The XX Factor

A Congresswoman Puts Her Face on Abortion

While the debate over Planned Parenthood’s funding in the House is fascinating as a story on its own, I expect that the story that’s going to be discussed into infinity today is Rep. Jackie Speier standing up during the debate and speaking about her own abortion experience at 17 weeks. Nothing grabs the headlines like the revelation that a flesh-and-blood woman has been outed as someone who has touched a penis at least once in her life, though most of the time this prurient urge is expressed through “baby bump” watching in tabloids.

Speier taking a stand against Rep. Chris Smith and his “wouldn’t sit next to him on the subway” levels of creepy investment in ladyparts and controlling the use of them was admirable, especially considering the sea of threats and hate mail her staff is surely combing through this morning. Still, I have to admit I’m annoyed that anti-choice Republicans were able to steer the conversation toward abortion, when the debate on the floor has nothing to do with abortion.  The debate is over ending Title X funding, which goes only toward all other reproductive health services, such as STD screening, cancer screening, and contraception.  By letting the A-word dominate the conversation, Republicans were able to conceal the anti-contraception agenda they’re pushing.

But that’s a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things.  I appreciate any and everyone who talks openly about abortion, STD treatment, and contraception.  Anti-choice activists are able to fill the void with lurid, false stories about what these things are all about, because people who have the direct facts and experiences don’t talk about it.  A little truth-telling goes a long way to fight all the Junior Anti-Sex League hysteria that is being whipped up right now in support of Republican anti-choice initiatives.