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Novara

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Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Houston, TX bore witness to a horrific mass murder over the weekend: Valerie Jackson, her six children, and her husband, Dwayne Jackson, were shot to death in their home. Police have arrested David Conley, who is Valerie Jackson's ex-boyfriend and presumed to be the father of her eldest son and one of the victims, Nathaniel Conley, 13. After negotiating with the hostage team for hours, David Conley finally surrendered and has been charged with murder. Conley had been previously charged with domestic violence for attacking Jackson in the home she shared with her husband.

“We do not and cannot understand the motivations of an individual who would take the lives of so many people, including children," Chief Deputy Tim W. Cannon said in a news conference about the murders on Sunday. The urge to write off this level of horror as incomprehensible—as a form of unfathomable evil—is understandable.

But the blunt fact is that we can understand the motivations of someone who would do this. Domestic homicide is committed almost entirely by men who feel off-the-charts levels of male entitlement—men who feel so entitled to control a woman just because they've dated or married her that they resort to violence to reassert control.

Indeed, the 2015 Pulitzer for Public Service went to the Charleston Post and Courier for their chillling but through examination of South Carolina's domestic homicide problem. For anyone under the illusion that domestic homicide is mysterious—for anyone who cares about preventing violence at all, really—the seven-part series, titled "Till Death Do Us Part", is a must-read.

One of their interviewees was Therese D’Encarnacao, who survived her husband shooting her in the head after she told him she was leaving. "If I can’t have you, nobody can," he told her right before he pulled the trigger.

“Some of this is rooted in this notion of women as property," state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter told the Post and Courier. That notion persists in prominent ways. Just look at the recent dust-up between singer Ciara and her rapper ex-boyfriend Future. As Lonnae O'Neal of the Washington Post pointed out last week, when Ciara posted Instagram pictures of their son cuddling her new boyfriend, Future melted down, and sadly, a lot of people on social media—along with New York radio host Ebro Darden—defended Future's tantrum. It's another way of corroborating the idea that a man gains ownership over a woman simply by having a relationship with her.

And if a man feels entitled to control a woman, it's not a huge leap for him to resort to violence to get his way. Domestic violence, even when it ends in tragedy as horrifying as the Texas murders, is probably the least mysterious form of violence there is.


Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/10/eight_people_dead_in_houston_domestic_homicide_it_s_a_tragedy_but_not_a.html

Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Houston, TX bore witness to a horrific mass murder over the weekend: Valerie Jackson, her six children, and her husband, Dwayne Jackson, were shot to death in their home. Police have arrested David Conley, who is Valerie Jackson's ex-boyfriend and presumed to be the father of her eldest son and one of the victims, Nathaniel Conley, 13. After negotiating with the hostage team for hours, David Conley finally surrendered and has been charged with murder. Conley had been previously charged with domestic violence for attacking Jackson in the home she shared with her husband.

“We do not and cannot understand the motivations of an individual who would take the lives of so many people, including children," Chief Deputy Tim W. Cannon said in a news conference about the murders on Sunday. The urge to write off this level of horror as incomprehensible—as a form of unfathomable evil—is understandable.

But the blunt fact is that we can understand the motivations of someone who would do this. Domestic homicide is committed almost entirely by men who feel off-the-charts levels of male entitlement—men who feel so entitled to control a woman just because they've dated or married her that they resort to violence to reassert control.

Indeed, the 2015 Pulitzer for Public Service went to the Charleston Post and Courier for their chillling but through examination of South Carolina's domestic homicide problem. For anyone under the illusion that domestic homicide is mysterious—for anyone who cares about preventing violence at all, really—the seven-part series, titled "Till Death Do Us Part", is a must-read.

One of their interviewees was Therese D’Encarnacao, who survived her husband shooting her in the head after she told him she was leaving. "If I can’t have you, nobody can," he told her right before he pulled the trigger.

“Some of this is rooted in this notion of women as property," state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter told the Post and Courier. That notion persists in prominent ways. Just look at the recent dust-up between singer Ciara and her rapper ex-boyfriend Future. As Lonnae O'Neal of the Washington Post pointed out last week, when Ciara posted Instagram pictures of their son cuddling her new boyfriend, Future melted down, and sadly, a lot of people on social media—along with New York radio host Ebro Darden—defended Future's tantrum. It's another way of corroborating the idea that a man gains ownership over a woman simply by having a relationship with her.

