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Pro-Choice and Pro-Voice

Apr 1 '12

I volunteered at my city’s reproductive health clinic for a year, and these are the four (most important) things I learned

fuguestasis:

[Content includes descriptions of anti-choice verbal abuse and harassment in #1, as well as domestic/sexual violence in #2]
  1. Clinic “”protesters”” are not exercising their 1st amendment rights. They’re engaging in emotional terrorism, slander, and harassment. Their goal is to inflict damage. Clinic employees, interns, and volunteers who are harassed sometimes daily should be able to take out restraining orders against them. They should be able to take out restraining orders on whole organizations, ideally, as well as individuals. Massachusetts is lucky enough to have a sort of legally-mandated “buffer zone;” protesters need to stay a certain number of feet away from the clinic’s door, but they get up in your face as you walk down the street and they are more than happy to yell to you right up until you make it inside.
  2. “Parental notification” or “parental consent” laws are bullshit. Nobody under the age of 18 gets an abortion without telling their parent(s) unless there is a damn fucking good reason. Minors with abusive parents who might withhold medical treatment as “leverage,” minors who were actually knocked-up by their legal guardian in the first place, minors who aren’t in contact with their parents (and who have reason to fear violence or abuse if they DO get back in touch), and minors with anti-choice parents who would medically/reproductively abuse their child by forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term—all of these people are the ones who get hurt by these laws. The white, middle-class, kindly, heterosexual, cis parents with the wayward daughter who runs off and gets an abortion before her parents have a chance to tell her about her options? The ones lawmakers are constantly referencing when they pass these kinds of bills?? The ones who “have the right to know”??? They know. If they have shown themselves to be safe people, their kid will come to them. Few people make this decision lightly. Very few people will actually pass up the chance to be supported in this by the non-abusive people in their lives (especially their fucking parents).
  3. Many reproductive-health-focused organization contribute directly to trans healthcare disparities. I volunteered at the clinic for a year. I had to sign each patient in individually, and I would talk with them before they got called in my a doctor or nurse. I never saw one person who didn’t at least pass as cis (including “passing” as cis on paper, too). There probably were individual cis-passing trans people who came, who were misgendered, and who did not receive the full scope of treatment/education/respect that their cis counterparts did. But trans people—men, women, and people who are both/neither—are disproportionately under-represented and under-served at the expense of our health as a community.
  4. Abortion is not our only fight. Abortion access is so, so important. But the vast majority of reproductive health organizations/clinics recognize that prevention, education, and empowerment are vital. Abortion is not its own isolated example of a single privilege/oppression dichotomy. Instead, it’s one crucial piece of an over-arching, multi-focused conversation about sexual and domestic violence, misogyny, sexual health, trans rights, youth and childrens’ rights, white supremacy, ableism, nationalism, and capitalism. Losing this focus obscures the broader picture and pushes aside very goals we should ultimately be working in service of.

(Source: poorlifechoicesblog)

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