Blogging for Reproductive Choice

15 Feb

I’m an activist.

In my “real” life, my vanilla life ~ I’m a feminist, and an activist.

You may have already figured that out.

But that’s not what i’m usually about on these pages.  i don’t think there’s a conflict between submission and feminism and activism.  But it’s not usually what i’m about here.

Today, it is.

i’ve been involved in actively supporting access to reproductive choice for over two years.  My volunteer gig that i talk about on Saturday morning?  i escort at the abortion clinic in Where-i-Live.

 i walk with women who are patients at the clinic and their companions past the gauntlet of pray-ers, preachers, and chasers ~ often 50-100 protesters, sometimes more ~ who yell at the women, harass them, and try to stop them from exercising their right to choose.  i can’t protect the women or shield them.  i just walk with them.  Accompany them on this little piece of their life journey.

It has been a life-altering experience for me.

i have become more aware than most people of how the religious right is pushing on our reproductive rights.  The laws that are introduced over and over seeking to limit access to abortion in every possible way.  Some of them have passed in some states, others are yearly battle grounds.

Waiting periods.  Face-to-face counseling 24 hours ahead of time.  So if you don’t live in the city where the clinic is, you have to travel twice, or find overnight housing.

Mandatory descriptions of the ultrasound ~ scripted for the doctor or technician, some of which script is not even medically accurate.

TRAP laws {Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers} ~ special regulations that apply only to abortion clinics that make it more difficult to be in compliance ~ like how wide a doorway has to be, how high a sink has to stand.  Things that don’t actually impact safety and aren’t medically necessary, rules that are designed to prevent compliance.

Threats to providers physical safety.  The murder of abortion doctors.  Threats to staff, to escorts.  A politician who recently called out for public hangings ~ of murderers, thieves, and abortion doctors.  Laws that have been introduced, but not passed (yet) allowing for a “justifiable homicide” defense if you kill an abortion provider.  

Personhood laws, not yet passed, that would give a fertilized egg the same rights as a live person.  That would mean no stem-cell research.  That would mean even a fallopian tubal pregnancy couldn’t be terminated.   It could mean that any miscarriage would call for an investigation.  The woman would need to prove it happened naturally and wasn’t induced or through her own fault.

Knowing that there are people who consider themselves good Christians working to make all this reality has changed my view of the world.  And that was worrisome enough.

But now ~ have you noticed?  They’re going for birth control.

The same people i see screaming on the sidewalk every Saturday, and a bunch of politicians, are aiming at birth control.  Is that what we want?

Because i’m here to tell you, these folks are scary.  They see life through a very narrow tunnel.  You either do things their way, or you’re doing it the wrong way.  Well, in their minds.  And they think they have the right to force you to do it their way.

Politically, they are gaining tremendous power.  Be aware of that.

If you’re against abortion, that’s fine.  Don’t have one.  If you’re against birth control, that’s fine too.  Don’t use it.  I’m not here to change your mind.  

But if we don’t speak out, all of us who have benefitted from access to birth control, all of us who believe in the right to choose, they will chip away at all reproductive rights.   We’ll be back to using coca-cola douches for birth control and coat hangers for abortions.

If you don’t want to go back, speak up.

***************************

If you want access to more information,  feel free to ask in the comments, or email me at aisha.hisservant@gmail.com

 

32 Responses to “Blogging for Reproductive Choice”

  1. Striving for Peace February 15, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Very powerful Aisha — thank you so much for writing this.

    The day I went with you to escort was a life changing day
    everyone should witness it

    it’s

    well — it’s unreal.

    and this same vitriol — this same zeal is now moving even deeper into our lives.

    Thank you — for standing up for us all — and for waking this one up

    sfp

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:46 am #

      Thank you, Sfp, for doing this. What an amazing day. Thank you.

      aisha

  2. sin February 15, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    You are wonderful to volunteer to escort. In my city, in the area where I used to work I used to see gangs of harassers at an abortion clinic at lunch sometimes. I was alarmed by them, muttered about them, even yelled at them from the safety of a group, but never considered escorting, helping. This really makes me think. Thank you.

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:50 am #

      Thanks for the support, Sin. i wouldn’t be doing it either if i hadn’t known some people who did.

