impossible for our friends and communities to access health services, is unconscionable. Sign the petition now and tell President Obama that we are standing strong in support of comprehensive reproductive health care access and abortion coverage for all people, not just those who can afford it.

Abortion, Parenting, and our Obsession with Judging Women

18 Jan

Breaking News! Princess Kate is pregnant, finally!
Breaking News! Kim Kardashian is pregnant, by Kanye!
Breaking News! Oklahoma and Texas cut funding to Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics close.

Okay, so none of the above events are breaking news. Everyone has been waiting for Princess Kate to conceive because that’s her main lot in life, apparently. Kim Kardashian is a perennial pop culture icon, her pregnancy a shock to some, and outrage to others because she’s not “mother material.”

Meanwhile, while twitter flutters with outrage and excitement about famous women having babies, anti-choice lawmakers push through increasingly extreme anti abortion legislation that is literally causing clinics offering vital abortion and reproductive health services to close.

Even after President Barack Obama’s resounding victory in November, the House of Representatives remains firmly in anti-choice lawmakers’ hands, and state legislatures across the country are led by anti-choice representatives and anti-choice governors who are all too eager to cut off access to abortion.

Poor women be damned, their policies say, and look over there, a princes is pregnant!

Don’t get me wrong, I think celebrities having kids is exciting and in some ways interesting. It’s no different to me than a coworker of mine coming into the office with her new grand baby, I coo and cuddle, and then continue on with my life.

For many, however, celebrity pregnancies are more than just a sweet moment, they are a distraction, and a reversion to judgement and unfair criticism of women. That judgement eventually trickles down, and reinforces long standing negative ideas about femininity and a “woman’s place,” in the world.

Indeed, over the last month and a half I have seen some of the most misogynist and patriarchal responses to celeb pregnancies and have seen people outraged at the “horrible woman” Kardashian reproducing, damn her, but no outrage at the increasing number of anti-choice injustice perpetrated across states like Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Florida.

Enough judging women and their choices, more helping women, and respecting their choices. The sooner we as a community acknowledge and move on from celeb pregnancies, the quicker we can get back to saving clinics and advocating for increased access to resources is economically disadvantaged communities.

The more time spent criticizing famous pregnant women and wondering how they will get flat abs immediately post birth, the less time there is for helping women that are hurt by clinics closing and Planned Parenthood losing funds.

It’s truly a sad state of affairs when two celebrities are judged and ridiculed, lauded and loved for their pregnant state as if that’s the only thing that matters while women are routinely denied health services and choice across the country. We can and must do better.


Abortion Columnist Bingo!

17 Jan

Abortion Column Bingo Ariel fonts

Suggesting a new narrative beyond, “do millennials care about abortion?”

7 Jan

Structurally, almost every movement, organization, company, and individual is facing precisely the set of challenges the media continues to insist are “tearing apart” “the movement.” Just this morning the Morning Joe round-table, featuring the editor of Forbes Magazine discussing the front-page feature on “30 Under 30,” confronted this very issue, discussing the advantages those under 30 have in their familiarity with new technology. New technology and the internet, which even those of us under 30 but over 20 have a different relationship with than forthcoming generations, has changed the game in every way, on every level. Companies and organizations willing to evolve and take these new mediums seriously will succeed; the ones that aren’t will fail, or fall seriously behind. Across the board, people who spent decades working their way up the ladder resent “millenials” for swooping in and changing the game, their only “experience” that they were raised with and have an innate understanding of new communications mediums with which people a decade or two older struggle. This resentment is fair, understandable, and completely useless.

Because the white, straight, cis, economically advantaged women who head the pro-choice and feminist movement mainstream mainstays are the media’s go-tos, they have been allowed to frame the narrative of this “struggle.” That framework – the story that “millenials” are difficult, spoiled, absentee – has done greater damage than the reality of it could ever have done. In the unsettled years between 1990-2005, the mainstream pro-choice movement had the opportunity to get excited about emergent forms of communication, to embrace young people’s enthusiasm and integrate them, their work ethic, and most vitally, their very different attitudes about race, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, and class structures into “the movement,” potentially creating, in its place, an actual, inclusive, very real movement which at present most of us would be on the inside of, rather than the outside. Instead, second-wave feminists bunkered down with their beliefs and ideas about what structures were best and necessary for the survival of their limited pro-choice goals. Some mostly white, mostly straight, mostly economically advantaged third-wavers joined them and were recognized and promoted above their peers. And forth-wavers – activists working within the reproductive justice framework and including people of many generations who were left out of “the movement” for decades – have joined forces to work outside of the system, where, frankly, shit is getting done.

“The movement” is a mess because its leaders were short-sighted. This is a shame. The fundraising structures they have in place, their decades of experience, their collective power would all be great assets to those of us coming up. But they aren’t comfortable sharing those things with a new movement they don’t recognize because they obstinately refused to look it in the eye for the almost four decades since the Hyde Amendment it spent gaining speed. You can’t turn your back on the ocean and be pissed off when a wave pulls you under, come up sputtering and tell a reporter that nature just won’t cooperate with you.

Instead of perpetuating the myth the young people are fracturing pro-choice movement, we’d like to see less lazy journalism and more investigation into stories that really matter. To make this easier for reporters, we’ve compiled some ideas:

  • What are the differences between the pro-choice framework and the reproductive justice framework and how do they impact every day activism?
  • Why are there so few people of color in visible leadership positions in the pro-choice movement?
  • Why are the leaders of NARAL, NOW, etc the “go-to” media spokespeople for our movement, and how can we change that?
  • Is there intergenerational tension in other social justice movements? What does this look like? How is it experienced by everyone, including people in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond?
  • How are people working outside established feminist and pro-choice legacy organizations to create change? How do people who work outside organizations make ends meet? What is their vision for social change?
  • How are the pro-choice and anti-abortion movements funded? How do they differ in how they spend  money? Are they invested in sustainability in ways that are different or similar to the pro-choice movement?

Enough with journalists pitting us against each other. Let’s start asking the questions that matter.