Welcome Sarah Erdreich (FeministsForChoice) (SarahErdreich.com) and Host Pamela Merritt/Sharkfu (Twitter) (AngryBlackBitch.com)

Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement

Let’s talk about Generation Roe by Sarah Erdreich…

I’m always excited to host an FDL Book Salon because I get to read thought-provoking books and then chat about them with people who think! I’ll confess that hosting the Book Salon for Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is extra exciting. I am Generation Roe. I was born exactly one month after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and have never known a world without the rights protected under it. I’ve also never known a world where access to abortion hasn’t been under attack. As a reproductive justice activist who works for an abortion provider in Missouri, I was eager to read a book that keeps it real while taking a reader’s hand and pulling them down to the grassroots where political battles over abortion impact people’s lives every day.

Sarah Erdreich’s Generation Roe is a crisp, well-written, thorough exploration of abortion through the reality of women’s lives. Erdreich dives into everything from “abortion-recovery counseling” and “crisis pregnancy centers,” to the infamous race baiting anti-choice “black children are an endangered species” billboards. Generation Roe tells the stories of people who work in the field of reproductive health despite threats of violence and Erdreich explores how the stigma placed on abortion fuels those threats. In Generation Roe, Sarah Erdreich also outlines the legislative battlefields across the country and delves into mistakes and missteps pro-choice activists have made along the way.

As a Missourian, I’ve watched my state assembly pass legislation granting employers the right to refuse birth control coverage based on that employer’s moral objection. I’ve fought bills that would allow health care workers to refuse to inform survivors of rape about emergency contraception and others that would prevent local government from applying any regulations to “crisis pregnancy providers.” I even watched as Missouri Right to Life placed an anti-choice billboard in a predominately Black ward of St. Louis city, an advertisement declaring that the most dangerous place for a Black baby is within a Black woman’s womb. Through it all there is the reality on the ground. A reality that has Black women four times more likely to die in childbirth, an infant mortality rate in Missouri that rivals some of the most economically challenged nations in the world, and a sexually transmitted infection rate for St. Louis city that is one of the highest in the country.

It’s fitting that this FDL Book Salon for Generation Roe is taking place during Women’s History Month because so much of the culture war over abortion is rooted in the fight for reproductive justice and equality. Every day activists fight to maintain and expand women’s right to have children, to not have children, and to raise the children they chose to have in environments free of violence and oppression. It often feels like a never-ending series of defeats, but Erdreich points to the common ground that exists and how we can use it for social change. Generation Roe is not a book that chronicles a slow painful loss. Erdreich encourages us to face reality to speak honestly and without shame about abortion. In doing so, she makes Generation Roe a call to action that demands we uphold the human right to abortion and fight like hell to protect it.

I’m down with that.

Are you?


[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

141 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Sarah Erdreich, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement”

BevW March 9th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Sarah, Welcome to the Lake.

Pam, Welcome back to the Lake, thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hi Bev and hello Sarah!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 1:57 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 2

Hi Bev and Pam! I’m really looking forward to this.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Sarah, let’s jump right on in! Tell us what inspired you to write Generation Roe?

dakine01 March 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Sarah and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Welcome back Sharkfu!

Sarah, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but do have a comment. I’m old enough that I was in college when Roe v. Wade was decided. I am fortunate enough to not personally have known anyone who died as a result of a back-alley abortion (to my knowledge) but I do know women who had abortions provided by sympathetic doctors in small towns as well as those who could afford to visit one of the states where they were already legal. I think the thing that most amazes me are the vehement people who are anti-abortion up until the time they need one for themselves.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:01 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 5

Hi, I’m glad to be back!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:03 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 5

Dakine01, thank you for your comment. That amazes me as well – how people will be so against abortion, until it affects them personally. A lot of the clinic staffers that I interviewed for Generation Roe told me stories about seeing women in the waiting room who, the week before, would have been in front of the clinic protesting; and I’ve personally heard a number of stories, when I worked for an abortion access hotline, from women that said they were anti-choice “until …”. I think that speaks to how necessary it is that abortion remain legal and accessible in this country.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:05 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 4

Sharkfu, two things in particular inspired me to write Generation Roe. One was learning just how much I – an educated, liberal woman that grew up in a politically liberal family and community – did not know about the reality of getting an abortion in this country in the 21st century — how difficult it is for so many women to afford and/or access this service. The other was an article in The New York Times’ Style section in early 2009, about how a number of clinic directors and providers were approaching retirement age, and wondering if/who would replace them in the movement. I was working in the field at the time, surrounded by all these young activists, and I thought that their story should be told.

BevW March 9th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Sarah, to piggy back on Pam’s question at #4, how long did it take to do the research and to bring this book to us? Was it based on life experiences?

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

One of the goals of Generation Roe is to demystify abortion. With so much stigma associated with both the field of abortion care and having sought abortion, that seems like a daunting challenge. Can you tell us a bit about how we can lift the veil about who has abortions and who provides them.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to BevW @ 9

Bev, the most intense research phase – where I was traveling to various clinics, and also really immersing myself in reading about legal and medical history around abortion – took about eight months, from April-December 2009. The actual writing of the book only took a few months after all that – I was fortunate to interview people that were extremely interesting and eloquent! Then the book underwent a lot of revisions at my agent’s suggestion, so that was probably another three months of work in 2010.

Generation Roe isn’t based on my personal life experiences, insofar as I haven’t had an abortion at this point in my life. But it is informed by the experiences of friends and acquaintances that chose abortion – why they did, what they encountered, and what the impact was on me, for seeing the myriad reasons that women make this decision.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Welcome, Sarah, and welcome back, Pam!

