Monday, July 27, 2015

Here's How the Right Wing Choreographs the Perfect “Scandal” - DAME Magazine

"Defunding Planned Parenthood as a health care organization would do a great deal to energize the values voters grassroots that the GOP needs desperately to turn up at the polls during the next election. Depressing Planned Parenthood’s PAC donations, and keeping them from being able to play a significant role in the 2016 cycle? That’s even more valuable, and with a major and continuing scandal being packaged and fed to media outlets, that’s entirely possible."

 Read the rest at DAME Magazine

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Abortion Opponents' Latest Tactic? Crying "Eugenics" - DAME Magazine

It was about halfway into my 20-week ultrasound that I noticed something was slightly off. The technician, who had been chatting with me earlier as he did the scans, had grown quiet. He asked me to shift a bit, saying he wanted to see if the baby would move into a better position. He ran over the same section of my stomach repeatedly, staring at the screen with a slight frown. Eventually he moved on, but remained awkwardly silent.

“When is your next appointment with your doctor?” he asked me when the ultrasound was completed.

“Two days,” I responded.

“That’s good. That should be soon enough.”

Read the rest at DAME Magazine

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Could Abortion Opponents' Latest Tactic Inadvertently Protect Roe? - DAME Magazine

"[W]hat if viability were instead agreed to be at 22 weeks gestation, as this study argues could be possible? If that occurs, then a '20-week fetal pain' ban is no longer an unconstitutional 'pre-viability' ban. Instead, it becomes a post-viability one. The ban could co-exist with Roe, without the '20-week' ban setting a new precedent that would override it. That would also remove the possibility of new, more restrictive, earlier gestation bans being introduced across the country."

read more at DAME Magazine.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How This Woman Helps Hundreds of Pregnant Women in Ireland Access Safe, Legal Abortions - Cosmo

"At the end of the day, restricting abortion doesn't stop it. It just doesn't. It just stops safe abortions. About 5,000 women a year travel over from Ireland and Northern Ireland for abortions, and those are just the ones we know about. It doesn't count the women who go to other countries. It doesn't count the women who were using herbal remedies. It doesn't count the women who are accessing safe but illegal early abortion pills. It doesn't count the even more women who are being scammed by dodgy websites that just steal their money, claiming to [sell] abortion pills. It doesn't count the women who can't afford to come over.

This is what happens. To the women in the U.S., there but for the grace of God go you." Read the rest at

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The "Fetal Pain" Bill Is Back, and It's Worse Than Ever - DAME Magazine

Even if a rape survivor sits through a mandatory counseling session in order to get an abortion, or happens to have documentation from a “medical treatment” relating to the incident, the language also appears likely to move the onus for verification (and potential legal issues should any of the information be wrong or incomplete) onto the provider. The end result of these new rules, as anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek notes, is to make medical professionals unwilling to offer an abortion after 20 weeks even if that person was impregnated due to sexual assault and technically should be allowed to obtain one. “The new language will make committing late-term abortions with exceptions very unappealing to the slime who would commit them in the first place,” writes Stanek.

- Read the rest at DAME Magazine, where my new weekly column, "Access Denied" is published.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why Protesters and Anti-Choice Activists May Not Be the Greatest Threat to Abortion Access -

"People think that because we have Roe v. Wade that people are protected and that fight is over. That couldn't be further from the truth. I think there has been a combination of less activism from liberals and more activism from conservatives over the issue. The other thing is, people have been very focused on anti-abortion extremists — the people committing violence. That is not the greatest threat to abortion today. The greatest threat is the people making laws that are being passed."

Read the full Q&A with TRAPPED director Dawn Porter at

When 'Praying For A Miracle' Hurts Pregnant Women - TPM Cafe

Placing “God’s will” over that of pregnant people, their families, and their medical providers doesn’t just harm the medical relationship by sowing mistrust between a doctor whose advice and diagnoses can never be completely verified because the Lord could eventually intercede. It also implies an ability to judge the character of the pregnant person herself based on whether she is blessed with a miracle birth that defied medical odds, or instead still gives birth to a less than medically perfect child.

read the rest at Talking Points Memo.

Friday, May 1, 2015

“The victims deserve to be seen” Abortion opponents debate the use of graphic photos in anti-abortion activism - Contributoria

“People shouldn’t be upset that we are showing what is happening in an abortion clinic,” says Protest ABQ’s Shaver. “People should be upset that this is actually happening in an abortion clinic. We are just the messenger.”

Read the rest at Contributoria

"Why So Many Abortion Providers Still Feel So Unsafe" -

In May of 2009, Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his local church. In October of 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot by a sniper while in his own kitchen. These deaths drew countless newspaper headlines, but for many Americans, the violence and harassment of abortion providers is thought of as a thing of the past.

To providers across the country, however, it's something they've never left behind.

Bulletproof vests, gun permits, and Halloween masks have become tools of the trade for a number of providers across the country, many of whom fear the harassment of anti-abortion activists who don't just target them, but their families and neighbors as well. It's an ongoing and mostly unspoken issue that spurred law professor David S. Cohen and attorney Krysten Connon to write the new book Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism, on shelves this May.

read the rest at

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How long will you have to wait for an abortion in 2016?

