Sunday, August 30, 2009

News Flash: Operation Rescue Lies

Surprising, right?

Yesterday, my friend Taylor and I trekked up to Bellevue, NE (outside of Omaha) to join almost 200 pro-choicers from around the country (17 states!) to defend Dr. LeRoy Carhart's clinic, the Abortion & Contraception Clinic of Nebraska (ACCON).

It was an amazing experience, and I do want to write more about everything that happened, from the insane to the inspiring, but that'll have to wait.

Because Operation Rescue posted a story on their website today, detailing yesterday's events. I'm not entirely sure where they were yesterday, but the events they're reporting on is certainly not the same Operation Rescue-protest / clinic defense that I witnessed/participated in on Saturday the 29th.

Now, it's not that it surprises me that Operation Rescue would lie in their account of what happened; they're notoriously good at stretching the truth and falsifying things and filing false charges. I expected them to try to spin this weekend's events into an OR-sympathetic story.

But the lies in the story are just too egregious to not address.

So, point by point, as thoroughly as I can while maintaining my composure, here's how it really went down.
I don't want to link to them, because I don't want to drive any traffic their way, so instead, I'll do an old-fashioned copy & paste.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Young Feminists VS. Older Feminists? Or Young Feminists WITH Older Feminists?

2nd wave vs 3rd wave.
Old biddies vs young visionaries.
Wise women vs ungrateful little girls.
Maybe even: mother vs daughter.
"This is not your mother's feminism."
"Young women don't know what feminism is."

We've heard all of these before, from each side, staking out their territory in generational wars. This is nothing new. Feminism has been declared dead over and over, sometimes even by older women who've dedicated their lives to a feminism that no longer exists in the way they knew it.

I come to this...debate? disagreement? full-out fight? one of those supposedly ungrateful, lazy, selfish young feminists. I'll admit that I get awfully sick of the older generation disparaging my entire peer group, condescending to us, not trusting us, and refusing to pass on that torch.
But I do understand where a lot of the distrust comes from. I'll also admit that I do have peers who don't value the wisdom of the older generation, who don't want to be passed the torch so much as either rip the torch from the older feminists' hands or try to reinvent fire altogether.

This older generation of feminists that so distrusts my generation has been through a hell of a lot. They've had to fight like hell so that we don't have to fight quite so hard for the same things. Most of them were around when abortion was illegal, and know firsthand what exactly we'll lose if Roe falls. A lot of them were trailblazers in their field, entering predominantly male workforces and facing intense, overt discrimination. They might have been getting married when spousal rape was still perfectly legal. They've got stories to tell and wisdom to share. And yes, there are some in my generation who don't really care, but really: most of us do care.
It's a respect thing, but it's also just a logical strategic thing: if there's wisdom there, learn it. You don't need to reinvent the wheel.

This generation gap / fight / debate / disagreement / whatever is a little tiresome. For everyone. When we waste our energy fighting with each other over who gets to carry the torch, we sacrifice our ability to blaze any trails.

This is why I'm super stoked to be going to this conference at the Omega Institute in a few weeks:

Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations. (video will automatically start playing)

The Women’s Institute at Omega is breaking new ground and bringing women of different generations together for one electrifying weekend. Featuring more than 34 amazing trailblazers, Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations will get you charged up to make a difference in your life, your home, your community, and the world.

Join us for a weekend of celebration, uplifting speeches, entertainment, and panel discussions with women from different backgrounds and generations. Award-winning novelist Isabel Allende; Alberta Nells, youth leader of the Navajo Nation: feminist icon Gloria Steinem; singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant; and playwright, poet, activist, solo-performer, Sarah Jones; are just a few of the diverse women coming together to share, unite, and inspire.

It's got a pretty rockstar list of faculty:
Isabel Allende
Lori Barra
Maya Breuer
Cathy Collins
Ann Friedman
Carla Goldstein
Angela Hucles
Charreah Jackson
Sarah Jones
Jensine Larsen
Andrea Lee
Elizabeth Lesser
Jana Long
Donna Lopiano
Courtney Martin
Jessica Mendoza
Natalie Merchant
Pat Mitchell
Elisa Mott
Samhita Mukohopadhyay
Alberta Nells
Ana Nogales
Sarah Peter
Adrienne Ressler
Eliza Reynolds
Sil Reynolds
Lateefah Simon
Gloria Steinem
Gail Straub
Helen Thomas
Jessica Valenti
Vanessa Valenti
Sakena Yacoobi
Miriam Zolia Perez

My homegirl Gloria Steinem will be there!
And OMG. Helen Thomas. I have such a grandma-crush on her. (i.e. I would like for her to be my grandmother)
And Isabel Allende!
And and and and and...
I'm stoked.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How To Write About Abortion Providers

There's been a lot of linking among my pro-choice friends to the article that ran in Esquire last week. The Last Abortion Doctor has made its rounds to pretty much every major feminist blog: Shakesville, feministing, Feministe, and I'm sure plenty of others. None really commented specifically on the article; their posts just sent readers in the direction of Richardson's craptastic article.
Yes, craptastic.
I don't know if I'm in the minority in thinking it was so awful. Lots of people commenting on these posts loved it. I know, though, that I wasn't the only one who really hated the way that John H. Richardson wrote about Dr. Warren Hern.

Dr. Hern is an abortion provider in Boulder, CO. He is one of very few doctors in the US that will perform late abortions, usually defined as after the 22nd or 24th week.
Dr. Hern is a wonderful doctor, and I'm more grateful than I can express that he's continuing to do his work after losing his friend and colleague, Dr. Tiller, to the same threats that he receives daily.

John Richardson, however, is a terrible writer and ruined what could have been a great profile article of the personal side of an abortion provider and the life he must lead just to be safe. Not only is the article riddled with inaccuracies, he insists on calling Dr. Hern "the abortionist," a vilifying term coined by the anti-choicers...and one that Dr. Hern explicitly requested he not use.

So, the subject? Fantastic. The actual article? Piece of crap.

(At least one blogger agrees, and wrote a great piece about all the reasons John Richardson's article was terrible: see Ema's post at The Well Timed Period.)

Today, I found another profile of another abortion provider who is now performing more late abortions. This time, it was written by a journalist who actually knows how to write without ruining really fantastic subject matter.
Newsweek created a video a couple weeks ago:

And Newsweek published an article yesterday, The Abortion Evangelist: Why LeRoy Carhart Won't Stop Doing Abortions.
Sarah Kliff, who has covered abortion-related issues for Newsweek for at least a couple years, did a fantastic job with the article. She spent time with Dr. Carhart, got to know him, and told his story. She turned him into a person, and crafted a simultaneously emotive and informative profile of Dr. Carhart. She understood abortion politics, did not refer to him as "an abortionist," and, well, acted like a professional journalist.

This is how you write a personal profile of a doctor who provides abortions.
This is a good article.

And when you want to write more of your own personal narrative in a journalistic context? You do what Sarah Kliff did, and write a separate piece about your experience in watching an abortion procedure. Read that one, too: Watching My First Abortion - Competing Emotions