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 She was murdered by medical ineptitude, deadly and outdated abortion laws and moral outrage.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…]

No You Can’t Refuse Service

Hey everybodyyyyyy!

I was jumping online to do a blog post about this convention that I’m attending this weekend, but it has to wait because I have to tell you about This Other Thing That Is Really Awesome!

H/T to Niki for pointing me in the direction of Michael Stone’s article Appeals Court Rules Pharmacies Cannot Cite Religion To Deny Medication

In Washington state it is no longer legal for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception based on the justification that to do so would violate their deeply held religious belief that slutty women should literally bear the consequences of their sluttiness. Well, a clarification: These pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions… as long as they are on duty with a coworker who acknowledges that women are sentient life forms capable of making medical decisions about their own bodies, and who will fill the prescriptions.

This is huge! Not just for reproductive rights, but for putting a slight damper on the creep (tidal wave) of religion into public life and government.

Stone cites a statement by The Washington, D.C.-based Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty: “The government has no business punishing citizens solely because of their religious beliefs.”

No. If you refuse to provide professional assistance to someone because they don’t share your political beliefs, then you are the one who is doing the punishing.

And thanks to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this kind of petty-minded punishment is not going to be tolerated. Pharmacists no longer get to decide that they know better than the doctors who prescribe emergency contraception and the people who are choosing to take it. They no longer get to use their professional status as an opportunity to prostelytize and pass moral judgments that have very real consequences to their clients. They no longer get to be the gatekeepers of this type of medical care.

You know, at least in Washington state.

Today in Pro-Lifers Annoy Me News

Did you hear about Oklahoma abortion doctor Naresh Patel who did some illegal, horrible things and was consequently investigated, arrested and had his medical license pulled? Yeah, so did every anti-abortion supporter and organization in the country. And boy are they gloating about that and using it as an excuse to rally the troops. They’re trying to paint Patel’s arrest as the turning of the tide, as a sign that Americans are starting to see that abortion is an arrest-worthy crime. [Read more…]

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!


An embryo is not a baby.

A fetus is not a baby.

A woman who aborts an embryo or fetus, whether by intentional abortion or by miscarriage, is not a murderer.

If you’re thinking “but what if”…

Just stop.

Your puny hypothetical insults the majority of people who will never be in the position you’ve conjectured.

Moving on.

Miscarriage is a medical emergency, not a criminal offense.

A woman who is miscarrying a fetus is due emergency medical treatment.

A miscarriage that is “in progress” means that there is no saving the embryo or fetus. Game over.

Don’t punish women who are miscarrying by denying them emergency medical treatment. You cannot save the fetus; treat the human being who is alive.

If you criminalize a woman who has aborted or miscarried a fetus, you are harming a human being.

Also you’re an asshole.


Pro-life activism is a waste of all of our lives, and is harmful to the lives of the women and men and gender-nonconforming people which it attempts to shame. Pro-life activism harms one human life for the sake of a potential human life. It places a higher value on a potential human life than on the life of someone who is here now and needs our support.

Recognize pro-life activism for the moral masturbation that it is.

If you are a pro-life activist, you are doing a bad thing.

Also, you’re probably being an asshole while you’re doing it.

And you’re a hypocrite.

If you spend your time trying to pass pro-life, anti-woman, woman-shaming legislation you are wasting your life and wasting the time, money and very short attention span of the constituency and the rest of the world and your’re holding our society back from evolving into a more enlightened state.

Stop it.

Sending a mother to jail for having an abortion or a miscarriage, and in the process depriving her for reals kids of a guardian is bad for the mom, bad for the kids and bad for society.

Interrogating women who have stated that they have miscarried to make sure that it wasn’t really a secret abortion is cruel and nothing less than a totalitarian action by government.

Forcing families to spend precious resources on a legal defense to prove their “innocence” in having a miscarriage is heartless and callous and ignorant and a odious way to advance a political objective.

Today’s rage blogging is brought to you by Think Progress and the ACLU.

Clinic Escorting Training Was…WOW

You may have seen my call for volunteers in the Twin Cities area to take part in last Saturday’s clinic escort training in Minneapolis. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of inquiries I received and by the number of people who said they wanted to attend, to the point where I set up a Facebook event to track the numbers of “maybes” and “yeses” so that the coordinator could plan for an appropriate number of visitors.

All in all, last Saturday was an outstanding success.

[Read more…]

You May Not Be A Real Man(TM)

This billboard was placed in my neighborhood for a few weeks.

Sign shows a man holding a baby with the text "Real Men Love Babies" Heatbeat at 18 days.

Apologies for the crap quality – I took this photo at night, on my cell phone, over my shoulder as the Hubby was driving through an intersection. If for some reason you’re interested in seeing a “better” version, NYCyclist over at Jezebel Groupthink took a photo of the same sign when it was put up in the Bronx.

I used to not see the problem with the “real men” campaigns, especially when they were used for good* instead of evil. I once very proudly sent an anti-homophobia campaign video that used the “real men” message (in this case, a bunch of smiling women holding signs that read “real men don’t discriminate”, etc), to More Than Men in the hope that they would help spread the message. Sasha was kind and patient enough to rip apart the (several) problems with the video, and I haven’t used or endorsed the term “real man” since. I’ve also become more tuned in to when other people do. Like when shitty forced-birth proponents push that shit on their shitty anti-abortion signs. [Read more…]

Dear White Anti-Choicers

Niki and me in our clinic escort vests, holding coffee cups and giving the camera a thumbs up.