Updated on April 21, 2015

At the moment, North Carolina and Oklahoma are both trying to create 72 hour in person waiting periods for an abortion - although not necessarily face to face with two trips to the doctor's office. If they pass, that would make them states four and five in the country requiring a three day wait. But they aren't the only ones lengthening waiting periods, in many cases requiring two trips to the doctor or extending how far apart those trips need to be.

Based on the information from Guttmacher and the currently pending bills, I've created a map that shows what abortion wait periods will be like in 2016 if all the bills in the legislature pass. The focus is on those that require two trips into a clinic, since that is a far greater burden on a patient. Purple states require two trips to a clinic 72 hours apart, green states require two trips 48 hours apart, and blue states require two trips 24 hours apart. Tennessee's bill, which is heading to the governor for signature, requires 48 hours but would reduce that wait to 24 if the law is challenged in court.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"These Alabama protesters became a gateway for women’s access to abortion - and more" - Contributoria

"Pregnancy prevention isn’t only an on-paper project for the group, but one they embrace in real life crisis situations as well. One ARRA member recounted a time when the group helped a mother of four obtain emergency contraception after she and her husband had unprotected sex. The woman had already had many difficult pregnancies and wasn’t sure if her health could withstand another, but when she approached her husband about her taking the morning-after pill to be completely certain, he said that if she got pregnant, obviously it was meant to be.

His complete control over the family finances made it impossible for her to purchase the medicine, which, while sold over the counter, often costs $40-$50 for a dose, without him noticing the expense. ARRA stepped in and paid for the drugs from its own fund, just as it has financially assisted dozens of women struggling to finance their own healthcare needs." - read the rest at Contributoria.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Grisly Crime In Colorado Could Give 'Personhood' Laws Their Best Shot - TPM Cafe

"With this latest crime used as another plank in the fetal personhood argument, extreme abortion opponents may be able to gain traction where they couldn’t before. While an unborn baby lost in a car accident is a heartbreaking event, it doesn’t compare to the visceral reaction one has after hearing about a nearly full term baby literally cut from the womb of the mother who was carrying it, then left gasping for breath until it died."

read the rest at TPM Cafe

Monday, March 23, 2015

"On the sidewalks of a Chicago clinic a battle about how to end abortion" - Clinic Stories: Chicago Excerpt

The activists standing outside Albany Medical Surgical Center, the Family Planning Associates Medical Group clinic on North Elston Avenue often differ depending on the day of the week.

If it is a Thursday, Joe and Ann Scheidler, the founding couple of Chicago’s pro-life movement, may be there with signs and pleas to patients entering the doors. On Saturday, it is far more likely to be Ryan Bouse, who cut his protest teeth in Joe Scheidler’s office, but is now in the midst of writing his own script for ending abortion in the city.
Bouse and the Scheidlers represent two schools of tactics in the anti-abortion movement. While Bouse and his cohorts counter what they see as today’s culture of biblical immorality with narratives heavy on sin and redemption, the Scheidlers are focused on the immediate “save” of pregnancies about to be ended.
Both, however, have made the clinic on Elston a regular stop when it comes to their mission.
“I need to come every Thursday to remember,” said Joe Scheidler. “I need to come at least once a week to reaffirm the reality of abortion. This is a place where a woman is going in with a live child, and inside they will terminate that life.”
It’s hard to believe that Joe Scheidler, even at 87, is in danger of forgetting anything. When I visited his office at the Pro-Life Action League in August, it was a shrine to his more than 40 years of trying to stop legal abortion.
One wall was covered in pictures of popes, bishops and politicians supporting Scheidler’s crusade and letters of commendation for his efforts in the pro-life movement. Directly behind his desk chair hung a large portrait of a brightly haloed Jesus.
A curio cabinet was filled with memorabilia from his decades palling around with and organizing the most notorious anti-abortion activists in history. On one shelf rested a coffee cup declaring “The World’s Best Dad.” Next to it: a copy of the infamous “Have a Blast!” photo from a 1985 Pro-Life Action Network conference in Appleton, Wisconsin, of which the Pro-Life Action League and Scheidler was the key organizer.
That photo depicts group members holding signs demanding the jailing of “baby-killers” while standing in front of a kiosk that read “Welcome Pro-Life Activists, Have a Blast!” It was one of many pieces of evidence in the landmark suit generally known as National Organization for Women (NOW) v. Scheidler. In the case, Scheidler and other anti-abortion activists were accused of racketeering to intimidate and commit violence, including clinic bombings and arson, against abortion providers. After being decided in favor of NOW in 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the verdict in 2006.