I’m a Lutheran pastor in metro KC, at the other end of Missouri from Pam, and her picture of Missouri is depressingly accurate. I write here at FDL on religion and politics (among other things), and noted last year that Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin won a three-way GOP primary because the hardcore rightwing of the Missouri GOP agrees with his views.

The generational take in your book is something I’ve been looking at for a while. During the GOP convention last year, I wrote about how things have changed within the GOP between 1976 and 2012:

. . . the 1976 edition of the GOP platform was rather openended about Roe v Wade and the issue of abortion. It was under the heading “Women,” and highlighted the fact that it was a personal decision. Different folks may come to different conclusions about it, but the platform did not demand conformity to one official GOP answer. . .

Back in 1976, the GOP platform pushed for the adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. Today in 2012, the platform pushes for a human life amendment: “we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” Note the punctuation mark: a period. Not a comma or a semicolon, but a period. End of story. . .

Back in 1976, Jack Danforth was Missouri’s attorney general and running for the US Senate. Today in 2012, he condemns Todd Akin, who is the GOP candidate for the same US senate seat that Danforth used to hold. As much as Danforth, Romney, and others might not like it, Akin is no exception to the GOP. He is the proud embodiment of its extreme positions, and the inevitable result of a generation of increasingly intolerant religiosity that has taken over the GOP.

And that intolerant religiousity shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:13 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 7

Welcome to FDL and thanks.

Some years ago, I had a friend who worked at a Planned Parenthood Clinic, which among many services, provided abortions. It was in a small city in central CA, which is CA’s “Bible Belt.”

My friend had many stories about people protesting in very viscious and ugly ways out front, and then one day, they have to be let in the back so that they/their daughter/their sister/their friend, etc, can have an abortion.

Yet usually, the next week that person was back out front waving signs and tirading at the clinic.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Sarah, I think that’s what I enjoyed most about Generation Roe. It really takes readers into the real world and I couldn’t help but notice how rare that is in a book about abortion. To circle back to your earlier statement about providers aging out of practice, could you talk more about the future of abortion care as a field?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:14 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 10

Gladly! I think one of the most important things that people can do is to talk – not just about abortion, but contraception and reproductive rights, and the role that they play in our lives. I remember how taken aback my now-husband was when, years ago, I asked him what he would do if I became pregnant — he’d never had that conversation with a girlfriend before. Which I think is the norm – these are not issues that people often discuss unless the decision whether to continue a pregnancy or not needs to be made. But having these conversations help normalize the idea that unplanned pregnancy, or a pregnancy where there are severe fetal anomalies, are not uncommon. Something else that would help is for women to ask their OB/GYNs if they perform abortions – both because I think that does provide peace of mind, even if you never plan on needing that particular service, and because if more doctors performed abortions, that would lift some of the stigma and danger from those that currently do.

Elliott March 9th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I’m down with this

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to Peterr @ 12

Hi Peterr! I’m thrilled to be back!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to Peterr @ 12

Peterr, I couldn’t agree more with your last statement. I think it’s so interesting that those that use religion as a reason to be anti-choice are only using *their* religion – conveniently ignoring the fact that a lot of religions do not condemn abortion.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to Elliott @ 16

Right on!

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:18 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 10

That sounds good – demystifying abortion.

It makes me mad and sad that the whole abortion debate has become so nasty, so vitriolic, and frankly so riddled with lies, half-truths and so on.

I was in college when Roe v. Wade happened, and I actually know quite a few women who’ve had abortions. The reasons for doing so are as varied as you might imagine.

In the earlier days, my experience was that, while abortion was always a “big deal,” it was not vilified in quite the same way as it is now. It seems to me that, for whatever reason, the religious right jumped on this issue as some kind of hobby horse in a “divide and conquer” fashion.

As I, and others, have pointed out, these rightwingers can’t wait to vilify those who have abortions… until they, or someone they care about, needs one, themselves.

After all, there is the apocraphyl story about Rick Santorum’s wife’s procedure, which they like to term in some way that makes it seem like it wasn’t an abortion… but it was.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:19 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 14

The future of abortion care as a field – that’s an interesting question. Thanks to Medical Students for Choice, there are a lot of medical students and residents that are interested in providing abortion care. None of the students/residents that I interviewed that wanted to enter the field cited concerns for their safety as a reason to not be providers; rather, they were concerned that, due to the scarcity of providers, they would only be doing abortions and not other aspects of OB/GYN care. I think that if abortion care was better integrated into clinics – as opposed to it mainly residing in freestanding clinics – that would alleviate some of those concerns.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 20

Ah, I remember the Santorum controversy! A perfect example of the double standard that is so often at work when it comes to reproductive rights – and also the arrogance that a lot of those against abortion display, that only they can decide what is right not only for their own families, but for women they don’t even know.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 18

. . . which brings us to the bishops of the Roman Catholic church.

I have been appalled at how a significant portion of the US health care system is being subverted by those who wish to substitute their theological judgments for the medical judgments of health care professionals and for the theological judgments of the patients who come to them.

Most of your book focuses on the individual and local, but I’m curious as to your thoughts on some of the larger political fights, especially around the push for conscience clauses for faith-based organizations.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:22 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 20

So true! Sometimes I’m convinced that there are as many anti-choice politicians who have someone in their life who sought abortion care as there are anti-gay ones who are in the closet. We need to demystify abortion just like we have fought to do so with LGBT equality. Take away the shame and acknowledge just how many folks out there have touched on the issue.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:24 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 21

I’m also concerned about efforts in state legislatures to prevent universities from teaching med students abortion care. I’m pretty sure Kansas has seen such legislation filed.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:24 pm
In response to Peterr @ 12

You point out what I just said @ 20, so thanks for that. I can remember the minister and wife at the Church my family attended when Roe v. Wade was handed down. Their stated attitude/comment about that was, basically, it’s better to have sex safely and responsibly, it’s “better” not to have an abortion, but basically, it was a woman’s right to choose.

