Outraged conservatives have a new target

The list of subjects that cause conservatives to bristle with fury is quite extensive. I daresay one could fill up each space on a bingo card with a subject that makes conservatives seethe with anger. In fact, let’s try it out:

  1. The Affordable Care Act
  2. immigrants
  3. queer people
  4. Common Core
  5. Happy Holidays
  6. multiculturalism
  7. black people
  8. President Obama
  9. atheists
  10. liberals
  11. feminists
  12. “entitlement culture”
  13. “PC” culture
  14. anti-discrimination laws
  15. contraception
  16. mainstream media
  17. environmental regulations
  18. people who fail to demonstrate proper obedience to authority figures
  19. Communists
  20. Marxists
  21. Socialists
  22. gun control
  23. evidence-based sex ed
  24. Planned Parenthood
  25. (who needs a free space with all the shit conservatives get pissy over) minimum wage increases

Unfortunately, I’m out of room on my bingo card, and there’s a brand-spanking new addition to the list of subjects that conservatives blow their tops over:  Joss Whedon.

Continue reading “Outraged conservatives have a new target”

Outraged conservatives have a new target

Tony Tales: Abortion Rights

Occasionally my social justice advocacy spills over into meatspace, and when that happens, it is almost always at work. Over the years I’ve engaged in discussions of a variety of subjects with my co-workers, from the pernicious nature of religious beliefs in the United States to the gullibility of people when it comes to outrageous stories. I always try to engage with people in such a way that I don’t come across as patronizing or insulting, because the point is to share my opinions with others in an attempt to sway them, and the confrontational approach doesn’t always work in those situations. I recently found myself discussing abortion with J, a young woman I work with.

It was a slow day at work, and a handful of us were gathered around the host stand by the front door. Somehow the discussion shifted toward families and how some people love their families and others don’t. I pointed out that it can be more complicated than that, with some people disliking members of their families sometimes and not others, or people hating one family member, but not others. My overall point was that there is no reason that family members should automatically love one another. Although my interactions with my family members over the years are loving, and I don’t dislike any of my family, I know plenty of people who don’t. I know people who no longer speak to their siblings or people who have a complicated relationship with an alcoholic parent. I know people who have had their parents (biological or step) cut all ties with them because they’re transgender. Despite the notion that family members are supposed to love one another, the reality is the people in our families are people too, and there are always going to be people we don’t get along with or like, no matter our familial connections (or lack thereof). I think it can lead to a lot of stress forcing people to try and love brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, cousins, etc if that love isn’t there.  And let’s be honest:  love doesn’t just spring forth simply bc someone shares a bloodline. We’ve erected this fantasy of love and how it works, but the reality is far messier and more complicated than that. Just like our associates, co-workers, or close friends, family members are subject to inclusion or exclusion in our lives based on any number of reasons.

In the discussion at work, J mentioned that she has a younger sister that she flat out doesn’t like, and an older sister that she didn’t like for 2 years. When I inquired as to why, she said that she and her younger sister simply don’t get along. Her older sister?

She got an abortion and J didn’t approve.

Now, as a feminist and a strong advocate for a woman’s unrestricted right to an abortion, this made me stand up and take notice. At the same time, we were at work, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to go into all the ways I felt she was wrong. I sat there for several seconds trying to figure out the best course of actions. Ultimately, I chose to discuss my views on abortion with her. I told J that I feel it is a woman’s right to choose because her body is her own and no one else’s. I shared with her the fact that so much opposition to abortion is due to religious reasons or the view that fetuses have souls or are people. At this point, most of the other employees had wandered off, but there was still one other person aside from J who was still present and he was listening. I told the both of them that a woman’s right to an abortion stems from her right to bodily autonomy. The same bodily autonomy that prevents me from demanding anyone’s kidney or blood transfusion, even if it is to save my life. No one can be forced to donate either. They can consent to the use of their body to save another, just as a pregnant woman can consent to allow a fetus to remain inside her. I ended on a note that no matter what anyone says, no human being has the right to use the body of another human without consent, and that includes a fetus using a pregnant woman’s body.  Neither J nor A really responded, and I’m not sure what they were thinking, nor did I press the issue. I said what I wanted and walked away. I hope that my comments provided food for thought for both of them. I may never know, but at least I tried.

Tony Tales: Abortion Rights

North Dakotans need to vote NO on Amendment 1

North Dakota Is Quietly Preparing To Enact The Most Radical Abortion Measure In The Country

In less than two weeks, North Dakota voters will head to the polls and cast their ballots on a radical effort to overhaul the state’s constitution and redefine legal personhood in a way that includes fertilized eggs. Polling indicates that the fight over Amendment 1 will be close, potentially making North Dakota the first state in the country to enact a radical “personhood” measure — something that abortion opponents have been attempting to do for four decades. But hardly anyone is talking about it.

