Wendy doesn’t “stand with Gosnell”

Students for Life

Photo via Think Progress via @Students4LifeHQ

Do we really have to say it again? No, Kermit Gosnell‘s cruel and illegal procedures weren’t the stuff of pro-choice ambition. They were the result of restrictions on abortion access.

Yesterday, the Texas Senate considered the infamous bill that would ban abortion pre-viability and likely close all but five of the state’s clinics–and which has sparked mass feminist protest and national adoration for Senator Wendy Davis, Queen of the Filibuster. Opponents and supporters of the bill from both in and out of state flocked to Austin for the session. Among the crowd was Students for Life. The group held signs co-opting feminist language (“Social justice begins in the womb!”), but perhaps even more infuriating were its posters reading “Wendy stands with Gosnell,” tying the pro-choice politician to the abusive doctor who killed infants in his clinic.

The tactic is nothing new. Anti-abortion advocates have often tried to paint Gosnell as a monster of the reproductive justice movement, and feminists have already exposed the flaws of this argument. But let’s do it again. Explaining why Gosnell’s example is an argument for expanded, rather than restricted, abortion access, Think Progress writes:

[If the Texas anti-abortion bill passes], many desperate and economically disadvantaged women may be forced to resort to dangerous measures to terminate a pregnancy. The women who patronized Kermit Gosnell’s illegal Philadelphia-area clinic were driven there out of poverty; many of them likely felt like they had no other choice. Taking away Texas women’s choices will allow future Gosnells to seize the same opportunity to prey on vulnerable women.

That’s why Wendy Davis, and women’s health activists across the country, are actually standing up against Gosnell. They are standing up against the state-level abortion policies that deepen economic disparities and drive women further into poverty. They are standing up against the harsh regulations that threaten to close down clinics and make it impossible for women to access safe, legal reproductive care. They are standing up against the increasing reality that American women can only exercise their constitutional right to an abortion as long as they’re not poor.

The fight for reproductive justice in Texas continues today when the House hears its version of the anti-abortion package. Follow #HB2 and #standwithTXwomen on Twitter for updates and calls for assistance.

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

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