Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pro-Life IS Pro-Woman

On a college campus in Texas, a prolife group put up a display of 2,904 crosses - one for every abortion that occurs each day in the United States. 

The display was vandalized.

The students put it back up.

The next day a video surfaced...

In it, a male pro-choice student expressed outrage that each cross merely represented “an aborted fetus."

He went on to speculate about what else each cross might represent, such as a woman who was able to go on to become a politician or doctor because she wasn’t saddled with the burden of motherhood... 

Perhaps each cross represented a woman who was raped and wasn’t “forced” to bear the “result of her assault?”

As women we found this incredibly condescending. 

So in true New Wave Feminists fashion, we’ve decided to enlighten our "white knight" on what these crosses actually represent...

They represent the 64% of women who attend post-abortion counseling each year and say they felt coerced into abortion by their partner, parent, or abuser.

They represent the women who were lied to and told that they’d be crushed by the financial responsibility of raising another child… when in reality there are so many local outreaches that strive to help women in unplanned pregnancies with:

-Medical bills
-And so many more resources. All for free.

They represent the social justice warriors who convince women that without abortion they won’t be able to become politicians, or doctors, or innovators. Because nothing screams “feminism” like a man telling us what we CAN’T do, right ladies?

They represent a world that tells teenagers their lives will be destroyed if they have a baby at 17, 16, 15… that they can’t let their child live because they aren’t strong enough… instead of creating a culture that tells women THEY CAN….

They can have their child and finish school….

They can keep their baby and still reach their goals….

She can choose life at 16 and her future will hold so much more love and joy than she ever imagined.

Each cross represents a child that had to die because rather than eradicating poverty and hunger; we decided the poor are better off dead.

These crosses represent the women who were raped and then told that they couldn’t carry the “result of their assault” to term and that they must abort. They were the ones that no one bothered to empower with the truth that… This is YOUR CHILD TOO. 

No, because instead of doing that people continue to use “rape arguments,” listen to that, “RAPE ARGUMENTS!” These women's worst nightmare has become nothing more than a talking point to promote your political agenda. 

And so we are seldom able to hear, through all of the rhetoric, about the heroines who CHOSE LIFE ...and PS, they are disgusted by the way you use their stories to promote even more violence rather than celebrating their victory over their victimization.

These crosses represent the unborn men and women who unlike the amazing Rebecca Keissling’s and Ryan Bomberger’s of the world, were not allowed to live since we’re all still horrifyingly comfortable with this patriarchal construct that says because of their father’s transgressions it’s okay to callously refer to these HUMAN BEINGS as “rape babies,” and dispose of them like garbage. Victim blame much?

What if each one of these crosses represented a campus predator, an abusive boyfriend, or a flat out douchebag who knew that abortion was his best friend because it would allow him to use and exploit women for his pleasure without any consequences? Well, at least not for him…. Right?

But someone pays. And we, as females know, it’s always the unborn child and often the woman who has to live her whole life knowing that she bought into a lie that she couldn’t live her dreams without sacrificing her child’s life.

That’s bullshit and we’re not buying it anymore.

Look, we believe in bodily autonomy. We actually believe in it so strongly that we think you should be in control of your own body from the moment it first exists. From the moment your unique DNA is created within your mother’s womb at conception, to the moment your heart starts beating just 18 days later.  

No one can force you to choose life just like no one should be able to force you to have an abortion. We just want you to know that we are here no matter what you decide with the support and resources you need. 

To any students on campus who have had an abortion, this display was not done to hurt you, quite the opposite. We want you to know that we are here if you ever need to talk. You might not regret your abortion, but if you do come talk to us. No one should have to live a life filled with shame and guilt. We’re here to listen and get you help, no judgment.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Leading By Example...

"Today while I was on campus with the ‪#‎WeDontNeedPP‬ Display, I met a student who told me she is scheduled to have an abortion on Saturday. We talked for awhile, and I asked why she decided to have an abortion. She told me she doesn't think she can finish school and be a mother. After sharing with her the myriad of resources available to pregnant and parenting students on campus, I looked her in the eyes and said, "You are strong enough to be a mother and finish your education, don't let anyone tell you that you aren't..." She burst into tears and thanked me for talking with her. I gave her my contact info and told her to let me know if there is anything that she needs." -Lisa Atkins

THAT is pro-life feminism.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Representation Matters

Recently I had a gut-wrenching response to the casting of Zoe Saldana to play Nina Simone. My reaction surprised me and threw me into a state of uncontrollable sadness.
It hit me personally because being a dark-skinned black woman with a wide nose, big lips, and kinky hair is still apparently not good enough. I know, I know, where am I going with this? You see, representation matters.
Instead of getting an actress that best fits the physical description of this incredible woman, they choose someone who looks NOTHING like her, paint her skin, and add a prosthetic nose and wig. These are the lengths they had to go to create this non-fiction character instead of getting someone who naturally fits the mold. For those who don't quite understand, just do some research. Colorism is real and many women are still discriminated against because of the shade of their skin. Many women still struggle with major self-hatred and insecurities because society has built a standard for what true beauty is.
Just Google “beautiful women” or “beautiful hair” and see if you can find anyone who looks remotely like me without scrolling until your finger hurts. Yes, I am not ignorant to the fact that many women of all shapes and sizes will be omitted from this list, but stick with me here. Representation matters in more ways than you or I can count.
And that’s easy to say, but what does that really mean?
Last month I saw a meme that had a little black girl looking up at a black female character from Star Trek that said just that: “Representation Matters.” It then went on to quote Whoopi Goldberg. 

“When I was nine years old, Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, Mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”  — Whoopi Goldberg

THIS… All of this.

(In this moment I’m holding my newborn son tightly as tears stream down my face and I whisper to him, “I want a better world for you”.)

When women of color see that they can do something, they can be somebody, it makes a world of difference. We are so much more vulnerable to oppression when we think we we’re not good enough, or we can’t be anything we want to be.

Later that week Destiny tagged me in a post on Facebook that stated, “Black women have almost 40 percent of total U.S. abortions each year, despite Blacks being only 12 percent of the population.”
I already knew this; it hurts my heart every time I read it. Why aren’t people talking about it? Why does the black community treat abortion as though it’s a necessary evil, as though without it black women will never be able to succeed?

Destiny went on to say:
“College groups across the country - made up mostly of white young adults - ARE talking about it, but all that is doing is infuriating people of color. It comes off as a white savior complex. This is something that is impacting the black community so enormously but yet people within that community remain silent. That has to change, and it has to be black men and women leading the charge.”
She is absolutely correct. The question remained… where is the representation? Why the silence? Where are the people of color fighting for these unborn children who are dying at alarming rates?
My heart aches. The deepest part of me is in anguish because we still have a long way to go. Buzz words such as White Privilege, White Savior Complex, Institutional Racism, Infant and Maternal Mortality, Pre-school to Prison Pipeline…Abortion. These words inflame an uncomfortable response in me. A response that - especially when filled with birth hormones – turns me into a weeping mess drenching my infant’s head with tears.
Because all of these words provide a very sad commentary on the value of black life today. We have come a very long way but we still have a ways to go. This is the very reason why in order for anything to change we must first start where life begins and that is within the womb. If we cannot value the least and most innocent of us then it certainly should not matter who plays whom on the cinema screens. By WE, I mean African Americans, Blacks, People of Color, however you like to be recognized. WE must take a stand against injustice and be the change we wish to see. We cannot just sit and watch as others who are not directly affected by our plight take the reins and lead.
Representation Matters.


Post By Cessilye Smith

Friday, March 4, 2016

I didn't have an abortion, and it saved my life...