And if a man feels entitled to control a woman, it's not a huge leap for him to resort to violence to get his way. Domestic violence, even when it ends in tragedy as horrifying as the Texas murders, is probably the least mysterious form of violence there is.


Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/10/eight_people_dead_in_houston_domestic_homicide_it_s_a_tragedy_but_not_a.html

Oklahoma judge strikes down law limiting use of abortion-inducing pills

Oklahoma judge strikes down law limiting use of abortion-inducing pills

An Oklahoma judge struck down on Monday a law aimed at limiting the use of abortion-inducing drugs, saying the measure was unconstitutional because it did not apply to other medication.

The law requires that the drugs, including one known by the brand name of Mifeprex, be administered under U.S. Federal and Drug Administration protocols, which critics say pose dangers to women because the dosage is far higher than needed and requires women to make multiple visits to doctors.

The state's Republican leaders, who have enacted a series of abortion restrictions, planned to appeal the decision from Oklahoma District Judge Patricia Parrish of the law the governor signed last year.

The suit, filed on behalf of Reproductive Services, a nonprofit reproductive healthcare facility in Tulsa, and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, argues the law prohibited off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs purposefully and unconstitutionally, which limited non-surgical abortion options in Oklahoma.

In addition, attorneys argued the law forced doctors to treat women seeking abortions with outdated and less safe methods.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/10/us-usa-abortion-oklahoma-idUSKCN0QF2AX20150810?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Why Men Kill Women Is Not A Mystery

Houston, TX bore witness to a horrific mass murder over the weekend: Valerie Jackson, her six children, and her husband, Dwayne Jackson, were shot to death in their home. Police have arrested David Conley, who is Valerie Jackson's ex-boyfriend and presumed to be the father of her eldest son and one of the victims, Nathaniel Conley, 13. After negotiating with the hostage team for hours, David Conley finally surrendered and has been charged with murder. Conley had been previously charged with domestic violence for attacking Jackson in the home she shared with her husband.

“We do not and cannot understand the motivations of an individual who would take the lives of so many people, including children," Chief Deputy Tim W. Cannon said in a news conference about the murders on Sunday. The urge to write off this level of horror as incomprehensible—as a form of unfathomable evil—is understandable.

But the blunt fact is that we can understand the motivations of someone who would do this. Domestic homicide is committed almost entirely by men who feel off-the-charts levels of male entitlement—men who feel so entitled to control a woman just because they've dated or married her that they resort to violence to reassert control.

Indeed, the 2015 Pulitzer for Public Service went to the Charleston Post and Courier for their chillling but through examination of South Carolina's domestic homicide problem. For anyone under the illusion that domestic homicide is mysterious—for anyone who cares about preventing violence at all, really—the seven-part series, titled "Till Death Do Us Part", is a must-read.

One of their interviewees was Therese D’Encarnacao, who survived her husband shooting her in the head after she told him she was leaving. "If I can’t have you, nobody can," he told her right before he pulled the trigger.

“Some of this is rooted in this notion of women as property," state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter told the Post and Courier. That notion persists in prominent ways. Just look at the recent dust-up between singer Ciara and her rapper ex-boyfriend Future. As Lonnae O'Neal of the Washington Post pointed out last week, when Ciara posted Instagram pictures of their son cuddling her new boyfriend, Future melted down, and sadly, a lot of people on social media—along with New York radio host Ebro Darden—defended Future's tantrum. It's another way of corroborating the idea that a man gains ownership over a woman simply by having a relationship with her.

And if a man feels entitled to control a woman, it's not a huge leap for him to resort to violence to get his way. Domestic violence, even when it ends in tragedy as horrifying as the Texas murders, is probably the least mysterious form of violence there is.


Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/10/eight_people_dead_in_houston_domestic_homicide_it_s_a_tragedy_but_not_a.html

As Long As Donald Trump Is Running, Conservatives Oppose Misogyny

As Long As Donald Trump Is Running, Conservatives Oppose Misogyny

<snip>

But it doesn't matter! Whatever Donald Trump meant by the comment, the opportunity is ripe for various Republicans to strike offended poses about the evils of misogyny.

Those poses have been awkward, to say the least. Take, for instance, Scott Walker, who tweeted on Saturday that "there's no excuse for Trump's comments." Walker also explained during Thursday's debate that women should be denied abortions even at the risk of the woman losing her life. Trump has a nasty mouth, but hey, at least he doesn't think pregnancy should carry a potential death sentence.

Or take Jeb Bush, who fumed, “Give me a break. Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters? What Donald Trump said is wrong." Bush arguably insulted 53 percent of all voters when, as Florida governor, he muscled in on two cases to prevent a mentally disabled rape victim and a 13-year-old ward of the state from obtaining abortions, because one of the tenets of a "culture of life" is that children and the disabled be forced to give birth after being raped. But no period jokes!

Perhaps the most hilariously hypocritical posturing came to us courtesy of RedState founder and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, whose newfound anger over the existence of misogyny is so transparent that birds are flying into it. Erickson disinvited Trump to the annual RedState conference because "there are even lines blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross." But as Max Fisher at Vox pointed out, Erickson's Twitter history shows that he loves crossing that line, especially to express anger at women he perceives as defiant. Erickson frequently derides feminists as "dateless," "too ugly to get a date," and, on one occasion, in need of a shave.

The sad news for Republicans, however, is that Trump's antics don't seem to be hurting him in preliminary post-debate polls. Is that really so surprising? For the past few weeks, Republican politicians have been crawling over each other to declare that abortions—and by implication, the nearly 1 in 3 women who will get abortions in their lifetimes—are "disgusting" and "gruesome." If you determine a woman's character on the basis of the bloody stuff that comes out of her uterus, you can't be surprised when your followers run with that logic.


Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/10/conservative_outrage_over_donald_trump_s_misogyny_hilariously_opportunistic.html

Funny how this works: As Long As Donald Trump Is Running, Conservatives Oppose Misogyny

As Long As Donald Trump Is Running, Conservatives Oppose Misogyny

<snip>

But it doesn't matter! Whatever Donald Trump meant by the comment, the opportunity is ripe for various Republicans to strike offended poses about the evils of misogyny.

Those poses have been awkward, to say the least. Take, for instance, Scott Walker, who tweeted on Saturday that "there's no excuse for Trump's comments." Walker also explained during Thursday's debate that women should be denied abortions even at the risk of the woman losing her life. Trump has a nasty mouth, but hey, at least he doesn't think pregnancy should carry a potential death sentence.

Or take Jeb Bush, who fumed, “Give me a break. Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters? What Donald Trump said is wrong." Bush arguably insulted 53 percent of all voters when, as Florida governor, he muscled in on two cases to prevent a mentally disabled rape victim and a 13-year-old ward of the state from obtaining abortions, because one of the tenets of a "culture of life" is that children and the disabled be forced to give birth after being raped. But no period jokes!

Perhaps the most hilariously hypocritical posturing came to us courtesy of RedState founder and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, whose newfound anger over the existence of misogyny is so transparent that birds are flying into it. Erickson disinvited Trump to the annual RedState conference because "there are even lines blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross." But as Max Fisher at Vox pointed out, Erickson's Twitter history shows that he loves crossing that line, especially to express anger at women he perceives as defiant. Erickson frequently derides feminists as "dateless," "too ugly to get a date," and, on one occasion, in need of a shave.

The sad news for Republicans, however, is that Trump's antics don't seem to be hurting him in preliminary post-debate polls. Is that really so surprising? For the past few weeks, Republican politicians have been crawling over each other to declare that abortions—and by implication, the nearly 1 in 3 women who will get abortions in their lifetimes—are "disgusting" and "gruesome." If you determine a woman's character on the basis of the bloody stuff that comes out of her uterus, you can't be surprised when your followers run with that logic.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/08/10/conservative_outrage_over_donald_trump_s_misogyny_hilariously_opportunistic.html

New Study: Women Judged More Harshly When Speaking Up Assertively

New Study: Women Judged More Harshly When Speaking Up Assertively


Provo, Utah – August 5, 2015 – What if your colleagues discriminated against you just for being assertive? Unfortunately for many women, gender bias is a reality in today’s workplace. A new study about emotional inequality at work conducted by VitalSmarts, a TwentyEighty, Inc. company, reveals women’s perceived competency drops by 35 percent and their perceived deserved compensation by $15,088[1] when they are assertive or forceful. Assertive men are also punished, but at lesser rates.

Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, leading researchers of the study of more than 11,000 participants, present their findings in a new white paper. The e-book version will be released with the webinar, “Women in Business: One Simple Skill to Curb Unconscious Gender Bias,” presented by Grenny and VitalSmarts Senior Master Trainer Candace Bertotti, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. EST. The white paper, and accompanying BS Guys video, offer reasons for the inequality, warnings about making snap judgments, and reveal a simple skill that reduces the damage of workplace bias by 27 percent[2]—enabling both women and men in the office to more consciously speak their minds to minimize backlash.

“Speaking up in forceful, assertive ways is especially risky for women,” said Grenny, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Crucial Conversations. “An emotion-inequality effect punishes women more than men. Women are burdened with the assumption that they will conform to cultural stereotypes that typecast women as caring and nurturing. Speaking forcefully violates these cultural norms, and women are judged more harshly than men for the same degree of assertiveness.”

Grenny said that emotional inequality is real and it is unfair. And while it is unacceptable and needs to be addressed at a cultural, legal, organizational, and social level, individuals can take control.

The research also shows that using a brief, framing statement—that demonstrates deliberation, forethought, and control—reduces the social-backlash and emotion-inequality effects by 27 percent.

“Our research proves it’s all in how you frame it,” Maxfield said.

As explained in the white paper, by framing the assertive statement with what the authors term a “behavior phrase,” a “value phrase,” or an “inoculation phrase,” the negative perception was significantly reduced. These phrases include:

- “I’m going to express my opinion very directly; I’ll be as specific as possible.” (behavior phrase)

- “I see this as a matter of honesty and integrity, so it’s important for me to be clear about where I stand.” (value phrase)

- “I know it’s a risk for a woman to speak this assertively, but I’m going to express my opinion very directly.” (inoculation phrase)

The white paper explains how and why such framing phrases work so effectively.

The paper also details how the research was conducted. In the first study, 4,517 participants observed videotaped performances and then rated the male or female “manager” using a 20-item survey. In the second study, 7,921 participants played the observer role and followed a similar pattern, this time rating the actors after they used the framing statements (phrases) listed above.

“In short, speaking forcefully creates a social backlash,” Maxfield said. “That backlash is amplified for women and can adversely affect an individual’s career and prove costly to an organization’s effectiveness. We believe the implications of this research will empower individuals and leaders to be more aware of gender bias as well as engage in and encourage candid discussion while minimizing negative impacts.”

Read more: https://www.vitalsmarts.com/press/2015/08/new-study-women-judged-more-harshly-when-speaking-up-assertively/#_ftn2

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

WHY does the pro-choice movement so often find itself in a defensive crouch?

I cringed as I watched Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, apologize in a YouTube video last month for the lack of “compassion” in two doctors’ language at supposed business lunches arranged and secretly recorded by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.

Not because she wasn’t eloquent, but because of what her words said about the impossibly narrow path abortion providers now are forced to walk. After all, have you ever heard an apology from a crisis pregnancy center for masquerading as an abortion clinic? What about the women in Texas who lost access to gynecological care when the state defunded Planned Parenthood and did not, as promised, adequately replace its services? Has anyone said sorry about that?

<snip>

There are two reasons abortion rights activists have been boxed in. One is that we’ve been reactive rather than proactive. To deflect immediate attacks, we fall in with messaging that unconsciously encodes the vision of the other side. Abortion opponents say women seek abortions in haste and confusion. Pro-choicers reply: Abortion is the most difficult, agonizing decision a woman ever makes. Opponents say: Women have abortions because they have irresponsible sex. We say: rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, life-risking pregnancies.

These responses aren’t false exactly. Some women are genuinely ambivalent; some pregnancies are particularly dangerous. But they leave out a large majority of women seeking abortions, who had sex willingly, made a decision to end the pregnancy and faced no special threatening medical conditions.

We need to say that women have sex, have abortions, are at peace with the decision and move on with their lives. We need to say that is their right, and, moreover, it’s good for everyone that they have this right: The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary. When we gloss over these truths we unintentionally promote the very stigma we’re trying to combat. What, you didn’t agonize? You forgot your pill? You just didn’t want to have a baby now? You should be ashamed of yourself.

