Socialism Art Nature

With the Supreme Court due to decide on the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law, Madeline Burrows looks at clinic “buffer zones” and the fight for reproductive rights.

"IT’S A slaughterhouse in there! You’ll regret this all your life!"

A group of anti-abortion activists are huddled outside of Planned Parenthood. Some are praying. Others are approaching women as they enter the clinic.

"Don’t be the mother of a dead baby."

A busload of high school students from a nearby Catholic high school stand nearby, holding signs that read, “Women do regret abortion.”

Then, as if the preceding statements weren’t traumatic enough, a priest yells out at a woman entering the clinic “Happy Mother’s Day!”

This is a typical day outside an abortion clinic in 2014. As clinic escort and pro-choice activist Paul Valette describes, “Many sidewalk counselors will continue to shout at patients who have entered the private property, until they enter the building, and sometimes continue to shout at the closed doors.”

Valette has volunteered as a clinic escort since he retired from the U.S. Army in the mid-1990s. While the more aggressive era of anti-abortion tactics—like blockading clinic entrances, gluing locks and chaining themselves to doors—was largely over when he began volunteering at the Washington, D.C., area clinic nearly 20 years ago, the chaotic, intimidating and emotionally manipulative environment created by anti-abortion protesters remains the same.

He described the scene:

When patients arrive by car, [anti-abortion protesters] will often stand next to the car, making it difficult for the patient to exit the vehicle. On one occasion, a female anti-abortion protester—about 70 years old, but tall and sturdy-looking—stood in a position where it was impossible for the patient to open the door. And they routinely attempt to slide leaflets into the car through the windows.

Sometimes, protesters go even further.

"On one occasion, a patient arrived by cab. She opened the door, then leaned back away from the door, still inside the cab, to pay the drivers," Valette said. An elderly male anti-abortion protester then "entered the cab and began talking to the woman," pleading with her not to go inside for her scheduled procedure.

 … In the pages of the New York Times, anti-abortion protesters like McCullen become “sidewalk counselors” who merely want to engage patients in polite conversations, and give women facing unplanned pregnancies their full range of choices.

USA Today’s Mary Ann Glendon, for example, portrayed McCullen as a compassionate victim of an outrageous attack on free speech:

Unfortunately, Massachusetts has relegated McCullen to the margins. She is now often forced to call out her compassionate and loving message from behind lines painted on the ground, like a child put in the corner for bad behavior…Moreover, the lines suggest to incoming women that McCullen and persons like her are somehow dangerous or suspicious.

In Glendon’s view, it is the faint yellow lines of a buffer zone and not anti-abortion protesters themselves who create a sense of danger outside of abortion clinics.


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NARAL Pro-Choice America
Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade! We created this graphic because 70% of Americans support the principles of Roe, and we need to show anti-choice politicians around the country that we won’t be silent while they work to take away our reproductive rights. LIKE and SHARE it so we can show them, loud and clear, that pro-choice values are American values.

Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade! We created this graphic because 70% of Americans support the principles of Roe, and we need to show anti-choice politicians around the country that we won’t be silent while they work to take away our reproductive rights. LIKE and SHARE it so we can show them, loud and clear, that pro-choice values are American values.


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Hell yeah! My friend and hero Madeline Burrows in The Nation!

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When a woman has less rights than a non-sentient bundle of cells INSIDE HER OWN BODY … in other words, North Dakota says: “A woman’s function in society is to make babies. End of story.”

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North Dakota lawmakers voted on Friday afternoon to pass a “personhood” abortion ban, which would endow fertilized eggs with all the rights of U.S. citizens and effectively outlaw abortion. The measure, which passed the Senate last month, passed the House by a 57-35 vote and now heads to a ballot vote, likely in the next November election.

A personhood ban could have far-reaching consequences even beyond abortion care, since it will charge doctors who damage embryos with criminal negligence. Doctors in the state say it will also prevent them from performing in vitro fertilization, and some medical professionals have vowed to leave the state if it is signed into law.

Personhood measures are so extreme that some pro-life Republicans in the state have come out against them, planning to join a pro-choice rally in the state capital on Monday to oppose the far-right abortion restriction. “We have stepped over the line,” Republican state Rep. Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo) said of the recent push to pass personhood. “North Dakota hasn’t even passed a primary seatbelt law, but we have the most invasive attack on women’s health anywhere.”

Personhood advocates have pushed their agenda in states throughout the country over the past several years, but their measures have so far been unable to advance. Anti-choice lawmakers in North Dakota, who have already pushed through a stringent six-week abortion ban, were actually considering two different types of personhood legislation — one to immediately amend the state’s constitution to redefine life as beginning at conception, and one to put a personhood amendment on the ballot. The House voted down the first and passed the second.


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I love this so much.

I love this so much.


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(Video) Daily Show’s Samantha Bee goes to RNC and utterly demolishes GOP hypocrisy in opposing a woman’s individual right to choose abortion.


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According to a new Guttmacher report, in the last decade, the percent of all reproductive-age women living in states hostile to abortion rights has jumped from about a third to more than half.

What exactly does “hostile” mean? Pretty much what you’d expect: A whole slew of laws – from ultrasound requirements, waiting periods, insurance bans, etc – designed to put as many barriers as possible between a woman and the abortion she wants to have.

As more and more states – especially in the Midwest and South – continue to pass record numbers of restrictive laws, more and more women are slipping into hostile territory. And, sadly, the trend shows no signs of stopping in 2012.


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Free Abortions on Demand, NO APOLOGIES!

Free Abortions on Demand, NO APOLOGIES!


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