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Category Archives: Abuse

Abortion Clinic

By: Stephanie Renae Johnson 

 

Pictures of curled fetuses line the Winnebago,

as do paintings of Jesus

holding out his arms like class war doesn’t exist.

 

Well-intentioned young men look like the carpenter

as they help their sisters, girlfriends, wives, women

into the clinic and away from the shame bus.

 

“Don’t go in there, we can help you!”

But the closer the woman steps to the building

the more the threats rhyme with blood.

 

These girls, they stare at the asphalt.

Those women, they focus on their running shoes with intent to put them to use.

One foot after the other leads them closer to sound proof walls.

 

The protesters pump their signs up and down, puncturing the sky.

I wonder if God himself might have pierced feet

from walking on the carpet of poster boards proclaiming abortion as a sin.

 

The double edged sword is a Bible run South

of no birth control and no abortions

and no freedom of peace to walk in a clinic

 

alone

unarmed

as a woman.

 

stephanie


Stephanie Renae Johnson
is a feminist, writer, and artist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Writing at Lenior-Rhyne University and works as a freelance writer, editor, and personal artist’s assistant. Stephanie’s work has appeared in literary magazines such as Prick of the Spindle and Danse Macabre, as well as on her art blog, DaBlobBlog.

Portland, Maine Buffer Zone Repealed

IMAG1165This evening, Portland City Counsel met to discuss whether or not to repeal the 39ft “buffer zone” or patient safety zone around Planned Parenthood that was enacted only a few months ago. This area created a safe space for patients receiving care to enter the building without harassment or intimidation tactics.

A motion was passed to expedite the process (taking only one hearing, one week, rather than two). Men and women from the public spoke in support of the patient safety zone, asking the counsel members to not repeal the zone. However, after several people spoke, public comment was closed and the counsel members had a discussion. Many counsel members address that in November, when the zone was first put in place, it was passed unanimously. Since that time, they reported that they have been taken to court over the ordinance. With the recent SCOTUS decision, striking down the 35 ft zones in Massachusetts, many of the counsel members felt like at this point, taking away Portland, Maine’s was the only thing to do.

Each member that voted to repeal the zone reported that they did so “reluctantly.” The only member to vote in favor of keeping the zone intact was Counselor Jill Duson.

All of the counselors addressed the concerns of many of the people in the gallery, stating that by September they hope to have a new ordinance to help keep those entering the clinic safe and free of fear.

#YesAllWomen Questionnaire (1/2)

On May 24, 2014 the #YesAllWomen hashtag started trending on Twitter. It went well into the night hours of the 25th, and into the 26th, and on until the person who initiated it began receiving death threats and asked those participating to shut it down. Women from all over shared stories of violence, harassment, sexual assault, and rape. As I read these, I found how damn similar, too damn similar, many women’s stories were to my own. We were united in this evil thing called Rape Culture. It shed light into areas many people don’t want to see. It gave voice to so many women’s every day experiences.

In response, I made this small questionnaire to continue encouraging that light in the darkness. I asked 5-10 women to volunteer their answers. Here are the first three who responded back. We’ll have another post as people continue responding.

The women:

Holly, 31 years old, is a health and sexuality educator living in Ohio. She is a cisgender woman, and spends most of her time working for a non-profit doing health education and volunteers for a rape crisis center.

Marlene, 42 years old, lives in Maine with her husband of 24 years. She works in retail, and loves her dog, Patrick.

Rachel, is a 36 year old cis woman based out of Alexandria, Virginia. She is a bookstore owner.

 

Here are the questions.

1) What times of day do you feel most threatened?

Holly:  It’s hard to say what time of day I feel the most threatened – it used to be in the evening, when it was dark. However, I’ve noticed that light isn’t protection. Overall, mostly at night but really anytime.

Marlene: Never.

Rachel: After dark, generally.

2) What is a specific encounter you’ve had that changed the way you approach going out?

Holly: My freshmen year of high school, some friends and I decided to walk down the street to the drug store to pick up some snacks before theater practice. We didn’t change out of our uniforms and I recall a group that walked past us making some obscene comments (I don’t recall what they were in particular). I do recall one of the guys tried to ask one of us out, and I said that i wasn’t interested. His response was that I’d be lucky to hook up with him. While it wasn’t violence, it bothered me and has tuck with me. I’ve also noticed that I don’t get cat called nearly as much when I’m walking down the street with a male (or a few males).

Marlene: None.

Rachel: When I was about I was about 8 years old, a man tried to abduct me when I was walking home from school. It wasn’t a very well thought out attempt, and I did get away, but I have been more hyper-aware of my surroundings ever since. All the usual precautions (making sure to stay in a crowd, stay in well-lit areas, watch strangers for warning cues, always have an escape route) are layered over that first lesson.

Going out has generally been pretty safe – I always make sure people know where I am, and my friends and family always look out for each other. I have managed to intimidate my way out of most situations (I am usually not seen as a threat because I’m tiny, so I think at least some of that is surprise, and guys who target me expect an easy mark).

3) What is a specific encounter you’ve experienced (firsthand or secondhand) where you’ve (or a friend) have been targeted online?

Holly: I have two encounters that stick out to me. One is Laci Green – she made a video several years back that had a small portion that was offense. She apologized for it, but apparently it wasn’t enough for some people. Rather than just tell her on Twitter or via email that they were offended and why it was wrong (which I fully support anyone doing), people went all out. Lots of offensive and rude comments to her, plus then people started posting her address and phone number. That I can’t support at all. Another friend has a stalker who seems to really go after her on Twitter. He has made multiple accounts (over 20 last i heard) to try to target her. When I first started following her on Twitter, she warned me that the stalker may try to engage me (which he has). I feel so bad that my friend has to be hypervigilant about the stalker (during Twitter chats, I sometimes get messages from her if one of the people involved in the chat is likely to be her stalker). He has much of her personal information, and she has gone to lengths to protect herself (without much help of law enforcement, which is deeply unsettling).

