The news on reproductive rights this year has not been good. Texas is shutting down health clinics, Ohio is forcing women to get an ultrasound before they get an abortion, Oklahoma is trying to restrict teens from buying Plan B over the counter—the country's reproductive options are generally going to hell in a Republican handbasket.
But there's one area of reproductive health that has been quietly and steadily improving for years: reducing teen pregnancies. During the last years of the Bush administration, the teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1992. But from 2007-2011 (the four most recent years the experts crunched the numbers), the trend swiftly reversed and the teen birth rate nationwide dropped a whopping 25 percent.
The reasons behind the drop are much more complex than just statistics on birth control use and funding for sex education—looking only at the dollars and data ignores the fact that we all learn about sex from the culture around us.
Clear Channel is a behemoth—the media conglomerate owns 850 radio stations, making them the gatekeeper of mainstream radio airwaves across much of the country. And this week, the company is being a total douchebag.
The crime? Refusing to run ads for the South Wind Women's Center, a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinic in Witchita, Kansas that opened this year in the space that was Doctor George Tiller's clinic before he was murdered. Clear Channel says the Kansas clinic's ads violate the company's "decency standards."
Laws restricting abortion rights have recently swept the country like a flood—legislatures in Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin have all launched into high-profile debates over abortion-rights rollbacks in the past month.
In 1923, 17-year-old Carrie Buck was raped and impregnated. Her adoptive family, trying to avoid the public shame of having an unwed mother in their midst, had her committed to an institution for the "feeble minded." Because she was supposedly "feeble-minded" and the daughter of an unwed mother herself, the State of Virginia sought to sterilize her and, in 1927, the Supreme Court ruled in its favor.
One would think we've come a long way since 1927. But apparently we haven't.
There have been so many political fights over abortion access this week in the US that it has been overwhelming to try and keep up on what's happening where. in case you haven't been able to keep straight which douchebags are restricting rights in which states, exactly, here's a quick rundown of what's new in reproductive rights issues this week.
The process was an hours-long rhetorical tug-of-war, as opponents and proponents worked to frame the debate in their own linguistic terms. In many ways in this national debate, the data around abortion means far less than the story.
The Texas House passed some of the nation's most restrictive abortion-access policies this Monday—as the bill #SB5 heads to the state Senate on Tuesday, hundreds of Texans are turning out to protest and there's a major call to action at the capitol building. Here's the background on the controversial bill.
I've never been attracted to books set in a world in which women have been stripped of their reproductive rights and function mainly as breeders. After all, I live in a very real society in which women's rights over their bodies are constantlybeingeroded. The right to family seems to not apply to those who are poor, of color and/or incarcerated. So why escape to a world in which all of these injustices have been magnified?
The cover of Dan Well's Partialsdepicts the back of a dark-haired girl of ambivalent skin color looking out over a wasteland. Nothing in the summary indicates that there are people of color in the book. To the jaded reader, Partials might very well be yet another book in which people of color have not survived the apocalypse. I wouldn't have picked up Partials for this blog series on race and gender in dystopia had my twelve-year-old daughter not read and recommended it, letting me know that the main character is <gasp> a girl of color. And she's not the only girl of color who's survived dystopia.
But recently, rhetoric has taken the issue even further. Current public education campaigns imply that we have a civic duty to tell women when they should get pregnant and reinforce the idea that pregnant women's bodies are public property.