Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Stop Patriarchy protester: Don’t give up the fight for abortion rights

[Originally published in The Daily Texan]
By Adrienne Luendo

My name is Adrienne Luendo — I am a 23-year-old recent college graduate. More than that, I am an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider and was one of the five people arrested outside of the UT Austin campus on Aug. 27.

I protested because I feel responsible to act on what I know to be true. The closure of abortion clinics nationwide must be stopped because without the right to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child, women cannot be free. This responsibility is heavy, but it is not without great joy and honor to be part of something worth living and fighting for. I protested because I’m angry that college students are being silenced when campuses should be teeming with debate and dissent. This is our future, and we can do better than standing on the sidelines. I wanted to challenge students, to show that young people have the ability and responsibility to change the trajectory of history, and that means putting our bodies on the line.

On Friday, Aug. 29, just two days after our protest and arrest, Judge Lee Yeakel blocked — for now — the round of clinic closures that had been scheduled to take place across Texas on Sept. 1. This is great! However, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has already appealed this ruling and a hearing is set for Sept. 12 in New Orleans. In addition, over half of Texas’ abortion clinics already have been closed for the past two years, part of a dangerous pattern nationwide.

Everyone needs to know about this and needs to be part of the fight to change the way people think, talk, and act about abortion. “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology” is what Stop Patriarchy says. Abortion is the first word in the slogan. It’s not an afterthought, not a statement that abortion should be “rare.”  It creates the possibility of conversations about why abortion should be unrestricted and spoken about without taboo, shame or stigma.  Students are leaders, the future of this world and need to be speaking about abortion on those terms!

Some students were deeply inspired by our action on Guadalupe Street because they had never seen or been part of a protest.  We sounded the alarm about the abortion rights emergency here in the U.S. and abroad — chanting facts, stories and questions.  We wore all white and had blood stains on our pants to bring to life the reality that when abortion was illegal, 5,000 women per year died from botched abortions, and currently 47,000 women die each year globally from botched abortions.

“When was the last time someone told you to yell about women’s rights? It feels good to stand up for the lives of women,” Sunsara Taylor, initiator of the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, yelled out to students. This is so true! Students and young people have grown up in a culture where talk about abortion is silenced because it’s controversial.  But there should be nothing controversial about a woman making the decision of when and whether she will become a mother.  It is immoral to force her into motherhood against her will.

Going to jail was an awful experience.  We were treated as less than human, our prints taken, and were constantly searched and groped.  I thought of the women who have to drive hours to the nearest clinic, scrape up money and often childcare, of women who inject themselves with birth control before crossing the border because they know there is a likelihood of rape while traveling, of the lives stolen by illegal and botched abortions, the countless stories of foreclosed lives. I stood for them and it was worth it!

Some students and drivers were angry because of the disruption to their lives. But that’s just a small dose of what it’d be like to be a woman without access to reproductive care. I call on students to stand up for women’s lives. If you don’t want to see the women of the world enslaved to their reproductive system, if you’re angry that some politicians will not stop until abortion is abolished, if you are tired of being silenced, if someone you love had an abortion, join up with Listen to women’s stories. Tell your own. Start a chapter where you live. Because if you understand that forcing women into motherhood against their will is immoral and wrong, it’s up to you to do something about it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why Janay Rice (formerly Palmer) didn’t leave is a no-brainer to feminists

By Carol Downer

American society seems surprised and shocked that Janay Rice decided to not leave her boyfriend, Ray Rice.  Anti-rape feminists in the 70’s knew why a woman stays with an abusive boyfriend or husband.  It is the male-dominated system that forces women into positions to “choose” to stay in abusive relationships.

Then, in the mid-70’s, grass-roots feminist anti-rape groups found themselves re-formed when they received funding from law enforcement agencies.  The Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) funneled vast funds into replacing lay staff with Ph.D.’s who softened the militancy of the women’s liberation movement.  Instead of confronting rapists or forming self-help defense groups, the group’s objective became collecting physical evidence needed to catch and prosecute rapists.  Later, efforts to fight violence against women similarly were funded and became social service agencies.  