This week we've been bombarded with stories from celebrities, CEO's, and all around successful women who claim their abortion(s) saved them. They talk about how they wouldn't have been able to be successful and still fulfill their dreams without sacrificing the lives of their children.
I don't know about you, but "I couldn't have" is not a phrase fit for feminism. The beliefs we have as women needs to be build on, "I can" and "I did," because therein lies a message of strength and resilience that all women should hear. They need to know they are capable of facing an unplanned pregnancy and persevering. They need to see that there is a way for them to pursue their dreams without sacrificing such a powerful part of themselves along with the life of their child. They need to know they are not alone.
True feminism surrounds those women with support, encouragement, and resources... not a violent "choice" she might live the rest of her life regretting. 
With that said, I decided to dust of this short essay from our facebook about my own "I can and I did" moment. Because we as women and we are capable of anything. We're done sacrifices either our dreams or our children... when we know we're strong enough to have both.

"The panic is temporary. The fear is temporary. The crisis is temporary. The days when you wake up thinking “how did I make such a huge mistake” are so few in retrospect.

You have nine months for all that, but then it gets good. Still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but so so good…

My “crisis pregnancy” turned 15 today. He’s just a year shy of the age I was when I became pregnant with him (a thought that absolutely terrifies me, trust). However, he’s anything but a mistake.

He’s the other half to all my inside jokes. He’s the best person I’ve ever known. He’s the one who binge watches Doctor Who with me and teaches me about robots and video games. He’s the reason I started New Wave Feminists. He’s the owner of a pure heart, swiper of my favorite CDs, and contributor of copious amounts of laundry. He’s the kid who still has me hanging around skateparks a decade and a half later. He’s often my (much needed) filter, because he’s a stereotypical naturally mature firstborn, and the last one to ever let me down. He’s the kid that I didn’t really raise at all, but instead grew up alongside. He’s my heart and soul.

I didn’t know it at the time, but choosing life for him would give me a life that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

See, you don’t realize how temporary the “crisis” is when it’s consuming your every waking moment, but as soon as you get beyond that… Such beauty can be born from that which we never planned.

Fear is temporary, but the courage you gain facing it lasts forever. Panic subsides, but the strength you find in the midst of the crisis endures. Perhaps the most amazing thing though is how the love you feel for this new life, whether it was intended or not, suddenly turns a “mistake” into a miracle.

I didn’t save my son by “choosing life.”

He saved me."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Abortion Slacktivism And The White Savior Complex

The documentary film After Tiller is a fascinating look at the abortion industry, but it's also a fascinating piece of propaganda. It delves into the issue of late term abortions, a topic too grisly for most people to consider. 

The film focuses on a few of the few - the tiny percentage of abortionists who will do the procedure all the way into the third trimester of pregnancy. Only four doctors to be exact.

Dr. Hern is one of them. Most days he commits late term abortions in Boulder, Colorado. However, when reminiscing about how he got his start in After Tiller, he talks about his peace corp days in Brazil... 

What most people will conveniently overlook as he pulls at our heartstrings, is that he was looking at this community through a lucky set of eyes. A very lucky set of eyes. He chose to go to this impoverished country. He was not born there and forced to live there, like these women do day in and day out. He chose to tend to these underprivileged children for a set amount of time. He was not forced to conceive and care for them his entire life like the women of this village who he claims he was simply attempting to help. He chose to offer "safer" abortions as the "solution" to these women's problems, because he doesn't have to live with the fallout of the many more unplanned pregnancies and subsequent terminations that will continue to plague these mothers, sisters, and daughters since the real problem was never actually addressed at all. Meanwhile, he has flown back to the comforts of his American life and now uses their circumstances to justify his living extinguishing other human lives.

The pregnancies are only a symptom of - and abortion merely a BandAid for - the real problem: that women in many communities the world over live in a deeply patriarchal society where they have zero power, autonomy, freedom, or opportunity. We hear phrases like "baby machines" bandied about in the U.S., but here it might actually apply. Most of these women are going to grow up, be impregnated, and bear child after child, and there is nothing they can do about it.

Reproductive rights mean nothing if you ignore the fact that these women have no control over whether or not they will reproduce in the first place. And rather than addressing the true oppression these women are facing, Dr. Hern simply offers them an abortion after their rights have already been sufficiently trampled on. 