Marlene: My friend has been targeted on her AbortionChat site for sharing her experiences.

Rachel: I have not had too many negative experiences online specifically targeting me. I tend to keep my head down, so any rude or threatening comments are usually one-offs with little follow up. If any of my friends have been targeted online, they have not shared it with me.

4) Do you carry protective means on you? (Protective means=mace, knife, gun, etc) If so, what? How long have you been carrying it?

Holly:  I do not carry a gun and very rarely carry a knife. I used to carry pepper spray all the time when I was a bartender (one of the places I worked was not in the best part of town), although I never had to use it. I tend to still carry some form of protection, and hope to never use it. I do dislike feeling like i need to carry something or carry my keys pointing out in my fist.

Marlene: Yes. hand gun 2 years.

Rachel: Occasionally. I used to carry a knife regularly, but I am rarely in places where more than just screaming would be needed in case of threats. If there is a situation where I think there is more of a threat, I will usually just avoid the situation.

I have also taken various martial arts classes, which also helps to feel somewhat safer.

5) Do you receive harassment on a daily basis? If so, can you give an example?

Holly:  I wouldn’t say daily but at least a few times a week. At least once a week someone harasses me in person. There’s a lot of sexual comments and often licking of the lips. This past week while pumping gas at the gas station, a man tried to pick me up. He complimented a part of my body, and I thanked him, then he asked if I wanted to go out some time. I said no thank you, and he still persisted. Then I said that I am married, to which he asked if I was sure (I hate that “no” isn’t enough), and I held up my hand with my wedding band. Apparently, that wasn’t enough so he said, “Well, he doesn’t have to know. Does he satisfy you?” I debated just hanging up the pump and leaving without a full tank.

Marlene: No.

Rachel: Not anymore. This used to be more of a problem. When I was a college student working in Montana, I was harassed often at my job working at the front desk for a hotel (heavy-handed flirting, invitations to come up to rooms, once had a customer grab my hand and kiss it), but I am rarely harassed now.

6) What makes you feel safest?

Holly:  Staying at home makes me feel safest, or being in a group.

Marlene: My husband, my dog, and my gun.

Rachel: I feel pretty safe most of the time now, and I attribute it to a variety of factors that play together:

a) I live and work in a city/neighborhood that is adverse to harassment. It is family-oriented, and the tourist trade is not particularly party-like. I travel mostly by car, which cuts down on situations where I would have to deal with harassment.

b) I am white, short, and have a slight frame, with small breasts. It seems to me that I end up less hyper-sexualized, but that may just be my interpretation.

c) I am aggressively friendly and cheerful. I find that being super bubbly cuts down on more personalized harassment (someone asking inappropriate questions, etc). If someone does pursue harassing me, being absolutely nasty is the next defense. Since I am generally in public, there is an audience, so I am in less danger doing this.

7) When are times you feel least safe?

Holly:  I feel the least safe when I’m by myself especially if I’m somewhere that I’m not very familiar with the area.

Marlene: When I am home alone at night. But I have my dog and my gun I WILL not be a victim.

Rachel: I do make house visits for book purchasing for work. This is probably when I feel (and am) least safe. I always make sure to let my husband and my store know where I’m going and when, and I follow up with a phone call after each house visit to confirm I am all right.

My husband does travel quite a bit for work, and I do feel less safe with him gone – it always feels safer with another person who can be trusted, I find.

8) Have you ever had to alter your transportation plans due to fear or harassment? What happened?

Holly: Once an ex of mine started following me (his car had some unique damage and a personalized license plate). I didn’t want to go back to where I was living, since I was trying to not let him know where I was living (he had been known to show up at work places). I took a different route and stopped at a friend’s house, and saw him drive past. He knew that friend so I hoped he wouldn’t stop.

Marlene: No.

Rachel: I can’t remember this ever happening, other than the abduction attempt as a child. We did arrange for me to get rides home for awhile, or walking home with friends or neighbors. Eventually I went back to walking to and from school.

9) How many women do you personally know that have been targeted by either online or in person harassment?

Holly:  Too many to count. A lot of my trans* friends have received harassment online recently it seems.

Marlene: Two.

Rachel: All of them? Every single one of my friends growing up had been sexually harassed or abused. I still remember talking to my sister-in-law as an adult, and her saying that no one had ever been sexually inappropriate with her…and then telling me about one of her foster fathers trying to climb into bed with her as a 15-yr-old. She didn’t consider that abuse because she told him to get out and he didn’t rape her. Low bar!

All of my sisters-in-law have told me stories of harassment. Literally every single friend in grade school, junior high, and high school has told me stories. I am just thankful that I deal with so much less of it now as an adult in my 30s.

10) What do you do for self care when you feel threatened, upset, or overwhelmed?

Holly:  I need to get better at self care, but I watch a movie that makes me happy (Labyrinth, Heathers, Terminator, etc) and play with my two dogs. If I’m at home, I will sometimes get a bit hyper-vigilant and make sure everything is locked and keep a close eye on the street if my dogs are outside. I also tend to eat comfort food, which is sometimes not the healthiest, although I’ve been trying to keep fruit around. I call up friends and if I’m feeling rather threatened I will take my dogs to one of my best friend’s house and hang out for a bit. I also typically will cry if I’m alone or with my best friend.