It’s been downhill all the way since then, and it’s one of the reasons why I left organized religion some time ago. I’ve always felt that the religious right was just using this issue to pit people against each other, while also keeping women “down” and “in their place.”

RevBev March 9th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

The book is so rich in stories and detail. I wonder what kind of help
you had on the legal history. Im in the heart of Roe and have known about the plaintiff’s change of mind. But I had not kept up with so many details about how vulnerable Roe seems to be. How did you keep all that straight ;) and something about what you expect may happen next.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:27 pm
In response to Peterr @ 23

I think I would have more respect for conscience clauses if they didn’t single out reproductive issues, and therefore issues that disproportionately affect women. But to your question specifically, I think that providing these exemptions for faith-based organizations does a disservice to those that the organization employs and/or helps, and that I’m surprised more individuals are not upset about these clauses.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 24

Another little story I have is that I had a job in that same small city in Central CA at a law firm. A lot of the attorneys there made a big deal about being “religous” and such. Back in the day (’90s) when I work there the American Bar Assoc published some statement (or something) “backing” Roe v. Wade.

Quite a few of these attorneys made this huge production of burning their ABA Membership cards (not joking) and revoking their memberships.

So what, you say? Well, these guys (and they were all guys) were like huge horndogs (if you’ll pardon the expression). Despite their prayer breakfasts and Bible study lunches, absolutely every single one of these guys were serial cheaters on their wives.

The clincher is that quite of few of them had affairs with secretaries at the firm. Some of the secretaries had affairs (at different times) with several of these married attorneys. AND several of these secretaries had abortions, due to VERY unwanted pregnancies. One secretary got pregnant (and had abortions) to more than one of these married, but “very religious,” attorneys.

INSANITY!! And some of these attorneys’ wives picketed the Planned Parenthood clinic. Like: the cognitive dissonance was beyond belief!

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Sarah, I loved the book and in particular the exploration of how those opposed to abortion have sought to distort reality. Can you share a bit about that and the impact isolating and romanticizing has in the real world?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to RevBev @ 27

Thanks, RevBev! I’m married to an attorney, and while he doesn’t focus on reproductive rights, he was very willing to help explain the nuances of different cases and the repercussions. I also had a lot of help from other attorney friends – fortunately, the lawyers I know really like to talk about the law!

What I expect to happen next … I think that we’re going to see continued activity on the state level, with the trend towards 20-week abortion bans and saddling clinics with expensive and often needless regulations. I imagine that laws like the one passed in Arkansas this week, which bans abortion after 12 weeks, will be the next ones that make it before the Court (though perhaps not while Obama is president).

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 24

The image of the “abortion closet” came to me again and again as I read this book.

Back in 2008, Christy Hardin Smith (co-founder of FDL) wrote a powerful post: “In Support of Choice.” In it, she described her own abortion, in very personal terms. After relating the story itself, she wrote this:

Why tell you something so personal? Especially when it is no one’s business but ours?

Because it is no one’s business but ours how we made the decision, what medical issues were at stake, and what choices we made together. Which is the point of choice. No one but the people involved in the individual circumstances can truly know why the decision is made — to terminate, to keep, to risk.

No matter the difficulty, it was the correct medical decision for us. By ending the pregnancy to save my life, and after more fertility hell and miscarriages, I got pregnant with our daughter. . . .

we made a choice, based on our own circumstances and what we saw as the best thing to do for us. Choosing to keep your pregnancy is as much as choice as the alternative — and also a deeply personal one between you, your spouse, your doctors, and whatever conversations with God you may choose to have. Outside of that, it is no one’s business, because no one outside of it can possibly know all the agonizing issues involved.

This is the dilemma of the abortion closet, I think. We speak of choices around abortion as deeply personal, but in our culture, we don’t talk publicly about deeply personal things. But like the LGBT closet, it is the deeply personal stories that have the best chance of changing minds.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 29

I think Sarah hit it on the nail when she said incidents like that point to the need for abortion care. They also point to the flip side of the culture war coin – that very few people live their lives like social conservatives like to advertise. But seriously, it sounds like that firm needed some sex education and a sexual harassment intervention!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:34 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 25

Quoting myself about Kansas here:
“In early 2012, the Kansas legislature began deliberating a massive anti-abortion bill that would, among other provisions, prohibit medical residents at the University of Kansas Medical Center from performing abortions. This prohibition would mean that the training residency program would be in violation of its accreditation requirements.” No abortions are performed at that center, but the state house adopted an amendment that would prohibit state funds from being used for abortion care and bar state workers—which the medical residents are classified as—from performing abortions “during the workday.” As far as I know, the Kansas Senate didn’t consider the bill during the 2012 session.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

i find the billboards with black children fascinating. never saw one of those even once when i lived in chicago. now, go to MN or WI, and there’s an cherubic blue eyed baby “mommy don’t kill me!” billboard ever few miles.

i’ve always thought a lot of the anti-choice movement was fueled in part by racist fears of white people becoming something other than a firm majority in this country.

what do you think of the movie “army of god,” a documentary about some anti-choice activists who advocate killing providers?

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I have not had the chance to read your book, which looks very interesting. In it, do you discuss at all what happened to Norma McCorvy after Roe v. Wade?