That is lazy activism from a privileged man who wants to pat himself on the back when really he's only compounding the problem.

I wish this were a unique story, but unfortunately this is how the west tends to treat most people not lucky enough to be born here in America (and of course those unlucky ones here who had the audacity to be born poor). Here's some pills, if they don't work, we'll kill your children for you. It's not that we don't care, it's just that we think these sorry excuses for "help" are the answer, when the real answer is to encourage economic health and self-sufficiency. "Give a man a fish..." We all know the saying.

Meanwhile, when we discuss abortion, we often hear the argument "But what about a woman's choice?" The response is pretty simple: "We are all for a woman's choice, but by the time there is an innocent human life inside her, the choice has already been made."

But what about the truly poor women of the third world, who don't get to choose whether or not they get pregnant, or raped by their husbands for that matter? Can your magical Western pills stop that from happening? I didn't think so...

It's difficult to see clips of a poor Brazilian woman, sitting outside a hut, no running water, no electricity, only the food she can grow or kill, with seven children playing around her in the dirt, and no say whatsoever in whether or not she has more. The ones she has are already hungry. Who on earth would say it's a good idea for her to keep having child after child she can't feed?

To the slacktivists, the answer is, of course, is birth control and abortion: send a (probably male) doctor over there to pat her on the head and scramble her baby up in her womb and suck it out and dispose of it and send her back to her life with a few hormone altering packets of class 1 carcinogens, where she will continue to have no power or control or real choice. Then if she gets pregnant again, and he'll go suck her next baby out, and so on and so forth. She'll still be poor and helpless, and he'll be a savior... to some. But certainly not to her. 

That is a sorry excuse for a solution. 

The answer, of course, is to advocate globally for women's rights, and for economic opportunity, which is the only way women will be able to access those rights. A world in which every girl can decide for herself what kind of life she's going to have; every woman can choose to marry or not marry, be a mom or not be a mom; every woman can wake up in the morning and have power and autonomy over her own body and her own life, from the moment it first exists.

Maybe it's just a dream, but that's the kind of world we are working toward.

These "saviors" in After Tiller do nothing but perpetuate the victimhood of women. They don't actually solve any problems. They just help keep a repulsive system running by propping up a patriarchy that preys on poor women.

After Tiller is absorbing, fascinating, and seductive. But it's propaganda. Don't let it fool you. Women - all women, everywhere - deserve much better than the desperate, wounding abomination of abortion. They deserve true liberation. 

- Post by Destiny & Kristen

Monday, February 1, 2016

Raising An Activist

Last week in DC my daughter Eiffel had a mini breakdown. It wasn't totally unexpected as I was fully prepared for her to be overwhelmed by the amount of abortion talk she'd overhear during the March for Life and surrounding events.

There are giant blown-up pictures of abortion victims along the march route that I knew she'd see. Plus, I figured the counter-demonstration we'd face in front of the Supreme Court with women and men in bloody pants screaming "God does not exist!" would be a new experience for my 9-year-old as well, and I was fully prepared for all of these talks. What caught me off guard however was what ultimately caught her off guard.

She handled the march like a champ, but that night back at our hotel, all hunkered down for the blizzard, we decided to hang out with some friends from Ireland in the lobby whom we'd had dinner with the previous evening. They're a jolly bunch. They drink too much and smoke too much, but also they say "feck" a lot.  According to them this is a word that's less offensive in Ireland than "crap." It's NOT the f-word although it sounds similar, and for us it's probably akin to "freaking." To Eiffel though it was a BAD WORD.

As we were headed down to hang out with them she stopped me. She grabbed my arm and when I looked back I noticed her eyes were filled with tears. She'd been such a trooper the whole trip that this surprised me but I figured something from earlier in the day must've finally gotten to her. I asked her what was wrong and that's when she told me, "I don't want to hang out with them because they're always cussing."

I love her heart. I love her heart so much.