Marlene: I have never felt threatened but when I am upset or overwhelmed I have an ice cream, pet my dog, cry, masturbate, play in my garden.

Rachel: Take a bath, read a book, listen to music. Tackle a craft project. Talk with family.

Respect, the “Friendzone,” and Rejection

We’ve all read about the shooting in Santa Barbara. With the help of #YesAllWomen, we’ve seen the damage that men have caused women. We’ve all heard about the “friendzone” but what exactly does that mean?

I’ve had a guy friend for just over two years now. During that time, he’s expressed that he’s interested in me on multiple occasions. The first time, I ignored the advance. The second time, I responded with, “Yea, I didn’t respond the first time for a reason…” and then he stopped talking to me for several months. When he’d cooled down, we snowboarded together and would hang out. I found another guy as my boyfriend. I’d finally felt like he’d gotten the hint that I wasn’t interested.

Just recently, he’d come over to hang out. We watched The Hunger Games, took my dogs for a walk, and had some drinks. I expressed again, I’m only interested in friendship, and am involved with someone else. He spent the remainder of the night “drunkenly” trying to hold my hand. Thankfully, my dog was on my lap and made it impossible.

He left the following morning after sleeping on my couch, and I asked him to message me when he got home. This is the conversation that ensued. I’ve bolded the portions that I have extreme issues with what he said but am not delving into in this post.

*Out of respect, names have been changed.

Him: I’m home, L, I hope you realize after traveling for over a day the one person I wanted to get back and see wasn’t my family or any friends, it was you. I really want to be more than friends and that hope is what keeps me going and keeps me coming back. I’m not sure where I failed other than being short, but it hurts a little that we are so comfortable together yet you put up blocks. I hope you see me one day for who I am. If you take away my hope that will change our dynamic far more then the other way. I have stood aside so many times while you dated guys who were terrible. I’m sorry but won’t do that again.
Me: B, I’ve told you this a million times. I don’t want to be anything other than friends with you.
Him: Yeah, and I’ve always tried to be more. The part that really hurts is you’re more then friends with guys like J, D, P, etc. Tell me what I lack that they have. You’re proud of my accomplishments. Yet you retreat under the slightest touch. If you really won’t take a step forward then maybe it’s time I take a few steps back.
Me: You think? B, I’ve always been up front with you about the way things are between us. I enjoy being friends with you. I am not attracted to you. We are friends
Him: You’ve airways been up front with me about the way you see things. I’m offering the same courtesy. The biggest reason we are still friends is I had hope. It made things with and made me durable. Walk softly now.
Me: So are you saying you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of fucking me? That’s pretty low, dude.
Him: No I’m saying I’ve always gone the extra mile, made time during the day, taken you out to dinner, etc in the hope you would take that step.
Him: Well not that step, but just maybe you would finally see me.
Me: It’s ridiculous that that was your expectation all the time. YOU don’t decide how I feel about people. I’ve gone out to dinner with FRIENDS forever, and they don’t put this added pressure. This conversation is making you out to be a shit friend and I need you to stop talking to me for the time being so I can cool the fuck off.
Him: So much for walking softly…
[End of Conversation]

 

First of all, I don’t even know what “Walking softly” means, except for the quote that says something like, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Secondly, the part where I said, “So you only want to be my friend if there’s a chance of f@#$ing me?” he continued to state,  “In the hopes you would take that step.”

That step.

Meaning, yes, in the hopes I’d bang him. And not even so much hopes as expectation. Because he’d always “gone the extra mile.” He admits that I’ve been up front about “the way (I) see things,” and yet somehow this isn’t enough for him.

Again, I’ve told this “gentleman” and self proclaimed “nice guy” countless times that we are friends, and will be nothing more. I’ve tried to say I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I’ve blatantly said I’m only interested in friendship. And yet we still had to have this conversation.

I’m posting this on the blog to illustrate to people who may not experience this type of thing, or maybe have, that this happens, all the time. For some reason, guys feel entitled to a woman’s body if he puts in time and effort. This needs to change. Saying “No” or “I’m not interested” once should be enough and for some reason it hasn’t been. Now people are being killed for saying no. Saying no to going to prom. Saying no to having sex. Not being interested in having sex, and pursuing other guys.

Women are now in a position where saying no may kill them. Where saying, “This is my body, and I’m not interested in you touching it” may get them hurt, threatened, stabbed or shot. This is the reality that women face, that women deal with on a daily basis.

What I’ve posted here is one conversation, one interaction of thousands.

And things have to change.

***UPDATE***

Since writing this piece yesterday, I’ve posted it to my social media pages. The guy in question has read it. This was his response:

Him: That’s it L, if you want to make my words out to be some sort of evil vile sex driven mad man, then you really don’t know me. Btw, it’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” you sound like an idiot. Goodbye, you know how to burn bridges like no other. You’re even going after your friends now.

Yes, it was in poor taste to post about my friends. However, at AbortionChat, we strive for personal stories. This is an incredibly personal story to me. I struggled with whether or not to post it, and sought advice from several male friends. They encouraged me to do this, because this is exactly my point.

He has since un-friended me on Facebook. And yet, I still feel like if I hadn’t done this, if I hadn’t taken things to this level to prove a point, he would still be attempting to pursue me. Because no matter how many times I’d said no, I wasn’t interested, we still had those conversations.