The feminist energy to fight male violence tolerated by the male-dominated system (patriarchal system) was diverted into providing social services to abused women and punishing abusive men who were disproportionately of lower class and of color.  In other words, the system used its money as a counter-revolutionary tool.  Today, the debate is couched not in sexual equality terms, but rather in statistics.  Experts talk in gender-neutral language about “intimate partner violence” and “abusers” and “abused”, ignoring that the problem in rooted in male supremacy, even if some minority of female partners are sometimes abusive.

I must admit, when I heard about the video of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancĂ©e out of the elevator after he punched her, I thought, “Why doesn’t she just kick him in the shins and leave.”  With a moment’s reflection, a flood of reasons, all related to the economics of the situation, came to me.  Ray Rice is a successful, high-earning man, so the economic aspect is more clear than the usual case, where a ordinary pay check is all that might be put in jeopardy with law enforcement intervention, however a woman and her family may depend on that paycheck.

Beyond economics, there are a myriad of reasons to stay in an abusive relationship in a patriarchal society.  The woman is blamed; the church disapproves of or forbids divorce; one’s social life often depends on being in couple.

Lastly, and not inconsistent with being self-respecting, a woman may stay with a man who has qualities that she values, or they may have a history that is irreplaceable.  If women had more power in our society, the woman would be able to insist on better treatment.

As to the fact that Janay Palmer is Black, White prejudice may negatively affect public perceptions of her decision to stay, but whether an abused female can leave an abusive relationship is grounded in difference in power between males and females.  Any implication that abused White women somehow have it easier than abused Black women ignores the reality that White men have a lot more power than Black men in our society, thus they tend to have more economic power, and they are able to conceal their violence or they are dealt with more leniently.

When feminists take our movement back from those who cloud the issue, the issue will be simplified; male supremacy, or patriarchy, will be directly attacked.

"No One Has To Ask Permission To Fight For Women’s Liberation - A Response To Katie Klabusich’s Attack On Stop Patriarchy In Bitch Magazine"

[Originally published in,,, and]
By Carol Downer

The headline, “In Texas, Activist Group ‘Stop Patriarchy” Draws Criticism’ and the first two paragraphs might first appear like an objective report; however, your blog, reprinted in Bitch is not a report, but a trash job. Come clean, Katie Klabusich, Texans for Reproductive Justice is you and your buddies in an ad hoc group formed for the sole purpose of opposing Stop Patriarchy and their mission to come to Texas, protest the TRAP laws that are closing down Texas clinics and their goal of linking this to the nationwide emergency facing abortion rights.

I’m on the advisory board of Stop Patriarchy and I went on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride for one week.

So, you have not given me or anyone else one good reason not to support Stop Patriarchy. Your criticisms are baseless; if anything, they are reasons to support Stop Patriarchy.

It is great that we attract media attention because we go to where the Patriarchy is crushing women down; our demonstrations are photogenic; we have good slogans, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology”; we have attention-arresting enlargements of photos of women who have died from illegal abortion and great props dramatizing that enforced pregnancy is unconstitutional “involuntary servitude.” We have great fliers and dramatize women’s abortion stories. We get national and local media response, in addition to getting out broadly into the communities across Texas and talking to real people – not just people in the existing “movement” – the majority of whom know nothing about the clinic closures and have never heard anyone speak positively about abortion. I saw this have a real positive impact on people’s thinking. What is not to like about that?

You ask where the money we raised went? $30,000.00 is not much these days, especially when dozens of you fly or drive to the destination and you have to use cars and stay in motels, but if you sleep on the floor and cook your own food, you can make it stretch. What money do you think is not accounted for?

You all call Stop Patriarchy racist because we say that forced motherhood is female enslavement? A woman accepts the pains and dangers of wanted pregnancy and labor, but when we are forced to endure them, what would you call it? A walk in the park? You call us Islamaphobic because we condemn the patriarchy that forces women to wear the burka? We condemn Western patriarchy that pressures women to be sex objects and wear body-restricting clothing like thongs. Is that Islamaphobic? And, who says Stop Patriarchy is against sex workers because we are against pornography? Is being against sweatshops also being against underpaid laborers who work in unhealthy conditions?

None of these are good reasons for opposing and seeking to sabotage Stop Patriarchy.

