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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:34 AM
Original message
Full Frontal Offense: The "I had an abortion" T-shirt
http://www.alternet.org/rights/20949 /

There's a new front in the battle for abortion rights the literal front, that is, of a T-shirt designed by writer and feminist activist Jennifer Baumgardner that proclaims "I had an abortion." The shirt, initially for sale on Planned Parenthood's national web site and now available on Clamor magazine's web site, has generated controversy among not only the anti-abortion community but also pro-choice feminists.

Inspired in part by the bold irreverence of second-wave feminists, who circulated a petition proclaiming the fact of their own abortions and published it in the first issue of Ms., Baumgardner created the T-shirt in order to remove the stigma that relegates those who have had an abortion to shame and silence. The shirt is one component of a multipart project Baumgardner conceived to draw attention to women's experiences of abortion. Other elements of the project include a film that will debut at the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January, featuring interviews with women who have had abortions; a guidebook to busting through the gridlock on the abortion debate, with a photo essay by Tara Todras-Whitehill, that will be published by Akashic Books; and the creation and distribution of resource cards that help women locate abortion services and obtain post-abortion counseling.

Only the shirt, however, has become a phenomenon. Because of its public nature, the tee has sparked a national response that neither Baumgardner nor Planned Parenthood anticipated.

"The shirt was always the least significant part of the project," Baumgardner says, explaining that she printed 500 shirts, mailing some to influential feminists and selling the rest at last April's March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. Soon afterward, Planned Parenthood offered to carry the shirt on their web site to "remind everyone that abortion policy affects real people," according to Gloria Feldt, president of the organization. When the Drudge Report posted a photograph of the shirt on its opening page, however, what a Planned Parenthood media representative termed a "media tsunami" soon followed.
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ThorsHammer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. MSNBC had her on some show a few days back
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WildClarySage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. I would wear it
if it applied to me. I am disgusted by the smearing and shaming of those who want to use women's choices for political footballs.
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Kikosexy2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Think about it...
ladies. It will only provoke anti-abortionists and right wing nutcases to wear t-shirts showing a pic of aborted fetuses. Would you want that flaunted in your face? There's a much more subtle and better way to get your point across. I'm male and don't like debating abortion (even though I'm Pro-choice). I feel it's only a woman's issue and strictly so. Until we men know what it feels like giving birth--birth-pangs and all, we men should stay out of a woman's right to choose.
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WildClarySage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. well, since I *am* a woman...
and no, I mean, I wouldn't be completely flagrant about wearing it whenever, wherever, but I would wear it to pro-choice events, etc. I'm not saying I'd stick my hand in a hornet's nest just to see what would happen, but on the other hand, I'm tired of the other side getting to frame the arguments, make the assumptions and decide for me what the issue really is.
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Kikosexy2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I agree...
fight back luv. Women have come so far for so long. Fight for your strong beliefs. I'm gay, I'm with you sistas'!
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. I agree with you, sadly
....the fundies have no trouble showing aborted fetuses on signs, etc., so what would prevent them from doing it on tee shirts.
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. Let them do it...
It'll give me a clearer idea of who needs to be sent to re-education.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. that's already in my face every friday
the anti-choice goons are out in force here in nashville. there's a republican push in the state senate to severely restrict access to full and private women's reproductive healthcare.

have you seen this shirt? it's awesome! brown with blue type-design. it is very subltle and a FINE piece of pop culture, on it's own. it's really beautiful.

<g> it's kind of a *prudish* stance for someone with "sexy" in their screen name.

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bunkerbuster1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #16
29. once again--it's pro-Criminalization, not anti-choice!
do I gotta say it in every DU thread before it becomes common usage?
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. probally -- i have never heard pro-crim -- that's interesting
altho pro-criminalization doesn't roll off the tongue gracefully.

how about:

those who seek to criminalize women's healthcare; or
those who seek to control reproductive health.

i'm all for a return old-school political discourse. soundbytes are so 3 months ago. :)
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bunkerbuster1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Guess I'll have to say it more often then.
"Criminalization" gets easier to say after you've said it a few times. Try it, won't we?

Seriously, THAT's where we'll find common ground. THAT's the winner. It's not about "choice," it's about whether you want to charge docs and their patients with murder. Taken to the logical end, that is where the pro-CRIMINALIZATION side will get you.

