Remember Savita Halappanavar

Today marks three years since the death of Savita Halappanavar. Savita suffered health complications from a miscarriage at 17 weeks, presented to University Hospital Galway in Ireland for care, and was denied what would have been a life-saving abortion. Savita did not have to die. She was murdered by medical ineptitude, deadly and outdated abortion laws and moral outrage.


A Rally In Dublin In Memory Of Savita Halappanavar (2012) – William Murphy on Flickr

The New Republic published an article today called Let’s Just Say It: Women Matter More Than Fetuses Do. In the article Rebecca Traister talks about her own awareness of abortion as a crucial medical option during her two wanted pregnancies. She puts abortion alongside nuchal screening, amnio, and early Cesarean – that is, one of many tools that may need to come into play during a routine pregnancy. The article did not focus solely on “abortion as medical necessity” – this was simply the opening salvo. [Read more…]

After Tiller after nearly three years

Last night I watched After Tiller for the first time ever. I know, I know…I just haven’t been in the right mindset to watch it before now. I was pretty sure that what I was going to see was compassionate doctors and heartbreaking stories of fetal anomalies and clinic/provider harassment. Hard to choose that over Parks and Rec, Lost Girl and rewatching Buffy and…

Anyway, that’s pretty much what After Tiller was, so for someone who’s familiar with abortion care there weren’t a lot of surprises. WE KNOW why people seek third trimester abortions. WE KNOW that doctors and clinics are subjects of harassment. WE KNOW that the doctors who do this work are caring and compassionate human beings.

But there were a couple of takeaways for me, someone who is familiar with the previous facts:

[Read more…]

Talking Points from Planned Parenthood

As a Planned Parenthood volunteer, I have been impressed with the communication coming out of the volunteer coordinator’s office about the recent attacks on the organization. They have sent several emails out to us with offers to provide information about the attacks and reassurance about this organization that we support with our time, money and efforts. They’re doing their due diligence even though most of us – and the mainstream media – are moving rapidly away from this embarrassingly incompetent and transparent attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood.

[Read more…]


Today is the 42nd Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Between work, and planning for this weekend’s FTBConscience 3, and coincidentally, tonight’s last minute quasi-emergency drive to the OBGYN with a friend who just went through a miscarriage and subsequent evacuation – the same process as an abortion – two days ago (she’s doing just fine), I ran out of time to do the super-awesome post that I had planned to do on Doe v. Gomez.

[Read more…]

Men Don’t Get Abortions

CN: Use of gendered pronouns. Words like men and women are blurry with respect to reproduction and pregnancy, but I am sticking with convention to address the claims and assumptions of this video.

It took me a few days to get around to watching this four-minute video because I knew that I didn’t have the even to deal with it. But tonight I’m feeling like I can do it. Let’s all do it – together!

We’re opening with a shot of a church and some somber but hopeful music. The videographer has spliced together the stories of three men, each one sitting in a church pew. They introduce themselves by name and then go on to share that they’re all Christians.

[Read more…]

RH Reality Cast

I’ve finally started listening to RH Reality Cast, and I’m enjoying the hell out of it. If if there’s one thing that I enjoy more than reading Amanda Marcotte’s caustic wit, it’s hearing her passionate take-downs of patriarchal, religious, and right-wing bullshit flow from my car speakers. A new half-hour episode airs every Monday, so it’s always an exciting, blood-boiling start to the week. This week Amanda warns us that Todd Akin is back in the news, this time wanting us all to believe that we just didn’t understand what he meant by “legitimate rape” (from his infamous quote in 2012), she interviews Teddy Wilson about the Operation Save America harassment and trespassing currently taking place in New Orleans, and of then there’s my favorite segment, The Wisdom of Wingnuts.

If you like hearing from strong women who don’t mince their words when they’re pissed off about attacks on reproductive freedom and sexual health, you might want to try out RH Reality Cast.

Planned Parenthood Solidarity Event

It’s that time of the year again! Good Friday marks the annual organized anti-Planned Parenthood vigil here in the Twin Cities and it’s celebrated with much somber walking, very pray, so clutching of rosaries and wow crosses outside of the St. Paul Planned Parenthood:

Anti-choice crowd hangs out by the fence and stares at the prochoice celebration with sadness, contempt, anger and pleading.

Anti-choice crowds line the fence and stare over at the pro-Planned Parenthood celebration with a mixture of anger, contempt, pleading, sorrow, curiosity and indifference.

And on the other side – a celebration of accessible and legal abortion, comprehensive reproductive options, sex education and outreach:

A line of Planned Parenthood supporters walking with signs of support.

This year a bunch of jerks – not satisfied with marching with their anti-choice brethren – decided to make a nuisance of themselves on “our” side of the rally. As always with these harassers, they’re not satisfied unless they’re edged right up to the public property line, which was particularly annoying because they were standing between us and our food trucks. Buttheads. These special friends had a penchant for screaming about hellfire and damnation. For the most part we all minded our manners, but me, Niki and our friend Chris couldn’t resist stopping for a quick photo op:


 Happy atheist trio mocks your angry sky fairy – Mwuahahaha!

We had happy music, warm drinks and supportive signs. We took pictures and laughed and raised money and cheered and ran to give hugs when we saw friends and supporters arrive to join in the march. It was a great time.

Me and fellow clinic escort Niki M. in our clinic escort vests.

Me and fellow clinic escort Niki take a photo at the march in our vests – shiny!

Happy Lich Jesus Day, everyone!

And this is why you’re not allowed to practice medicine.

Saturday was a rough one at the abortion clinic.

The crowds are getting might holy, what with Zombie Jesus Day just around the corner. The morning started out fairly easy; it was gray and drizzly and we thought that the weather might keep most of the protesters away. It seemed like that was going to be the case for most of the four-hour shift.

