Archive for July 2013

Thank you NASA!!

July 17, 2013


This little news item caught my eye today, and I quote it in full:

            Leak Ends Spacewalk

NASA aborted a spacewalk at the International Space Station on Tuesday because of a dangerous water leak in an astronaut’s helmet that drenched his eyes, nose and mouth. The leak was so bad that Luca Parmitano, Italy’s first spacewalker, couldn’t hear or speak as the spacewalk came to an abrupt end. He asked his spacewalking partner, Christopher Cassidy, for help getting back in.

You may be wondering what spacewalk accidents have to do with reproductive right or abortion conversations? I have been noticing that those at NASA are pretty much the only folks who use the word “abort” correctly.

Sometimes when I am counseling patients I say, “Did you ever see Tom Hanks in the movie, Apollo 13? When that tank blows up, he turns to the other guy and says, ‘We have to abort the mission.’ That’s exactly what you are saying.”

Women know when they think the biological mission their body is on—a pregnancy—might not turn out well. They think about their resources, the other people they are responsible for, the other missions they have, like school, child-rearing, career, etc.

Abort means ending something that is threatened, is going wrong, or is ill-advised. A spontaneous abortion (or miscarriage) is when the body recognizes when something is going wrong and it stops it.

 Of course, in the current environment, abortion is made out to be a stigmatizing, shaming word used against women who know what is right for their lives. I think we should say the word in its correct usage much more often. “Let’s abort the war on women” for instance. Here’s a news item I’d like to see:

            Sanity Ends War on Women

An uprising of citizens aborted a campaign aimed at restricting women’s health facilities in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and several other states because of the danger to women’s health and well being. The campaign was so bad that most women’s health care facilities would come to an abrupt end. Clinics asked those partnering with women for help returning to sanity.

–Peg Johnston is a member of the Abortion Conversation Project.



2013 Mini-Grants Awarded

July 10, 2013

Abortion Conversation Project Awards Spring 2013 Grants 

            The Abortion Conversation Project announced five successful grants totally $4000 in its second round of mini-grants. “We are interested in supporting small grassroots endeavors that start meaningful conversations about abortion,” states Peg Johnston, board member. The grants are in keeping with ACP’s mission “to challenge the polarization that characterizes abortion conversation, lessen the stigmatization of abortion, and promote speaking and listening with empathy, dignity, and resilience about even the most difficult aspects of abortion.”

Two projects are awarded to doula groups and two are going to international projects for the first time. The Seattle Full Spectrum Doulas were awarded an early grant so they could start Circle of Stories, an abortion support group with a writing and arts component. The Chicago Doula Circle aims to train volunteers to provide support to abortion patients at Stroger Hospital in Cook County. Doulas have traditionally provided lay support to women in childbirth, but in recent years some doula groups have also offered women support through an abortion experience.

With their grant, Education for Choice in the UK will offer information on abortion, pregnancy, and sexual  health, using social networks, such as Tumblr. Abortion, According to Me, will collect interviews from fifteen Indian women about how abortion is viewed in their communities, and the complex nature of their choices. Abortion is legal in India, but only 40% of the abortions are safe.

Another grant goes to Emerge, a successful post abortion support group, to enable them to document their curriculum and process so that others can replicate its results.

Previous grantees include Plants for Patients, a community production of The Abortion Dialogues in Concord NH, Georgia Reproductive Justice Action Network (GRJAN) outreach and training, Inspire, an online support group. In addition to the mini-grants, the board of the Abortion Conversation Project have offered advice and resources to grassroots groups.

The Abortion Conversation Project was founded in 2000 and spent its early years defining post abortion emotional health, de-stigmatizing abortion through handouts for parents, partners, and patients, and staging community conversations to have deeper conversations among diverse prochoice audiences. After helping to launch the Abortion Care Network in 2008, ACP explored conflict transformation techniques and decided to offer small grants to engage many more people in its mission. The Abortion Conversation Project has a Facebook page. Supporters can also receive an occasional e-newsletter on the sign up from the website or by clicking on this link.