Let’s get to the meat of what is burning your buns. We did not get permission from you all to come protest at the Federal Courthouse in Austin at the hearings to decide whether to let the restrictions on clinics go into effect this September 1st, did we? Katie, did you notice that we demonstrated at the FEDERAL courthouse? That’s because the question before the court was whether the law violated the U.S. constitution, and that affects all of us, doesn’t it? Just because it happens on Texas soil is irrelevant. We don’t have to ask permission. Get over it.

Also, you are upset we did not use our money to pay for women’s abortions now that Texas women are being forced to travel and incur extra costs. Well, that is a political decision. Most people who call themselves reproductive rights groups consider themselves “political.” Political means engaging in the political process. Protesting is a time-honored way of being political, and while we are all consternated at the injustice against Texas women that is being perpetrated, social change will only come about through political organizing, which costs money.

What really makes me question your ad hoc group’s opposition to Stop Patriarchy, Katie, is that you want to keep SP from protesting in Texas, because they are “disreputable” and many of them support the Revolutionary Communist Party. Why do you think this disqualifies us from being part of the reproductive rights movement?

I have been a reproductive rights activist and an abortion provider for over 40 years, and I am on the advisory board of Stop Patriarchy. I am aware that Stop Patriarchy is an effort that Sunsara Taylor and other supporters of the RCP initiated which also includes others who believe in the goals of Stop Patriarchy, such as I. I believe that we need a revolution in this country, but think it has to be a feminist-led revolution that transforms our society, therefore I am not a communist, but I have known these folks since before 1979. I esteem them as fellow progressives that share my opposition to U.S. imperialist wars, and mass incarceration of poor, black and brown people, and I condemn your red-baiting.

The red-baiting brings up an interesting question, Katie, are you guys against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the blatant use of our law enforcement machinery to imprison so many young men of color and the murder of Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown? Or, are you all the kind of reproductive rights activists that believes that the women’s movement is just about raising women’s status in our society, and not about broader social justice. That might explain your group’s slurs.

I have to wonder if you folks have lined up with the Democratic Party who continues to support Hyde Amendment restrictions and the mealy-mouthed “choice” people whose only goal is to reduce female fertility, and you do not want us “disreputable” protestors to raise hell about these TRAP laws.

I would like to say why I came to Texas at this time to protest these laws. First, I have watched our defeat in Texas with dismay, and I wanted to come join in with the protests of Texans and to voice my own outrage. Second, I see more and more attacks coming around the country, and I see very little visible protest occurring. Mostly everything is left up to Planned Parenthood and the Democrats, and I am sick of it. I think it’s time for outspoken protests saying “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology.” I respect that Texans have been working hard on this issue, but it has not been enough. We need to do more. In L.A., in NYC, everywhere. I invite Texans who are working for Reproductive Freedom and Justice to come to California. We need some help too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NOW IS THE TIME: A Statement of Support for the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: Ground Zero Texas

[Re-post from]

by Carol Downer

I totally support the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride that will take place through Texas this August and possibly through September, and I hope that everyone who values women’s reproductive freedom will support this beginning of a new chapter of the Battle for Women’s Reproductive Rights.

I was there in the mid-1960’s, when abortion was still illegal in much of the United States and women were forced to travel to states and cities where abortion, legal or illegal, was available, or to subject themselves to procedures done by unknown abortionists. I was one of them. I had taken no action to stand up for my reproductive rights, and I didn’t know anyone else who had.

We’re in that same position today. There is a splash of newspaper coverage when one more defeat of the so-called “pro-choice” movement takes place in the courts or the legislatures, or when clinics in Texas close, but mostly life goes on as though nothing significant is happening. Perhaps we send in a few dollars to Planned Parenthood, which has positioned itself as the champion of women’s rights, although that championing is strictly limited to lady-like tactics, not grass-roots organizing.

But, something significant is happening.

Suddenly, ridiculous regulations that have been proposed in State legislatures for the last 40 years and quickly quashed, have now gained traction. The Supreme Court has even refused to stay the Texas law that requires a clinic to have a doctor on staff at a hospital within 30 miles. In general, hospitals have not wanted to touch abortion with a 10-foot pole, ever. That’s why abortions are provided in clinics. There are extremely few complications from abortion that require hospitalization, and when they do, hospitals have staffs who are equipped to deal with them and are already required by law to do so. Forty years of providing legal abortion shows that this regulation is bogus, but it is being treated as legitimate by legislators and jurists.

