I had to go through an abortion at the age of 18 of a 20 week fetus. I had experienced orgasm just once in my life before the abortion. I have not experienced orgasm after my abortion through any sexual activity or masturbation. Have the abortion made me unorgasmic? I am getting married soon and I’m worried whether I’d be able to satisfy my partner, since I m doubtful whether my partner would have the same experience he used to have before abortion and whether I’d ever reach climax. Kindly help.Heather Corinna replies:
Hi there, poonamdeshmukh.
However, here are a few things we do know to be real and which have been verified:
- There certainly are some sexual problems or issues, as well as some mental health issues, linked to pregnancy and post-pregnancy. In other words, regardless of how a pregnancy ends, be it with birth or a termination, it’s actually quite common to experience things like post-partum depression (which, like other kinds of depression, often impacts sexuality and sexual response). After all, no matter how a pregnancy ends, there are big chemical changes to the body both during and after pregnancy. However, looking at your profile, it looks like it’s been about five years since you were 18, so it’s not likely that any of this is related to that previous pregnancy at this point, unless you have feelings about that pregnancy you think may play a part here.
- We also know that in our predominantly anti-choice world, plenty of people feel guilt and shame about abortion, regardless of whatever circumstances were part of making that choice. If you don’t feel resolved with or okay about that abortion — or if it wasn’t your own choice — those conflicted feelings, again, may be part of this.
- It sounds like your history around orgasm is consistent here, in that, save the once, orgasm isn’t something you tend to experience.
My best guess is that your inability to experience orgasm probably isn’t related to your abortion or to having been pregnant. I think the most relevant thing you’ve shared here about orgasm is that you have a history of not experiencing it.
In other words, it doesn’t sound like anything changed in that regard with your pregnancy or abortion. It sounds like things have basically stayed the same in regard to orgasm: you weren’t experiencing orgasm before, save the once, you’re still not now.
I’m not sure why you’re concerned that your partner’s sexual experience with you will be different post-abortion. Certainly, pregnancy can create some usually-temporary changes to the body, and can certainly also impact our hearts and minds no matter what choice we make. And if abortion wasn’t a choice you truly wanted to make, then, like any reproductive choice that isn’t really what we want, we can get hit pretty hard emotionally, sometimes for a long time after. As well, if your pregnancy was unwanted in any respect, you might be feeling some negative impact on your sexuality still from whatever circumstances got you in that position. But abortion, at any stage of a pregnancy, rarely creates any permanent changes to the body: so if your worry here is that your body is somehow going to feel different to a partner because you had an abortion, know that’s not a reality. They can’t and won’t: that’s just not something real.
Sexual satisfaction is a term people tend to use pretty casually, but also often think about in ways that aren’t reflective of people’s real experiences with sexual satisfaction. A lot of people think it’s only or mostly about orgasm, only or mostly about enjoying certain kinds of sex or sexual frequency, or only or mostly about a body feeling a certain way. Some people even say “sexual satisfaction” when all they mean is orgasm, as if orgasm were the only way to find sex satisfying (it’s so not).
In reality, what we know as people who work with folks around sexuality, as well as from broad study, is that sexual satisfaction is not only typically about a lot more than other things, the things most people will say are the core parts of feeling sexually satisfied often aren’t those things at all.
Read the rest here at Scarleteen.
I am 16 years old and already have a 7 month old baby. My son has a lot of health problems, he was born with a lung disease and has holes in his heart. I recently found out I was pregnant again and I’m not for sure how to go about it. I’ve only told one person and that’s my older sister. I know for sure that I do not want to keep the baby but I don’t have enough money for abortion and if I tell my dad it could turn out very bad. I live in Kentucky, and I am trying to figure out how to go about a judicial bypass and an abortion but I need help with money.
Heather Corinna replies:
I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s health problems, Faith. It’s hard enough being a very young parent without the rights of an adult, let alone doing so when your child has serious health problems. It also seems like you might not have a very supportive family, so from the sounds of things, you’ve had it really rough for a while now. I really want that to change for you. I’m going to offer all I can to help you with what you want help with here.
As it sounds like you already know, in your state you can’t obtain an abortion as a minor without the consent of at least one parent or guardian or without a judicial bypass. That’s not something impossible, it is often doable, but if you do think you can get a legal guardian or parent’s consent safely, then I’d suggest you do try that first. That is certainly the more efficient route, and is often easier in most ways.
