Monday, January 27, 2014


EDIT 1/29/14: DATE AND ROOM CHANGE -- the hearing is now TUESDAY, FEB 4 AT 1PM, Room 173. Email for info or to get more involved.

Oh, Lawd. I am online bright and early to share this news uncovered by some fellow abortioneers in Louisiana. It's scary and needs immediate attention, so please forgive this hasty reblog (from the folks at New Orleans Abortion Fund, with their permission) and take action quickly: show up for the hearing on Wednesday, or write a letter/email for DHH by Tuesday -- see details in purple below.

URGENT: Hearing on "backdoor abortion ban," new clinic regulations in Louisiana

It may not be easy to get excited over 21 pages of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals regulations, but you'll want to hear about this!

Just before Thanksgiving, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) issued new "emergency" regulations that overhauled the existing regulations on abortion clinics. These 21 pages of rules give DHH the authority to immediately shut down a clinic without opportunity for appeal, even for simple infractions. Clinics have stated that they would be unable to meet the burdensome and excessive requirements, and this would lead to the closure of all five clinics in Louisiana.

DHH's new regulations are another manifestation of the "TRAP" (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that are sweeping the country. They represent an effective ban on abortion, especially for the low-income women that NOAF serves, who cannot afford to travel. Here are some examples of new provisions:
  • Patients must have documented in their charts that hemoglobin and Rh factor lab tests were performed at least 30 days prior to the abortion procedure. This means that some patients will risk being beyond the 20 week deadline in Louisiana (and earlier than that at most clinics) to have an abortion, and will add to the procedure costs for all patients, as they will have to wait an additional month.
  • Each clinic who is applying for a new license must submit a "certificate of need" to the State proving the need for their services. In many other circumstances, such as any change to the location or the ownership of an existing clinic, existing clinics must apply for a brand-new license and (re-)satisfy the certificate of need requirement. The subjective nature of these requirements allows the State to severely restrict new licenses and will provide the State with a mechanism for refusing to allow existing clinics to renew their licenses to operate.
  • There is no right to appeal deficiencies to any unbiased body outside of the Department of Health and Hospitals. Therefore, every deficiency that a clinic is cited with will be allowed to stand, and those deficiencies are often later used to revoke a clinic’s license on the basis of being a “repeat” offender.
  • The new regulations require that all facilities have very specific square footage requirements that are far larger than any currently operating abortion facility. They would be prohibitively expensive to construct, and the requirements have no medical necessity. If the regulations are allowed to go into effect, no clinic will be in compliance on the day the regulations are implemented, and the State will have the ability to shut down every existing abortion clinic in the State.

These regulations were originally enacted without public comment and with no clear indication of need. There will finally be a hearing on Tuesday, February 4 at 1:00pm in Room 173 of the Bienville Building, 628 North 4th Street in Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Abortion Fund and members of allied organizations will be testifying and presenting written comments from advocates, providers, and women who have recently obtained abortions at affected clinics at the public hearing.

The people of Louisiana need your support! Please consider attending this hearing and/or submitting written comments. We have created talking points and a sample letter [PDFs]. Feel free to copy and paste (and re-format if needed!), but please consider adding your personal thoughts.

Hearing details:
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9:30am - get there early; we are packing the place!
Bienville Building, Room 118, 628 North 4th Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
NOTE: NOAF and our allies are wearing purple!

If you cannot attend the hearing, we can print and hand-deliver your written comments at the hearing -- you MUST include your full name and address. Email your letter to by Monday, February3 at 8:00pm CST

Thank you! Together, we can fight back!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Abortioneers Summer Reading

I dunno what y'all like to read with sunscreen on your nose and sandals on your feet. Me? I'm not a "Fifty Shades" kind of girl, so I usually stick to non-fiction and preferably something topical. But it can't be too dense (speak English at the beach!), it has to have good readability (I looove offset quotations), and it has to be something I care about (hint hint). 

