reproductive rights

Jaded's picture

DeTonguing The Subaltern

This week all that seems to happen in India is the World Cup and How Incredibly Important It Is, for it is a game that involves super-important dudes with super-important dudes of other countries, and almost every newspaper is discussing the economics,  sport tactics, strategics and politics — I don’t even know what this means when it comes to ‘politics’ of cricket. I counted about eight to nine unevenly shaped blurbs about crimes against women today as the Sports section has taken over the front page news in Times Of India¹; I still can’t believe this is a ‘national’ newspaper. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court initiated an inane bill about ‘rehabilitating’ sex-workers, there are 52 reported deaths of female-identified Maoists in Arunachal Pradesh and there is another case of possible gendered-violence in Kashmir where two girls were shot in the streets of Sopore, in Kashmir for being ‘promiscuous‘ as cited by the military resources. All of this gendered violence in the last two weeks alone and ‘national’ newspapers such as Times Of India and DNA have hardly mentioned any news that do not include the World Cup. I’d like to believe this erasure isn’t conscious; that the stories got mixed up or maybe there was too much corporate pressure to ‘sell’ the World Cup as much as they can. For a while this trick works and I visualise extremely busy and frazzled editors who just had to edit these stories out, out of pressure and not out of choice². And then, TEHELKA covers the mediated-forced sterilisation of Wayanad tribal women and the bubble pops as silences roar.

Women of this tribe are sterilised to ‘control’ the population, most times they don’t know the surgery they are consenting to. As the article mentions, other women — possibly sterilised too — to recruit women for a price, so that more women can get these procedures done; all in the name of the Religious-Capitalist-Oligarchal State Controlled Reproduction loosely translated as, “Your men have no control, so we will curb your reproductive ability! It’s a win-win for both!”; except when it’s not as most patients don’t get sufficient post-op care — one can’t think of ‘recovery’ and ‘healing’ when there are mouths to feed — further deteriorating the health of these women. One would think this makes for Important News, especially since this is State-sanctioned violence, but then this LadyBrain will remind you that no news that really happens to uteruses is newsworthy; not when we can report the state of cricket, global sports and predict performances of teams. Meanwhile the thousands displaced to make space for the stadiums, the cuts in the budget to ‘accommodate’ expenses for the World Cup are ignored. Theoretically speaking of the Third World Woman (or Feminine-Identified Body) is relatively easier, I can go on creative bents but when it comes to actual and physical erasure, words fail me yet again. When encountered by this gendered detongued subaltern, all that remains is forked tongues and silences, yet again as mainstream Hindu feminism remains quite as narrow as it was 20 years ago. Today perhaps multi-lingualism has entered Hindu feminist theory and practice, but when it comes to going beyond the frame of the privileged, upper-caste Hindu body, we draw blanks.

Jaded's picture

The (Othered) Woman In The Veranda

The past two weeks, the US-ian leaning feminist blogosphere has been on campaigns against the horrid and religious-state sanctioned policy on codifying when can one press charges for being ‘really’ raped; this way the State-Religious-Oligrachal system that embodies most US-ian policies, can re-define a person’s right to abortion, which in not so pleasant terms comes down to only when the State deigns the person to be ‘really’ raped¹. I don’t need caffeine in my system to conclude that this is one of the most heinous laws I’ve come across; I’d probably file it under the law that proposes to normalise a particular hijra body over another and above the one that anyone who is NotWhite needs to identify themselves and prove their ‘legitimacy’. Last week I was chatting with a self-proclaimed ‘White Feminist With More Privileges Than You Can Count’ when she said, “I’m just glad that abortion in India is legal and you don’t have to fight such basic human rights”; and these words haven’t left me. She’s not wrong, well not wholly anyway considering abortion laws out here are pretty diffident to encroaching on human rights — there are definite loopholes when it comes to trans*, hijra, ‘mentally unstable’ bodies — and that the Govt doesn’t seem to want to start an overt war over reproductive laws. Not yet anyway.

But, like most narratives seen only through the Western lens, this one is too simple too neat too easy to consume without challenging it. Under this narrative, our only challenge is access and the patriarchal control of female — queer identities get erased yet again, of course — bodies; but when we look at it theoretically, the law is in place to all protect the right of uterus-carriers at least. This assumption is all too familiar that all we have to fight against is Our Orthodox Culture, the age-old trope that if we have to be patronised ‘helped’ it is to ‘save the brown women from the brown men’ and that our ‘problems’ exist in this horribly restrictive frame only. Here, the Third World Woman’s body — quite literally — becomes a palimpsest to be written over, She is simply a medium through with competing discourses of Imperial Feminism and Irate Conservative-Nationalism represent their claims, yet again written over with words of other’s desires, other meanings.

arvan's picture

Stop False Advertising by Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) deceptively advertise as comprehensive women’s health clinics, often listed under “abortion services,” to lure women to their facilities, where they are pressured to choose pregnancy or adoption in lieu of abortion or birth control.

