Identity Politics

By Vicky Diloné

You are betraying your race.

This statement and others like it have been directed towards me throughout my adult life. I have been called a tool of the patriarchy, an extremist, and yes, someone who hates minorities. Having said that, this post isn’t about me being a victim to hateful comments or discrimination. In fact, it is the opposite.

I am not a victim. I am not oppressed by white supremacy or the patriarchy. My failures or hardships are not the result of nationwide systematic racism. The rise of identity politics seeks to make me a victim, one that can never be saved because of who I am.

Source: David Klein

Identity politics is defined as “politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.”

At first glance identity politics doesn’t seem bad, nonetheless people tend to forget the last part of the definition. Claiming to be a part of a specific group does not automatically grant anyone special authority outside of that group. We are all given equal inalienable rights; we should all be seen as human and given fair treatment. If one comes from a different or even problematic culture, they are to be treated with respect.

I’m not saying that fair treatment is always given or that discrimination doesn’t exist. Boxing ourselves into an infinite number of identities and checking our “privilege” does nothing but make us hyper aware of our differences. Continue reading “Identity Politics”

Debunking Antifeminism

All this talk about feminism gaining popularity, empowering women all across the globe, the advocacy of equality…it sounds great, right? Well, unsurprisingly enough, there are always the select few who don’t jump on board. The notion of antifeminism is becoming more prevalent than I would have ever thought possible. It is paradoxical for a woman to be antifeminist. It is voting Republican when you are for women’s rights, it is a person of color in the Ku Klux Klan, and it is a woman saying she does not value herself enough to fight for equality. As a feminist, I feel obligated to debunk some of the more popular ideas circulating about antifeminism. Continue reading “Debunking Antifeminism”

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

With the recent talks of states wanting to cut funds for Planned Parenthood, it is necessary that we talk about what the organization provides. Planned Parenthood provides healthcare and sex education services for men and women, and at

Planned Parenthood Logo
Planned Parenthood Logo

some clinics, abortion services. The dialogues of potentially cutting funds for Planned Parenthood created several pro-life and pro-choice campaigns on social media pages like Facebook.

Where do I stand in this debate? I am both pro-life and pro-choice, and believe Planned Parenthood is a great organization. In some cases, a woman may feel that she needs to have an abortion. A woman is also a life and should be able to make that choice. As a society, we must recognize that family planning services are necessary for women and men.

One item society must change is the access to quality birth control. Several people, including teenagers, do not know the kinds of birth control on the market. Schools do not always teach methods to practice safe sex, and some teenagers have unwanted pregnancies. Schools and doctors’ offices need to educate women on birth control methods. If a woman or couple knows they do not want a child, they should use birth control. Birth control is a great way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and some abortions.

In certain areas of the United States, young women do not have access to birth control options and/or abortions. Some end up with unwanted pregnancies because they do not have access to a doctor who would prescribe them birth control or to a store with condoms. Occasionally, birth control methods do not work, and the woman becomes pregnant. Many young women are not able to care for babies and need to be able to seek a safe, legal and sanitary abortion. A co-worker once told me this, “To have a child, you must be ready to give up everything for the child. I had my first one at 16 and was ready, but some aren’t. You have to be ready.” If young girls are ready to become mothers and want to take care of their babies, I

A 220 foot long condom on the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the 2005 World Aids Day. Source: Pablo Flores from Wikipedia
A 220 foot long condom on the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the 2005 World Aids Day.
Source: Pablo Flores from Wikipedia

respect their decision. But options must be available for those who are not ready.

Several women medically must have abortions. In 2012, Savita Halappanavar died from blood poisoning. Her husband said she would have survived if she had had an abortion, but since her baby had a fetal heartbeat, she was not able to do anything because abortion is illegal in Ireland.

One of my friends personally knows a woman in Wisconsin who received an abortion. She became pregnant and doctors diagnosed the fetus with omphalocele at the ultrasound. Doctors concluded the mother would suffer risky childbirth, and the child would die. The mother possibly may have died too. This woman decided to have an abortion. She did not want to suffer through another child’s death. I cannot imagine what it was like to be in her shoes.

In these situations, women need to have access to a safe, legal and sanitary abortion. The mother also is a life that is threatened in the process of pregnancy. The option needs to be available for her.

Many women who have had multiple children need access to a safe, legal and sanitary abortion because their bodies cannot handle childbirth anymore. The play Quilters shows a scene where women send letters to each other and a doctor to learn how to perform an abortion using different teas and herbs. The woman going to receive it does not have resources to care for multiple children, and physically cannot deliver another baby. Safe, legal and sanitary abortions must be accessible for women because the fetus could kill them. The mother is also a life.

Before Roe v. Wade, it was difficult and scary for women to receive abortions. One 74-year-old grandmother tells her story of receiving an abortion in New York. It cost her $250, which is 1959 was a lot of money. She describes in vivid details how the procedure went. She says she was a “good girl, conditioned to protect my reputation in the repressive sexual climate of the 1950s.” She later says she never had a mother-daughter conversation about sex and tells how other women were shamed and died at the abortionist clinic. Reading her story sent chills up my back because women suffered so much. Having access to a safe, legal and sanitary abortion is a must for women.

On, one gynecologist chose her specialty so she could provide safe abortion services. Carolyn Payne, MD says she provides abortions because she thinks it is fair to women who did not have the education, tools or resources to prevent pregnancy. She says men hold a supermajority of economic and political power, and policies in this nation do not reflect the needs and interests of women. Having doctors that are passionate about women’s health is important for our society because they can help advocate for women’s health care and access to birth control and safe, legal and sanitary abortions. Planned Parenthood is such an important organization because they provide health care and sex education to women and men. One in five women has used Planned Parenthood for health care. I highly disagree with Sen. Rand Paul R-KY because Planned Parenthood provides way more than abortion services.

Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide family planning and abortion services serve a great purpose in society. They offer sex education to women and men, and make a safe, legal and sanitary abortion available for women.  Women must have the option to access an abortion service. Remember this when voting for any public official.

Plan B Age Limit Lowered

plan bOn April 5, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the age restriction on emergency contraception, known commonly as “the morning after pill” or “Plan B.” The FDA has since approved Plan B One-Step, a brand of emergency contraception, to be made available over-the-counter for women aged 15 and older.

Plan B is intended to be used when other contraception methods fail, such as when a condom breaks. The pill contains the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel, and works by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall. It must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. Plan B prevents pregnancy from occurring. Contrary to the arguments put forth by anti-choice lobbyists, it cannot terminate an existing pregnancy.

“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to get an abortion drug over-the-counter,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Central to the contentious debate over the ethics of the drug’s use is the disagreement over the exact moment that pregnancy begins. Pro-life arguments contend that pregnancy begins with fertilization, which typically occurs within 24 hours after intercourse, if a woman has just ovulated. However, many obstetricians and gynecologists maintain that, as it takes 5-7 days for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus and begin to grow, if one interrupts the process before this implantation takes place, pregnancy never begins.

Despite the controversy associated with emergency contraception, the good news is women seeking to purchase Plan B will now be able to find it in the family planning and female health aisles of commercial retail stores, instead of having to rely on regular pharmacy opening hours. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, welcomed the decision, stating:

“While there are still practical questions to resolve, this is an important step forward to expand access to emergency contraception and for preventing unintended pregnancy.”