Then, about two and a half hours in, a crowd arrived from a local church. It was comprised of a number of families, including teens, young kids and a few babes en pousette. All in all, maybe 25 protesters.

2014-04-12 09.53.46A handful of the random visiting protesters who, in all likelihood, won’t be seen again until next Easter-time.

The teenagers seemed bored to be there, and had to be coaxed from their little huddle into walking down the sidewalk with their signs. At one point a little kid said, “Mommy, it’s cold – I want to go home.” To which Mom replied, “We live in Minnesota – of course it’s cold.” and went back to waving her gore porn at passing traffic.

This gentleman stood right at the property line and read teh bible at us for about 45 minutes, although he went off script a couple of times because those parts about Jesus condemning abortion…I don’t remember those parts (‘cuz they don’t exist – get it?). Seriously – dude made up scripture on the spot…just for little old us!

Middle-aged man reading from a bible.

Later his wife came over and lectured us about…actually I don’t really know…me and fellow clinic escort, Niki, managed to keep up a running conversation in spite of the caterwauling, and I only caught the occasional “killing babies”, “sin”, and “God.”

This morning also included a rare instance of Brianne Losing Her Temper And Engaging a Protester. One of the regulars who is known for taunting escorts was waving a four-month old infant at us, entreating us to look at how beautiful he is, and why would we deny a mother a beautiful baby like this, and would we kill this baby? I turned and snapped, “Stop using that child as a prop!” and immediately did an internal “D’oh!” and facepalm. Sure enough, the next few minutes were filled with the protesters gleefully exclaiming stupid stuff like “So you ADMIT that you think this is a child! What’s so different between him and the children that are murdered in there!?”

Just…engaging never gets you anything but more frothy-mouthed engagement.

*grumbles* And of course that’s a child, you nitwit. That a four-month old infant is a child is not the point of contention between us, dumb-dumb.

Yeah, rough morning.

Another head-explody moment came when one of the regulars caught sight of Niki’s awesome Surlyramic showing a “no coat-hanger” symbol on (like this), and said…

She actually said…

Hang on. Let me catch my breath for this…

She says, “What’s the difference between a coat hanger and curette?” Now, this is writing, and her tone might not be coming across just so, so allow me to clarify. This was a snotty, righteous “How come you’re against coat hangers but okay with curettes since they both cause baby murderin’?” kind of asking going on here.

Let me get this straight: You need me to explain to you the difference between a dirty, makeshift hook used by a desperate person on themselves, which might result in a penetrating or perforating wound to vagina or cervix, potentially leading to septicemia…and a sterile surgical tool wielded by a trained doctor in the course of an exceedingly safe, (currently) legal outpatient procedure, which is very unlikely to cause any physical trauma to the patient? You need me to explain that coat hangers are what happens when access to abortion doctors and curettes isn’t available? You really don’t see a difference between these two things?

Hand in your medical license right now, preacher-lady. Oh, that’s right…you don’t have one. Well thank Jebus for that. Now if you would just stop flinging around medical advice like you have specialized training in that arena…that would be great.

One happy thing was that between the rainy weather, the intimidating crowds and an odd scarcity of street parking, most of the patients seemed to choose to park in the ramp, which means they weren’t subjected to a lot of direct harassment. So that’s a good thing.

*wanders off muttering* …difference between a coat hanger and a curette? C’MON.

Domestic Goddess

On Monday night my teammate and I were making our shirts for tonight’s Pro-Choice Resources bowl-a-thon. While I was ironing, she ordered me to give her my best Domestic Goddess pose:

Me ironing and giving the camera the finger

Today is the LAST DAY to donate to my bowl-a-thon fundraising website.

Please, please, pretty please consider donating some money to this incredible group. Pro-Choice Resources is on the front lines working to ensure that people have access to sex education, birth control and safe and legal abortion. You can see the original, thoughtfully-written appeal in this post, and I’m re-copying the goals and awards for donating at the end of today’s post.

So far you all have contributed $150 dollars for PCR. What say we push that up just a smidge more before I hit the lanes at 7:30pm CST tonight?

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Goodies For Individual Donors:

Any Amount – I will send you a (photo of a) personal, hand-written thank you by email. Delivery goal: All emails delivered within one week of the end of the bowl-a-thon.

$25 or more – In addition to the above, I will send you a postcard thanking you for your donation (to anywhere in the world!). I would not have access to your mailing address via the PCR fundraising website, so I will put out a call for you to send me your address via email if you would like me to send you a postcard. Delivery goal: Date-stamped within two weeks of the end of the bowl-a-thon.

$50 or more – In addition to the above, I will devote a post to any question you’d like me answer or topic that you would like me to address. I make no promises about length or tone of the post, but on average I tend to devote between 500-1200 words to a topic that I find interesting.

Total Fundraising Goals:

If I raise the following amounts, I will do the following silly things:

$150 or more – I will post a photo of me with a bowling bowl, and wearing my team shirt (we’re “The Notorious P.I.D”)

$200 or more – In addition to the above, I will post a video of me granny-bowling and chanting “No back alleys in the night! For safe choices we will fight!”

$300 or more  – Both of the above, and I will do a dramatic armchair reading of some of the vile things that protesters say to patients and clinic escorts, and post a video of it.

$350 or more – The first three, and I will do the previously described reading in a smoking jacket with a pipe in my mouth and classical music playing in the background.

$400 or more – All of that stuff that I’ve already mentioned, and I’ll do the reading in a funny hat.

$500 or more – The first three, and instead of doing an armchair dramatic reading, I will have a friend do the dramatic reading while I act out the vile things that protesters say. And heck, we’ll turn it into a PSA about sidewalk bullying tactics.