The Shaming of Pregnant Women

A week or so ago, an acquaintance of mine posted on Facebook a picture she took of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. She was wearing a grey tank top that barely covered her expanding stomach, and in the background a guy was walking toward her. (Assuming her significant other.) She did not ask permission to take said picture, I can only assume she also did not tell the woman that she would be posting her picture on social media. (This acquaintance has since also posted a picture of people’s addresses who bought her items on eBay. Ugh.)

Anyways, a conversation ensued, an angry rant on our Twitter feed, and lot of our followers chimed in. We submitted a panel proposal to the Sex Ed Conference this year about training people how to maintain a level head in heated arguments. In the following conversation, I (Lynne) utilized everything I would teach in that panel. With no further ado, here is the conversation/debate that ensued after this acquaintance posted that picture:
*Only the first names of the participants have been used. The Sasha person is the acquaintance who posted the picture.

  • Elizabeth What? That dude looks like he is about to kick some butt. Which Shaw’s?

    May 11 at 7:29pm 

  • Judith Nothing like low birth weight and adolescent respiratory issues, not to mention proven learning disabilities, it’s 9 months of your life makes me so sad 

    May 11 at 7:34pm

  • Sasha They were both swearing at me…I continued to state that I cared for only her children. A dude rolled up and offered me a loss prevention job at JCPenney Hahahaga

    May 11 at 7:39pm 

  • Judith Classy

    May 11 at 7:40pm

  • Elizabeth Oh no, I kind of thought that dude was looking your way. Be careful, Sasha! Why is this chick on her phone too? She is busy!

    May 11 at 7:43pm

  • Sasha She was calling the cops she said

    May 11 at 7:49pm 

  • Elizabeth Why was she calling the cops?

    May 11 at 7:50pm 

  • Sasha Because I was taking pictures of her smoking while pregnant.

    May 11 at 7:51pm 

  • Rob Series Of Unfortunate Events.

    May 11 at 8:04pm 

  • Travis You are hilarious.

    May 11 at 8:56pm 

  • Sasha Travis hilarious???

    May 11 at 8:58pm 

  • Travis Yeah. I think you are funny.

    May 11 at 9:01pm 

  • Lynne Yea….I’m not cool with criminalizing a woman while she’s pregnant. She knows the health risks associated. She’ll also be the one to pay the associated medical bills.

    May 11 at 9:02pm

  • Sasha I guarantee you Maine Care with cover it…and guess who pays for Maine Care…

    May 11 at 9:11pm 

  • Lynne I don’t care if MaineCare, Obamacare, or anything else pays for it. I don’t care if she’s shooting up heroine in the bathroom. No one has the right to police or demonize what this woman is doing to her body. It may come out stillborn, it may be a tragedy. It may be the only cigarette(s) she’s had during her pregnancy. You don’t know, it doesn’t matter, you will never see her again.

    May 11 at 9:15pm

  • Sasha I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within. Somebody had to.

    May 11 at 9:16pm

  • Fritz They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is Way beyond that!

    May 11 at 9:17pm 

  • Sasha Here is another one!

    ::At this point, she posts another picture of a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette and speaking to a man::

    May 11 at 9:19pm · Like

  • Lynne Schmidt “I was standing up for the only person that matters. The child within”

    That is an incredibly ignorant and dangerous thing to say.

    May 11 at 9:21pm 

  • Lynne May I use this picture/scenario on Abortion Chat?

    May 11 at 9:23pm

  • Heather So then when do we hold people responsible for what they do? Never? We should just let whatever happens, happens. Let the pregnant woman smoke. Let the man who wants to rob the old lady rob the old lady. Hell, I feel like driving drunk. Hope the cops don’t feel like they need to pull me over!

    May 11 at 9:24pm 

  • Jeremy How did this situation play out? Did they just start yelling at you out of the blue?>

    May 11 at 9:24pm

  • Sasha This has nothing to do with abortion. This woman has other children that she smoked while pregnant with and brags about how she will have more and continue to smoke.

    May 11 at 9:25pm · Like

  • Sasha Oh Heather I love you.

    May 11 at 9:25pm 

  • Lynne Heather, yes she should be allowed to smoke. At this point, you, nor anyone else but the woman and potential mate know if the fetus is even viable. Criminalizing and demonizing women is where unhealthy laws are put in place. If laws start being passed saying “If a pregnant woman tests positive for nicotine…” women will stop seeking prenatal care. Premature babies will be done, suffer horrendously, and die. Women, like this one who is smoking while pregnant, may need support while trying to quit. May need support in general, which may be why she is smoking.

    May 11 at 9:26pm

  • Jeremy I wonder if these people will have a change of heart as a result of your conversations with them.

    May 11 at 9:27pm

  • Lynne *be born, not done. Spelling error

    May 11 at 9:27pm 

  • Sasha Well Jeremy I opened my big mouth and asked her if she was aware of what smoking while pregnant will do to a child…and the fireworks exploded from there.

    May 11 at 9:28pm

  • Sasha Lynne heather was being sarcastic.

    May 11 at 9:28pm 

  • Lynne I highly doubt Heather was being sarcastic in regards to the situation.

    May 11 at 9:29pm 

  • Jeremy Sounds like she had an attitude, I can see why that’d make you angry.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Lynne I’d have an attitude if strangers were taking pictures of me, too.

    May 11 at 9:30pm

  • Heather I mean, I’m a social worker by day so I agree with you that she probably needs some support, yes. But I don’t think Sasha is arguing that a law needs to be passed that prohibits pregnant women from smoking, but I also think it’s somewhat condescending to not hold people at all responsible for what they do. Sure, she may be suffering for a whole host of reasons, and yes, I think it’s on some level important to discern what these reasons are and educate her about her choices, but I also think it’s worthwhile to point out to people the potential consequences of their actions instead of just saying, “You know, it’s okay, you’re stressed have that cig.” No. It is actually more compassionate to hold people accountable.