      Somehow, i wouldn’t have thought youall had protesters! That’s unfortunate.

      But i’m glad it makes you think…

      aisha

      • sin February 16, 2012 at 7:51 am #

        Of course we have protesters. Do you think I live on the moon or something? The rules are slightly different but the people are basically the same.

      • aisha February 16, 2012 at 7:59 am #

        Dear Sin,

        I’m sitting here laughing at your indignation – I’m so sorry! No I don’t think you live on the moon. But they don’t have them – protesters at abortion clinics – in Scandinavia or England, and I always think of where you live as being more enlightened and reasonable than we are, but clearly, I’m wrong!!

        hugs,

        aisha

  3. LadyP February 15, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Arrggh. I had written a long comment, but then the computer ate it!
    I watch your struggles for reproductive rights from across the Atlantic and feel horrified at the levet of anger aimed at women in very hard times. My compassion reaches out to these girls and women.
    In Scandinavia, where I live, abortion is a part of the free public hospital system. Since 1972. Occassionally some fundamentalist religious nut will speak against it, but noone really takes notice. It’s more or less an ingrained right for women here.
    When someone speaks against free abortion, my nearly 80-year old mother will literally frothe in anger: “They don’t know what it was like!” She got pregnant in 1957 and had to fake being suicidal for two weeks in a psychiatric ward in order to have a legal abortion, since she didn’t dare run the risk of not being able to have children later.
    Even though abortion has been legal for many years here it is never an easy choice. No girl or woman goes through an abortion untouched. I have counselled many women who at a time have had to have an abortion. It is alway at a difficult time in their lives and it has always been after many considerations. Many of them still feel sad about the choice they had to make many years after the event. Even if they still feel it was the right decision. Having or not having a child is a life-altering decision, and noone can make that choice for others.
    So – from across the Atlantic – my deepest respect and support for your struggle.
    LadyP

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:52 am #

      Dear Lady P,

      i’m so sorry the computer ate your first response!!

      Thanks for the perspective though. i can’t imagine the circumstances you describe – wish i could! But you’re right, it is a major decision, and the last thing the woman needs is people yelling and preaching at them.

      Thanks so much for the support.

      aisha

  4. vanillamom February 15, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    This assault on women is terrifying to me. What kind of world am i raising my daughter in? Will she be denied birth control pills in 10, 12 years when she is a young adult? I fully realize that she may well have a sexual relationship well before I’m ready for her to have one…

    and having walked that walk beside you? Was a transformative experience for me, aisha..in my sheltered existence, I had no idea of the *assault* that happens to a woman as she seeks a medical procedure that should be between herself and her doctor, and not 50 people lining the sidewalk screaming at her.

    I’ve stood up, and hope to keep standing in my little way. But lots of little drops make a tidal wave…

    nilla

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:53 am #

      @’Nilla,

      i’m such an optimist – i really don’t think we’ll let this happen, i think people like you and Sfp and mouse will step up and stop it. So i’m grateful that you’ve begun.

      Drops do make a tidal wave!

      Thank you.

      aisha

  5. Ashly February 15, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    You are doing great job for the poor girls! These so called religious types still live in the dark ages. Burning witches is the same sort of attitude. You should be proud of your self.
    Love Ashly

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Thank you, Ashly. i appreciate the support. And i think you’re right, it is the same mentality that burned witches. It’s really helpful for me to know how many people don’t think like that!

      aisha

  6. thesubmissivebf February 15, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Great post!
    butterfly

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Thanks, Butterfly! So was yours! 🙂

      aisha

  7. Donna February 15, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    So well said, aisha!

    Donna

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      Thank you, Donna! That means a lot coming from you.

      aisha

  8. lil February 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Absolutely wonderful and informative post aisha.

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      @lil,

      Thank you! i’m glad you thought so.

      aisha

  9. faerie February 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Great post aisha, and how brave of you to escort women to abortions. The violence at the Planned Parenthood clinic where I live became so bad that they closed down. I used that clinic as a teenager to obtain birth control so that I would never be put in the position of deciding to have an abortion. I know for me abortion is not the right choice, but that is MY decision to make. I have several friends who have had them and have supported that decision as it was what was right for them.