To her their words were inappropriate and offensive. She's always been bothered by swear words in movies and songs, even when her siblings weren't, because she's my rule follower... only I never made a rule against “cuss words.”

I know most good moms do, but to me they're just dumb words. It's a sequence of sounds coming out of someone’s face and most of the time they mean nothing on their own and are only added for extra emphasis. I tried to explain this to her, but she just kept telling me that these words made her feel bad; that they hurt her.

I totally got what she was saying, but at the same time I felt the need to challenge that.

They're words. They're not sticks and stones. Words should never be able to have that much power over us. At least not arbitrary words like "feck" or hell, even "f*ck." As a nation we've become far too comfortable with taking offense at sounds coming out of people's faces. We claim that words hurt us, but I'm sorry, that's simply not true. Every word that supposedly "offends" us we've heard before... which is how we know it's offensive in the first place. It's not a new combination of sounds being introduced to the airwaves that is somehow magically able to assault our eardrums like no word before it.

And if any word should ever really *hurt* us, it should be "abortion." I asked Eiffel when was the last time that THAT word made her cry.

She kept trying to tell me that the other words she heard bothered her more even though she didn't know why and I said that while I understood, the meaning behind words is what really matters... and that's when she finally asked me.

She asked me what abortion really was.

She'd seen the pictures and grasped the general concept, but being the daughter of a prolife activist she'd somehow missed out on the nitty gritty.

We sat on the hotel room floor and I told her. I walked her through the procedures and I explained the different techniques used for different gestational ages. I told her how so many women who choose abortion simply feel that they have no other choice and that is why I, personally, am prolife.

The tears returned to her eyes but this time she couldn't blink them away. As they streamed down her face she looked up and asked me, "How can they let this happen?" And in that moment we had the same heart, because that's a question I ask myself every day.

She finally understood the difference between bad words and bad actions, and the fact that sometimes you can even put pretty words with bad actions. You can kill a child and call it "reproductive justice." You can force a woman into an abortion clinic while saying it's a "woman's right" and "liberating." You can stop someone else's heart from beating while somehow claiming it's still just a part of your body.

Last week my daughter learned a lesson that so many of us are constantly trying to teach our children: Actions speak louder than words.

Last week my daughter became an activist.


Post By Destiny

(Photo By Robin Marty)

Friday, January 29, 2016

The March for Life 2016 changed everything.

On January 22, 2016, for the first time in the history of the March for Life, a chanting blockade of counter-protesters from pro-abortion group Stop Patriarchy met the first wave of pro-life marchers, and those marchers were holding signs reading: “I AM A PROLIFE FEMINIST.”

However it happened, whether it was fate or luck, the very first people the Stop Patriarchy counter-protesters saw were not old men, not blue-haired ladies with Bibles, not priests or nuns, not frat boys or politicians or church leaders. They were young women, carrying signs declaring themselves feminists.

It was a moment I will never forget as long as I live.

And not only was it a badass moment for those of us who were there, it was also symbolic of what is happening in the pro-life world. Young women are getting out in front of a movement that has, in some ways, stopped moving. For many major pro-life groups and individuals, the approach hasn’t changed much in the past 43 years. There are still those who cling to their bullhorns, huge photographs of dismembered fetuses, and a one-size-fits-all overtly religious approach. There are still people getting arrested on purpose – as if that’s going to help any mothers or babies – and seeming more concerned with name recognition and speaking fees than changing the culture.

Overall, the movement as a whole is still taking a somber, deadly-earnest approach to being pro-life. This has to stop. We will never convince the culture to come over to our side when our side looks like a total drag.

Photo by Robin Marty

It was anything but a drag that frigid morning in D.C. A legit blizzard was going to start any minute when New Wave Feminists came over the crest of a hill in front of the Supreme Court and saw Stop Patriarchy’s familiar orange signs and blood-spattered pants. There was no one between us and them but the police.

Surge of adrenaline. We sped up almost to a jog, so they would see our signs first: “I AM A PROLIFE FEMINIST.”