    May 11 at 9:31pm 

  • Lynne Yes, however, there are surgeon general warnings on every pack of cigarettes. She is probably well aware of the risks, and for some reason, whatever that reason may be, is still choosing to smoke. It is her right to bodily autonomy. Some people decide to have healthy pregnancies. She, oblivious, is not. As a result, she will have to live with the consequences.

    May 11 at 9:33pm 

  • Sasha Jeremy I wasn’t angry. I felt bad. She acted nuts because her defense went up. I wanted to believe she actually felt bad about what she was doing but when she inhales a huge drag and exhales like a dragon well…she seemed proud.

    May 11 at 9:33pm

  • Heather And you do not think as fellow human beings we owe it to each other to point out consequences to others? Isn’t this an act of love? I see it as an act of love.

    May 11 at 9:34pm

  • Sasha Not just her Lynne, the poor defenseless baby that never asked to be stuck in such a gutter of a womb.

    May 11 at 9:35pm

  • Jeremy It’s too bad her child will have to live with the consequences too, should it be born.

    May 11 at 9:36pm 

  • Lynne Poor, defenseless baby. Do you know the gender? Do you know him/her personally? How are its rights more important than the mothers? Or are you one of those people who think women’s soul purpose in life is to be an incubator?

    May 11 at 9:36pm

  • Heather It seems like you have given up on her, Lynne, while Sasha has not.

    May 11 at 9:37pm

  • Lynne I have not, actually. I work with Abortion Chat and the reproductive justice community to avoid women like this being harassed by people like Sasha.

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Jeremy Which is better: holding someone accountable by giving our adverse opinions, or biting our tongue when our opinion will not be heard?

    May 11 at 9:38pm 

  • Sasha Well Lynne, the baby inside of her has rights, not more rights than the mother like you said (seems like you enjoy putting words in my mouth)…if i saw a woman blowing cigarette smoke in her baby’s face i would speak up to her too. i will not turn my head way from child abuse I didn’t physically harm her, i didn’t call her names, i only chose to take her photo when she started acting absolutely disgusting and throwing her cigarette at my car.

    May 11 at 9:44pm 

  • Heather That is a very good question, but I would always say an “adverse opinion” can sometimes, years later, be remembered as someone’s attempt to care. Instead of remaining quiet and so complacent. And, Lynne, I don’t think we are talking about reproductive justice here. This isn’t an anti-abortion conversation. This is about the fact that this woman was smoking, and whether you like it or not, that has direct consequences to the child inside of her. You can still be a feminist and a liberal and also feel the need to express this and draw attention to it.

    May 11 at 9:47pm 

  • Lynne The fetus inside her has no rights. It can’t vote, it can’t feed itself, it can’t even breathe. Feel free to remove it from the hosts body and care for it the way you see fit.
    I didn’t put any words in your mouth, actually. I was asking a question. Until a fetus is born, it has no rights. It is not recognized by the government as a person. It holds no social security number.
    It is one thing for this woman to put whatever she wants into her body. It is another to have a child, outside of her body, ingest arsenic.
    I grew up in a household of cigarette smoke. It was awful, and I wish it on no one. However, I refuse to shame a pregnant woman based on her decisions for her health, and her body.

    May 11 at 9:48pm 

  • Lynne Actually, policing a woman’s body for any reason is a reproductive justice issue. FYI.

    May 11 at 9:50pm 

  • Heather By not holding her accountable for her actions you have given up on her. You are essentially arguing that Sasha should have just been like, “Oh well, she can do whatever she wants.” And that is condescending and actually not very just, speaking of justice.

    May 11 at 9:51pm 

  • Heather This is also a spiritual question, and I would guess you and I don’t see eye to eye on that either, so peace out.

    May 11 at 9:52pm 

  • Lynne Going up to a stranger, taking their picture without permission, and harassing them with their own opinions is generally considered wrong (or whichever order these events happened in). Just throwing it out there.

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Jeremy What if an adverse opinion remains seen as one? Sasha, do you feel like there was any other way for you to voice your opinion and this woman hear it?

    May 11 at 9:53pm 

  • Heather Her boyfriend is kind of hot, though, Sash.

    May 11 at 9:54pm 

  • Heather yum yum

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Sasha So the government is not the end all be all to this world. Our lives on this earth are more spiritual and important than the government could hope to be. this is about common sense and right and wrong. but if you want to play that laws and government bullshit well check this angle, why have people been charged for a double murder when they kill a pregnant mother. no rights lynn? hmmmmm?

    May 11 at 9:55pm 

  • Jeremy Laws usually follow some sort of ethical philosophy, perhaps a fetus should have some degree of rights, but where does the mother end and the fetus begin? How could we respect the rights of one without compromising the rights of the other?

    May 11 at 9:57pm

  • Lynne 1) You spelled my name wrong and 2) It depends on which state people are in, and how far along the pregnancy was. Also, how would you like it if when you decide to reproduce, you’re told you shouldn’t or you’ll be a crappy mother because of all of your tattoos?

    May 11 at 9:59pm 

  • Lynne Bodily autonomy is everything.

    May 11 at 10:00pm 

  • Heather What does that even mean

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Sasha my tattoos aren’t going to medically hurt the child within….and id never get tattooed while pregnant.

    May 11 at 10:01pm 

  • Heather I do think the star tattoo on her leg, the big one, indicates that she will be a pretty bad mother.