And most people you talk to don't want to go there. We can work this. We can win this.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
25. I guess you don't have "the van" running around *your* neighborhood
Or maybe you've just been lucky enough to have managed avoiding it. At any rate, the copy of the shirt I have is light-years-away more tasteful...
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. van? what van? there's a van?
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. Yes. It is covered with pictures
of aborted fetuses (or the product of miscarriages, but hey, let's not let a little thing called accuracy get in the way of the message, right?) usually culled by pro-lifers from the medical waste receptacles stored in clinics. They are disgusting and I would count myself lucky to not have been visually assaulted by one.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #32
37. are you in nashville? i know these people b/c my husband
works with an (otherwise) swell guy who every friday protests at the womens' clinic. his story is SO weird. he was a drug addict and found god, and had like 8 kids and this is his "practice." or praxis. it's his ritual that keeps him straight.

i'm as pro-choice/anti-criminalization as they come, and i totally "get" him. i like him, even. he's the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. he's just terribly misguided. he's mis-placed some rage about the deficits in his upbringing. maybe a parent abandoned him. he's someone i hold out hope of "snapping out of it."

i can't see these people doing their thing, b/c i want to stop the car and talk to them. i want to understand what bee has got so far up their bonnet that they would spend so much time on this.

and why aren't these folks seen at the frequent anti-Execution protests here in nashville. they just aren't the same. there's a psychological element having to do with "innocence." THEIR innocence -- and how it was somehow taken from them.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. I am in the liberal bastion of the San Francisco Bay Area
and I no longer care about dialogue, etc, with these people. I am a Friend of Jane, and that's where my energy goes.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. must be nice! i would love to be in a solid blue area!
that's (mary) jane? the petition?

i gave up on dialogue after college and found myself un-engaged. the more energy i put out, the more i find for myself.

but i totally feel you --- these people are toxic. these times we live in are dangerous. we have to put our energy where it belongs! :)
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. Not all that solid
Edited on Wed Jan-12-05 03:54 PM by Book Lover
viz the van... No, A Friend of Jane is part of the abortion access network. Think of the women who run the women's clinic ship... edited to say that that organization is not affiliated with FoJ.
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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
47. They do it anyway
The day before the convention in Boston, a huge caravan of 18-wheelers rolled down Boylston. On all sides of each truck were the images of aborted fetuses.

I always wondered what would happen if someone rolled a convoy covered with the images of dead Iraqi children, but I digress.

The t-shirt isn't giving them any new ideas.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #47
51. i wore mine on my saturday errands
no one beat me up in costco, office depot, starbucks and publix in franklin, tn

:)
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
3. I don't think I would wear it if it applied to me because I am afraid of
Republicans. Heck, I don't even use bumper stickers because I think there are so many people driving with "road rage".
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. you would be amazed at how good it feels
to show the world who you are -- if even in the completely normal way of putting a bumper sticker on your car. what are you afraid of, really?

as you can see by my screen name, i live in a red state. before coming to nashville i lived in the mountains in east tennessee which makes nashville seem like montreal. i published a radical newspaper, lived in very noticiable places, drove a car with lefty stickers, and even invited strangers in for hospitality's sake. the only fights i've ever been are ones i started.

the world's not as bad as we make it out to be -- or rather, it IS AS BAD as we make it out to be.
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. Actually, I'm afraid of my car being vandalized or
of being run off the road, or of being harassed by rednecks. There are a lot of crazy people in this country.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. i drive a convertible bmw with 2 stickers: we are being lied to, and kerry
now, granted -- i'm the kind of driver you don't want to mess with. i love competitive driving -- preferrably with something really loud on the stereo. most people are scared of me of coming down the road.

but i digress -- find a little way to announce your identity. it doesn't have to be overt. it's a personal practice. so everytime to enter your car and see the sticker (or don the jacket with the blue paper clip) you are reminded of your VALUE to all the rest of us! how much you are needed. it's a feel-good thing. it's ritual. it's good for the soul. BE the revolution. but do it for YOU.
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #34
42. IOW, you're one of their success stories --
someone they have cowed into submission.

Sorry to be so rough about it, but that's the truth of the matter. They have you firmly controlled. Their work (on you) is done.
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TlalocW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. A friend of mine would wear it
Only problem is that he's male, but he's always liked wearing t-shirts that don't apply to him like "World's Greatest Grandpa" when we were in high school and "100% Black Woman" in college.

TlalocW
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kiraboo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
8. I wouldn't wear it.
I am 100% prochoice. But the decision to have an abortion should not be taken lightly, nor is the procedure something to be particularly proud of. I won't wear a t-shirt which reads "I took a dump this morning," or "I menstruate," either, though I have nothing against these bodily functions. Further, I find the t-shirt to be just plain inflammatory and while I don't believe the Left oughta move toward the Center, I also don't think we should go out of our way to highlight our more controversial positions. No doubt many disagree with me on this!
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. i ordered one!
hopefully i'll get preggers soon so i can wear it with an even bigger smile!