If you are into reading about BDSM, I commend you all the same. But I've got something even juicier for those lazy summer afternoons:

You MUST swing by your local library/bookstore/kindle app and get your hands on Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement. Author Sarah Erdreich is a fellow writer, feminist, and activist who, like many of us, grew weary of the platitudes and talking points about abortion. So she took to the streets and interviewed some of the most prominent providers and activists in the movement (not to mention the Abortioneers!) to demystify abortion and bring important themes to the forefront. Generation Roe is honest, not to mention painstakingly researched. It's so refreshing to hear the story straight from those who live it, and also to read about their reactions to the project; so many women have never told their stories, have never been asked. This book is a priceless resource for providers, counselors, advocates, and anyone who needs to know that they're not dealing with anti-abortion craziness alone. 

On top of that, Sarah's just a super cool person. From the first line ("I am not a Nazi.") I just knew we'd get along as we dove head-first into a journey through Abortionland, from the pre-Roe era until today. She explores personal stories from women who had abortions, legally and illegally; providers who risk their lives daily to provide the necessary service; and even devotes a full chapter to the treatment of abortion in the media (Chapter Four: (Mis)Representations of Reality). And she's even open-minded and brave enough to wander into the anti-choice crucible that is a protest on the National Mall. All to put together this amazing collection of stories for us. Brava, Sarah, Brava! this book, OK? It's really good. And if you can't take my word for it, take Gloria Steinem's!*

*Oh yeah it also got stellar reviews, and not just from the feminist community either! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

SOS Midwest


Midwest abortioneers and others-- did you see this? This Ohio bill will require abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges BUT ALSO specifically prohibit them from making such arrangements with any public hospital or even any doctor employed at one. Funnily enough, in the US the largest operator of non-public hospitals is...the Catholic Church.

Even before these new tighter restrictions are voted on, one Toledo clinic has just closed due to these issues and another is expected to do so soon. You can read more details at the Salon article.

Ohio's provider landscape will look something like this, I guess:

I've been thinking about this issue a lot since the admitting privileges strategy seems to be increasingly popular in the past 1-2 years (and alarmingly effective) in the quest to eliminate providers -- but this is the first state hospital requirement I've seen where state hospitals would be explicitly off-limits in your efforts to comply with the state's hospital requirement. That feels like some next-level, Vonnegut-Kafka-MontyPython type shit (cause I can't decide whether to laugh then cry, or cry then laugh).

If you work in a hospital or ED setting, I want to hear about it: Has the topic of admitting agreements with abortion providers ever arisen in your hospital? And while we're at it, what about emergency treatment for pregnant intakes (including urgent abortion care) more generally?

Images from: The Notebook, Toothpaste for Dinner

Friday, May 10, 2013

My heart needs a break from breaking

Have you been reading the news lately? I have, unfortunately. It feels as though current events have just been an unrelenting stream of examples of the horrors and cruelty that human beings are capable of inflicting on other human beings. Thanks, murderers and abusers and rapists and torturers, but we don't need more examples. We get it. You can stop now.

And in the last several hours I've done only two things: read about the latest awful case of kidnapping and almost-unspeakable abuse, the one in Cleveland, or stewed over it while unsuccessfully attempting to focus on other things.

But I'm here trying to write something because there's a part of me that's sure someone will ask. Or assume. How many hours or days til the half-witted comments hit, ones about how this is all because of the "culture of death" that abortion perpetuates? OR the ones asking why I "care" about this but "don't care" about the trial of Kermit Gosnell, a man who stands accused of killing babies and calling it abortion?

I ask because because it's so, so, so routine; these words have likely been uttered on several prominent anti-abortion blogs today. But I don't want to go find out.

Sometimes, despite being a super-famous internet celebrity (humble joke), and despite bearing the weighty mantle of spokesperson for ALL abortioneers and being asked for comments on ALL bad things that happen to babies or fetuses or embryos (angry joke), a person's got to have some time to themselves to deal with pain.

We often have stuff to say about things that show up in the news, but I'm not interested in being a ripped-from-the-headlines current events commentator. I just wanted to tell my truth, particularly in times when it wasn't represented elsewhere. But you're probably sickened and saddened too, and that's the truth for all of us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hypocrisy, Part Deux

So R.E.K. can keep her baby after all.