    May 11 at 10:02pm 

  • Lynne No. I’m saying you don’t know her situation. You don’t know if she’s trying to quit smoking. If that’s the first day she’s smoked during the entire pregnancy. What the circumstances surrounding the situation are. No one has any right to harass this woman.

    May 11 at 10:04pm 

  • Jeremy I wonder if babies can get tattooes

    May 11 at 10:04pm

  • Heather If she has the right to smoke, Sasha has the right to harass her. If we should all just sit back and let whatever happens, happens, then Sasha can do whatever she wants, as can the woman in the photo.

    May 11 at 10:05pm 

  • Sasha i had a conversation with her actually. so i do know. she said she had smoked through all of her pregnancies. she would keep having kids and smoke while pregnant with them too.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne People pierce baby’s ears. No one is in an uproar about that. It’s considered “cute”

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Lynne It’s her body, it’s her potential child, it’s her right to smoke. She also could have been lying to piss you off.

    May 11 at 10:05pm

  • Sasha i think its disgusting to pierce a babies ears, to circumcise a baby, to dress them up like little sparkly dolls

    May 11 at 10:07pm 

  • Heather This is such dangerous logic, Lynne. Honestly. I find it very dangerous. You are saying a woman, just because she has a body and republicans are scary with their anti-abortion shit, can do whatever she wants. This is so dangerous to me! It is truly scary to not be invested in the child’s life AS WELL AS the mother’s. That seems so disconnected to me, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Honestly. Are you for real?

    May 11 at 10:08pm

  • Sasha well she hacked 4 times as she pulled the pack of cigarettes out of her bra…i bet that was her first cigarette ever LYNN. Maybe she was just trying it out…maybe her other children all under the age of 5 peer pressured her into it.

    May 11 at 10:08pm 

  • Heather The hands-off mentality is like in direct response to the terror of the anti-abortion assholes. There is definitely a middle ground. You don’t have to go in the exact opposite direction; it is just as dangerous.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Lynne Funny you mention “terror of the anti-abortion assholes.” They also take pictures of pregnant women, post them online, and shame them.

    May 11 at 10:10pm

  • Sasha exactly. i believe a woman has a right to choose, and every situation is different. I don’t even have shit to say to someone who has multiple abortions. Id rather someone terminate a pregnancy than smoke all the way through it.

    May 11 at 10:12pm

  • Heather Yes, but this is a different conversation. You have to attune yourself to the conversation. I know Sasha is for women’s rights, so it isn’t really correct to lump this conversation with those conversations. And it doesn’t have to be an either/or. It’s not like if you point out that this woman is hurting her child by smoking, you’re SUDDENLY one of those terrible anti-abortion assholes. You can say this, bring this up, and not instantly be on a SIDE. I know contemporary politics would have us think (the PC culture) that instantly you are either FOR or AGAINST but it isn’t that simple. And if you begin to ascribe to that mentality and you fight for your opinion as if you know and nobody else does, then you’re occupying the same role as the anti-abortion assholes.

    May 11 at 10:13pm 

  • Lynne I don’t agree with the way Sasha handled the situation. I am not for pregnant women smoking, or drinking, or doing drugs. Do I hope that when the baby comes out it’s healthy? Yes. But I also know that if I were pregnant, and wanted a drink, a smoke, a whatever else, I’d do it. It’s my body. And honestly? I’d have called the cops on someone harassing me in a parking lot.

    May 11 at 10:15pm 

  • Sasha Well any man that considers getting you pregnant will have to read this first. a lot of people don’t agree with the way i role and thats fine. i know what is right and what is wrong and if i see it I’m going to say something. I didn’t harass her, belittle her, or call her names. I asked her a question.

    May 11 at 10:18pm

  • Lynne And took her picture without permission. And posted on social media for the world to see.

    May 11 at 10:19pm

  • Lynne You’re welcome to your beliefs. It’s not cool to exploit people, and I, like you, will speak up against it.

    May 11 at 10:20pm

  • Lynne Also, any man who gets me pregnant needs to understand I’ll have an abortion. (So I guess I’d probably continue drinking during the pregnancy, anyway.)

    May 11 at 10:21pm

  • Heather Wouldn’t want to be your bay-bay.

    May 11 at 10:22pm

  • Patrick The baby was asking for her to smoke if you ask me, its naked for christ fucking sake.

    May 11 at 10:22pm 

  • Lynne Patrick, I just laughed so fucking hard.

    May 11 at 10:23pm 

  • Sasha the thing is Lynne you went off on a tangent that was completely off topic and dragged abortion into so your credibility in this forum is shot.

    May 11 at 10:23pm

  • Lynne Actually, I didn’t, I asked if I could post it on Abortion Chat, which is a reproductive justice venue to discuss all faucets of abortion (pregnancy is considered it that, sorry to inform you). And I didn’t go on a tangent. I stuck to the fact that what you did was way out of line, and in some states illegal.

    May 11 at 10:25pm

  • Sasha as long as thats what you believe

    May 11 at 10:26pm

  • Patrick I bet they’re juggalos. Either way these two (assuming he’s the baby daddy) shouldn’t have been allowed to reproduce.

    May 11 at 10:26pm 

  • Patrick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWliAVpjArA

    Ice Cube – Crack Baby

Ice Cube – Crack Baby (By Mr.PsychoOo 9mm) http://icecubehiphoprapwestside4life…. See More

May 11 at 10:27pm

  • Sasha are you a grown nic baby born in Maine……

    May 11 at 10:29pm 

  • Heather It is also fascinating to me that what Lynne is expressing is a real consequence (speaking of consequences) of a capitalist mentality where the individual is the most important — and the locus of ultimate power and focus. It’s all about the individual, the individual’s body, the individual’s existence, the individual’s choices. There really is nothing outside of the individual. The baby is there, sure, but it falls to the wayside in the context of what the individual needs/wants/desires/feels. It’s actually very American. Very capitalist.