If the U.S. Supreme Court finds that these regulations are constitutional, it is just a matter of months or a couple of years, for State legislators around the country to emulate Texas and Mississippi. Clinics will scramble to somehow get a doctor on staff if they can. Perhaps those abortion doctors who presently have staff privileges will lose them. Clinics will close. We will find ourselves in a patchwork situation of abortion access similar to pre-Roe v. Wade.

You may think, “Well, that’s when women will wake up. We’ll take to the streets.” Or, you may think, “Well, thousands of abortion clinic workers know how to perform abortions safely. Clandestine clinics will come into existence.” Or, you may think, “Well, there will be an underground supply of abortion pills.” If you’re really dreaming, you’ll think, “Heck, women did it themselves before Roe v. Wade. They’ll do it again, and the law will collapse of its own weight.”

None of these solutions is going to occur, at least without the dedication and organization of those activists who will make them occur.

Why? Because, history shows that Richard Wright, who wrote “Native Son” was right when he said, “Oppression oppresses.” As the new status quo is established, people will be even less optimistic, less willing to take a chance.

Most people in the late 60’s and early 70’s took no active interest in abortion, beyond inviting a NOW speaker to come talk about abortion. Public opinion polls showed, as they consistently show today, that a small percentage of people are very concerned about the issue, either pro or con. The majority of people are in the middle. Most of these people are uncomfortable with abortion. Many believe it to be immoral, and would never have an abortion or want their loved one to have one. And, many believe that abortion should be regulated or limited in some fashion. However, all but those at the extreme anti-abortion end of the continuum, do not want abortion to be illegal.

I believe that the Freedom Ride will awaken those at our end of the continuum who care passionately about women having reproductive freedom. It will form networks, draw attention, support abortion providers, raise consciousness, inspire the future Lana Clarke Phelans and Pat Maginnises. It will be raucous but non-violent; it will be confrontational and enlightening.

Social change in regards to women’s reproductive rights is not measured by the changes in the law. For example, the Comstock Law, which forbade the mailing of information on birth control, stayed on the books until the 70’s, but it was not enforced. The Freedom Ride will build on the fact that most people are with us. “Abortion should not be illegal!” will resonate with almost everyone. “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!” will thrill some and start many others thinking about this in a new way. Openly talking about it will keep the dialogue going and reduce the shame. These changes cannot be accomplished on the internet. The internet can coordinate activities and make us aware of each other; the websites where women can talk about their abortions or those that raise money to help women get abortions perform a valuable service, but daughters talking to their moms, and speakouts and demonstrations is what’s going to change the climate around abortion. Social change is not going to come by getting on or watching the Anderson Cooper 360 or Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room. These programs follow the changes in public opinion; they articulate them.

No one can predict how far-reaching the impact from the Freedom Ride will be. For sure, it will break down isolation and it will bring grass-roots voices to the debate. It certainly will nourish the spirits of those who go on the ride and those who benefit from its actions and programs. It may inspire other projects, other Rides. It could even awaken the potential leaders of mass movements, or even it may itself lead a mass movement.


Carol Downer is a feminist, lawyer, and co-founder of the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles which started providing abortions in 1971

Friday, June 20, 2014

By Holly Grigg-Spall

[Originally Published in Society for Menstrual Cycle Research]

The recently released rom-com ‘Obvious Child’ has been discussed far and wide for its mature, sensitive and funny approach to the topic of abortion and yet I have not seen one comment on the fact that this movie also makes mainstream (and yes, funny) the topic of cervical mucus.

In the opening scene stand-up comedian Donna (played by real-life comedian Jenny Slate) is performing on stage at her local open mic night. She wraps up with a joke about the state of her underwear and how, she describes, her underpants sometimes look like they have “crawled out of a tub of cream cheese.”

She claims that they often embarrass her by looking as such during sexual encounters, something she feels is not sexy.

Of course, by “cream cheese” I immediately assumed Donna meant cervical mucus. Unless she is supposed to have a vaginal infection – which seeing as it is not discussed amongst the other myriad bodily function-centric conversations in the movie, I doubt to be the case – then it’s clear she is detailing her experience of cervical mucus.

