A while ago, I changed the cover photo on the @FeministMidwife Facebook page to the glittery, colorful, and fun image from urge.org (URGE=Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) with the text “Abortion yass!” followed by the hashtag #AbortionPositive. From their website about their work in the abortion positive movement:
“Almost as soon as abortion became legal nationwide, the coordinated campaign to roll-back that right began. In 1977, poor women were the first to be targeted and have their rights targeted. Since then, young people, low-income women, those serving in the military, and indigenous women are among the many people, domestically and globally, who have been systematically denied access to abortion because of anti-choice U.S. policies.
You may have guessed that URGE activists don’t just sit back while abortion access is stripped away. We work – often in the states with the most persistent challenges – to fight like hell against the threats to abortion access. We also push our uncompromising vision to expand access, including repealing forced parental involvement laws and restoring insurance coverage of abortion for all people.
Our chapters also work outside the legislative process to expand access in their communities, by helping to protect clinic safety and raising money for abortion funds. The right to choose an abortion – and the ability to access one – is deeply connected to many other issues. We believe that to achieve true choice, we must work eradicate the barriers that impact a person’s ability to choose.
Whether a person decides to become a parent, choose adoption, or have an abortion we all deserve to access the support and healthcare we need and build the families we want. URGE stands for the rights of all people to make those decisions for themselves free from stigma and shame.”
After my first FM Script was shared and brought in a lot of new readers, I followed the image with a disclaimer I have come to post frequently about my intentions for the blog and the Facebook page, about myself, my beliefs, and the space I attempt to create with this community:
Welcome new followers! For lots of fun reasons there are new voices following and commenting on this page. Heads up: I read the comments and interject/block/delete anything unwelcome or that stands against my beliefs, as I’ve worked hard to create a safe space for conversation and sharing and openness, and intentionally reject ignorance or hatred. I also have followers that give send me a message when readers, or even I, have fallen off the mark and need to be reeled in, and for that I am incredibly thankful.
From my recent post on things that impact my voting, here are a few things to know about me and this page:
I believe healthcare is a human right, that abortion is healthcare, and abortion is a human right. Check out Nursing Students For Choice and Clinicians For Choice for more info on nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistant roles in #abortion care.
I’m a feminist and believe in equality and reproductive justice. SisterSong has all the best work going on there.
I’m queer and as such believe in gay and trans* rights. The recent great resource for queer and trans* healthcare was just released from Cedar River Clinics.
I’m a humanist and believe in separation of church and state. The American Humanist Association can tell you more.
I’m a citizen of Chicago, a former global health worker, and work on the South Side purposefully serving immigrant, Black, and socially disadvantaged communities, and know #BlackLivesMatter. Mujeres Latinas en Accion is my local go-to nonprofit for this work.
I know what I stand for and what I’m doing in this world. Thank you for sharing your soap boxes and keeping the discussion empowering, educational, and from a place of building community.
PM me with any questions or concerns! And thanks for bringing in the awesome conversations!
- An historic, extensive, intentional acculturation and normalization of the falsified, fetishized, brutal, gory images of fetuses, to the extent that somehow, someone would think of glitter as more offensive. (This is despite the fact that I’m sure glitter is an evidence-based form of celebration** whereas negative images and protestors have proven, in evidence, to be ineffective in dissuading people from abortion decisions or affecting their feeling about the decisions afterward***).
- Those of us who honor and respect abortion also honor and respect the ways in which each person experiences abortion differently. Thus, we desire not to assume one person’s celebration or sadness or ambiguity about their decision, and opt to create space for the person to guide the conversation with where they are, rather than make serious or light of something that is not ours, and not our space to “feel all the feels,” as Dan Savage would say, but rather, to make space for them to feel theirs. Choosing glitter is as tough a choice for an abortion reflection, for some, as it is to acknowledge that others would choose self-stigma and find refuge in a community of shame or guilt.
- The recent breach on the abortion community by DD and CMP (those who I wish I could refrain from naming but this history is real for our community) make many want to fly a bit low to keep moving forward without further fear of infiltration, attack (like in CO), and targeted in person or on the internet. Glitter is the opposite of flying low.
- Those who identify as pro-abortion, but only when they can make space for how “serious” of a decision it would be. I find these people struggle with understanding that for many it is not a serious decision but rather an easy one, and thus struggle with understanding that an assumption of seriousness is placing one’s own judgment on another. Now here’s where it’s important: if you’re a clinician, that’s no-no number uno, so check yourself. If you are only okay with abortion when someone will feel it was a hard choice, or anticipates regret, or the pregnancy was a result of X/Y/Z, or only if it’s the first abortion… check yourself: not in opinions for yourself, but in how you do or don’t succeed in filtering your own judgments onto others in your care.
What does it mean to be #abortionpositive and glittery and happy about abortion? #Abortionpositive means we are a community who will not be shamed. We celebrate responsible decision-making. As Jacqui Quetal, co-founder of Nursing Students for Choice, stated on the FM Facebook page comments, “This is a signal to people who choose abortion that we support and uplift them.” Glitter is an attempt to be anti-stigmatizing when every other image one might conjure up when thinking about abortion is actually meant to stigmatize. Like glitter, conversations about abortion can often, and should when possible, exist in multitudes and be filled with light and happiness, not in dark corners of shame and marginalization. Glitter is one way to introduce levity and joy and celebration to the conversation, because for some that is what an abortion is, while for others those emotions and pathways are a way to cope with difficult experiences. To create a logical framework around abortion normalization, my usual hashtag series, mirroring the algebraic transitive property, that I bring up when talking about abortion is that #healthcareisahumanright #abortionishealthcare #abortionisahumanright. Feel free to use widely.
“Thanks for posting this, Feminist Midwife. As a health care provider you know that people having abortions are in a range of circumstances and have diverse experiences. For some, the abortion decision is a heavy one- whether it was a wanted pregnancy, bad life circumstances, or just plain hard. For others, the decision to have an abortion is very positive – because we could make the decision, because we felt empowered and responsible, because it was right for us. #AbortionPositive is about rejecting shame for any abortion decision, being very forward about setting aside judgment, and reframing a perspective that is not just inadequate but harmful – that abortion should be legal and safe, but rare or not spoken about. We need to talk about it, we need to say it is a critical component of healthcare, that a safe, legal, affordable abortion is a very very good thing and that for the women in those wide range of circumstances abortion is necessary.”
*perhaps not the same as pro-abortion, but I do not identify with “choice” due to its assumptions of privilege and access and means as opposed to a direct naming of abortion and normalization of what it is we support people in choosing