Tag: reproductive rights

“Buried with Doctor’s Certificate”: Reading the Uses and Abuses of Bodies in a Medical School Thesis

In 1886, Marie K. Formad graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, entering the small but rapidly growing body of American women holding the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Along with Dr. Formad, the 31 other members of the class of 1886 demonstrated clearly the progress of women’s medical education in the thirty years… Read more →

Mary, Did You Know?: An Essay on Christmas Carols, Medical History, and Reproductive Politics

The Christmas season is a curious time for a historian of women’s health, abortion, and maternal politics: at its historical and religious core, the holiday revolves around the legend of an unusual pregnancy and a remarkable birth. The miracle of Christmas, in the Christian tradition familiar to many Americans today, is not only the birth… Read more →

IUD: Easy as 1-2-3

“I should probably get an IUD, right?” These past couple of weeks I’ve heard this question more than ever, as my friends and I struggle to come to terms with an impending Trump presidency and the implications it could have for our personal and reproductive lives. As NPR reported earlier this week, women in my city… Read more →

March Madness and the Sterilization of Basketball Fans

I was so surprised the first time I saw a commercial on television advertising sterilization. Yes, that’s right. Once a year, during March Madness, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, urologists across the country encourage men to visit their offices to get vasectomies. This is a good time to have the procedure done, the pitch… Read more →

The Other Side of Choice, a Review of Independent LensNo Más Bebés

Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with contemporary American culture likely understands that female fertility has been a hotly contested, and highly politicized, issue for over forty years. Typically, these discussions revolve around abortion. There is, however, another side to reproductive choice: the right to reproduce. It is this often overlooked aspect of “a woman’s… Read more →

Baby Parts for Sale — Old Tropes Revisited

When Robert Lewis Dear Jr. was finally taken into custody after opening fire on a Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood on November 28, 2015 — an attack that killed three people — he allegedly told police, “no more baby parts.” While all the facts about Dear’s motives and actions are yet to be released, on… Read more →

“She Looks the Abortionist and the Bad Woman”: Sensation, Physiognomy, and Misogyny in Abortion Discourse

In November of 1866, a minor sensation rocked the Albany area following the death of the young widow Elizabeth Dunham, who passed away at her mother’s house on the third of the month under, as the Albany Argus primly noted, “suspicious circumstances.” The Argus’s suspicions quickly proved sound. An inquest performed the next day revealed… Read more →

Female Presidential Candidates Aren’t the Answer: Republicans and the Reframing of the War on Women in 2016

There seems to be some confusion about what the controversial term “the Republican war on women” actually means. Most became familiar with the concept during the 2011 midterm elections when Republicans swept the majority of seats. Left-leaning media outlets began wringing their hands over the kind of restrictive anti-abortion legislation they feared would pass, and… Read more →

Adventures in the Archives: The Dangers of Legal Abortion

This summer I worked with Professor Carolyn Herbst Lewis and three other students on a research project in which we explored the history of reproductive health care in Chicago. Part of our summer included a trip to Chicago to do archival research on our subjects, and, after a month of poring over secondary research, I… Read more →

Craftivists v. Hobby Lobby

by Rachel Epp Buller

Creative stamp arrangements. Cross-stitched fallopian tubes. Knitted uteri. This summer’s social media circulation gave witness to all manner of artsy protests surrounding reproductive rights. Practitioners of this sort often call themselves “craftivists,” a portmanteau that makes clear the use of craft for activist ends. (“Lactivism” indicates a similar word blend, regarding activists who mobilize around issues of lactation.) Guerrilla knitting, yarn bombing, yarn storming, and granny graffiti are all terms in the craftivist lingo (some lovely examples of which can be seen here). To get their message out, craftivists often work in public spaces – sometimes in a guerrilla, dead-of-night manner – and their colorful, even fanciful creations can provide a non-threatening point of entry for public discussion of serious issues. In July and August this year, craftivists made sneaky appearances at Hobby Lobby stores around the U.S. to leave art-based messages for the retail giant as well as for their fellow crafters.