    May 11 at 10:29pm

  • Lynne She could still decide to have an abortion. Legally depending on where she’s at. She could still miscarry or have a stillborn, which is why, until it’s born, I don’t consider it much.

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Patrick No Heather, its #feminism

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Tasha Lynne you are absolutely wrong. Babies practice breathing while inside the womb. They eat. They pee…they just aren’t born yet. So YES at this late in her pregnancy…this baby HAS rights!!!!

    May 11 at 10:31pm

  • Lynne Tasha, next you’ll tell me that they feel pleasure and masturbate in the womb, too, no? They do not eat. They ingest what the pregnant person does. They cannot breathe their own air, they do not take care of themselves.

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Jeremy Isn’t it individualism to side with the fetus against the mother?

    May 11 at 10:33pm

  • Heather Yeah, but it is actually more feminist (in my opinion) to be attuned. To be attuned to the fact that there is a beating heart inside of your body. I love how that is somehow so uncool: to think about the beating heart. It’s like, how unfeminist of you to think about the beating heart! Like if you think about the beating heart, you are simultaneously NOT thinking about you. If I want a drink, I’ll have one, Lynne says. As if the idea of personal autonomy and choice is somehow inherently in contradiction with the beating heart.

    May 11 at 10:34pm 

  • Sasha a day old baby sure isn’t masturbating, eating on its own, or taking care of itself…and lets remember, i wasn’t against the mother, i asked her a simple question and it turned ugly.

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Sasha what if the fetus is female?

    May 11 at 10:35pm

  • Patrick Lynne actually babies do masturbate in the womb, its been proven through ultrasounds.

    May 11 at 10:36pm

  • Sasha http://www.facebook.com/l.php…

    GOP Congressman Wants to Ban Abortion to Save Masturbating Fetuses

    news.yahoo.com

In a preview of the many pronouncements to come on the floor of Congress as the … See More

May 11 at 10:37pm 

  • Jeremy So maybe we should start an anti-smoking pro-choice support group for this woman?

    May 11 at 10:37pm

  • Patrick We should just give her child free birth control and an obamaphone

    May 11 at 10:39pm

  • Sasha she doesn’t want to abort her child. she wants to smoke while carrying it. and she wants to have more children and smoke while carrying them.

    May 11 at 10:40pm

  • Lynne My brain just exploded. Damn you Patrick and Jeremy.

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Sasha I’m going to put Lynne in my womb and chain smoke all day!

    May 11 at 10:41pm

  • Patrick I bet she bought the cigs with her welfare money Lynne

    May 11 at 10:41pm 

  • Lynne She might have. I’ve known friends to trade food stamps for alcohol. Sasha, just do it while you’re snowboarding. That way it’s like a joyride.

    May 11 at 10:43pm

  • Tasha You obviously have NOT had a child or gone to the obgyn for prenatal appts. They practice and CAN breathe. They move their mouths, they suck their thumbs, they are alive inside of a person. A person who is supposed to do what’s in the best interest of that child. I won’t lie…I’m ashamed to say I smoked a few weeks out of my pregnancy. But, I quit bc my baby inside me WAS ALIVE! SHE HAD A HEART…A HEARTBEAT…SHE HAD ORGANS, AND BODY FEATURES SUCH AS EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH!!! You just seem like a very ignorant person who should just shut the fuck up!

    May 11 at 10:45pm

  • Sasha ill never do it again. i used to smoke and i quit. i quit cold turkey one day because it was poisoning my body. you know those rooms in the airport where people sit and smoke. those little rooms should be everywhere. and people should have to sit together and inhale everyone else’s second hand smoke while they are smoking. its absolutely disgusting to have to walk down congress st and tell my niece to hold her breath every 10 feet because people are human fucking chimneys.

    May 11 at 10:47pm

  • Jeremy Did someone take a picture of you and post it on social media when you did it? <——— Did you look like this? 

    May 11 at 10:48pm 

  • Lynne You’re right, Tasha, I haven’t had a child because I had an abortion, because I knew myself well enough to know that I’m selfish, and angry, and would make an awful parent right now. I also drank, smoked, had x-rays and an MRI while pregnant. The fact that you’re ignorant enough to start being aggressive shows that you don’t know how to have conversations civilly. Congratulations. You win.

    May 11 at 10:50pm

  • Patrick Lynne you’d suffocate on that joyride, heard that shits tight

    May 11 at 10:55pm 

  • Tasha Oh that makes me want to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP even more!!! I always said I didn’t want children. I was selfish too…I wanted to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. With a child you CAN’T… and I accept that! So while you WERE ABLE to get pregnant some women are out there wanting so badly to have a child and can’t. To me you having that abortion makes you no better than this hot mess!!! No I would not be so aggressive had you not been so ignorant to this post. This is SASHA’S fb…she can post whatever the fuck she wants. If you DON’T like it then fuckin there’s a delete or hide stories from this person option. But you chose to be ignorant and you’re right and everybody else is wrong! Go fuckin kick rocks you selfish bitch! Some woman could have made a great life for that baby you murdered!!!!!

