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Response to Nancy Keenan in Salon: Let’s Set the Record Straight on Millennials and Abortion. Again

12:54 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Nancy Keenan

Written by Julia Reticker-Flynn for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Another day, another article about whether or not Millennials care about access to safe abortion care, this time in the form of an interview with outgoing NARAL President Nancy Keenan in Salon in which the commitment of our generation to this issue is once again questioned.

It is time to put to rest the questioning about Millennials and whether they care about access to safe abortion care. It is time to get to work. Too much is at stake, too much ground has been lost, and, for far too many women, safe and affordable abortion care is out of their reach.

So, let’s set the record straight. Again.

Yes, Millennials care about ensuring access to safe, affordable abortion care. They care — deeply and passionately — and many are working tirelessly on this issue.

This generation of young people is more likely to care about the whole range of sexual health and rights issues than older generations. Whether we are talking about LGBT rights, contraception, or abortion, Millennials are taking center stage, and no one should doubt this or call it into question. This generation may just be the most pro-sexual health generation in U.S. history.

In fact, we find Millennials more supportive of access to abortion services in their communities — 68 percent compared with 58 percent adults overall. And, two thirds (67 percent) of Millennials of color agree that “regardless of how I personally feel about abortion, I believe it should remain legal, and women should be able to get safe abortions.” Three-quarters of African American (75 percent) and Asian Pacific Islanders (75 percent) young adults agree with the statement. Six in ten (59 percent) Latinos express support for legal abortion in response this question. 

But even more important, Millennials are showing up on the front lines of this issue.   

Millennials like Carly who did not stand by when anti-choice activists came to her campus but instead was motivated to build a strong base of support for abortion access at the University of Michigan. Carly has started facilitating small group sessions focused on discussing personal experiences with abortion and the ways to address stigma and promote access to safe abortion care. Millennials like Tyler and Eriauna at the University of Kentucky who are standing outside their local clinic every Saturday to ensure people can access services without fear or intimidation.   

Millennials like Delilah and Jess at the University of Virginia who talk to their peers in the center of campus holding signs that read “1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime, these are our stories.”  

From campus activists to clinic escorts to hotline volunteers to directors of abortion funds to doulas to bloggers to policy advocates, Millennials are fearless, bold and innovative activists in support of abortion care.  We should not be ignored, and our commitment to abortion access should not be questioned.  

The work of Millennials — and in fact of the entire movement — will continue to be strengthened if we spend less time asking where they are and more time continuing to train young people in grassroots organizing, to mentor new leaders, to fund their work, and most importantly to respect and value their skills, energy, and leadership.   

Let’s get to work.

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Anti-Choice Blogger Cruelly Mocks Women’s Experiences

6:57 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Nancy Keenan for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is made up of pro-choice women and men across the United States who come together to protect a woman’s right to choose. These individuals are our backbone, and their stories remind us of why we do this work. Behind every statistic or heated argument about abortion is the experience of a real woman.

On our website, ProChoiceAmerica.org, we offer a safe space for people to share their stories because sharing stories is a way for our supporters to connect. Our Women’s Stories page gives powerful and heart-felt accounts of women’s personal lives and the difficult decisions they’ve made. As someone who talks with women about what it means to be pro-choice, I understand the courage it takes to share a story with us and the world.

That’s why I was deeply disgusted and outraged when I discovered that an anti-choice blogger mocked these personal stories through a series of "Parody Testimonials" blogs.

The blogger crudely and cruelly mocks the circumstances behind these women’s stories, even in situations where women’s lives and health were in danger.

Here is a selection from one "parody" that was particularly disturbing:

Dawn, 40

I got pregnant in the summer of 2008. My husband and I were thrilled. We had been trying for about 6 months and it finally happened.

At 11 weeks of gestation we found out that our son/daughter had anencephaly. We were devastated. We thought we wanted this child. We murdered our son/daughter two days later in a building which looked like a hospital (but where they murdered people instead of cared for them). A spineless, life-hating, unprotective man who had a Medical Doctorate in gynecology dilated my cervix and proceeded to cut my son/daughter up into several pieces. After this, the nurse informed him that all of my son’s/daughter’s body parts were present and accounted for. The "doctor" considered this a "condition not compatible with life" AND WHO WOULD after being cut up into so many pieces?!

[...]

I have worked for groups which favor the murder of unborn babies for the worst part of my life doing a variety of volunteer activities (lying, deceiving, coaxing, betraying my fellow woman, hating men and the babies that they helped us conceive… did I mention lying?) as well as giving money to spill more blood. I support murdering unborn babies in all circumstances (yes, especially those which are forced in China and other countries since they have more melanin than I do).

And here’s Dawn’s actual story:

I got pregnant in the summer of 2008. My husband and I were thrilled. We had been trying for about 6 months and it finally happened.

At 11 weeks of gestation we found out that the fetus had anencephaly. We were devastated. This was a very wanted child. We terminated the pregnancy two days later in a hospital. My OB performed the D&C. The doctor considered this a "condition not compatible with life."

[...]

p>I have worked for pro-choice causes for the better part of my life doing a variety of volunteer activities as well as donating money. I support choice in all circumstances.

We can’t let the actions of an anti-choice blogger intimidate or shame women into silence. Please take a moment to support the women who bravely shared their stories with us. Read some of our Women’s Stories and pick the story that you find most compelling. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you use. Share it here at BlogForChoice and on other blogs you visit. When you post the story, please say, "I stand with [NAME] and here is her/his story."

Together, we can stand up for these brave women and against hate.