Vanity Fair had an article about her recently, which is a bit sad.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In response to Peterr @ 32

Powerful statement! And I couldn’t agree more about the abortion closet. When bloggers have gone public with their abortion stories they have faced serious harassment and callous disdain. But those opposed to abortion often bring forth women who say they regret their abortion. As a rule, we rarely attack those women…and I think that’s the right course. But we need to defend those who come forward! The closet is a dangerous place to be.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:37 pm
In response to Peterr @ 32

One of the clinic counselors that I interviewed summed it up very well when she said that it was important for people to speak out about abortion because providers were being killed. (This was in the summer of 2009, very shortly after Dr. George Tiller’s murder.) I think that there is this tension between abortion being a private decision, and a lot of people in the pro-choice movement respecting that, but also this knowledge that the stigmatizing of abortion has led to a climate where people are putting their lives at risk to provide the service.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:38 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 34

I think you’re right. They have a new omnibus bill working its way through session in Kansas but I haven’t read it yet.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 33

No kidding! Although I have great stories to tell from working there. You’ve only gotten the tip of the iceberg!

But yes, that’s what’s so annoying is that most conservatives love to present this picture of themselves that doesn’t jive with the true reality of their lives. For the most part, who cares? Except when they want to use their ideologies – which they, themselves, don’t follow – to take away legal rights from others.

It seems like your book may be a good way to educate about what abortion is and is all about. Thanks for writing it!

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 25

Oh, Kansas . . .

From the moment Sam Brownback took office, abortion foes have had a field day. Regulations like building codes have been changed in a flash, forcing clinics into costly renovations or costly court battles — or simply closing. Efforts to shut down education around abortion at the state’s flagship medical school were derailed only when the very conservative Senate president realized that it might jeopardize the school’s accreditation. Now the push is to say “OK, you can teach about abortion, but you can’t do it with public money, on state property, on state time.

Between his anti-choice efforts and his very conservative economic programs, Sam Brownback has turned Kansas into a model of conservative government — so much so that locals derisively term their own state “Brownbackistan”. It is a fearful thing to behold.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 35

What you said about the anti-choice movement – that actually was partially the reason for abortion becoming criminalized in the 19th century — pro-nativist politicians/activists were worried that white, Protestant women weren’t having “enough” children. About “Army of God” — I haven’t seen it yet, but those activists are terrifying, because they really do believe that killing providers makes sense, and that they would be justified in those actions. It’s really chilling.

RevBev March 9th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I heard a Law Prof say that what really swung Roe was the vision of “back alley” abortions. I guess that image has mostly declined. Is there any image that you think could be equally powerful? Your description of late-term abortions was sadly very moving.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to Peterr @ 32

my sister has a regular lunch date with a couple of her fellow “power woman” friends. they are highly educated, successful career women moving up the ladder at their respective jobs.

one of them is married and has one 10yo child. under pressure from her husband, she got pregnant again, at the age of 39. the fetus is deformed, and will suffer a lifetime’s worth of expensive, possibly painful disabilities if it comes to term. it may only live to be two or three years old. it will require constant, professional grade care its entire life. the woman in question will likely have to give up her career to take care of it, round the clock.

they are choosing to let the fetus come to term. because, they are Catholic and this is what their priest told them to do.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 34

They’re considering it right now. (See my third link @41)

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 40

To clarify it’s Sarah’s book…and I recommend Generation Roe as a gift to kick-start discussions and empower activists!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:42 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 36

I don’t discuss Norma McCorvey – but I read the Vanity Fair article. I agree, it was sad, and also had some similarities to the life of Sandra Cano, the plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, another significant reproductive rights case whose ruling was released on the same day.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to RevBev @ 43

And it isn’t as if back alley abortions no longer exist. Lots of state lack providers and have ridiculous waiting periods. Women travel from 4 states to come to the health center I work at…and many have struggled so long to rustle up the cash that they are having later abortions than they intended. I shudder to think of how many women seek alternative providers who aren’t licensed. I know it happens, but rarely makes the news. In my volunteer work I’ve met women who have tried extreme measures like soaking in bleach baths. Lack of access makes people desperate.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I have done a lot of active work in support of abortion rights, both in the USA and overseas, mainly in Australia where I used to live for quite a few years. I’ve participated in a lot of marches and rallies, including organizing buses to take people to out of town events.

I confess that I have not done as much public action in the past decade or so, so I am at fault myself (although I donate annually to a number of pro-choice organizations). But it seems to me – correct me if I’m wrong – that the younger generations (I’m a boomer) don’t seem particularly concerned about the deminishment of easy access to safe abortion services.

Is my observation correct? And if so, how can that be changed?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
In response to RevBev @ 43

For me, it is the image of a woman I interviewed in Generation Roe, who chose to terminate a pregnancy at 32 weeks because the fetus had very severe abnormalities that were incompatible with life. Her story – about how difficult and sad she was, yet how she felt it was the right decision, and how she wanted to speak out for the sake of her unborn child – was very powerful. I

Robin Marty March 9th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Sarah, I believe I read that you’ve worked in the past at an abortion fund. Could you talk a little about hyde and it’s impact on low income and uninsured women? I haven’t had a change to read yet but assume you go into that in your book as well. thanks!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 48

Or ordering pills off the Internet, which can be just as dangerous.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
In response to Peterr @ 41

Yes, it sure is! Ugh. I feel for my colleagues in Kansas but know that they have some outstanding activists working there.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 51

Hi Robin!!

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 52

Oh, Gawd…yes. So dangerous and easier to do than it should be.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:48 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 49

I think the younger generation is concerned – a lot of the activists I interviewed were in their 20s – but there is a sense that access is something that can be taken for granted. I think that one way to change this is to raise awareness – because once people learn how difficult it can be to get these services – or even to access reliable contraception, in some cases – they do care, and they are engaged. So I think it’s, again, about having these conversations and educating people.

Robin Marty March 9th, 2013 at 2:48 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 54

you knew I’ show up eventually :)

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to RevBev @ 43

The Vanity Fair article that I mentioned previously does indicate that the Judge who handed down the decision in Roe v. Wade was moved to do so because of his knowledge of “back alley” abortions and the damage & deaths they caused.