Later on that night, when Donna meets and goes home with a guy, has sex and then wakes up in bed with him the following morning, she sees that her underwear is laying next to the guy’s head on the pillow. Not only that, but this is one of those situations she finds embarrassing as the underwear is actually covered in the aforementioned “cream cheese” or cervical mucus. She cringes, retrieves the underwear and hastily puts it back on under the covers.

At this scene we can assume that the presence of visible cervical mucus indicates that the character is in fact fertile at this time during the movie. Even if we didn’t know this movie was about unplanned pregnancy, perhaps we would know now. Apparently Donna is not on hormonal birth control, and she’s not sure if, in their drunkenness, they used a condom properly. So, I speculate, if Donna had known she was fertile and that the “cream cheese” in her underwear was actually one of the handy signs of fertility her body provides, then she may have taken Plan B and not had to worry about an abortion. But, then, of course, we wouldn’t have had the rest of this movie. We would have had a very different movie – a movie someone should also make.

But it goes to show how some body literacy might go a long way in helping women make more informed choices. The abortion sets her back $500 and causes some emotional turmoil. A dose of Plan B is cheaper and easier to obtain, although not without some side effects. Maybe even, we can speculate, if Donna had known she was fertile she might have avoided PIV [Penis In Vagina] sex that night.

It’s great to see a movie approach the choice of abortion as though it really were, well, a choice. But isn’t it interesting that in doing so it shows how women can be hampered in their choices by a lack of body literacy?

We often see women in movies discussing their “fertile time” in regards to wanting to get pregnant – and so meeting their husbands to have sex at the optimum time in usually funny, crazy scenarios. Sometimes we have seen women taking their temperature or using ovulation tests and calendars to figure this out. However, I think this might be the first mention of cervical mucus in cinema.

I had the honor of seeing this movie with longtime abortion rights and women’s health activist Carol Downer and getting to discuss it with her after. Carol pioneered the self-help movement and self-examination, adding much to our collective knowledge of our bodies. 

This is what she had to say:
"I enjoy the genre of romantic comedies with all their faults; I’m not as critical of them as I am of other genres, and ‘Obvious Child’ more than met my expectations.
I particularly liked ‘Obvious Child.’ I liked the uninhibited tipsy lovemaking scenes that showed casual sex at its best. Then, the complications that arose when she found out she was pregnant and needed to have an abortion and when he continued to be very interested in having a real relationship rang absolutely true to me. It’s just our luck, isn’t it, to get pregnant when there’s no realistic way to continue the pregnancy? The women, married or unmarried, who get abortions have some variation of this experience. When we have such bad timing, it’s the pits! I loved that their relationship grew in facing the regrettable necessity of the abortion and the recovery together, and you get the feeling that the relationship has a good future ahead of it. A darned good story."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull, road map of the Christian Patriarchy Movement

By Carol Downer

I recommend that you leave the frothy page-turner at home when you do your summer reading. Instead, read Quiverfull by Kathryn Joyce--every single word of every single page, with my comments about Joyce’s antinatalist bias in mind, as though your reproductive freedom depends upon it, because it may.  Joyce (a contributing writer for Nation Magazine) does an excellent job of reporting the self-labeled Christian Patriarchy Movement, a counter-culture which lives the values of sixteenth-century Calvinism, where the father is the spiritual and earthly leader of the family. 

Through her interviews and participant observation, Joyce found that Quiverfull families model themselves on the white settler families of pre-Revolutionary English colonies in North America whose economy was based on forcibly exploiting the natural resources of the indigenous people, the slave trade and slave labor.

You will get a glimpse of how women in this movement see the shortcomings of our feminist movement, and you may be uncomfortable with how well the shoe fits.  Hopefully, rather than dismissing these womens’ criticisms, you’ll ask whether our feminist movement has stayed true to its goals of liberating ourselves, and if present-day mores have improved women’s lives or created a more equal society.

Reading Joyce’s description of the movement in the first 12 chapters prepares you to understand Chapters 13 through 18.  Starting with “Trust and Obey” and “Blessed Arrows”, Joyce gradually introduces the reader to the foundational beliefs underlying pronatalism, “the policy or practice of encouraging the bearing of children, especially government support of a higher birthrate.”

