Why I won’t be talking about abortion as a “women’s issue” anymore

This is simple.

As many of you know, this weekend I attended the CLPP conference up at Hampshire College, where I attended, among other amazing panels, a panel on Transfeminism featuring our very own Jos Truitt.

And Jos and her co-panelists spoke really compellingly about how to be a trans ally, and how to make sure that the reproductive justice movement is putting forth a comprehensive agenda that includes trans issues. To this end, Jos had a simple yet profound point, that I feel is worth mentioning again and again because it a great example of something tangible, practical, and incredibly straightforward that we can all start doing right now to strengthen our trans activism and our reproductive justice work:

Stop saying and stop thinking that abortion is a women’s issue.

That’s it. Pretty simple right? But incredibly important.

Cause, the thing is, it’s not just women that have abortions

Trans men have abortions. Gender queer people have abortions. Two spirit people have abortions. People who do not fit into the box of ‘woman’ have abortions.

This is the reality we live in, and the more we pretend otherwise, the more dangerous it is for other people, and the more they are excluded by the movement.

Jos also made a really good point on the panel that I want to highlight here.

Gender is this thing that we construct out of a million different characteristics. The way we hold our hands. The length of our hair. The shape of our face. What we wear. Our voices. But then, for some reason, when we got to the question of what is it really, we go to what lives between your legs. Even though that’s not how we make gender and that’s not how gender works. It’s in that assumption that gender lives in our crotches, that we end up erasing the reality that men can have abortions, men can get pregnant and give birth.

So I’m pledging, right here and now, to stop framing the issue of abortion access as one that’s unique to women. I hope you will too!

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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