We didn’t slow down until we were directly in front of them. We blocked their signs with our own signs and banner. They were chanting “WE ARE THE LIBERATION GENERATION!” So we started chanting it with them. Because, um, we are.

When the police told them to leave the street, they eventually did. (As opposed to last year, when several of them got arrested.) They started their own small rally, replete with P.A. system, just off the street. They did their best to drown out the testimonies of the women of Silent No More, who were on the steps of the Supreme Court building sharing stories of how abortion destroyed their lives and bodies. Meanwhile, our friends at Stop Patriarchy chanted ridiculous sing-songs about how babies aren’t real until they come out of a vagina, as if a woman’s birth canal is an enchanted doorway. (They also read us “science lessons” about this fact. “A FETUS IS NOT A BABY!” was screamed repeatedly.)

Definitely their most convincing argument was when one of the women screamed “F—k God!” at the top of her lungs.

The New Wave Feminist response was to be there, be living proof of how wrong they are, and show them there is joy when you let go of the lie that your womb has to be invaded by death in order for you to be a liberated woman.

We also had a lot of fun appropriating their chants. “EVERY GENERATION HAS AN OBLIGATION TO WOMEN’S LIBERATION!” Sure, we’ll chant that right along with you. “THEY ARE KILLING WOMEN!” Yeah, we’ll chant that, too, and remember the many women who have died from “safe, legal, and rare” abortions.

But you know what? We were having fun. That’s supposed to be a bad word, I know. You’re not supposed to have fun being pro-life. You’re supposed to be somber and on the verge of tears for all the missing children and wounded women. But I have long been firmly convinced that the appropriate response to tragedy is joy – joy in spite of everything.

And joy was the word of the day. Destiny and I couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, the situation in front of the Supreme Court was so absurd it was funny. We were all grown women. Couldn’t we have a conversation? Instead the Stop Patriarchy people wouldn’t even look us in the eye. They looked through us, and kept chanting and screaming. It was surreal to stand a few feet from someone, to be having a vocal disagreement with them, and yet have no conversation whatsoever. Just chants and signs and, most of all, shrieking. Next year I’m bringing them lozenges.

The only time anyone made eye contact with us was when a girl who looked like Zooey Deschanel shouted “YOU’RE NOT A FEMINIST!” at our faces. It was the closest thing to a conversation we had with Stop Patriarchy. Our response was to smile and say “Yet here we are!”

It’s important to remember that Stop Patriarchy is not the voice of the entire pro-choice movement. They are extremists, and a lot of people who believe in abortion rights find them gross and ineffective.

But these are the ones who braved the blizzard and came out. These are the true believers. We have at least that much in common with them. In fact, we probably have more in common with them than we think.

I’ll never forget looking up and seeing that barrier made up of women with their signs: “ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY.” I’ll never forget the anger I felt – not at them, but at the lie. They believe it. They really do. They believe abortion is their liberation. They believe they can be released from oppression only by the deaths of their innocent children. They believe it so strongly they can’t even let themselves admit those children were once alive.

It’s crushing, it’s horrifying, and it’s gone on too long. 

We aren’t fighting them. We’re fighting for them. We’re fighting the lie that has twisted their hearts, invaded their wombs, and killed their children: that abortion is liberation.

Abortion is not liberation. Abortion is misogyny in action. 

On paper, the theme of this year’s March was “Pro-Woman, Pro-Life.” It didn’t really feel like that in reality – the majority of speakers at all the major events were still men - but New Wave Feminists and our allies are working toward a future when we don’t need to designate that theme, when the pro-life movement is truly a woman-centered and woman-led movement.

For me, the theme this year was Joy.

Joy was what separated us from the wounded and enraged women (and men) of Stop Patriarchy. Joy is what draws people to New Wave Feminists. 

Joy – just being happy to be alive – should be a cornerstone of the pro-life movement. 

We are here not just to defend, but to celebrate Life. If it’s not worth celebrating, then why are we fighting so hard for it?

Post by K-Hatt