Friday, April 27

:: Look who's sorry now!

Oh, the little songbirds here are going to be sorry they invited me to post...especially since I'm so full of vim and vinegar after reading Katha Pollitt's column from the May 14 issue of The Nation. Yow! I have long been concerned (ok, completely ticked) that pro-choice groups have contributed to the (little-n) nation's discomfort about abortion by refusing to talk about abortion. We wring our hands about how the anti's have influenced our language about abortion -- starting with "partial birth abortion" and down to calling gynecologists who terminate pregnancies "abortion doctors". But pro-choice groups are no more comfortable talking about abortion than my moderately pro-choice Midwestern relatives! Are we surprised when the misogynist, anti-choice language takes hold?

Meanwhile, back in old Mexico, pro-choice groups are actually saying the A-word, and using the old pro-choice slogans when they take to the streets: "MI CUERPO ES MIO" ("My body is mine") shouted from handmine signs and gorgeous posters all over town. Not surprisingly, the Catholic opposition has vowed to block women from entering clinics that provide abortions. Now where do you suppose they got that idea? Do you suppose they'll start posting the names and addresses of doctors that provide abortions too?

6 comments:

ladybec said...

Welcome, Zippy! I think you'll fit right in here. Katha Pollitt's been singing that song for a while, but I think she's more and more right as time goes on. I was going to post this last week when it came out but didn't get around to it, but Ellen Goodman's column about the decision was also great: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/04/20/trumping_womens_rights/ And she hit the nail on the head again today: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/04/27/regulating_women/

By the way, if we're so worried about trying to protect people from regretting the decisions they make, shouldn't that same logic apply to guns? People might regret what they end up doing with them so why should they be allowed to have them?

Last week brought home so many of the completely paradoxical aspects of our current cultural moment. I think that was the worst part of the whole decision to me - just how much it felt like it devalued women as the subjects of our own lives, who can make the full range of decisions that men can and be trusted to deal with the complexity and ambiguity of all aspects of our lives, including but not limited to choices around sex and reproduction.

zippy said...

So, continuing this thread, we're to rely on the moral judgment of men who know better? Men who can protect us from taking these moral missteps? Men like Randy Tobias??

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/27/AR2007042702497.html

Buffy said...

Welcome Zippy! I agree, our little movement, dropped the ball long ago on using the A-word. But, why did Pollitt only call out NARAL. At least they had abortion in their name at one point. What about the fruit bowl, NOW, Feminist Majority and the rest of the merry band.

ladybec said...

Somehow it seems worse to me if you had "abortion" in your name and dropped it, so maybe that's her major issue. And, well, the fruit bowl, that's a whole other story about bland names, but at least there's a (an? - that grammar never quite made sense to me) historical context behind it or something.

But I do remember when I was applying for jobs, especially after college, and how many of my friends would question whether it would be smart to apply to an organization that actually had the word "abortion" in their name. Ultimately, given the work that I do, I don't know if it would make a difference, but the reality is that it might because words do matter. And certainly right now working in a less political context with a wider range of viewpoints on this issue, I sometimes choose whether or not to reveal that I worked at the fruit bowl (I usually do to give people a sense of where I'm coming from but not always), and I would have to think about it even more if I had worked at an organization with abortion in its name.

It's also hard because I think we should use the word abortion more and not be so squeamish about it, but I also think the pro-choice movement is about so much more than abortion. How do you capture that without marginalizing abortion? Clearly, we haven't found the answer yet...

Ciccina said...

I didn't like Pollitt's column... she's understandably angry, but I don't think NARAL is the right target. Of course they haven't done everything right, but at least they are doing something. It simply is not constructive to lash out at some of the few people (proportionately) who are actually immersed in this stuff - a much more appropriate target would be the AMA, who has remained silent event though the SCOTUS decision goes to the heart of the autonomy of physicians to act on their best medical judgement. I wonder what the malpractice implications of this issue are.

And Pollitt conveniently forgets (or could I be mistaken) that not all Democrats are pro-choice. Didn't Reid look like an ass trying to say the decision was wrong, after he himself supported the legislation? If you can't punish Dems by supporting the occasional Republican, then there is no reason for the Dems to stay in line. This is especially true of PB&J - I mean, PBA.

Ciccina said...

And another thing - about our people contributing to the stigma of the "a" word - see the NYTimes review of the movie Waitress (which sounds really good, by the way). The title character is described as married to an abusive man whom she loathes and wants to dump - and then she finds out she's unexpectedly, unhappily pregnant. The "a" word is never mentioned (though in all fairness, if she had an abortion there'd be no reason for the rest of the movie).