Welcome to the Friday Femorandum, your weekly guide to all the reproductive news that’s fit to reprint, featuring mandatory ultrasounds, fraudulent “clinics,” and stupid questions.
If you’re inclined to think that a mandatory transvaginal ultrasound doesn’t sound so much like awesome funtimes as it does an invasive, sometimes painful procedure that grown women seeking abortions should not be forced to undergo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker would like you to know that you are wrong.
This week, the Republican presidential candidate referred to the mandatory ultrasounds, which he signed into law in 2013, as “a cool thing” that gives women seeking abortions an opportunity to “make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child.”
Walker has said his words were taken out of context. So here’s a direct quote:
Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing.
As New York Magazine points out, “Perhaps it’s worth noting the difference between a photograph marking the early stages of a wanted pregnancy and unnecessarily inserting a dildo-wand in someone’s vagina to make them feel guilty for choosing abortion, but it’s a distinction that hasn’t yet occurred to Walker.”
More recently–as in, this week–Walker professed his support for a 20-week abortion ban that would not include any exceptions for victims of rape and incest. The Daily Beast reports that Walker’s support for such an extreme anti-abortion measure could cripple his attempts to appease both moderates and conservatives on “social” issues like abortion.
Over here on the left coast, California is actually adopting progressive legislation requiring full disclosure from deceitful “crisis pregnancy centers,” fake clinics whose whole purpose is pressure pregnant girls and women into carrying their unplanned pregnancies to term. CPCs do not provide abortion referrals, even when asked, and often give women false “medical” information about the physical and mental consequences of abortion.
This week, Ms. Magazine reports that the California Assembly passed legislation that would require CPCs to provide accurate information to women about all their options, including abortion. CPCs hate this proposal, both because it would force these “clinics” to acknowledge abortion as an option, and because it would require them to give medically accurate information, instead of, you know, just making it up.
If you haven’t read Grist’s two-part series on birth control access for teenagers, they’ve got your Friday afternoon covered. (Series intro here). The stories, by Grist culture editor Eve Andrews, take a deep dive into the stories of two very different clinics: One at Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle’s Delridge neighborhood, and one in rural Twisp, Washington, whose county, Okanagan, has a teen pregnancy rate more than twice the statewide average.
Both clinics are taking a place-centered approach to reproductive health care, reflecting the needs of their communities. In Twisp, a community of about 900, the emphasis is on confidentiality, as well as education about domestic abuse, power dynamics in relationships, and gender oppression. In Seattle, the clinic focuses on providing access to free long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as IUDs, implants, and the ring. Since LARCs were first made available to students in 2010, Neighborcare, which runs the clinics, more than 500 students have taken advantage of the program.
Finally, we’ll leave you with this gif of Mad Max costar Tom Hardy responding to a reporter asking if he wondered “why all these women are in here” because Mad Max was supposed to be a “men’s movie.” Hardy answered tersely, “No,” and then dropped the mic:
Have a fabulous, feminist weekend!
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