Continue reading “North Dakotans need to vote NO on Amendment 1”

North Dakotans need to vote NO on Amendment 1

Abortion Rights News


Politicians love to interfere in a woman’s right to choose.   It’s always under the pretense of “guarding the sanctity of life” or “protecting the life of the unborn”.  There’s never any regard for the woman carrying the fetus.  Never any concern for her well-being. Such is the case, once again in Missouri:

Overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a measure tripling the waiting period for an abortion is one of several priorities for Republican lawmakers this week during the veto session.

Nixon, a Democrat, was uncharacteristically critical of the bill, saying its lack of an exception for victims of rape and incest was a “glaring omission” that was “wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

Bill handler Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said he’s confident both chambers will override the veto.

“We’ve got the votes, so unless some of the Democrats in the Senate decide to filibuster, it’ll go through just fine,” Sater said.

The Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote of 22-9, one shy of the 23 needed for an override. The House passed it 111-39, more than the 109 needed for an override. The Senate’s missing Republican vote belonged to Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, who was absent because his mother died.

He supports the bill, saying he doesn’t “think waiting is too much to ask of someone before they terminate a life.”


It’s far too long if a woman does not want to be pregnant any longer.  See, this is the problem they have:  they aren’t looking at women as thinking human beings capable of making decisions about their bodies (with the informed opinions of their doctors).  THAT, and they think an embryo or fetus is something special.  They’ve no regard for the right to bodily autonomy, nor the right to self defense (the latter is granted by the former) for women.  It’s sickening to see a fucking fetus valued more than an existing woman.




The Dawn of the Post Clinic Abortion

Access to abortion services can range from relatively easy to virtually impossible, depending on where a woman lives.  Some countries (including the oh so democratic and progressive and wonderful and gah gah gag me with a spoon United States) ostensibly allow legal abortions-but anti-abortion activists have been successful in closing many clinics or throwing up tremendous obstacles to this basic right of all women.  Other countries like those in Latin America, Africa, or Asia often have severe restrictions on abortion, or the procedure is outright banned. Thankfully, there are determined people like Rebecca Gomperts who, through the use of modern technology and a strong desire to reduce the suffering of others, have helped women across the globe terminate their pregnancies on their own terms.  In this article, read about Gomperts first attempts to help women obtain the abortion drugs misoprostol and mifepristone (formerly RU-486), the obstacles she faced and continues to face in her attempt to use the internet to assist women in obtaining abortion inducing drugs, and the frustration felt by women around the globe who want nothing more than to end their pregnancies  (you’ll want to kick back somewhere comfortable-the article, well worth reading, is lengthy):


Gomperts is a general-practice physician and activist. She first assisted with an abortion 20 years ago on a trip to Guinea, just before she finished medical school in Amsterdam. Three years later, Gomperts went to work as a ship’s doctor on a Greenpeace vessel. Landing in Mexico, she met a girl who was raising her younger siblings because her mother had died during a botched illegal abortion. When the ship traveled to Costa Rica and Panama, women told her about hardships they suffered because they didn’t have access to the procedure. “It was not part of my medical training to talk about illegal abortion and the public-health impact it has,” Gomperts told me this summer. “In those intense discussions with women, it really hit me.”

When she returned to the Netherlands, Gomperts decided she wanted to figure out how to help women like the ones she had met. She did some legal and medical research and concluded that in a Dutch-registered ship governed by Dutch law, she could sail into the harbor of a country where abortion is illegal, take women on board, bring them into international waters, give them the pills at sea and send them home to miscarry. Calling the effort Women on Waves, she chose Dublin as her first destination.

Ten women each gave Gomperts 10,000 Dutch guilders (about $5,500), part of the money needed to rent a boat and pay for a crew. But to comply with Dutch law, she also had to build a mobile abortion clinic. Tapping contacts she made a decade earlier, when she attended art school at night while studying medicine, she got in touch with Joep van Lieshout, a well-known Dutch artist, and persuaded him to design the clinic. They applied for funds from the national arts council and built it together inside the shipping container. When the transport ministry threatened to revoke the ship’s authorization because of the container on deck, van Lieshout faxed them a certificate decreeing the clinic a functional work of art, titled “a-portable.” The ship was allowed to sail, and van Lieshout later showed a mock-up of the clinic at the Venice Biennale.