I think we need to get back to highlighting those images again because “back alley” procedures are on the rise, as sharkfu has indicated. It’s real.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Sarah, toward the end of the book you talk about the relationship between national pro-choice groups and their local affiliates/chapters (p. 227)

The local faces of the pro-choice movement need to have more power. Planned Parenthood and NAF have member clinics all over the country, but too often the parent organizations overlook the vital role that these clinics could play in the fight. . . .

. . . so many established organizations focus their efforts on the federal or state level rather than the local level, and this means that local affiliates don’t always get the support — financial or institutional — that they deserve.

To what extent is this problem a symptom of the DC lobbying culture? Deals get made on K Street, and local affiliates are left hanging. DC lobbyists can be told “make too big a stink, and we’ll cut off your access” and so local affiliates are left out in the cold.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 56

It seems to me that we need to engage again in more public discourse, although I’m not sure if marches and rallies are as effective as they once were.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 51

Sure! Hyde has had a hugely negative impact on low-income and uninsured women, because it prevents Medicaid from being used to pay for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s health is in danger. And, anecdotally speaking, it can be very difficult to get Medicaid to pay even in those cases – just think of how hard it is too often for a woman to even get the police to believe she’s been raped, now imagine trying to convince your Medicaid caseworker of that. And while 15 states will allow Medicaid to pay for abortion in other circumstances, it can be difficult to get the coverage, and also to find clinics that will accept Medicaid. So Hyde further stigmatizes abortion by making it so incredibly difficult for low-income women to afford abortion care. As one of the attorneys I interviewed said, he couldn’t think of any other group of people that were punished as much, in this regards, as low-income women.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

has anyone read the “homemade abortion” instructions in Our Bodies Ourselves? iirc there’s one in it. if so, what do you think of it as a procedure?

marymccurnin March 9th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I wonder if the doubling down to take away women’s rights is punishment for women electing more progressive candidates. Old, conservative white dudes don’t like it when women make voting decisions that neuter their authority. The transvaginal ultrasound is another punishment for thinking on your own and not submitting to their wishes.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I’d like to talk about the word “choice” and how some groups are expanding how they talk about reproductive health care. I prefer to use reproductive justice because so many women lack choice…for them, it is about limited options. But I know several women who are offended that some want to move away from using “choice” – thoughts?

RevBev March 9th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Not to be flip, but we learned in this past election that the woman
being raped cannot get pregnant…..These people make our laws.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:56 pm
In response to Peterr @ 59

I think this is a problem less of DC lobbying culture itself – though I’m sure that plays a part – and more a reflection of the need that mainstream organizations have to balance the sometimes-competing interests of donors and political allies with the needs of the women they’re working for. These shouldn’t be in opposition to each other, of course, but the truth is that large organizations can’t always be as straightforward and aggressive as many in the pro-choice movement think they should be, to repel these increasingly brazen anti-choice attacks. That’s why I think the focus should shift to local clinics/affiliates – yes, the politics may still be there, but those groups are smaller, more able to respond quickly to specific issues, and more in touch with what the local community needs and will respond to.

dakine01 March 9th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

This is a YouTube video that has been making the rounds where a husband confronts a couple of protestors who harassed his wife

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 61

Thank you for that information.

The way that the “system” has been set up to jeopardize poor women in terms of obtaining easy access to safe affordable abortions is just appalling.

Yet another area of cognitive dissonance. So often the religious right wants to point fingers at the poor – they’re lazy! they have babies to mooch off the system! – but then REFUSE to provide the poor with easy access to affordable contraception options and/or to safe affordable abortions.

Really infuriating.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 62

I haven’t read that chapter, but your mention of it reminds me of the work of the Jane Collective, the Chicago-based activists that taught themselves how to perform abortions in the late 1960s/early 1970s and helped hundreds of women in those years.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to RevBev @ 65


Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 64

I personally like the term “pro-choice” — to me, it indicates being in favor of women having choices, and that also encompasses the fact that women that *don’t* have choices, should. But I’m not offended by using other terms, such as reproductive justice, or reproductive rights – those are just as valid, definitely. What I do find offensive is the term “pro-life” and its acceptance by so many in the media and even those in the pro-choice movement.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 66

Have national pro-choice people given you any reaction to this proposal to shift power to the local affiliates?

Phoenix Woman March 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 8

Oh, yes. I went to college in the early 1980s, and one of my classmates had at least two on-the-quiet abortions because she was brought up in a small Iowa town and taught that Good Girls Didn’t Use Birth Control. This was because in the town’s mind, using birth control meant that you planned to have sex, which made you a slut — as opposed to wanting soooo haaaarrrrrd to be a “good” virgin until you were swept away by hormones disguised as True Love.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I believe also that women in the Military cannot get easy access to abortion via their health care system? Because it is federally funded?

And yet, the USA in endless war without end; these young men & women volunteer often because they have few other options; it’s not unexpected that some “accidents” may happen. But hey: forget it. You cannot have an abortion unless you pay for it yourself. But good luck if you’re far away from a service provider.

That’s not even touching on the fact that there’s an epidemic of rape and sexual harrassment that the Military still has not resolved adequately. But if you’re a woman: too bad, so sad, get used to it.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:02 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 63

I think it is interesting to see that a lot of the more vehement anti-choice activity is coming not from the “fringe” activists, as we saw in the 80s and 90s – the ones that would picket clinics and such – but from politicians. It feels more insidious, somehow, that these are our elected officials working so hard to restrict women’s health care and access.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 62

I haven’t heard an medical analysis of the recipe, but there used to be a network of women who taught each other how to perform abortions. Not sure if they are still around. Obviously, I prefer for women to have access to emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy…and safe abortion care if pregnancy has not been prevented. No one should have to take their care into their own hands.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 71

I couldn’t agree more!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
In response to Peterr @ 72

Not yet, but this is a conversation that I’d welcome having with them!