Chapters 15, 16 and 17, “The Natural Family”, “Return to Patriarchy” and “Godly Seeds” digs a little deeper into history and politics, presenting an excellent review of nationalists’ and nativists’ use of social policy to advance national interests through tax policies favoring large families, and their use of strategies, such as homeschooling, home businesses and home-based churches to spread the ideology and the theology of patriarchy.  Denying racism, the Christian Patriarchy Movement, seeks to “be fruitful and multiply” to increase white Christians, but at the same time accepts converts to Christianity and recommends that white Christians adopt children of color.

Studying these chapters provides the basis to understand Chapter 18, “Demographic Winter”, the blockbuster centerpiece of Joyce’s book.  The various strands of history, politics, and religion are pulled together to showcase the Christian Patriarchy Movement’s vision of the death of Western Civilization unless the United States and Europe start producing enough babies to the replace the old and dying.  And, they have the cold, hard demographic facts to back them up.  It’s being called, “the baby bust,” “the birth dearth”, “the graying of the continent”.  Joyce attributes this to a “race panic” as low fertility among white couples coincides with an increasingly visible immigrant population across Europe.

As one reads this book, one begins to conjecture that perhaps the current race of State legislators to pass TRAP laws (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers), and the increasingly reluctance of the Supreme Court to rule regulations that raise barriers to women seeking abortion as unconstitutional is this fear of “demographic winter”.  Joyce seems to be implying that this is “just a prelude for a new cold war, a ‘clash of civilizations’ to be fought through women’s bodies, with the maternity ward as battleground.”

So, Joyce has done a brilliant job of observing, describing, quoting and analyzing the pro-natalist underpinning of the Christian Patriarchy Movement, and she has educated her readers about all the dry-as-dust pronatalist tax policies and the demographic realities internationally.  We will be wise to understand the gravity of her message; pronatalists are determined to encourage the Western world to make more babies, therefore they respect women’s reproductive rights only as long as those rights are to have as many babies as possible.

BUT, we feminists will never start to effectively fight this battle to control our own sexuality and reproduction if we forget that there are two sides to this battle.  It is not the right-wing versus the feminist and their liberal friends.  It is the right-wing pronatalists versus the wealthy and influential anti-natalists.  These are the families, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, the Rockefellers and Warren Buffet, and other capitalist friends who have no more regard for a woman’s freedom to control her body, than the right-wing, pronatalist Koch Brothers, et al.  They just favor a different way of solving social problems, such as global warming and poverty.  They believe that these problems are caused by too many people.  They don’t put their efforts toward changing consumption patterns, having a more equitable distribution of the wealth and allowing the occupants of the land, rather than corporations, to use resources to benefit their own people.  They are doing everything possible to discourage women from reproducing.  They’re against “teen pregnancy”.  They’re for any social trend that reduces women’s fertility: gay and transgender lifestyles, women going to college and having careers, later marriage, and the use of contraception such as the Pill, abortion, and sterilization.  (The Christian patriarchal right opposes each of these social trends).  There is a anti-natalist equivalent policy to those pronatalist policy listed in the book.

And, for every bombastic quote of a pro-natalist leader, such as Yasir Arafat’s “the womb of the Arab woman is my best weapon” can be matched with a quote from an antinatalist, such as Paul Ehrlich, who wrote the “Population Bomb”.

I hope I’ve encouraged people to read the book.  It’s time that feminists who oppose policies that control women’s reproduction, whether it be employed by the pronatalists or the antinatalists start developing our own strategies, independent of the anti-natalist-controlled “pro-choice” movement.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Home Made Menstrual Period for Game-Playing With Doctors” by Holly Grigg-Spall

I’m sharing this blog by Holly Grigg-Spall, author of Sweetening the Pill because, like Holly, I think The Abortion Handbook, written by Lana Clarke Phelan and Patricia Maginnis, is as timely today as it was when it was published over forty years ago (with some outdated sections, of course). 

Holly’s comments about how Lana’s and Pat’s tips on “faking our periods” fit right in with women’s performance art work designed to bring menstruation out of the closet.  This reminds us that our work on our reproductive and sexual health cannot be divided into departments of menstruation, birth, birth control, abortion, menopause.  All these aspects are interconnected, and if we’re working for reproductive and sexual control, all our projects must be interconnected too.