While pro-lifers are praising the decision and the young woman for their commitment to the lives of the unborn, groups like NARAL are praising them for their commitment to...

...wait for it...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I like to peruse news blogs when I'm procrastinating from work and other things I need to do. I happened upon this article today in a blog called austinist.

This article is about a teenager who is suing her parents because she says they are trying to force her to have an abortion. She says they are inflicting harassment upon her and will kick her out of the house if she keeps the pregnancy. Now, I am pro-choice. Choice being the key word. I think everyone should have the choice in what happens to their body and absolutely no one should be forced to have an abortion. That being said, the legal premise of this lawsuit confuses me. If she doesn't want an abortion, then she doesn't have one, right? If her parents are harassing her, then she should be taken out of the home. On top of that, she's being represented by a "Pro-Life" group, which makes me suspicious and think that they're taking advantage of this poor teenager who is obviously going through a lot of emotional turmoil right now.

By far my favorite part of this article is this quote.

'The Austin-based Texas Center for Defense of Life filed the lawsuit on the girl's behalf. President Greg Terra stated in a press release that federal law holds "that a teenage girl has the absolute legal right to make her reproductive choices. This includes the choice not to have an abortion, even against the strong coercion of the parents. If the girl lives in Texas and chooses life, then we will stand with her in a court in support of that choice."'

So the Texas Center for Defense of Life believes that she has the absolute legal right to make her reproductive choices? I guess only if it doesn't conflict with what they want.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Last Hope

The state of Mississippi has only one clinic, in Jackson, that only performs abortions until 16 weeks. If you didn't know, now you do. Sad, huh? Last year we had a victory in Mississippi defeating the personhood bill, but a new law, which requires the clinic to have hospital admitting privileges, has the clinic struggling to stay open. If they don't comply, and soon, the Jackson Women's Health Center could close for good. Definitely not smooth sailing in the Magnolia State.

Photographer Maisie Crow, on hearing the news, traveled to Jackson to document the awesome work that JWHC does for the pregnant folks of Mississippi. Have a look, and pray to keep JWHC open!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 Years Young

Happy birthday to legal abortion!

If abortion was a human it would be considered *over the hill* by traditional celebratory standards. But abortion is not a human and the road to justice is ongoing, if not endless.

In fact, when the Abortioneers started this blog a few years ago, we were wee warriors with fresh hearts and brilliant dreams. Triumphs and defeats ebb and flow and every Abortioneer is still toiling for justice. Albeit, recognizing and executing the work/life balance that must transpire if one if to fight this fight until every last uterus is liberated. In other words, even when we are silent and the posts are lagging, the Abortioneers are Abortioneering.

Plus, we’re curious about you. What are you doing today, 40 years past the monumental Supreme Court decision, to celebrate legal abortion and/or to fight the good fight? Please share…

We’d also like to share this contribution to the ever-growing source of knowledge that is the internet: 

For Roe’s 40th, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH), has released the video Voices of Choice online, in full, for the first time:

The 25-minute documentary, produced in 2003, provides firsthand accounts of the suffering before abortion was legalized, from doctors and advocates who helped as many women as they could obtain safe care before Roe v. Wade. Among those featured: Byllye Avery, Dr. Curtis Boyd, Dr. Eugene Glick (1929-2010), Dr. Mildred Hanson, and Reverend Howard Moody (1921-2012).

Voices of Choice also offers a look at where we were ten years ago, in 2003, through the eyes of Dr. George Tiller (1941-2009) and others.

Go forward and be merry (in spite of everything)…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I really can't describe the way I feel about this without using cutesy internet jargon. I just wanna be like....


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making Headlines

Remember when this guy

And the award for Best Shit-Eating Grin goes to....

said this thing: There is no such thing as a medically necessary abortion, LOL.

He was laughed out of Abortionland. Perhaps more importantly, he was laughed out of the 8th district of the state of Illinois. Tammy Duckworth, FTW!

