Reproductive Rights in the Blogosphere: A Review of Blogs

by Vicki Tobias

Reproductive rights have long been a hot topic among feminist bloggers, but early 2006 brought a dramatic increase in individual blogs and blog postings related to the subject. The appointment of two conservative, “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court; South Dakota’s ban on abortion and Mississippi’s preparation to pass similar legislation; and controversy surrounding Plan B “emergency” contraception and its public availability have infused into the blogosphere a new energy and urgency to speak out and take action. The following is a sample and review of blogs that focus exclusively on the issue of reproductive rights.

 

Want to keep up with all this, but don't have time to read nine different reproductive-rights blogs every day?

Vicki suggests subscribing to RSS feeds from at least these two:

Bush vs. Choice (http://www.bushvchoice.com/)

Now What? (http://www.saveroe.com/blog/index.php)

 

Abortionclinicdays (http://abortionclinicdays.blogs.com/) is a personal blog maintained by two anonymous abortion service providers who are “committed to offering the very best experience for women who turn to us for help” and “want to speak openly, honestly, and from the heart about what we know about abortion today.” Discussion topics include abortion politics, women’s lives and counseling, reproductive health, and reproductive law and public policy. This active opinion-based blog originated in May 2005. Several posts each month are related to reproductive issues, with multiple follow-up comments to the posts. Abortionclinicdays has neither a search function nor a “blogroll” of related blogs or websites. As with most blogs, it maintains an archive of past posts. It also offers users the option of subscribing to an RSS feed.

ACLU: Take Issue, Take Charge! (http://www.takeissuetakecharge.org/blog/) is an issue- and action-oriented blog affiliated with the ACLU and, thus, presents the ACLU’s agenda related to reproductive rights. Its mission statement best summarizes the blog content: “Life, liberty, and reproductive freedom. In recent years, we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on civil liberties with reproductive rights as a prime target. It is time to push back.” It is an active blog offering several posts each month with comments. ACLU: Take Issue, Take Charge! includes news items, local stories, lists of related information, and fact sheets. There is neither a search function nor an archive of past posts, and not all postings allow for user comments.

Beyond Choice, the Blog: Alexander Sanger (http://www.alexandersanger.com/index.html). Originated in January 2004 by Alexander Sanger, grandson of Margaret Sanger and current Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, this active blog presents monthly posts by Mr. Sanger, discussing such issues as recent South Dakota legislation to ban abortion, tributes to Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan, and Justice Sam Alito’s position related to reproductive rights. The blog presents an archive of past posts but no option for commenting on posts. There are links to related websites, but no blogroll of related blogs. This blog is associated with Sanger’s recently published book, Beyond Choice.

Bush vs. Choice (http://www.bushvchoice.com/) is a pro-choice, anti-Bush blog that provides active discussion on current reproductive rights issues. Regular contributors include National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) staff. This highly active, opinion- and fact-based blog, which originated in July 2004, presents several new posts each week, with comments. Bush vs. Choice offers a search function, subject lists, a blogroll, and links to related websites. It also allows users to subscribe to an RSS feed and syndicate the site using XML. Content includes political and legislative news and updates on legislation currently being considered at both the state and national levels.

LiveJournal for Choice (http://community.livejournal.com/ljforchoice/) is a personal and opinion-based blog that exists as “a collective to share information, educate, support, and take action to protect a woman’s right to choose.” This highly active blog, which originated in January 2001, presents multiple daily posts, many with references to external news items and other blog posts. LiveJournal for Choice offers an archive of past posts and links to related sites, but does not include a blogroll or a site search function. Recent postings discuss contraception options, the pro-choice movement, Planned Parenthood clinics, pharmacies and contraception availability, and impending legislation to ban abortion in Mississippi.

Now What? (http://www.saveroe.com/blog/index.php) is a highly active blog associated with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and SaveRoe.com, and presents informative and current discussions focused on all issues related to Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights, contraception, and other women’s health issues. Now What? originated in January 2004 and presents several new posts each day. Users can subscribe to an RSS feed. There is no search function. Recent postings discuss efforts to repeal South Dakota’s ban on abortion, access to abortion, and Plan B emergency contraception and particular U.S. pharmacies’ refusal to supply these drugs.

Reproductive Rights Blog (http://cara.typepad.com/reproductive_rights_blog/) offers intellectual discussions of abortion issues in North America and Europe, contraception, Catholicism, and “Abstinence Only” policies. This highly active, opinion-based blog originated in June 2005 and includes links to related organizations, a blogroll, an archive of past posts, and a topics list. Recent postings discuss building Planned Parenthood clinics on Indian reservations in South Dakota, pending Michigan legislation requiring abortion providers to offer pregnant women the option of viewing their ultrasound prior to pregnancy termination, pharmacy refusal legislation (related to Plan B contraception), and parental notification laws.

The Well-Timed Period: At the Intersection of Medical Fact and Fiction (http://thewelltimedperiod.blogspot.com/) is an informational blog devoted to disseminating detailed and fact-based information related to contraception. Blog topics include birth control methods, book reviews, Plan B contraception in Canada, and the HPV virus. This active blog originated in September 2003 and offers XML syndication and Podcast options, an archive of past posts, subject lists, and links to blogs and websites that focus on science and medicine, feminism, and women’s health issues. The Well-Timed Period presents specific information about various birth control methods, rebates and patient assistance, OB/GYN resources and journals, and a link to an Emergency Contraception website. There is no obvious indication of affiliation or author/editor identity.

Women’s Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements (http://the-goddess.org/wam/blog.html) declares “A New Frame for the New Millenium…It isn’t really a question of whether a woman can have an abortion. It’s a question of whether women are people. We claim the personal and sexual autonomy that men take for granted.” This active blog presents monthly posts including personal perceptions and references (or reposts) from other blogs related to conservative attitudes toward women and sex, Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, and the anti-choice movement. It also offers an RSS feed, a lengthy blogroll of related blogs, an archive of past posts, and a site search function.

[Vicki Tobias is a Digital Services Librarian for the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center. She attended the University of Washington–Seattle (B.A., Chinese, 1997) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (M.A., Library and Information Studies, 2003). Vicki maintains active interests in information technology and its application to libraries and in women’s issues. She is the author of “Blog This! An Introduction to Blogs, Blogging, and the Feminist Blogosphere,” which appeared in volume 26, numbers 2–3 (Winter–Spring 2005), of Feminist Collections.]

 


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Mounted September 26, 2006.