    May 11 at 11:02pm

  • Sara sasha exploiting as in benefiting from lynne? exploit comes from outcome of an action, having advantage, achievement. her achievement here is her voice she can not have that? ego of preg lady is at stake you suggest? true turnaround/healing for anyone causing suffering to themselves and thereby those around them is usually a good slap in the ego the way true self likes it. in this parking lot sasha is participating in her life and those around her. no different than you are here so kudos all. it is an endangered art in a mechanically law abiding sleepwalking world.

    May 11 at 11:03pm 

  • Lynne Dearest Tasha, For your information, I was going to kill myself. If you’d like to read more about that story, it’s here: http://abortionchat.org/why-chat/. It’s why I’m in Maine now, and why I’m a mental health professional. Because you know nothing about my circumstances, or who I was at that time, or the fact that the guy who got me pregnant had left me for my sister, and they are now engaged, or any other portions of that time, the fun thing is, I don’t care what you think. I didn’t murder my “baby”. I kept myself alive.

May 11 at 11:06pm

  • Patrick I feel like “kill myself” and “I’m a mental health professional” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. One of my closest friends was able to commit suicide in a facility due to inadequate mental health “professionals”

    May 11 at 11:09pm

  • Sara if mental health is not holistic it is insanity

    May 11 at 11:10pm 

  • Lynne Truly, I am sorry for your loss, Patrick.

    May 11 at 11:10pm

  • Heather I’m a social worker, and have suffered with different stuff, too. It can actually be really good to carry that understanding of suffering into your work; it can make you much more compassionate and understanding of others. But that is a whole different conversation!

    May 11 at 11:13pm 

  • Tasha Just so YOU know NOT that it’s ANY of your business. I was assaulted in the military in 2007. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia! The whole time I was pregnant I was not able to take any medications for those conditions!! So please feel free to throw yourself a pity party. My opinion of you has not changed! What you went through doesn’t compare to what I endured and still endure! But let me tell you despite all those things…I’m a damn good mom!!! #SorryNotSorry

    May 11 at 11:21pm

  • Sasha ignorant…you keep using this word…i do not think it means what you think it means…

    May 11 at 11:24pm

  • Tasha Did I use it incorrectly?

    May 11 at 11:26pm 

  • Patrick I think she’s talking to Lynne

    May 11 at 11:28pm 

  • Tasha Ohhhh I figured it was me bc I used it a lot!

    May 11 at 11:30pm · Like

  • Tasha  And Patrick I’m sorry for your loss  I was not liking that part of your comment

    May 11 at 11:32pm 

  • Tasha No Jeremy I quit long before I looked like that! And nobody took my picture. I hid it bc I was ashamed, but it was the vice I had at that moment to help with not being able to medically treat my “disabilities.” I’m not proud, but I won’t do it again if I have another child. I lucked out with my child…she was born healthy and is healthy and thriving!

    I believe after I left the conversation that they continued for awhile about things of non-importance. What are your thoughts on this dialog? Was my acquaintance right in taking a picture and posting it on social media without permission? Who had strong points of view? Why?

My Parents Should Have Had An Abortion

Somewhere in the history of the world, there is a videotape. On it is my mother, holding one of my

In high school, using a phone that a friend paid for

teddy bears, clutched to her chest and refusing to give it back to me. I’m three or younger in the video. I don’t recall this interaction, but I do remember watching the tape at some point and thinking that my mother did, in fact, love me at some point in my life.

The only question then, is when did she stop?

I get attacked on twitter by the antichoice movement asking, “What if your parents had an abortion?” My response is typically, “That probably would be for the best.”

I’m not saying that I want to die, or I would rather not exist. I think on some level, I would still have come into being, just that I would have had parents. A mother who read me bed time stories. A father who didn’t drink every time he had visitation rights.

Instead, if the antichoice movement gets their way, they’ll be placing countless more children like me at risk. They’ll be subjecting youngsters to watching their mother attempt suicide. To watching their siblings get beat. To some day being 25 years old and waking up screaming from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the recurring nightmares.

I hear rumor of child protective services stepping in. In my case, they didn’t. No matter how many times my sisters and I called the cops, there was never enough evidence. Even when we found my father’s stash of weed in his bedroom, we were told that we could have planted the drugs. When he was pulled over for drunk driving with me, not wearing my seat-belt, the cops let him off with a warning.

Years later, after a night of drunk driving hell and abandonment in the middle of nowhere, my father lost custody. Upon full visitation rights to my mother, things rapidly dwindled. I grew up in a house infested with fleas. In the backroom, maggots crawled across the floor. My mother left for weeks at a time, leaving my controlling sister in charge which directly resulted in my running away from home when I was thirteen.

I never wanted to return.

I moved out of my mother’s when I was still in high school. Because of her lack of parental guidance, a friend drove me from Michigan to Maine so I could look at the university I would later attend. He later made the same drive so that I could actually make the move. My mother barely said goodbye to me.

I do presentations to groups of people now: middle school students, adults, whoever will listen. I tell the younger generation that they can survive impossible circumstances. I share my backstory with them. I tell adult groups how to help kids who have grown up in my situation.

Me in college during an ice storm
blackout

The bottom line is that I know, beyond a doubt, tons of children are going through the same things I did. I know this because I’ve met them. I’ve held them as they’ve cried. I follow them on Twitter. They will not receive help. They’ll be lucky to graduate from high school. They’ll be even luckier if they go to college.

If the antichoice movement wins, according to them, thousands of lives will be saved. But what kind of life will they be forcing the children to live?

The lives that need to be saved are staring right in front of us. They’re quiet. They’re hurt. And at some point, we have to start stepping in to help them instead of forcing more people into those situations.