And not a moment too soon. Consider Ireland, where you can't get an abortion to save your life (LITERALLY). This story is blowing up all over, about a woman who was denied a life-saving abortion while suffering a miscarriage and septicemia. Because Ireland is a life-loving country, they made her wait until the fetus died naturally, by which time her infection had wreaked havoc on her body and, soon after, killed her.

I don't really have much to say. I am completely heartbroken and ENRAGED over this, but the only thing we can do is keep whack-jobs like Walsh and Akin and King out of office. We did a fairly good job last week, and hopefully we can continue to set a global example. Not that I think the US is exemplary in securing the right to choose, but I gotta say: thank goodness I'm not in Ireland.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whee! Now Let's Get On With It.


Y'all, I am SO RELIEVED. My nerves thank you. Stupid Akin and Mourdock lost their stupid races, and so did stupid Romney. We get to keep expanded health insurance coverage (no pre-existing condition exclusions for me or Desembarazarme!) and copay-free contraception (my neighbor is looking into IUDs as we speak!), we sent many of the frightening rape apologists home, and we don't have to fear uber-conservatives being appointed to the Supreme Court in the next four years (the Arizona 18-week ban is rising through the appeals process right now, eek!).

Note I'm breathing a sigh of relief, not whooping for joy. To me this election represents a pause in the current onslaught -- a shutting-down (ha) of the presumption that anti-choice and anti-justice ideas have momentum -- but not progress in itself. Last night's votes did bring unexpected joy: we got to see several states protect marriage equality (Maine Maryland Minnesota Washington), one state elect the first openly-gay US senator ever (Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin), and one state elect an all-woman Congressional delegation for the first time ever (New Hampshire). But when it comes to the overall status of reproductive justice, I'm still feeling tentative.

We haven't accomplished progress in one night, but maybe now we can forget about those clowns and their circus and get back to work. I don't want to get TOO excited (GOP-controlled House of Representatives) but maybe Obama really will push for some serious advances now, like progressives have hoped all along, feeling so frustrated. Maybe we'll find a way to expand health insurance to ALL people, maybe EC will be available over-the-counter for everyone (and regular oral contraceptive pills too, please!), maybe provider "conscience" will be taken seriously and will also protect those who conscientiously DO provide, and maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe we can combine all our strength and push someone to do something about the Hyde Amendment (update: hey look, Abortion Gang explains!).

It's time, right?

Now...does anyone want to email Barack?

Otherwise I'm just gonna copy/paste this blog post that I just spitballed, and you'll have the embarrassment of being represented by an email written with way too many parenthetical expressions and words in all-caps. The clock is ticking!

Placenta Sandwich

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Plea from My Nerves on Election Day

Please vote, y'all. This brown woman's knuckles are turning white from the tension.

I don't even know if anyone DOESN'T vote because everyone on my facebook feed is already showing off their poll sticker and I'm feeling like a lazy ass for not having gotten to my station yet. (I'm heading there now!) But just in case anyone reading this was like "well, I dunno, maybe I won't bother this year because it's raining and the line is three hours long and I'm sure my district won't be swung one way or another by my vote," I'm writing this to implore you, do it anyway.

I was going to say, do it for me, but really won't you do it for us all?

Vote for the candidates and amendments and propositions and initiatives least likely to wreak havoc upon us -- upon our reproductive rights, of course, but not just that: also our access to health services, our ability to afford survival, our attempts to keep our families together and well-fed and well-educated and safe, and the respect we need from society to make our own choices in peace.

2011 and 2012 have been rough on this front; the years leading up to an election usually are. It would be easy to dismiss our politicians' hundreds of anti-choice bills of 2011 as transparent distractions from their daunting mandate to fix the economy...except for the actual damage these policies would do (or have started doing) to individuals, families and society. So we have had to play defense, and it sucks. How many times did we find ourselves "celebrating" with the chorus, "Hooray, we made a horrible bill slightly less horrible before it became law."

We're as tired of living on the defensive as you are. And the day after the election (or whenever the vote-counting dust settles) we'll be back, up and at 'em and energized to push forward for something positive.