Niki and me on the sidewalk in our clinic escort vests.

Niki M. is a published author and an advocate for science, skepticism, atheism and reproductive rights – among many other things. Niki is one of my fellow clinic escorts, and she is subjected to the same kind of targeted harassment as the rest of us who provide care to the clients who visit our clinic. However, as a woman of color she gets a little extra love from the protesters. This open letter is a guest post by Niki to her harassers, and to all of those protesters who think that it’s okay to target a clinic escort based on her skin color. You can follow Niki at @jailawrites


Dear White Anti-Choicers,

Hey, how’s it going? Nice day we’re having. it’s a mite chilly, though, but the sun’ll be up soon on this glorious Saturday morning. Then again, the sun will make those all of that lovely fetal snuff porn you have on display inescapable. And you brought your kids too. How nice. [Read more…]

Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013

We’ve seen a lot – a LOT – of legislation introduced at the state and federal levels that have been designed to limit people’s access to safe, legal abortion. With Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme court disallowed many types of restrictions that would prohibit people from obtaining abortions. But as we have seen in the past several years, anti-abortion proselytizers have found and abused a major loophole: while still allowing legal abortion, it has been possible to limit access to abortion by closing down abortion clinics via regulatory technicalities. Their hope is that by making abortions harder to obtain, there will be fewer abortions. The laws in which these technicalities are housed are referred to by pro-choice advocates as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Clinics, or TRAP laws.

[Read more…]

An Amazing 12 Hours of News

I, along with an incredibly huge number of people, stayed up late last night to watch the clock count down on Wendy Davis’s amazing 13 hour filibuster against the Texas anti-abortion bill, SB5. After Senator Davis’s filibuster was ended at 10pm for some bullshit reason (in this case, that the topic of ultrasounds were not “germane” to the filibuster. “Germane” was one of the words of the evening, along with “parliamentary inquiry”), pro-choice legislators were able to stretch things out for another one hour and 45 minutes or so. With about 15 minutes left until midnight, Republicans tried to force a vote even as bill opponents protested. Frustrated with not being recognized, Senator Luticia Van De Putte asked:

LeticiaGraphicImage shows Sen. Van De Putte with text overwritten: “At what point must a female senator raiser her hand and her voice to be recognized by her male colleagues?” – Source: Memographs via Joe.My.God


People started screaming, cheering; there was thunderous applause. And then they didn’t stop. At one point they started chanting “WENDY!” over and over again. They screamed for almost 15 minutes! Here are a few of my favorite tweets from that time:

Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar tweeted: THIS IS THE CITIZEN FILIBUSTER! with this photo:


Image shows part of the chamber floor and the packed balcony shouting at the top of their lungs and their arms raised in the air.

They cheered until the clock ran down. They cheered while police were hauling people out of the chamber in an attempt to restore order. And when the chamber was finally empty you could hear them chanting “SHAME!” outside the doors. In the end the diversion took just long enough to keep the vote from being called on time.


Screen cap of the datestamps of the vote.

See – the vote took place after midnight – after the special session ended. In one of many outrages of the night, bill proponents tried to fucking cheat. But in the end, the bill was dead. And we all rejoiced and praised the feminist army and donated to the political campaigns of Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte and all of the other Senators who opposed SB5. Everyone was happy.

Oh…except for these people.


Image is a screen cap from, an anti-choice website.Dewhurst

Image is a Facebook capture of David Dewhurst’s status “I am furious about the outcome of the final day of this Special Session, when an unruly, screaming mob using “Occupy Wall Street” tactics derailed legislation intended to protect the health of Texas women and their babies. An unconscionable series of delaying actions by the minority party and their allies placed SB 5 in direct jeopardy of death-by-filibuster upon its arrival in the Senate. Pushing every parliamentary procedure to its limit, we passed SB 5 19-10, but the deafening roar from the gallery drowned out any possibility of adjourning with a signed bill. I pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over.”

Lila Rose – anti-choice activist


Rick Perry haz a sad. Somebody bring him some some hot cocoa or a popsicle or something. Image shows Rick Perry looking pouty and resting his cheek against his fist. Image found at

But enough about them – How about that other big news, right???? High five for five of nine SCOTUS judges!!!

I missed the media coverage of the DOMA statement and the the Prop 8 ruling, so all I’ll say on those is:


Image has “FUCK YEA.” in rainbow font over the “fuck yea.” meme guy, and a rainbow flag on the left of the image.

Between Minnesota legalizing same-sex marriage, DOMA being overturned and SCOTUS ruling favorably in the Prop 8 case, it is going to be one hell of a party at the Twin Cities Pride Festival this weekend. Which reminds me, if you can, you should COME TO PRIDE IN THE PARK and THE PRIDE PARADE THIS WEEKEND!!!! Unless you don’t like big crowds, or you’re not in a place where you can feel safe at a LGBTQA celebration, of course. But if you can, it’s an amazing experience to be surrounded by such joy and support and acceptance. And yummy fatty food trucks and giant lemonades and way more taffeta and leather and body glitter than is usually seen on a hot July day and puppies and hippies with hoola hoops and seven inch heels and loud live music and drag shows and not nearly enough clothing on so many people and hugs and smiles and kisses and rainbow ALL THE THINGS!

Happy [social justice/civil rights/treating human beings decently] celebration day, everyone.