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

is it illegal to order the “abortion pill” from online sources? that would be one way to get reproductive control to women in states where there are few clinics. a legitimate doctor should also have the ability to do this and give to a patient who wanted to terminate but couldn’t afford to drive to another state. no need to be seen at a PP or other ‘satanic baby killing’ clinic, just get the family GP to give you some.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 63

Good point, Senator. It does seem a lot like male backlash, doesn’t it? The transvaginal ultra sound is particularly insidious.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 71

The other benefit to “choice” is that it draws in potential allies.

There are more than a few folks who are uncomfortable with talking about abortion, let alone advocating for it politically, but who are beyond pissed off at efforts to limit contraception. If you had told me in 2010 that in 2012 we’d have candidates running for national office who want to overturn Griswold, I’d have laughed in your face — and today, I’d have egg on mine.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 78

It’s just a guess on my part, but I suspect they might not be terribly pleased with your suggestion, which may be why you haven’t had that conversation.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 73

A friend and I were just talking about this today – that in a way, the very existence of the Hyde Amendment exceptions gives credence to the idea that a lot of people still (sadly) think women “deserve” any negative aspects of consensual sex, like an unplanned pregnancy, because they had sex.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 79

In Missouri you can only get the abortion pill from a provider. Not a pharmacy and I’m not sure about online. This probably varies from state to state, but I’m not sure.

Robin Marty March 9th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

only if you get caught. Ask Jennie Linn McCormack.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 85


onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 76

Sounds like the movie, Vera Drake, which portrayed someone who provided home made abortions. Mostly went ok, until one went awry. Points to why women need access to safe, affordable abortions, despite the good intentions of the “Vera Drakes,” who undoubtedly perform a needed service.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to Peterr @ 82

You might be right! I think that mainstream organizations do great work and do have a role in all of this, and I learned a lot of invaluable skills from working at a couple of them. I’d just like to see more support going on at other levels, too, and I’m not the only one that feels that.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 85

So happy – and a bit shocked! – that the ruling went in her favor.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 87

Yes, very much like that movie. Good film…we screen it for discussion groups.

Teddy Partridge March 9th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I’m struck by the women whose lives are changed — and whose views do a 180 — once they find themselves pregnant against their wishes. One week marching in front of a clinic, buttonholing women seeking help; the next week, one of those same women in the waiting room of the same clinic. This seems just like the reversals, or “maverick” positions taken, by people normally very anti-choice, or anti-stemcell, or anti-LGBT — once their own loved ones are touched by the issue.

It goes to some kind of missing empathy gene we’ve discussed here at FDL before: people who can’t understand the sufferings of others until they or their loved ones suffer the same way. What is it about modern Xtian right churches and modern right-wing conservative politics that suppresses empathy?

Is choice always about irresponsible and unmarried minority women until one’s own daughter gets pregnant because there’s no birth control at the Xtian college she attends? Is LGBT always perverse until it’s your own daughter, Dick Cheney?

Without empathy, and without the capability to have everyone experience these life changes directly or through a loved one, I’m not sure how Generation Roe isn’t going to see its rights continue to be chipped away. How can we help women who didn’t live in a world without choice see what they might lose?

Thanks for writing this book, and thanks for the great discussion today.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 83

When this is done by religious voices, I don’t think they realize that theologically, they are shifting the language about children. Where once they spoke of a new child as “a blessing from God,” now that child has become “God’s punishment.”

And yet, that’s what they preach. Go figure.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

i wonder how many women are doing that, these days. my understanding is that it’s not really an abortifactant, so much as an temporary readjustment of a woman’s hormones with some additional hormones. i may be confusing the ‘morning after pill’ with the ‘abortion pill,’ however. IANAD

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:11 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 86

This also reminds me of the controversy around telemedicine, which is increasingly under attack as well. In my home state of Michigan, the abortion “super-bill” that Governor Snyder signed last year bans telemedicine for medication abortions, which is especially bad when you consider how geographically large Michigan is.

Robin Marty March 9th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to Peterr @ 82

Peterr, there are states (ND and MS come to mind) where clinics themselves do the activism and it works well. I think the bigger problem why locals taking over may be difficult is that there are less independent clinics these days and more being run by Planned Parenthood, which makes things harder since their interests lie in a number of different directions and they do have their national well being to consider.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to Peterr @ 92

That is so true. If I had a dollar for every anti who said that a pregnant teen deserved a baby because she sinned, I’d be able to buy a pro-choice billboard.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:14 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 93

Emergency contraception is what you are thinking of, i think. And it will not end a pregnancy. The abortion pill will.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Thank you for your very thoughtful comments!

Not to sound like a broken record, but I really do think that one way to help women – and men – who grew up with legal abortion see what they might lose, is through conversation and education. It doesn’t even have to be about what women went through in the years before Roe. Just talking about how expensive it can be to get an abortion can be shocking to a lot of people, to say nothing of asking them if their OB/GYN provides abortion care.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to Sarah Erdreich @ 94

We have a bill like that floating around Jefferson City. Not sure if it has legs, but I think it is based on Michigan.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

What is it about modern Xtian right churches and modern right-wing conservative politics that suppresses empathy?

Good question, but coming from a very religious upbringing, I think it’s about keeping people suppressed and more easily manipulated. At least that’s what I’ve seen with my family.

The whole issue with abortion, imo, is that it’s been used as a cudgel to pit people against each other.