“We’ve had trouble with other pro-lifers,” Scheidler said as we sat in his office and I looked through his extensive collection. “We had those who went off the deep end, and then started shooting and bombing and all that stuff. We knew these people, and we had meetings with them.  We even have met them after they get out of prison, and so on. They’re still pro-life. They just went too far.”
In the corner stood a television and VCR and DVD player at the ready. With it, Scheidler shows guests tutorials about the “Chicago Style” of “sidewalk counseling,” the term abortion opponents have given to their attempts to talk a patient out of an abortion just before she enters a clinic. Other videos on his playlist include interviews with former abortion providers who have changed their minds, left their jobs and joined the pro-life movement. But Scheidler’s favorite, “Holy Terror,” is a mid-’80s NOW documentary about him and other Pro-Life Action Network members. He finds the film so enjoyable that he urged me multiple times to sit down and watch the whole thing.
“See, I am the ‘Holy Terror,’” he joked.

Download the entire article here.  For photos outside the Elston Clinic, click here.

Meet Joe Scheidler, Patriarch of the Anti-Abortion Movement (Public Eye)

"Decades later, Scheidler’s advice for establishing direct contact with those who perform or support abortion has been mostly discarded, but some of his ideas occasionally reappear. In 2013, Dr. Cheryl Chastine, a reproductive health and abortion provider at South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, received two pieces of mail to her home address, both sent from Pro-Life Action League. The first was a letter from Joe’s wife Ann, Pro-Life Action League’s Vice President, asking her to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss why Dr. Chastine performs abortions. Later, she received an invitation to the League’s Christmas party.

Both mailings came just months after PLAL systematically and methodically pressured 22 Dr. Chastine’s private practice into severing ties with her. PLAL’s tactics included protests, letters to other businesses sharing the space, and threats of more public actions against the building if their professional relationships continued." - more at Public Eye.

Why This State Representative Revealed Her Sexual Assault While Testifying on an Abortion Bill -

"Telling my story was incredibly difficult. I tense up and shiver whenever I talk about this. But for someone for whom the trauma is so fresh, having to turn around and prove that she is eligible for an exemption to a health insurance company – that's abuse. Our state legislature should not be in the position to do harm. This harms people. This bill will harm people." - more at

5 Women Explain Why They Became Abortion Providers -

"It's absolutely harder to provide abortions in Ohio than it was in New York. There are fewer providers in Ohio, so the providers that are here are singled out a little more than they are singled out in New York, where there are more numbers. I have my name on multiple websites saying things that are not necessarily true. I get letters at my house from anti-choice folks, and no other doctors suffer this sort of harassment for the surgeries they perform." more at

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Talking Points Memo - "Is 'Reversing' An Abortion Really A Good Idea?"

His name is Gabriel, and according to the press conferences, he’s not supposed to be here. His mother, Andrea Minichini, said she was at a clinic and told the provider she wanted an abortion, but changed her mind as she held the first dose of the medication abortion regime in her hand. Allegedly feeling pressured by staff, she took the pill anyway, then took herself to a hospital where she was told she would need to take the rest of the protocol or put the fetus at risk of deformities. Rather than follow their advice, she Googled until she found a website with a number to call, and after that call received the name of a doctor who would “reverse” her abortion. -- Read more at Talking Points Memo

Cosmo - "What It's Like to Be an Activist When Your State Is Hostile to Reproductive Rights"

Since 2011, reproductive rights activists from red states around the country have met up in Norman, Oklahoma, for the Take Root conference. There, they strategize about the movement's approach not only to abortion access but also to poverty, civil rights, marriage equality, and more. "Abortion services and other forms of reproductive health care are not isolated from social factors and histories that influence the access and discussion surrounding them," the organization explains on its website. At this year's conference, held February 20 and 21, attendance topped at over 550 advocates, allies, and organizers.

What is it like for activists trying to change a culture so hostile to the causes they care about? asked four women just that question. -- Read more at Cosmo.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Most Second-Trimester Abortions Could Soon Be Illegal in Kansas -

"Just by virtue of having multiple clinics and not requiring a mandated 72-hour wait like the one recently put into effect in Missouri, Kansas has by default become one of the 'easier' states to get an abortion — at least, when compared to most of its next-door neighbors. It is no wonder that lawmakers and activists have picked that state as their newest target for testing out a new piece of legislation that would essentially make it illegal to provide an abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy."

"Joining the Other Side: My Two Days As An Anti-Abortion Activist at the March for Life"

“I should be able to protest Planned Parenthood for at least an hour, but if I go to the ‘die-in’ at the White House, there is no way I will make the legal symposium on overturning Roe v. Wade.” 

 For the last two years of reporting on the activities on abortion opponents, at some point during an interview the subject would inevitably ask me if I had ever attended the March for Life in Washington, DC. Part memorial, part celebration, the march has become an annual rite of passage for those who devote their energy, money and time to ending legal, safe abortion access in the US. What started in 1974 as a protest of the Supreme Court decision acknowledging a right to an abortion that no state could prohibit has evolved in the following four decades. Now it is a multi-day event that combines reunion, grassroots political organisation and a generational torch passing as the original pool of pro-life activists train those born after Roe and who will inherit the mission of bringing abortion to an end.

 Repeatedly, I was told that the best way to really understand what motivates the anti-abortion movement would be to join them at the March for Life. This year, I took them up on it. For 48 hours straight, I was going to attend rallies and seminars, even an abortion clinic protest. For two days, I would see up close what it was truly like to be an anti-abortion activist.

(read the rest at Contributoria....)