I don’t know what you mean when you say that if you told your father, things could turn out very badly.
If you mean you already are, would be or might be in danger of abuse, I’d strongly encourage you to contact social services. In KY, the hotline for child abuse or neglect — the child in this case being you, the child of your parent or parents — is (877) 597-2331. I suggest that because if you’re already living with abuse or under threat of abuse, I want you to at least find out about your other options so you don’t have to live that way if you don’t have to. I don’t want you to have to live in danger, and no matter what happens with this pregnancy, it may be you have other support and living options you don’t know about and which might mean a better way for you and your son to live moving forward, maybe even starting right this very second.
Too, if disclosing this pregnancy to your father, or asking him for permission for an abortion is something that would put your safety or life at risk, then by all means, that is NOT something you want to do. Instead, it will be safer for you to contact other helps first and explore your other options, which I’ll give in detail for you in my answer.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.
Today in Texas, it is yesterday.
Texas is the future of the past; it is a place where regressive politics and backwards thinking have resulted not in strong families and healthy kids but in 6.3 million uninsured people—the highest percentage of any state—and a consistently rising poverty rate.
Our governor, Rick Perry, makes no bones about the fact that he’d like to make abortion a thing of the past, not by increasing access to contraceptives and thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, but by increasing funding to religious, ideologically- driven crisis pregnancy centers, forcing women to get mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds and listen to or read about medically-unfounded claims linking abortion to breast cancer and infertility.
“In Texas, we’ve worked hard to strengthen our abortion laws to the greatest extent possible under Roe v. Wade,” the governor said in a statement released on Tuesday. This is precisely the tactic, and an effective one, that conservative lawmakers and their religious-right backers have taken in Texas: if abortion can’t be made illegal, it can at least be made so difficult to get that only a very few people have access to it.
Perry claims that this reduction in access to abortion will “empower families and protect our children’s future.”
What it does, instead, is ensure that people have less control over the size of their families because the state government works to diminish access to both the means of preventing unintended pregnancies, and to the one safe, legal and common medical procedure available to women facing them. The result? A state where more and more people rely on public assistance every year. Texas has America’s highest number of citizens on food stamps, sees somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of its population living in poverty, and taxpayers here help fund 223,128 Medicaid-funded births per year (the second highest in the nation).
Read it all From Andrea Grimes here.
I identify as a Black, queer woman. My Blackness makes my story all the more problematic for some people. The assumptions that are made about Black women’s reproductive decisions mean that I will receive less compassion and acceptance than my white counterparts for having had an abortion—especially because I’m not repentant about it. As organizers we are not always aware of our implicit biases but there are plenty of white people who in an effort to make abortion safe and accessible are reaffirming negative stereotypes about women of color. This happens through negligent storytelling that says there is a right and wrong way to have the need to access an abortion.
The narrative that abortion gives women and transpeople an opportunity to live the rest of our lives, to become a doctor or a lawyer or whatever isn’t true for everyone. For some of us, abortion just provides one more day. One more day to live our lives exactly the way we want to. For some of us the decision isn’t political, it’s essential. It is essential to taking care of the children we already have, to circumventing difficult medical experiences or to just not be pregnant. There is nothing heroic about having an abortion. It is an essential part of reproductive health care.
Every year on the anniversary of my abortion I take off of work. Not to grieve but to celebrate: because of my right to choose, I am living my best life. Making the decision to have an abortion didn’t mean I had the rest of my life, it just meant that I had one more day to live exactly the way I wanted and for that I’m grateful.
Just two years ago, as Roe v. Wade headed into its late thirties, it seemed to be losing its luster. States were hacking away at abortion rights, passing ninety-two new restrictions in 2011 alone—nearly triple the number of any other year on record. Americans appeared ready to tolerate all manner of barriers to abortion access, from parental notification laws and restrictions on late-term procedures to laws crippling the ability of clinics to provide care by subjecting them to absurd requirements (such as having five-foot-wide hallways, as one Virginia law demanded). These new burdens added to the weight of a decades-long and alarmingly successful campaign by the right to stigmatize women seeking abortions and to persecute abortion providers. As a result, 87 percent of US counties lack an abortion provider, and several states have only a clinic or two staffed by a doctor who flies in from another state. “It’s never been this frightening before,” one longtime clinic worker recently told The Washington Post.