The second reason we’re stuck in a defensive mode is that too many pro-choice people are way too quiet. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly one in three women will have had at least one abortion by the time she reaches menopause. I suspect most of those women had someone who helped them, too — a husband or boyfriend, a friend, a parent. Where are those people? The couple who decided two kids were enough, the grad student who didn’t want to be tied for life to an ex-boyfriend, the woman barely getting by on a fast-food job? Why don’t we hear more from them?

It’s not that they think they did something wrong: A recent study published in the journal PLOS One finds that more than 95 percent of women felt the abortion was the right decision, both immediately after the procedure and three years later. They’ve been shamed into silence by stigma. Abortion opponents are delighted to fill that silence with testimony from their own ranks: the tiny minority of women who say they’re plagued by regret, rape victims glad they chose to continue their pregnancies, women who rejected their doctor’s advice to end a pregnancy and — look at these adorable baby pictures! — everything turned out fine.

Make no mistake: Those voices are heard in high places. In his 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy specifically mentioned the “unexceptionable” likelihood that a woman might come to regret her choice. That women need to be protected from decisions they might feel bad about later — not that there was any evidence supporting this notion — is now a legal precedent.

It is understandable that women who have ended pregnancies just wanted to move on. Why should they define themselves publicly by one private decision, perhaps made long ago? I’ll tell you why: because the pro-choice movement cannot flourish if the mass of women it serves — that one in three — look on as if the struggle has nothing to do with them. Without the voices and support of millions of ordinary women behind them, providers and advocates can be too easily dismissed as ideologues out of touch with the American people.

Women aren’t the only ones who need to speak up. Where are the men grateful not to be forced into fatherhood? Where are the doctors who object to the way anti-abortion lawmakers are interfering with the practice of medicine?

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/how-to-really-defend-planned-parenthood.html

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

WHY does the pro-choice movement so often find itself in a defensive crouch?

I cringed as I watched Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, apologize in a YouTube video last month for the lack of “compassion” in two doctors’ language at supposed business lunches arranged and secretly recorded by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.

Not because she wasn’t eloquent, but because of what her words said about the impossibly narrow path abortion providers now are forced to walk. After all, have you ever heard an apology from a crisis pregnancy center for masquerading as an abortion clinic? What about the women in Texas who lost access to gynecological care when the state defunded Planned Parenthood and did not, as promised, adequately replace its services? Has anyone said sorry about that?

<snip>

There are two reasons abortion rights activists have been boxed in. One is that we’ve been reactive rather than proactive. To deflect immediate attacks, we fall in with messaging that unconsciously encodes the vision of the other side. Abortion opponents say women seek abortions in haste and confusion. Pro-choicers reply: Abortion is the most difficult, agonizing decision a woman ever makes. Opponents say: Women have abortions because they have irresponsible sex. We say: rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, life-risking pregnancies.

These responses aren’t false exactly. Some women are genuinely ambivalent; some pregnancies are particularly dangerous. But they leave out a large majority of women seeking abortions, who had sex willingly, made a decision to end the pregnancy and faced no special threatening medical conditions.

We need to say that women have sex, have abortions, are at peace with the decision and move on with their lives. We need to say that is their right, and, moreover, it’s good for everyone that they have this right: The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary. When we gloss over these truths we unintentionally promote the very stigma we’re trying to combat. What, you didn’t agonize? You forgot your pill? You just didn’t want to have a baby now? You should be ashamed of yourself.

The second reason we’re stuck in a defensive mode is that too many pro-choice people are way too quiet. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly one in three women will have had at least one abortion by the time she reaches menopause. I suspect most of those women had someone who helped them, too — a husband or boyfriend, a friend, a parent. Where are those people? The couple who decided two kids were enough, the grad student who didn’t want to be tied for life to an ex-boyfriend, the woman barely getting by on a fast-food job? Why don’t we hear more from them?

It’s not that they think they did something wrong: A recent study published in the journal PLOS One finds that more than 95 percent of women felt the abortion was the right decision, both immediately after the procedure and three years later. They’ve been shamed into silence by stigma. Abortion opponents are delighted to fill that silence with testimony from their own ranks: the tiny minority of women who say they’re plagued by regret, rape victims glad they chose to continue their pregnancies, women who rejected their doctor’s advice to end a pregnancy and — look at these adorable baby pictures! — everything turned out fine.