Until then, please go to the polls and cast your vote to minimize today's potential damage.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I enjoy Halloween. The kiddies, candy, the costumes (especially the punny and ironic ones). I like pumpkins, crisp Autumn leaves, and the occasional scare. I usually get a good laugh and reciprocate when the instigator least expects it.

But some things are too scary for me. When the first Paranormal Activity came out, on Halloween, I saw it and didn't sleep for days. Scares are fun when they're innocent, but when they mess with your mind it's simply not enjoyable. So I'm really not excited about the scares resulting from threats to abortion access. Read this story from HuffPo, about a woman in Idaho arrested for attempting a DIY abortion, and try not to react like this:

"Run girl, run!"

I'm getting really freaked out because this year's Halloween precedes the election that could make or break abortion access. We only have a week left!
Ugh, this movie kept me awake for at least a week. 
I say this to say 1) enjoy a safe and happy Halloween with childlike abandon, and 2) get out and vote for abortion access Nov 6, or earlier if your state allows. What if you get hit by lightening on Nov 6, or Hurricane Rizzo comes along?  Get it done!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Post: An Abortion Love Story, Chapter II

Welcome back to Rebecca, a fellow abortioneer who’s agreed to spin us a MOTA (mates of the abortioneers) romance for the ages. You can go back here to read about how they first had "the A-word talk." When you're done with that, read on below for Chapter II, which in my head I've unofficially but fondly titled "My Husband Sleeps With One Eye Open."

At first, C didn't really "get" the security factor at work. You know: the protesters. He's European and from a secular country; and he'd lived overseas for years. He wasn't aware abortion was such a contentious issue in the USA because it wasn't in his country. (I also think that because he’s a guy, he probably didn’t pay much attention.)

He was surprised to see all the protesters we'd get sometimes and how they'd harass clients. We were lucky at our clinic -- we didn't have TONS of protesters like many others did -- but he was still shocked to see them.

When we had more than the usual number of crazies out, I didn't like leaving my car at work. The protesters were taking pictures of our license plates; my car was registered to my home address. (I know, I know. Not smart!) I didn’t exactly feel like getting followed. I lived alone in a smallish city and my car was fairly easy to identify.

Early on in our relationship, the clinic was experiencing one of those big protester days, so I asked C picked me up from work so my car wasn't left in our car park all day. As we approached my vehicle, he dropped the car keys. I noticed he took a fraction of a second longer picking up the keys than I thought he would, and that made me a little twitchy. I wasn't sure why.

Later, when I was ranting about protesters, C told me he was concerned about my safety. And then he admitted he had dropped the car keys purposefully .

Why? With his diverse background, including a military history and working in war-torn countries, he had learned certain skills.  It was a trick they used in some of the places he'd been: they'd drop the keys, bend down to get them, and steal a glance under the car to see if there was a bomb.

A car bomb? I was a bit shocked. My first thought was, "That’s not necessary! Nothing like that would happen here!" Yet it was instinctual for him to check.

He explained how surreal it was for him to be so immediately, intimately, acutely impacted by my work: all because of protesters. Part of me was like, "Yeah, well, welcome to our world."

His reaction had been jarring, though. I usually didn't tell family/friends about protester activity or security threats. I didn't want to worry them. Really, I didn't want to deal with their worries on top of mine. They would've told me to quit. This was the first time I saw how security issues at the clinic directly affected someone I cared for. I wonder whether all abortioneers experience that, and how.

Throughout the years, C was vocal about his security concerns. Because of his experience, he didn't think my clinic always took those risks seriously enough. He’d often say he'd do things differently, or thought things like a better alarm system would be a smart move.

He criticized the clinic when they stopped having guards on clinic days, especially when protester activity increased. We lived in the Pacific Northwest where it's pretty normal to carry handguns. The clinic guards regularly pulled guns and knives off guys.

It was hard for me to listen without feeling defensive and thinking he wasn't critical, really, underneath it all, about abortion, about my job, about work that I loved.

I now understand that wasn't the case: he was just genuinely worried sometimes. Which is a shame. It's a shame we have to work in conditions, in the United States, where our family worries about us because of some crazies. Have you had similar experiences?