As the boat sailed toward Dublin, Gomperts and her shipmates readied their store of pills and fielded calls from the press and emails from hundreds of Irish women seeking appointments. The onslaught of interest took them by surprise. So did a controversy that was starting to brew back home. Conservative politicians in the Netherlands denounced Gomperts for potentially breaking a law that required a special license for any doctor to provide an abortion after six and a half weeks of pregnancy. Gomperts had applied for it a few months earlier and received no reply. She set sail anyway, planning to perform abortions only up to six and a half weeks if the license did not come through.

When Gomperts’s ship docked in Dublin, she still didn’t have the license. Irish women’s groups were divided over what to do. Gomperts decided she couldn’t go ahead without their united support and told a group of reporters and protesters that she wouldn’t be able to give out a single pill. “This is just the first of many trips that we plan to make,” she said from the shore, wrapped in a blanket, a scene that is captured in “Vessel,” a documentary about her work that will be released this winter. Gomperts was accused of misleading women. A headline in The Telegraph in London read: “Abortion Boat Admits Dublin Voyage Was a Publicity Sham.”

Gomperts set sail again two years later, this time resolving to perform abortions only up to six and a half weeks. She went to Poland first and to Portugal in 2004. The Portuguese minister of defense sent two warships to stop the boat, then just 12 miles offshore, from entering national waters. No local boat could be found to ferry out the women who were waiting onshore. “In the beginning we were very pissed off, thinking the campaign was failing because the ship couldn’t get in,” one Portuguese activist says in “Vessel.” “But at a certain point, we realized that was the best thing that could ever happen. Because we had media coverage from everywhere.”

Without consulting her local allies, Gomperts changed strategy. She appeared on a Portuguese talk show, held up a pack of pills on-screen and explained exactly how women could induce an abortion at home — specifying the number of pills they needed to take, at intervals, and warning that they might feel pain. A Portuguese anti-abortion campaigner who was also on the show challenged the ship’s operation on legal grounds. “Excuse me,” Gomperts said. “I really think you should not talk about things that you don’t know anything about, O.K. . . . I know what I can do within the law.” Looking directly at him, she added, “Concerning pregnancy, you’re a man, you can walk away when your girlfriend is pregnant. I’m pregnant now, and I had an abortion when I was — a long time ago. And I’m very happy that I have the choice to continue my pregnancy how I want, and that I had the choice to end it when I needed it.” She pointed at the man. “You have never given birth, so you don’t know what it means to do that.”

Two and a half years later, Portugal legalized abortion. As word of Gomperts’s TV appearance spread, activists in other countries saw it as a breakthrough. Gomperts had communicated directly to women what was still, in many places, a well-kept secret: There were pills on the market with the power to end a pregnancy. Emails from women all over the world poured into Women on Waves, asking about the medication and how to get it. Gomperts wanted to help women “give themselves permission” to take the pills, as she puts it, with as little involvement by the government, or the medical profession, as possible. She realized that there was an easier way to do this than showing up in a port. She didn’t need a ship. She just needed the Internet.

Gomperts no longer works from a boat. Eight years ago she started Women on Web, a “telemedicine support service” for women around the world who are seeking medical abortions. She and a small staff share a one-room office in Amsterdam on a residential street, where red-and-pink flowers bloom on the balconies of brick buildings. Early in July, I went to visit the space, which has six workstations with computers, a few shelves and a filing cabinet with the sticker “Trust Women.” A large window opens onto a courtyard, where a Cupid fountain bubbles.


Wendy Davis, gubernatorial candidate for Texas, revealed in a memoir that she had two medically necessary abortions:

Davis writes in Forgetting to be Afraid that she had an abortion in 1996 after an exam revealed that the brain of the fetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides. She also describes ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus.

Davis disclosed the terminated pregnancies for the first time since her 13-hours filibuster — a parliamentary maneuver that required her to talk non-stop to try to run out the time on proposed legislation — last year over a tough new Texas abortion law.

Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls.

She writes that the ectopic pregnancy happened in 1994 during her first trimester. Terminating the pregnancy was considered medically necessary. Such pregnancies generally aren’t considered viable, meaning the fetus can’t survive, and the mother’s life could be in danger. But Davis wrote that in Texas, it’s “technically considered an abortion, and doctors have to report it as such.”

Davis said she and her former husband, Jeff, wound up expecting another child in 1996. After a later exam revealed the brain defect, doctors told her the baby would be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state if she survived delivery.

“I could feel her little body tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her, and I knew then what I needed to do,” Davis writes. “She was suffering.”


p class=”story-body-text story-content”>You may remember Wendy Davis from her nearly 12 hour attempt to filibuster Senate Bill 5 back in June 2013.

Abortion Rights News