Unfortunately, too, some women – who are anti-abortion but then get pregnant by accident – who do avail themselves of abortion do NOT end up being supportive of it for others. They are ashamed and hide the fact that they’ve had one, and they go right back out in front of the clinic harrassing other women seeking an abortion.

It’s pretty insidious.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

i read a book by a feminist physician who worked as a provider for many years. this was before the pills used today to terminate pregnancies.

it was a pretty good book and talked about all sorts of health challenges that are specific to women and what women can do to address them, esp women who have old fashioned male doctors who tell women stuff like “you’re not depressed, you just need to have sex with your husband more often” and other bunk like that.

but she shocked me in the end by complaining that she understands why some people are anti-choice, because, paraphrasing, “i’ve had far too many patients who use abortion as a form of birth control” speaking of patients of her who had come in for four or more abortions over the years and who refused to use birth control properly.

her experience is anecdotal and i wonder (i forget now) where her practice was located and what the educational levels of these women were.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 95


In some ways, I think George Tiller’s clinic served the same local function in Kansas before his murder. Not that they did a lot of activist work in Topeka, but their courageous presence motivated local activists to do the political work.

With Tiller’s death and Brownback’s election, things have changed dramatically,

marymccurnin March 9th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

When I was in my mid twenties, I became pregnant but the pregnancy turned septic. An abortion saved my life. Today in places like Mississippi, I would be allowed to die rather than abort a potentially dead fetus.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Sarah, we recently screened the film After Tiller in Missouri. it got me thinking of the misinformation around abortion after 20 weeks. Can you talk a bit about that and the future of providers who offer later term abortion?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:19 pm
In response to robinmarty @ 95

Very true, Robin. I don’t envy those running the large organizations and balancing competing interests. And I should clarify that one thing I mean by “local” is not just the clinics themselves, but those in the community. I think a lot of time people think that the best way to support the pro-choice movement is to donate to PP – which is great – but there are a lot of local funds that could use volunteers or financial support, and a lot that individuals can do in their communities to support choice beyond the clinic itself.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 103

So true and thank you for sharing your story! I worked on the No on 26 campaign in MS…it was a tough fight and wasn’t made easier by the rhetoric shaming women for wanting to survive a life threatening pregnancy.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 101

Surprising to hear a Dr use that rhetoric. I’ve had various women, from various walks of life, “complain” to me that, while they support a woman’s right to choose, they believe that “too many women use abortion for birth control.”

Yet when I ask for elaboration – statistics or even just their own personal anecdotal stories – I’ve hit a brick wall. They don’t really have any evidence for this; it’s just something they’ve “heard.” And believe me, it’s usually about poor women – the typical scapegoat.

Peterr March 9th, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sarah, I’ve got to run, but before I go, let me thank you for your fine book.

I’m a sucker for books that approach serious topics with a dash of humor, and with a chapter title like “The Amazing Talking Fetus of Ohio,” you hooked me as soon as I read the table of contents.

Shark-fu and Robin, keep up the good work!

(And [off-topic] go Blues!)

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:21 pm
In response to Peterr @ 108

LOL! Thanks, Peterr! Go Blues – Go!

marymccurnin March 9th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 106

I have actually lived in MS for while. My parents ended up there after Katrina. On the way to visit them, we had to pass a church that had small crosses on its lawn to commemorate babies lost in abortions. It really creeped me out. Judgement poured out of every portal of that church.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 104

Many, if not all, of the 20-week bans are based on the idea that a fetus can feel pain at this point in a pregnancy. This is a controversial topic, to say the least – there’s very little reputable scientific/medical evidence to support that assertion. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, after reviewing reports and studies on the topic, that fetuses are unable to feel pain until approximately the seventh month of pregnancy; more recently, a review done by the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that the area of the brain that processes responses to pain is not fully formed until the twenty-fourth week of gestation.

That said, these bills are still being passed – most recently in Arkansas last week. This limit goes against what was explicitly laid out in Roe, and while I would imagine that eventually one of these laws will be challenged, I don’t know of any current challenges that are in the works.

These bills also further stigmatize providers that offer later-term abortions. A great number of these procedures are done either because the woman’s health is in danger, or the fetus has been diagnosed with severe abnormalities. It is already incredibly difficult to find a provider that will perform an abortion in the later second trimester, or third trimester of pregnancy, so outlawing abortions after this point could mean that even fewer providers will offer the option, even in states that have not yet outlawed abortions after 20 weeks.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In response to Peterr @ 108

Thanks, Peter! I enjoyed our discussion!

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:26 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 110

If only they placed tiny crosses in the lawn for all the children who didn’t make it to 1 year of age because MS has such a horrible infant mortality rate…if only they passed legislation to ban that and then funded programs that would address it…

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Thanks! I read that a challenge is being prepared in Arkansas…I hope they file it!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to onitgoes @ 107

I actually had that conversation with my mother-in-law several years ago. She’s intelligent, educated, etc., and she thought that women did use abortion as birth control. It was a very delicate conversation to explain why this was a false assumption, but ultimately a rewarding one.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:28 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 101

I read Susan Wicklund’s “This Common Secret” several years ago – could that be the one you mean? I don’t recall that part specifically, but like I said, I read it a while back.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Sarah, let’s talk about where we go from here. There’s a chapter in the book titled On Demand and Without Apology. Can you share more about getting there from here?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 110

The other night, I was asked – after a reading – what I thought about the “55 million” abortions performed since Roe. I imagine the man that asked that question would love that church …

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

That’s so scary and aggravating. It is often placing the health of the mother at grave risk in order to “protect” the fetus.

As someone commented earlier about groups who seek actively to kill abortion doctors, we are again dealing with severe cognitive dissonance.