    I don’t understand how people become so narrow minded as to impose their beliefs on others. Keep up the good fight.

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      @faerie,

      Thank you! i’m glad you liked the post. As for being brave – well, i guess. i don’t usually think about it, but yeah, i guess so. That’s awful that your local Planned Parenthood closed!! That’s been the source of early reproductive health for so many of us!!

      Sheesh.

      Thanks for the support.

      aisha

  10. greengirl February 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    This can’t have been entirely easy – to meld aspects of your real life here in your more anonymous life. Thank you for showing us a personal glimpse of something most of us only know in general or hypothetically.

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:04 am #

      @Greengirl,

      And i hadn’t really thought about that til i read your comment, but then it hit home ~ yes. It was ~ “not entirely easy” is exactly the right choice of words. Thank you.

      i always appreciate your perspective ~ here, and in your blog.

      aisha

  11. Dee February 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I’m stumbling around blogland reading these posts and starting to dust off the old soap box! In the UK, abortion/birth control are also part of the free public hospital system. I’ve never felt more lucky for the NHS we have here that we take for granted.
    These lunatics who harass these woman have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world! I could go on and on but I’ll finish with, it can sometimes be a hard decision to decide to have a baby for various reasons, it’s much more difficult and heartbreaking a decision to opt for otherwise! But the choice is a personal choice and nobody has the right to decide for you. We, personally, are the only people who have to live with the decisions we make for the rest of our lives.
    I think it’s great that you are doing the job you are doing. You are making a difference and I’m positive that these woman are
    grateful for that support.

    Dee x

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:07 am #

      Thank you, Dee, i appreciate the support. It’s even nice for me just to remember there are parts of the world that aren’t trying to control women’s choices.

      Thank you so much.

      asiha

  12. alice February 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    aisha, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the way you support women in making this difficult decision. To have to go through the painful process of making this choice and then be faced with the ignorance and hatred of strangers who know nothing of their situation must be very, very stressful. I am not a Christian and I find it very difficult to understand how such intolerance and ignorance can be displayed in the name of any religion. The point you make about the dangers of illegal abortion brings the hypocrisy of this position into sharp relief. If life (even it is only at the stage of a clumping together of a few cells) is sacrosant, how come they are prepared to risk the deaths of countless woman due to infection and botched backstreet jobs in order to satify their ideology? Something is badly wrong with their logic as well as their ethics. Alice.

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      @Alice,

      Thanks for the support. It is difficult for the women, and often makes me really angry.

      It’s sad, i think many of the protesters actually believe that if abortion were illegal, that women wouldn’t have them. i’ve started seeing some articles lately reminding folks that there was often an entire ward in a hospital of women who were recovering from botched abortions.

      And yeah. We escorts say the protesters are only pro-life as long as you’re pre-born. Once you’re alive, they don’t give a damn what happens to you.

      Thank you.

      aisha

  13. mouse February 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Ooooh aisha…your words on this topic touched on how it’s all interconnected…and why it’s so important that we stand collectively for our rights! We stand, tall, strong and united!

    Some would argue, well it’s just abortion, but like you pointed out, ectopic pregnancies, what about pre-eclampsia? These can actually be medical reasons to actually abort! They pretend like it happens and the conditions don’t threaten maternal life.

    It makes mouse cranky, bitchy and very iratated.

    Thank you aisha
    Hugs,
    mouse

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:16 am #

      Thank you, Mouse!

      Yes, and the protesters make things most difficult for women who don’t want to have the abortion. Sometimes it is even a situation where the fetus is already dead but the pregnancy is too far along for a hospital to just do a D & C. i think those are the worst.

      Anyhow. Your post was wonderfully fabulous. Thank you.

      aisha

  14. faithful February 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I admire you so very very much.

    Thank you for being my voice today and every day.

    With much respect.

    ~faithful

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:17 am #

      Thank you, Faithful.

      {blushing…}

      aisha

  15. caile February 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Wonderful, fabulous blog!! Thank you for stepping forward online and in person to support our right to choose!

    Hugs,
    caile

    • aisha February 16, 2012 at 6:17 am #

      Hi, Caile!

      Thank you for the support ~ i love that real life/ blogosphere crossover that you bring!

      Thank you.

      aisha

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