Thursday, January 26, 2012

Media Justice Mash-Up: Roe v Wade Anniversary Edition

cross posted from Media Justice column

This week marks a fantastic anniversary as I’m entering the 100th post for the Media Justice column. I plan to do a few series highlighting some of my favorite pieces, ones that I’m most proud of, that still invoke something magnificent and specific for me, and that I just really dig. I’d like to start with a mash-up of posts that I’ve written that centers and discusses abortion. As this is the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Trust Women Week, and a week where we will be featuring testimonios from people about their experiences with abortion for the 1 in 3 Campaign, I think this mash-up fits well.

What Did The Doula Do?
The first time I shared my experiences being an abortion doula was in the article What Did The Doula Do? I was inspired by the conversation that actor Taye Diggs had on the Jimmy Kimmel show where he discussed the birth of his most recent child and how he and his wife worked with a doula. Unfortunately, the video of their interview is no longer available online, but their conversation started a public discussion about doulas and the type of work we do. Many folks only know doulas to work with people who are pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term. What I and many other abortion doulas do is be present for the person who is terminating their pregnancy. We offer support, pain management, comfort, and compassion to people who are making a very difficult decision. There are some folks who think this type of care is not care, and they are entitled to their opinions and I hope that if they ever find themselves feeling isolated, judged, shamed, that they too have someone who can be compassionate, kind, a witness and sit with them as they heal.

La Femme Fetal
One of the first columns I wrote about abortion and how it intersected with media justice was called La Femme Fetal. It was almost 2 years ago today that this column was published and it discussed one of the only songs in the Hip-Hop genre that discussed abortion from a pro-choice lens. The song “La Femme Fetal” by Digable Planets is one of the only songs, still today, that speaks to the compassion people making one of the hardest decisions in their life need. In this post I reflected on my contribution to the question “what does choice mean to me,” and my activism within the field of reproductive justice and the legacy of Rosie Jimenez. The song “La Femme Fetal” is now 19 years old and we still remain without a similar contribution to this genre. Do you know of others that exist today? If so, please share them!

Reflecting on No Easy Decision
When MTV (finally) did a show (not series) on young women who had abortions they called the show “No Easy Decision.” This show was the first of its kind on the network and gave a different perspective to their hit shows 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Teen Mom 2. There was a lot of talk about the series, many efforts to support the testimonios of those young people who shared their experiences. I also had some doubts about the show as Dr. Drew was going to be the facilitator. I shared those concerns in this post where I reflected on the show. I had to admit that I was impressed with the show, the quality and lack of judgmental rhetoric and language that was present as the young people spoke. It’s a show that I’d like to see become a series where the voices of other youth can be shared and we may begin to have a better understanding of the complexity that comes with being a young person, reproductive health, access to quality care, and access to services.

Abortion and the Sons of Anarchy
If you have not seen the Sons of Anarchy I still don’t know what to tell you about yourself. In this post I discuss one of my favorite television shows Sons of Anarchy, what stereotypes I had about the show prior to watching and why I’m now in support of the series. This show is really part of a ground-breaking series where multiple perspectives we often rarely hear are shared. One of the first (and only?) times a character chooses to terminate a pregnancy, seeks support, receives support, and follows through with the procedure occurred during the third season of Sons of Anarchy. This post discusses that representation and how it was created on screen to be extremely effective and realistic. I can’t recall another television show that has had a similar storyline. Often the character changes their mind, or miscarries, or something happens where the termination does not occur. This was not the case for this episode and I am very grateful for this narrative being shared.

Online Course: Sociology of Human Sexuality Part 3
You may have read along when I was posting on the course I was teaching last summer (a total of 5 parts). This section was the discussion on pregnancy options and abortion. We had a birth and postpartum doula join us in class to discuss what type of work they do with pregnant people. We then had a section on abortion where the history of how abortion became legal in the US was provided, along with an understanding of the laws in the US that may be state specific, and a discussion of what research has shown about the health and well-being of people who terminate a pregnancy. I remember this class and this summer very fondly. The students are amazing intellecutals and just brilliant people overall. I was very humbled and honored that students self-selected to share with the group their own personal experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion. It is times like this when I’m so thankful and happy to be a part of a community of people who find comfort in the class and learning space we create together.

I’m also extremely honored and thankful for remaining with you over these past years and interacting with readers at Amplify. It’s been more than I could have imagined and so enjoyable! Thank you all for reading, tweeting, sharing, and leaving comments. Thank you for seeing me.

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