What is taking shape looks increasingly like a patchwork system where the right to abortion applies only to women lucky enough to live in a state where the courts and legislature have not whittled it away. How, four decades after women celebrated the Supreme Court’s historic embrace of their privacy rights in Roe, has it come to this?
Read the rest at The Nation here.
Unwanted pregnancies are a fact of life. Globally, nearly a fourth of all pregnancies are unplanned and 22 percent of pregnancies end in abortion. Women experience unwanted pregnancies because they have forced sex, (worldwide, one in three women are survivors of sexual violence), they don’t have access to contraceptives, or they simply didn’t plan on becoming pregnant.
Women who have unwanted pregnancies should be respected and their rights to choice upheld. However, in many countries, government policies, and societal practices do not uphold women’s right not to continue a pregnancy and women with unwanted pregnancies are forced into motherhood. Certainly this is evident in the United States; just before the new year, the governor of Virginia quietly signed legislation designed to close abortion clinics in the state. These laws often punitive, restricting women’s reproductive autonomy and freedom and creating categories of who can and can’t obtain abortions.
Fortunately for women, pills have changed the landscape of abortion. Abortion with pills, also known as medical abortion (MA), provides a safe, low-cost and easy to use method to terminate pregnancies. In addition to being safe and effective, medical abortion has changed the dynamics of who can provide abortions, where women get them, and who has control over the process. Evidence shows that those closest to women—community health workers and midwives—and women themselves can be trained to use abortion pills to safely terminate a pregnancy, thus giving women back the control of their own bodies. In fact, it was women in Brazil who first discovered the potential of misoprostol (cytotec) to safely end an unwanted pregnancy and who shared this knowledge through their social networks.
Read the rest at RH Reality Check here!
By now, many have heard the name of Savita Halappanavar, whose death in a Galway hospital this fall was a chilling reminder of how abortion bans can be deadly.
That case had the benefit of a vocal and angry person to speak on the dead woman’s behalf — her husband, Praveen. He has said she requested a termination that may have saved her life — but was told, “This is a Catholic country.” (An official inquiry by the hospital has yet to be released, and Praveen Halapannavar is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.) But for every Savita, there are thousands of women whose names we don’t know, women who aren’t even counted.
The most commonly cited statistic suggests that complications from unsafe abortions led to approximately 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide. That’s a World Health Organization figure first arrived at in 2000, which hasn’t been re-evaluated. Every year, when WHO says how many women have died from unsafe abortions, they’re simply taking the same percentage of the global maternal mortality figure — 56,000 in 2003, or 47,000 in 2008. But one epidemiologist, Caitlin Gerdts, wondered if that number wasn’t a potentially vast understatement.
A few years ago, Gerdts was planning to write her dissertation about maternal mortality at a hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania. “From the data we were able to gather I was sure that we had missed a number of women who had died likely from unsafe abortion,” she told Salon. Even in the original WHO report, she said, the authors “talk about how unsure they are about that estimate, and how they have the aggregate data, and how the data that they did have from countries where abortion-related mortality is the highest were of the poorest quality. They say directly, this is the best number we can come up with – but we think it’s an under estimate.”
Read the rest at Salon here.
Last week, I attended the annual International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics conference in Italy. During the five days I was there, nearly 500,000 women had abortions. Many of these women faced stigma, a mechanism of social control used to dehumanize and devalue women who need, or decide, to terminate pregnancies.
When we began to examine the social construct of abortion stigma several years ago, we found that very little had been published. And yet, it’s really the root of all barriers that women—and even providers—face to obtain or perform abortions. Why do we legally deprive women of a health care service that could safe their lives? Why are women forced to undergo a waiting period in order to get an abortion? Why are abortion clinics often separate from other reproductive health care clinics? Why do women trade safety for secrecy and turn to “back-alley” providers? And the questions go on…
Stigma contributes to the idea that women who have abortions are not the norm, although they are. The social construct of abortion stigma creates an “us-versus-them” mentality—in spite of the fact that in the United States one in three women have abortions and a much higher share of all women globally terminate a pregnancy sometime during their reproductive lives, abortion is still constructed as something that is wrong, inappropriate, or deviant. Discriminating against women is therefore considered normal; 26 percent of women live in countries where abortion is legally restricted and many more live in places where they have to justify their abortion. If this isn’t discrimination, I don’t know what is.
Read the rest at RH Reality Check here.