Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Political: Haters Gonna Hate

Note: I've been aiming to have my latest set of posts focus on marketing and social media, but something happened recently on a social network, and I want to write about it, even though it's super political.

It began with a romantic thought for Valentine's Day. My husband and I are fairly demonstrative about loving each other, and since we say "I love you" at least once a day (usually 20 or more), neither of us really gets into the whole candy and flowers part of Valentine's.

This year, Nate asked me if he could give me a different kind a present: a donation in my name to a feminist organization. This was thrilling to me. I originally asked for a donation to Planned Parenthood, but Nate asked to pick one himself. After researching several different organizations, he chose NARAL.

Who is NARAL?

We are made up of pro-choice women and men across the United States. Together, we protect a woman's right to choose.

How do we protect the right to choose, exactly?

  • We lobby Congress to convince your elected representatives to support your right to choose.
  • We organize women and men to make sure that lawmakers hear from the pro-choice people they represent.
  • We connect what happens in Congress or in the states to how it affects your ability to make private decisions, like choosing legal abortion.
  • We work with our state affiliates to advance ideas that are good for women's freedom. We fight back against the bad ideas that threaten our privacy.
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America uses the political process to elect lawmakers who share our pro-choice values and defeat candidates who don't.

We are passionate about our work—and we couldn't do our job without the great people who stand with us.

That's why Fortune Magazine has described NARAL Pro-Choice America as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

I am very much pro-choice, and so are many people. One in three American women has had an abortion. It's a very personal choice for a woman to make, but it is important to keep the option open.

I was proud of Nate's gift, so I tweeted about it:

I was thrilled when NARAL's twitter account re-tweeted it.

And then the torrent of anti-choice tweets directed at me started. Lifepeeps accused me of funding the ripping of limbs from babies, Toupsfamily told me that I was lying when I said NARAL promoted contraceptives, saying that the only "birth control" NARAL supported was abortion. Then led to many anti-choice myths being spewed, such as abortion causes breast cancer.

I've been trying to engage these people in conversation about reproductive health, and eventually it comes down to the fact that these people believe in God, and what they really want is to keep women from having access to contraceptives. In fact, MateoDHoffman has spent the better part of this morning telling me that sex is not necessary and no one needs to have it. He does not agree with my point that sex is a basic biological function, and it offers many health benefits, not to mention psychological benefits.

I've also been informed that doctors never tell women the risks of birth control, which I find odd, since I have to answer questions every year and undergo tests for blood clots, heart function, etc in order to be prescribed my pills. I get a big pamphlet of information when I pick up my prescription that outlines those risks. They're mentioned in the ads for contraceptives on TV, along with all the scary risks for taking any medication.

These anti-choice folks insult my intelligence. I accept that we're not going to agree, and I'm not going to convert them, but I am compelled to let them know that they do not speak for all women (in fact, I'm pretty sure none of these people are women).

I read a few posts recently from some feminist writers that I truly respect, talking about the exhaustion of being a feminist, in having to constantly be ready for action and to defend women's rights and choices. I'm not the most active feminist in the world, but this anti-choice stychomythia makes me tired. I have to take a break at some point, but I'll come back. I don't want these people to think they've beaten me with their obsfucation and religious rhetoric. Because they haven't. I will continue to fight for women's rights, 140 characters at a time.