A Texan succinctly protests the state's restrictive anti-abortion access laws last year. Photo by Mirsasha (Creative Commons).
Texas has been in the national spotlight for its restrictive new laws that have closed two-thirds of the state’s abortion clinics. But another insidious way the state is trying to control women’s reproductive rights has gotten less attention: local prosecutors locking up pregnant women who test positive for drugs.
American prisons have a dark history of forced sterilization: Louisville residents protested forced sterilizations in 1971. Photo from the Southern Conference Educational Fund via the History News Network.
When I first caught sight of a Madeline Burrows, the writer and performer at the center of new play Mom Baby God, I wanted to head straight for the bathroom and hide. She was sporting a side ponytail and pink hoodie, chatting up theatergoers with a chirpy valley girl lilt about some sort of “Students for Life Conference.” Just as I was about to make a beeline for the can, she caught me in her weird immersive-theater snare.
Why does rape happen? Because a rapist chooses to rape someone. Because someone felt so entitled to sex, they didn’t care whether their selected partner was able or willing to consent. No one is disagreeing there. But why does that choice happen? Where does that sense of entitlement come from?
If you ask RAINN or TIME magazine, they wouldn’t be able to give you an answer.
Monica Jones is a sex workers' right advocate in Phoenix, Arizona, a trans woman of color, and a social work student. On Friday, March 14th, she’ll go on trial for “manifestation of prostitution.”
Jones's arrest and prosecution is a collision of two dicey issues: the history of "rescuing" sex workers by locking them up and the pervasive police profiling of trans women—particularly trans women of color—as assumed prostitutes.
To help GOP males avoid the egregious gaffe of saying things like “legitimate rape” this election cycle, forward-thinking House Speaker John Boehner is offering tips to fellow Republicans on what not to say to and about women. Politico reported recently that Boehner's top aides met with Republican staff to discuss how lawmakers should talk to female constituents and that the National Republican Congressional Committee has held multiple sessions to coach Republican aides on “messaging against women opponents.”
Two weeks ago, women incarcerated at Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona staged a hunger strike. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who runs the jail, told media that the women were striking over the all-vegetarian meals being served. His direct quote was actually: "They ought to shut up and eat what they have, they happen to be in jail and I'm the sheriff and I'm the chief chef I decide what they eat.” Spinning the women's actions as just a knee-jerk response to having to eat vegetarian food helps turn a serious hunger strike into a punchline.
CeCe McDonald is scheduled to be released from prison this month. This is a very big deal. Her case is a prime example of how the legal system can (and often does) work against protecting LGBTQ people.
I first noticed Suey Park last month when I came across her daily infographics depicting the number of days that Marissa Alexanderwas spending in prison even after an appeals court overturned her conviction. As an Asian American woman who had been following Marissa's story and who has been active in prison abolition work for all of my adult life, I was thrilled to see another Asian American woman publicly working to free Marissa.
Then this past Sunday, Suey Park started #NotYourAsianSidekick, a Twitter conversation originally meant to discuss problems within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, issues with white feminism, and the voices of those usually excluded from more mainstream AAPI discussions, such as people who are queer, disabled, mixed race and/or sex-positive. Very quickly, #NotYourAsianSidekick exploded, with nearly 34,000 tweets using the hashtag that first day.