Make no mistake: Those voices are heard in high places. In his 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy specifically mentioned the “unexceptionable” likelihood that a woman might come to regret her choice. That women need to be protected from decisions they might feel bad about later — not that there was any evidence supporting this notion — is now a legal precedent.

It is understandable that women who have ended pregnancies just wanted to move on. Why should they define themselves publicly by one private decision, perhaps made long ago? I’ll tell you why: because the pro-choice movement cannot flourish if the mass of women it serves — that one in three — look on as if the struggle has nothing to do with them. Without the voices and support of millions of ordinary women behind them, providers and advocates can be too easily dismissed as ideologues out of touch with the American people.

Women aren’t the only ones who need to speak up. Where are the men grateful not to be forced into fatherhood? Where are the doctors who object to the way anti-abortion lawmakers are interfering with the practice of medicine?

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/how-to-really-defend-planned-parenthood.html

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood

WHY does the pro-choice movement so often find itself in a defensive crouch?

I cringed as I watched Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, apologize in a YouTube video last month for the lack of “compassion” in two doctors’ language at supposed business lunches arranged and secretly recorded by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.

Not because she wasn’t eloquent, but because of what her words said about the impossibly narrow path abortion providers now are forced to walk. After all, have you ever heard an apology from a crisis pregnancy center for masquerading as an abortion clinic? What about the women in Texas who lost access to gynecological care when the state defunded Planned Parenthood and did not, as promised, adequately replace its services? Has anyone said sorry about that?

<snip>

There are two reasons abortion rights activists have been boxed in. One is that we’ve been reactive rather than proactive. To deflect immediate attacks, we fall in with messaging that unconsciously encodes the vision of the other side. Abortion opponents say women seek abortions in haste and confusion. Pro-choicers reply: Abortion is the most difficult, agonizing decision a woman ever makes. Opponents say: Women have abortions because they have irresponsible sex. We say: rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, life-risking pregnancies.

These responses aren’t false exactly. Some women are genuinely ambivalent; some pregnancies are particularly dangerous. But they leave out a large majority of women seeking abortions, who had sex willingly, made a decision to end the pregnancy and faced no special threatening medical conditions.

We need to say that women have sex, have abortions, are at peace with the decision and move on with their lives. We need to say that is their right, and, moreover, it’s good for everyone that they have this right: The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary. When we gloss over these truths we unintentionally promote the very stigma we’re trying to combat. What, you didn’t agonize? You forgot your pill? You just didn’t want to have a baby now? You should be ashamed of yourself.

The second reason we’re stuck in a defensive mode is that too many pro-choice people are way too quiet. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly one in three women will have had at least one abortion by the time she reaches menopause. I suspect most of those women had someone who helped them, too — a husband or boyfriend, a friend, a parent. Where are those people? The couple who decided two kids were enough, the grad student who didn’t want to be tied for life to an ex-boyfriend, the woman barely getting by on a fast-food job? Why don’t we hear more from them?

It’s not that they think they did something wrong: A recent study published in the journal PLOS One finds that more than 95 percent of women felt the abortion was the right decision, both immediately after the procedure and three years later. They’ve been shamed into silence by stigma. Abortion opponents are delighted to fill that silence with testimony from their own ranks: the tiny minority of women who say they’re plagued by regret, rape victims glad they chose to continue their pregnancies, women who rejected their doctor’s advice to end a pregnancy and — look at these adorable baby pictures! — everything turned out fine.

Make no mistake: Those voices are heard in high places. In his 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy specifically mentioned the “unexceptionable” likelihood that a woman might come to regret her choice. That women need to be protected from decisions they might feel bad about later — not that there was any evidence supporting this notion — is now a legal precedent.

It is understandable that women who have ended pregnancies just wanted to move on. Why should they define themselves publicly by one private decision, perhaps made long ago? I’ll tell you why: because the pro-choice movement cannot flourish if the mass of women it serves — that one in three — look on as if the struggle has nothing to do with them. Without the voices and support of millions of ordinary women behind them, providers and advocates can be too easily dismissed as ideologues out of touch with the American people.

Women aren’t the only ones who need to speak up. Where are the men grateful not to be forced into fatherhood? Where are the doctors who object to the way anti-abortion lawmakers are interfering with the practice of medicine?

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/how-to-really-defend-planned-parenthood.html
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