The Scoop On Abortion Providers! In an excellent article in The Hairpin, Dolores P., abortion provider trainee, answers basic questions about her profession with extensive, funny, and often quite intimate responses. First, she cites two reasons for having gone into the field.
“I went into healthcare in general because of a bunch of shitty gynecologists growing up who told me, for instance, that “when you” (me) “have sex with so many people” (I, like, halved the real number) “so young” (18) that “none of them care about you” (me). I figured the most direct way to ensure that there wasn’t a total asshole at the bottom of the table was to do it myself.”
Also, she embraced the job because of the sad fact that the number of abortion providers is in severe decline. Right now there are fewer than 2,000, only 2% of ob/gyns perform half of all abortions, and the number of abortion providers has declined 37% since 1982 — but what I didn’t realize before reading her article is that many of the ones that still exist are either approaching retirement or likely to quit soon because of how dangerous the job has become.
“I am lucky to be training in a liberal Northeastern state: the biggest impact of “antis” on my training is that I have to bring my lunch every day because it’s not really a good idea to go outside more than you have to.”
“Nobody wants a fucking abortion or at any point in their lives thought, “Oh, who cares, I’ll just take care of it.” Not even the woman on her tenth who said to me when I came in the room, “Hm, I haven’t seen you before! You must be new.” I am going to tell you that having 10 abortions is extremely rare, but I am also going to tell you without even starting another sentence that it doesn’t matter how rare it is because there should be no hierarchy of abortion. On demand, without apology? Great, I’m glad we all agree. It all breaks down to this: no one is immune to mistakes, whether it’s a mistake of their own making or (more likely) an end effect of the system, especially our fucked-up broken medical system I hate representing. (Sorry, system! Had to say it.)”
She writes about her own experience getting an abortion — and how it influenced her decision to become a provider. She writes about how she usually chooses not to tell people that she is an abortion provider in social situations, because she doesn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. She writes about the many obstacles that still stand in the way of many of her patients attempting to get medical treatment. And she even recounts an instance when she gave an abortion to an a “pro-life” woman, even after referring her to a counselor who talked to her for hours about all of the other parenting options she had. “At my clinic, we joke that we turn away more patients than the protesters do,” she writes. “And although she did end up terminating the pregnancy, the procedure went well, there were no complications, and she told the staff we had been the ‘most supportive!’ I personally thanked her and told her it was an honor to be there for her and still get teary when I think about it. Ice burn, Lila Rose!” Ice burn indeed.
The Status Of American Women: President Obama just released a extensive report, entitled, “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being” — and there are quite a few interesting tidbits in there. Like, women still spend more time doing housework and caring for other family members — as well as doing unpaid volunteer work. Both are unfortuantely unsurprising — I’ve been volunteering for New York Cares for a couple of years now, and at any given project, the largest amount of men there has always been 1. Women still earn 75% less than men — at all levels of education. BUT: “Women’s gains in educational attainment have significantly outpaced those of men over the last 40 years. Today, younger women are more likely to graduate from college than are men and are more likely to hold a graduate school degree. Higher percentages of women than men have at least a high school education, and higher percentages of women than men participate in adult education.” Also, women are more likely to report feelings of depression, especially if they are impoverished, and they are less likely than men to receive preventive care like pap smears or flu vaccinations. Women are marrying and having children much later, are more likely to live alone, and are more likely to live in poverty than adult men. The full report is here.
What Do Charlie Sheen And Reality TV Have In Common? Both Abuse Women: According to Anna Holmes (founder of Jezebel) in a recent NYTimes op-ed, the pervasiveness and ingrained misogyny of reality TV could be contributing to why Charlie Sheen has not only not been chastised at all for his abuse toward women, it has been largely ignored — or credited to the fact that the women he spends his time with are “asking for it” because many of them are porn stars or sex workers. She writes:
“On reality television, gratuitous violence and explicit sexuality are not only entertainment but a means to an end. These enthusiastically documented humiliations are positioned as necessities in the service of some final prize or larger benefit — a marriage proposal, a modeling contract, $1 million. But they also make assault and abasement seem commonplace, acceptable behavior, tolerated by women and encouraged in men.”
I mean, whenever I am channel flipping and land on Jersey Shore — which, while ridiculous, features mostly college-educated people – the first scene I watch is always of Sammi and Ronnie fighting. I haven’t by any means seen every episode, but in the ones I did see, Ronnie makes out with a bunch of girls (simultaneously!) at a club and then goes home and has sex with Sammi. Then later, when they’re broken up, Sammi dances with some guy at a club and Ronnie goes home and throws all of her possessions out the window. And makes sure everything is broken. And then yells at her. And Jersey Shore is one of the most popular reality shows on television.
And this is only one example. I’m sure anyone who has a television could think of another, equally egregious instance where a woman is treated like a dog — worse! — but a man’s emotional or physical abuse of them is not frowned upon because the woman previously asserted herself as a sexual being. Even if the man was guilty of an infinitely worse offense. Holmes talks about how, when asked if he had ever hit a woman during an interview with Piers Morgan, he said no, that women should be “hugged and caressed.” And Morgan didn’t broach the subject again, even though that was a flagrant lie. Because in this world, we don’t really castigate the Charlie Sheens. We put him on the air, we talk about him, we joke about him, we publicize him, we make him worth even more than he is already worth — way more than he ought to be worth. And the women whose throats were once subjected to Sheen’s knife are forgotten, or dismissed as “whores.”