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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. You know what?
That is a horribly offensive post. I hope you were kidding.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. what do you mean by offensive? it's completely true.
i can't wait for it to come in the mail. i subscribed to the magazine too. i'm sympathetic to the cause. silence is the means by which womens' reproductive issues are still in the stone age. i'm 38 -- all grown up now. professional. and finally enjoying the opportunity to start a family on my own terms. i simply can't wait to get it, wear it, (hopefully conceive soon), and wear it some more!
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. There is absolutely nothing offensive about it
the only shame in this issue should be directed to the people killing doctors and attacking a fundamental human right, the right to control one's reproduction.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. silencing discourse subjugates women: always has, always will
(this is actually an edit i did on my first post, but my time expired)

i can't wait for my I Had An Abortion tshirt to come in the mail. i subscribed to Clamor Magazine too.

I'm sympathetic to the cause. have been for many years. and yes, I have had abortion. but who am I, really? words on a screen.

on a political level, women don't have the luxury of being the "object" of discourse any more. that's cool, but i'm operating out of a personal level -- it just feels better to live authentically.

and the stories are better when they are true stories. look around your office sometime -- at least half the women around you have had an abortion. it's pretty common. we talk about it amongst ourselves too.

the right wing has used the threat of shame on this for too long and frankly, i'm fed up. give me the Scarlet Letter, I'll sew it on myself.

pharmacists are actually refusing to dispense birth control pills. just regular old birth control pills. ortho novum. nevermind that we have a safe, effective, easy-to-use, PRIVATE, CHEAP, morning-after option, that the Theo-cons are successfully keeping out of use. thank freaking god i was able to have an abortion. i hope my children will live in a world where they will have access to compete and private reproductive healthcare.

and you know -- i'm not going to hurt. i promise you no one is going to "accost" me wearing my "I Had An Abortion" tshirt.

i'm damn happy to finally be enjoying the opportunity to start a family on my own terms. i want to live in a world where that is encouraged. if a teenager sees me in the grocery store wearing that shirt, she might feel a little less alone and a little more strength in herself. that kinda makes my humble life a little more valuable. to me.

i *am* literally hoping to start a family real soon. getting in shape, taking vitamins. making plans. getting excited. getting discouraged. i have nothing to be ashamed of for delaying the experience. no one does.

every child a wanted child.

peace, brook

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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:14 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. I misunderstood your post.
I thought you were saying that you hoped to get pregnant soon just to have an abortion, which I did find offensive. I apologize. I don't think the shirts are offensive, nor a pregnant woman wearing one. Sorry again.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. OH! that explains it! :) but, you know -- i'm glad for the
opportunity to re-visit the issue in depth. i needed that!
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. When I got your reply,
I went back to read what you had posted. Serves me right for posting without my glasses and a glass of wine.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. i drank a few friday nite and volunteered for waaaay too many tasks on the
Arnheim thread :) (it's all good tho -- i've got the time and am totally looking forward to doing some stuff!)

let that be a lesson,
don't drink and blog
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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
19. No one is trying to illegalize menstruation...
your analogy is lacking
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kiraboo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. I see what you're saying
but your analogy is not what I intended. I was comparing issues related to the human body which I consider to be one's personal business. Reading the positions of ladies here, I find I am, on this point, a tad more conservative in my views. No matter.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. if abortion were my personal, private business
there wouldn't *be* a problem

:)
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. "our more controversial positions" -- like being pro-choice!
:bounce:
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adigal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #22
50. I agree with this
If the right wing allowed a woman to have an abortion, with the advice of her doctor, and stayed out of it, I would see no need for the shirts. However, they are trying to make it a criminal offense. Therefore, we need to get in their faces with our choice. Many, many women have had an abortion: your sister, your teacher, your nurse, the nice clerk at the grocery store, many women who are shamed into silence on this issue.

I want one just to support the cause - where can I get one???
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. go to clamormagazine.org
and scroll down the first page -- there will be an ad.
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peacebird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
41. but kiraboo -
to continue your thought "the decision to have an abortion should not be taken lightly, nor is the procedure something to be particularly proud of"

you leave out the most important part - NOR IS IT SOMETHING TO FEEL ASHAMED OF. It is a legal medical procedure and NO woman I know has ever taken "lightly" the decision to have an abortion.