The fetus’ existence trumps all for a small but growing & virulent minority. Better for a mature, living adult to be killed than a fetus that may be severely deformed and/or cause the mother grave injury or death.

It’s beyond my abilities to figure out how anyone can agree with such a viewpoint, but they are out there and growing in number.

Teddy Partridge March 9th, 2013 at 3:32 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 103

Thank you for sharing your story here, Mary.

Nowadays, saying one’s had an abortion is a political act of bravery.

bluedot12 March 9th, 2013 at 3:34 pm
In response to Peterr @ 92

At some level they understand an unwanted child can be life altering and perhaps not in a positive way. Yet they oppose any help.

marymccurnin March 9th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

You could say that 55 million less humans mean that less trees have to be cut down, less carbon emissions, less animals will go extinct, etc.

Since I am a believer in only one or two children per couple and a believer that sex for fun and intimacy is a good thing, I see a real need for abortions.

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 117

I think the way to get there – to get to a society that is more accepting of abortion, and less eager to judge those that have them – is to normalize abortion. A lot of activists, myself among them, see parallels between the reproductive rights movement and the LGBT movement. It’s not a perfect parallel, of course, but I think it is remarkable to see how much more open-minded society has become in regards to gay marriage, relationships, etc – to accepting that being gay, in and of itself, is not a valid reason to be prejudiced. (That said, of course, there’s a long way to go towards having a fully tolerant society.)

And one way that the LGBT movement achieved this was by making this issue personal and relatable. I remember, growing up in the 90s, what a big deal it was when someone came out – how much of an impact that could have on their family, friends, etc. Because it was harder to carry all these assumptions about gay people when you had a friend or family member that was gay. I think the same can be said about abortion – it’s harder to make assumptions like women just use it for birth control, when you know a woman that didn’t. So it really is through creating spaces – be they online, through blogs or Facebook or what have you – or conversations with our friends, acquaintances, etc, about the role that contraception and reproductive rights play in our lives – about making these connections, and also about meeting people where they’re at.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I’d also like to point out that Sarah has a great blog for Generation Roe -> http://saraherdreich.com/blog/

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:40 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 122

Oh, I thought about saying that! I did bring up the need for comprehensive sex education and affordable contraception, which he didn’t seem too fond of. Which never fails to baffle me – why oppose the very things that could lower abortion rates?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:41 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 99

Ah Michigan, such a trendsetter!

dakine01 March 9th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Because the desire is to control women most of all. Everything else is just an excuse. It is all about punishing the women for ‘sexy-time’

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

In so many ways! Missouri follows Michigan legislative fashion like a tween does The Biebs!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:44 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 127

Exactly. Such a double standard!

Though I have to say, I was heartened to talk to so many young men that were active in the reproductive rights movement. Having a child affects both partners, and there’s no reason that men shouldn’t speak up about the positive role that contraception/legal abortion has played in their lives, too.

chicago dyke March 9th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

i forget the author’s name and the title of the book, sorry. i remember it had a purple cover and i think the word “health” in the title.

thanks for a great discussion, pups! and keep up the good work, Sarah! i will look for your book the next time i’m at the library.

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Sarah, we’re in the final 15 minutes of the salon and I was wondering if you’d like to share some highlights from the movement..some positive happenings that may have gotten lost in the coverage of all the bad bills and talking fetuses?

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:46 pm
In response to chicago dyke @ 130

I’m going to try and track down that book now! And thanks for your questions and comments.

BevW March 9th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Sarah’s upcoming events

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:51 pm
In response to sharkfu @ 131

Something that I’ve found so positive are all the reproductive rights blogs/websites that present really empowering, personable information and voices. The Abortioneers, Abortion Gang, Every Saturday Morning, RH Reality Check to name just a few – these are great places to learn, talk, and see plenty of that empathy piece that we were talking about earlier. And I think that knowing these resources are out there can also help motivate people to talk about reproductive rights off-line.

Also, I think that while popular culture has a very long way to go in presenting a realistic portrayal of abortion, and of women that choose it, some strides are being made. In Generation Roe I talk about several shows that in recent years have showed more nuanced depictions of women facing this choice – everything from the late, great “Friday Night Lights” to “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” to MTV’s reality series “16 & Pregnant” and the Canadian teen show “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” I think that the more depictions we see in pop culture of abortion being a realistic choice, and of female characters having abortions and suffering no ill effects, the more abortion can be discussed and normalized in society, and that’s great.

BevW March 9th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Sarah, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and Generation Roe.

Pam, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Sarah’s website and book (Generation Roe)

Pam’s website (AngryBlackBitch) and Sharkfu-twitter

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Wenonah Hauter / Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America; Hosted by K. Rashid Nuri

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too

sharkfu March 9th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Thanks, y’all!

Sarah Erdreich March 9th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for a great discussion!

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I feel like there used to be more male voices speaking out about reproductive rights back in the day at rallies and marches that I’ve attended. Certainly, amongst my circles of friends, for the most part, the men have been very supportive about pro-choice and other reproductive rights.

I just think that there’s been a concerted effort to tamp down those who are pro-choice in our propoganda media in favor of the so-called “pro-life” movement. Plus the 24/7/365 “nooz” cycle demands evermore “exciting” news stories. So killing abortion doctors and other nasty things like that is determined to be more compelling than a bunch of supportive men, who stand up in favor of women’s rights to choose.

I’m expressing this poorly, I feel, so I hope this makes sense. But I have a noticed the lack of male voices in favor of abortion for some time. It was not always this way.

onitgoes March 9th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Thank you!!! Very interesting and all the best. Keep up the good work!

Teddy Partridge March 9th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Thanks to one and all for a great conversation today.

Elliott March 9th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thank you both so much! This was great.

And thank you Bev

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post