Of the 3,500 CPCs nationwide, a Congressional study found that 87% provide false and misleading information about birth control and abortion.

The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization all dispell fake clinics’ false claims that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, suicide, and that condoms are ineffective.

The Hatch Amendment, which reinstates $250 million in federal funding, over 5 years, for failed abstinence-only Title V programs, slipped under the radar and made its way into the new Health Care Reform Bill.  States can choose to opt into this funding and millions of these federal dollars will be funneled to fake clinics.

We urge you to tell Congress to support legislation that would stop CPCs’ deceptive advertising practices, require that accurate medical information is provided, and eliminate ALL federal funding for CPCs!

Sign the Petition!

Petition Text

Stop False Advertising by and Federal Funding for Fake Clinics

Dear Congressional leader,

I am outraged that fake clinics, or so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), deceptively advertise as comprehensive women’s health clinics, provide false and misleading information about birth control and abortion and often receive federal funding.

A Congressional study found that 87% of so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide false and misleading information by telling women that abortion is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness including suicide, and tell women that condoms won’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the World Health Organization all dispel these false claims.

Furthermore, the Hatch Amendment to the health care reform bill reinstates $250 million in federal funding, over five years, for failed abstinence-only Title V programs. Fake clinics, or so-called CPCs, in states that opt into the Title V program will be able to receive millions of dollars in federal funding and this is an outrage!

I urge you to support federal legislation that would stop fake clinics’ deceptive advertising practices, require that medically accurate information is provided, and eliminate ALL federal funding for fake clinics!

[Your name]

For more information, please visit Feminist Majority Foundation.

arvan's picture

Study Finds that Many Victims of Partner Violence Experience Reproductive Coercion

Groundbreaking Study Finds that Many Victims of Partner Violence Experience Reproductive Coercion

SAN FRANCISCO - A new study sheds light on a little-recognized form of abuse in which men use coercion and birth control sabotage to cause their partners to become pregnant against their wills. The study, published in the January issue of Contraception, finds this kind of reproductive control to be especially common in relationships in which women experience physical or sexual partner violence.

“Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy” is the first quantitative examination of the relationship between intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy. It finds that young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant - including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as “reproductive coercion,” are often associated with physical or sexual violence. Conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Pubic Health, the study also finds that among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.

From August 2008 to March 2009, researchers worked at five reproductive health clinics in Northern California, querying some 1,300 English- and Spanish-speaking 16- to 29-year-old women who agreed to respond to a survey about their experiences. They were asked about birth-control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and intimate partner violence.  Approximately one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage.  Fifty-three percent of respondents said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.  Thirty-five percent of the women who reported partner violence also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.

EvilSlutClique's picture

A Pro-Life Vocabulary Lesson

A recent post on the Rock for Life blog has some advice for "personhood advocates" on some "words and phrases to drop from our pro-life vocabulary". Let's take a look, shall we?

1. Fetus, embryo—These terms are generally used by abortion supporters, but I also notice pro-lifers using these terms often. Fetus and embryo are actually terms referring to stages of development. Their use begs the question, which animal species, during its embryonic or fetal development, are you referring to? For human beings, embryo describes human development from the very beginning of a human being’s life through their eighth week of development. Fetus describes a human being’s biological development from the beginning of their ninth week of development until birth. We should replace these terms with "human embryo," "human fetus" or "human being during their embryonic (or fetal) development."

Yeah, isn't it so annoying when people use medically accurate terminology? And I'm not really getting the whole 'which animal species are you referring to?' thing. If I, a human being, am talking to another human being about my pregnancy or about reproductive rights issues in general, is there a chance that someone's going to get confused and think that I'm actually carrying an ocelot, or that the conversation is about the reproductive rights of llamas?

Lisa Factora-Borchers's picture

The Relationship: Pregnancy, Abortion, Faith, Violence

I attended my first pro-life rally when I was 10 or 11 years old.

arvan's picture

Forbidden fruit: Why shouldn't disabled people have sex or become parents?

From The New Internationalist (issue 233)

Illustration by NANCY WILLIS


Anne Finger examines one of the deepest and most damaging prejudices.

Before she became a paraplegic, Los Angeles resident DeVonna Cervantes liked to dye her pubic hair 'fun colours' - turquoise, purple, jet black. After DeVonna became disabled, a beautician friend of hers came to the rehabilitation unit and, as a Christmas present, dyed DeVonna's pubic hair a hot pink.

But there's no such thing as 'private parts' in a rehab hospital. Soon the staff, who'd seen her dye job when they were catheterizing her, sent the staff psychiatrist around to see her. Cervantes says that he told her: 'I know it is very hard to accept that you have lost your sexuality but you don't need to draw attention to it this way.' Cervantes spent the remainder of the 50-minute session arguing with him, and, in perhaps the only true medical miracle I've ever heard of, convinced him that he was wrong - that this was normal behaviour for her.

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