I certainly didn't make the decision "lightly", but once I made my decision and had the abortion I also never regretted my choice. And I am very grateful that I was able to terminate the pregnancy without resorting to back alley "doctors" or coat hangers.

I am logging off the site now to go order my t-shirt, and I will wear it proudly. I made a decision which was the right choice for me, and my family, and I have absolutely no regrets.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #41
43. peacebird! love your post...
the issue of shame is so important. even intelligent, independent women.. it is easy to feel like if you arean't feeling shame, there must be something wrong. we aren't supposed to take this lightly, so that must mean i should beat myself up for a decade afterward -- or until you atone by producing a few kids.

this issue is rich with unspoken stories, depth and wisdom.

good for you on your purchase! :)
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
10. Couldn't it be like a "Spartacus" statement with even men and women who
have not had abortions wearing the shirt just to prove the point that one may never know who may have had an abortion and who may someday need one?
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madison2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I think it could change the stereotype of who has abortions if
everyone who has had an abortion could talk about it more openly. The stereotype is that young promiscuous women or selfish single career women use abortion as a means of birth control. But there are plenty of married women with children who have terminated pregancies too.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #14
44. i might just be friends with a lot of "sluts" and "selfish" women
or maybe just very fertile women -- but in my fairly wide circle of friends, someone who made it out of their teens and 20s without needing to terminate a pregnancy is an oddity. once it's something that is talked about, you'd be amazed at how common it is.
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peacebird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. it is very common -
for many reasons not having to do with a woman's "virtue"... why is it always the woman who must be stigmatized as a "slut" or "whore" or "selfish" or "too stupid or lazy to use birth control"? (I am NOT referring to your post nashville_brook, just the perception of the anti-choice types)

It takes both a man and a woman to get pregnant. Yet he is just "sowing his wild oats", "boys will be boys" etc... :eyes:

Unwanted pregnancies happen for many reasons even when the woman involved is being "careful" and "doing all the right things" - if the woman gets sick and has to take certain antibiotics, well the pill is useless that month. The diaphram must be refitted on a regular basis and is only trule effective in the missionary position. And who has NOT suffered an "oops" at least once in their life with a condom coming off during a particularly passionate encounter?

I know a nice girl, younger teen who actually thought a tampon was good birth control... I kid you not. Good real HONEST sex education, complete with straight forward explanations about all birth control methods and risks would be an excellent place to start if people were *SERIOUS* about wanting to reduce abortions. I fear most of the anti-choice types are more interested in pointing fingers and playing the shame & blame game.


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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #45
46. i was prescribed tetracycline by the same doc who
prescribed my birth control in high school. i had NO IDEA there was an interaction. it was years later that i put the two together. i totally thought i had done something wrong -- was lazy, etc.

when i was in college in the 80s and AIDS was just becoming a womens' health issue -- we used to have little womens' house parties to talk about testing and prevention. how to use condoms, etc. it was very affirming, positive experience. and the best part of it was that the younger women formed long-lasting relationships with the older women in our group (this little activity grew out of a vibrant music scene in Johnson City, Tennessee where Dr. Abraham Verghese did his residency that led to his best-selling book, My Own County. this little mountain town was ahead of it's time).

wouldn't it be cool for another kind of action to develop where cool moms sponser young women's "house parties" to talk about healthy sex issues? we don't have any kind of initiation into adulthood -- as a matter of fact -- for most of my friends, having the abortion WAS their initiation into adulthood.

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Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
11. Abortion on Demand! Without Apology!
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
48. I would prefer a "I made my choice" t-shirt
That's really what this is about--what the choice was isn't really anybody's business.
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One Eye on Canada Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-05 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
49. I have another idea
Another campaign occured to me after I saw one of those "Aren't You Glad Your Mother Was Pro-Life?" bumperstickers.

Problem is, I was an "oops" who (according to an older sibling) wouldn't be here if abortion were safe and legal in the late 1950s. And I grew up and eventually figured out I was a lesbian. Sort of a win-lose for the "moral values" set, eh?

So, it occured to me to start a campaign that reminded the "pro-life" set that as many as 1 in 10 of the fetuses they "save" will grow up to be queer. I'd be happy to be a poster child, and in my less sane moments, envision the use of those fetus pictures that they foist upon us with a twist--put a wee little rainbow flag in the hand of a fetus, with the caption, "The Next Fetus You Save May Be A Fag."

Just a thought. Twisted.
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Krinkov Donating Member (96 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
53. i had an abortion.. and all i got was this lousy t-shirt!
sorry, couldn't resist.


I see the purpose of the shirt and what they were about.

