What the abortion debate is really about

If abortion were to be made illegal, what should the punishment be? A lot of folks stumble when asked that question:

In our society if you break the law there are consequences, right? So if you think abortion is murder why does the idea of sending a woman who gets one to jail make you uncomfortable? I think it’s because “life” is not what actually lies at the root of the abortion debate. It’s really about restricting, controlling, and policing women’s bodies.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I wondered if my opinion on abortion would change. It has. I have become even more pro-choice. At eight months, I have a pretty good understanding of the physical, emotional, and financial realities of pregnancy. And I believe now more than ever that women should have the right and power to choose what is best for them, and not be punished.

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

The black female engineers at Slack took the spotlight this week, accepting the award for Fastest Rising Startup Award. Then one of them, Erica Baker, called via Twitter for white men to give up space to minorities: “I don’t *need* another board seat, let me help them find a woman of color to take it.”

Meet The Queer Woman Who Proved Einstein’s Theory About Gravitational Waves “I am just myself,” says Prof. Nergis Mavalvala. “But out of that comes something positive.”

When actually doing something meaningful to disrupt institutional inequality would be way too much work; why not just Rent-A-Minority instead?

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Dumb-a** stuff we need to stop saying to Dads “We need to stop talking about Dads like they’re an inept accessory to parenting.”

When I Quit Cutting My Hair, I Learned How Men Treat Women On American Roads “Once cowardly road-ragers realize I’m a man, they quickly back off.”

If Male Scientists Were Written About Like Female Scientists “A devout husband and father, Darwin balanced his family duties with the study of the specimens he brought from his travels.”

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

What does it take for a woman to succeed in science? Evelyn M. Witkin, who was recently awarded the Lasker Award for groundbreaking work on DNA, has this to say:

When I was pregnant with my first child, [my boss] came to my lab and said it was important to make scientific careers possible for women. What did I need? I told him, maternity leave and to return only part time. He said, “Done, and we’re not going to cut your salary because I know you’re going to do a full-time job.” That act alone made it possible for me to stay with my research.

An NFL star gives a brutally honest account of the abuse he endured daily from his father as a child and, even worse, how no one around him tried to help.

I’ll never forget this moment when I was 10 years old…when my mother pulled me aside and whispered, “You better play well out there today, because if you don’t, it’s going to be bad tonight.” Right then, it dawned on me that my mother was never going to do anything about it. Our neighbors weren’t going to do anything about it. The other hockey parents weren’t going to do anything about it. I was going to have to stop it myself.

The Marshall Project has an in-depth look at a story we’ve talked about before: a young woman is raped and instead of believing her, the police convict her of the crime of false reporting. Years later, proof of her rape comes to light.

Recently, Marie was asked if she had considered not reporting the rape. “No,” she said….She wanted to help the police. “So nobody else would get hurt,” she said. “[So] they’d be out there searching for this person who had done this to me.”

And lastly, the story of Las Patronas, the women who feed immigrants on their way to the border:

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

California Now Has the Strongest Equal Pay Law in the Nation “All too often, women don’t know they’re being paid less than their male counterparts and lack access to the information they need to assert their right to receive equal pay for substantially similar work.”

Abuser and Survivor, Face to Face Banks ignores critics who say her program would be too traumatic for survivors. “These are people who have gotten up and lived through abuse every single day,” she says. “They’re strong.”

Judge Jails Domestic Violence Victim For Failing To Testify “I understand how frustrating it is…but the solution is never to threaten or bully the victim. She’s scared to testify. And that judge sealed the deal — she’s never calling 911 again…. If she dies, it’s on that judge’s watch.”

Root causes

For the last 34 years, October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And I’m all for it—except for one little word. Let’s change Awareness to ACTION. We’re all aware that domestic violence occurs and is unacceptable, so it’s time to do something about it.

In honor of Domestic Violence ACTION Month I’ll be blogging all month about what it takes to end domestic violence. It is our view (at the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence) that to prevent violence we need to:

Address root causes of violence, Shift culture, Build Skills, Promote healthy relationships

So let’s get started. How do we address root causes of violence? What does that look like?

I just spent three amazing days at our annual conference. Root causes of violence were at the heart of our discussions on government deportation policies, racism, sexism, and homophobia, to name a few. Working to interrupt any of these oppressions is part of addressing root causes of violence. Because ultimately we know that if there is a system in place that values one person over another—for any reason whether it be racism, sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia—that system also allows domestic violence to flourish and thrive.

It seems like a daunting task, but I know change can happen. I want to tell you a story.

When I was three and my sister was six, my Uncle Jerry and Uncle Sean came to visit us. This was such a treat. What kids wouldn’t be squealing with delight when their uncles with purple and yellow hair and rainbow sequin tennis shoes came to shower them with love and affection? So we were pretty excited to show them around our neighborhood. In the time it took for us to take a walk around the block, my mother received a frantic phone call from a neighbor:

“I just saw your children on the shoulders of two weird men holding hands.”

My mother responded, “Those aren’t weird men, that’s my brother and his lover.”

The phone call ended with a click.

That neighbor never spoke to my mother again.

Fast forward to this summer, when I took my children to two (gay) weddings where the only thing that was weird was how darn hot it was for Western Washington.

This shift didn’t just happen. We fought for this change. When we at WSCADV stood in solidarity with Washington United for Marriage we did it not only because it was the right thing to do but because we understood that we must stand together if we want justice.

I know that things aren’t perfect. But I also know that when people are allowed to be who they are, the threat of violence is less. I know that if we take homophobia out of the equation, and people are not punished for being who they are, that relationships are healthier, and that ultimately we are all the better for it.

A change is gonna come, oh yes it will.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Angela Y. Davis on what’s radical in the 21st century. Enjoy this gem of nuance and wisdom from an elder who is still “committed to transforming this country.”

Serena Williams lays some truth on a reporter who asked why she’s not smiling. Serena Williams is the greatest athlete of her generation but this guy felt the need to remind her that women are expected to smile pretty when in front of the cameras.

Watch: An Illinois Democrat’s Epic Speech Against The Demonization Of The Poor. Litesa E Wallace goes to bat for poor women and domestic violence survivors in this concise, powerful takedown.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Latest immigration bills will hurt community safety and crime victims “Law enforcement leaders have stated repeatedly they do not want to be immigration law enforcers precisely because it interferes with their primary mission to fight crime.”

My wedding was perfect – and I was fat as hell the whole time “I have never in my life been fatter than I was on my wedding day, I have never shown my body in such an uncompromising way, and I have never felt more at home in that body. I was fully myself, and I was happy. We are happy. This life is yours, fat girls. Eat it up.”

Sandra Bland Never Should Have Been Arrested “She did nothing unlawful in her interactions with him. But that doesn’t matter in an America where knowing your rights means little when they can be revoked at the whim of an officer’s temper.”

And an extra funny/not-funny take on being black in America:

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Ellen Pence was a giant in the domestic violence movement and I’m so glad Huffington Post is acknowledging her achievements.

What to do when yet another old white scientist says something ridiculously sexist? Mock him on Twitter of course: #DistractinglySexy

Some reactions to the McKinney pool party video: outrage, activism, deep sadness.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

My kid is the same age as the little girl in this story, but I can’t imagine being treated like her parents were.

Jon Stewart points out that the media’s treatment of Caitlyn Jenner highlights the disrespect women face on a daily basis.

You think Jay Smooth is going to give tips on how to talk about women who run for political office, but it’s even better than that: