In this episode, we look at the way movies and music discuss reproductive rights, including an analysis of Nicki Minaj lyrics, a history of American sex-ed films, and an exploration of the how movies make abortion seem more dangerous than it really is.
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Madison residents picket their local Hobby Lobby on July 5th. Photo by Light Brigading (Creative Commons).
Well, that didn’t take long.
Within days of their ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court’s conservatives disproved their own argument about that decision’s “narrowness.” In 72 hours, the hairline cracks left by the Supreme Court ruling exploded open.
Thanks to today's Supreme Court decision, Hobby Lobby and other for-profit companies run by religious individuals will face no punishment if they refuse to provide insurance coverage for female birth control. As one person astutely noted, "Crafting now leads to unwanted pregnancies." All of this action is sparking some creative energy! It's time we got some new hobbies, preferably ones that involve lobbying for reproductive rights.
Here are eight fun new lobbying hobbies to help counter today's decision.
Craft a vintage-inspired protest sign! When Missouri legislators debated a bill that would require mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, reproductive rights supporters whipped up 1950's costumes and retro protest signs that harkened to the era before abortion was legal. The message was clear: don't force us back to the Mad Men era. Host a party to make big, showy signs so that you and all your friends will be ready for the next big rally. (photo by @AlisonDreith)
The Hobby Lobby birth control case decided at the Supreme Court today hinges on a debate over freedom of religion. Five out of nine Supreme Court justices (all male) say that the religious beliefs of people who run companies trump the rights of workers to access reproductive healthcare. The rest of the Supreme Court justices—including all three women on the court—agree that freedom of religion shouldn’t impinge on employees’ access to contraception.
New film "Obvious Child" stars Jenny Slate as a 20-something in Brooklyn who gets an abortion.
One in three women in the US have an abortion in their lifetimes, while nearly 40 percent of Americans claim they do not know anyone who has had an abortion.
I left the latter group, not coincidentally, around the same time I joined the former. When I got pregnant as a 20-something in Brooklyn five years ago and started telling people I was getting an abortion, I quickly discovered I actually knew three women who’d had one.
In 1948, in a seventh grade classroom in Eugene, Oregon, a teacher dimmed the lights and flipped on 16mm projector. A film called Human Growth began to play and for 20 minutes, a fictional teacher explained the human reproductive system while animated sperm and ovum flickered onscreen.
One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, yet in pop culture accurate portrayals of real people’s stories are rare. In this special interview, two reproductive justice advocates listen and discuss two songs: Nick Cannon’s "Can I Live?" and Nicki Minaj’s "Autobiography," and ask: what messages are pop songs sending about reproductive health issues?
A Texas protester rallies against the state's recent abortion rights restrictions. Photo by Mirsasha.
Is it possible to advocate for fetuses and babies without advocating for pregnant women?
Such a question might not even have been possible a generation ago. But over the past few decades a trend to treat fetuses as if they exist separately from pregnant women has reverberated throughout our culture and legal system, resulting in all sorts of illogical, surprising, and decidedly unfeminist positions.
The Women on Waves ship heads to international waters to dispense the abortion pill to women in need.
The documentary Vessel begins starkly, with the reveal of a typed plea from a woman in Morocco in 2012. Her words are full of desperation: she needs to get an abortion but the procedure is illegal in her country.