I was thinking of other shirts for mothers who have made that choice.
Like "My unborn child was this big" with a picture of a quarter. Something to bring home the fact that what the conservatives label "baby killing" isn't the destruction of anything close to a fully formed child.

In general this is touchy ground... the best way to address this choice isnt T-shirts or slogans... but something more substantive like tv ads with an emphasis on how difficult the choice is for many women.. that it can be somber and psychologically taxing, but sometimes necessary. Never cavalier.

So many conservatives have the idea that it is all about a bunch of loose women who cant handle the responsibility of their actions taking an easy way out without a thought or care... killin' babies because they cant keep their knees together.

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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #53
54. there's the whole force of life-experience reinforcing this meme
about the "can't keep their knees together."

example: do mother's talk to their sons about abortion? i think most sons grow up idolizing their mothers -- especially for boys growing up in a conservative family where pleasing Mom/Dad is your only purpose in life. they imagine Mom (the idealized virgin or the conteptable whore) as being outside of these kinds of politics.

but what if Mom were to be honest with her sons about what it is like to navigate family planning as a young woman. just the fact of telling the story overthrows the idolatry. she is neither virgin nor whore and the boundary of Motherhood is re-defined and re-negotiated.

the flipside of that is that the task is exactly THIS momumental -- you have to reach for the margins and unknown territory of identity to be THIS REAL -- to throw a monkeywrench at the patriarchy (as we used to call it college).

___________

haven't worked these brain muscles in a loooooooooooong time! abortion is bigger than a reproductive issue -- it cuts to the center of gender politics.

for anyone who is still reading this thread, i want to say this: abortion was the issue that radicalized me as a young girl. as i grew up and was better able to control my economic and reproductive destiny, it became VERY easy to ignore reproductive rights. it was still my very special, heartfelt issue, but it wasn't something I thought about while trying to get on the world.

now that i'm a little older and trying to start my family, this issue raises it's head again and it's a wonderful thing to re-connect with these women's issues once again. i had forgotten how powerful this stuff is. this shirt is simply amazing. i got mine on friday, cut a feminine v-neck in it and wore on all my errands. it really grounded me. felt so good i pulled out The Sex Which Is Not One (luce irigaray) and frolic'd amongst the beautiful language and forceful argument. good times.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #54
55. Things would be better if it wasn't a secret
An elderly relative told me a few years ago that she had an illegal abortion back in the thirties. One day her abusive ass of a husband came home and demanded she take some pills he'd got from a coworker, without telling her what they were (She knew what they were for but to this day has no idea what was in them. I suspect it was a ergot derivative.) and not long after she started bleeding and lost what would have been her third child.

I know several of her children are anti-choice but if they had any idea of what things were like in the bad old days (how many women were cooerced into dangerous abortions and how many babies were harmed when they didn't take?) and knew that abortion was something that had changed thier own lives they might at least have to think about the issue more than they do. It's a lot harder to demonize those baby murdering sluts (or whatever hate radio meme stuck) when one of them is your mother who went on to have three more kids (with a different man, she divorced the abuser and he drank himself to death not long after.)

P.S. I'll do my part. I hereby promise to tell my son and step-daughter, as well as any future children that I had an abortion when they are old enough to understand. (The pregnancy wasn't viable.)
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. nail, meet head: this is a family issue and it needs to be addressed in
the family.

i remember when my adopted mother (my grandmother) told me about my b-mom's trip to cuba. i got the feeling that she had her own story that was too difficult to tell. BUT, the point is she wanted *me* to know that:

1. abortion is appropriate when having a family is not (wrong man, wrong time)
2. that i had the power to determine my future.

this was empowering stuff for a tweenager. women -- espeically women of lesser economic mobility -- are condemned by bad reproductive choices. she was. her daughter was in some ways, and she was determined to make sure i didn't make the same mistake.

there's a fantasy that teenage girls have -- or used to have -- that Mr. Right will come along and sweep them off their feet. we are programmed for it with Sleeping Beauty and
Cinderella. the thing is, this robs little girls of their natural ability to make it on their own. just having this conversation with them when they are young gives them the notion that they have the power to make it on their own.

the conversation that needs to happen can start with honesty about reproductive health -- but the underlying message is much bigger.

sidenote: my adopted mother (the grandmother) passed away in 1995. she was 80. as i think back on all the mother-daughter talks we had, this is the one that means the most to me. it was the one where she was the most honest -- the most REAL with me. AND, i daresay, it's the conversation that kept me in school and gave me the determination to hold out for the real Mr. Right. what better gift can you give your daughter?
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