WTF is this SCOTUS Bullshittery?

I know it’s almost two months since Alito’s draft opinion was leaked and maybe it’s not a topical issue anymore. Also there are definitely other sources talking about the impending likelihood of Roe v Wade being overturned and I hope we are all taking the time and energy we can spare to fully understand this vital issue. But I wanted to create a source that talked specifically about abortion itself and where he is fundamentally wrong about it. I have also highlighted some other arguments that are dangerous at best, and I’m including here and there some information I have gleaned from other sources such as medieval historians (a moment of silence for the fact that we have to turn to medieval historians during this fight to protect abortion wtf). I am no lawyer myself and there is much that I cannot speak to. But I am a person living in this nation and I recognize that sometimes we must choose to drop archaic beliefs in the name of equity and freedom and so in that sense I maintain that I have the qualifications to question his logic, at times even when his opinion is backed up (supposedly) by legal precedent.


I know. Me neither.

Here goes!

(BTW, TW for gendered language. I am working hard to keep my own parts of this gender neutral because not all people who need abortions are women, but Alito is a little less, uh, woke in this area. And every other area. I’m keeping his comments as is for clarity.)

Alito wrote:
“The legislature then found that at five or six weeks’ gestational age an ‘unborn human being’s heart begins beating. . .’” (p6-7)

Completely ignoring the fact that for some reason we are letting legislatures do medical research and make medical pronouncements, this is factually misleading.

Y’all already know from my Abortion Facts infopost that the heartbeat detected at six weeks gestation is not a fully formed heart. It is a few heart cells and heart cells are known to beat even in a petri dish which is obviously not a viable human, nor will it ever become one. Recent research has shown that the heart may not be completely formed until around 20 weeks gestation (1).

Alito wrote:
“And at twelve weeks the ‘unborn human being’ has ‘taken on the human form at all relevant respects.’” (p7)

What? No really, what?

Who defines relevant? What is the definition of relevant? Because a fetus at 12 weks gestation cannot survive outside the uterus, which is a pretty relevant part of being a human, I think. This is an unscientific statement that holds no real meaning so I cannot debunk it with scientific facts, but I can discuss bodily autonomy here.

In no other situation is keeping another person alive forced upon a living or dead human. We cannot force someone to donate blood to save a human life. We cannot take someone’s organs to save a life without their consent – not even if the donor is deceased and will never need the organs again. Why do we force people to carry pregnancies to term, then?

It’s punishment. That’s what it is. Punishment for having sex.

Alito wrote:
“[The legislature] found that most abortions after fifteen weeks employ ‘dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child,’ and it concluded that the ‘intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.’” (p 7)

That’s a lot. Let’s break it down.

First of all, a D&E is a procedure done for second trimester abortions.

The claim that the procedure will “crush and tear” a fetus is designed to elicit an emotional response based on the presumption that being crushed and torn is painful and frightening. And it absolutely would be for you or I. But nearly all abortions take place long before the fetus has any of the physical structures which transmit pain. Furthermore, the capacity to comprehend pain doesn’t exist within the brain until around 28 weeks gestation (2).

(And if you want to limit later abortions, the most complete way to do that is to make sure abortions are accessible for all geographical locations, all incomes, all genders, and all races because, aside from those tragedies where a wanted pregnancy must be terminated for health reasons, the vast majority of later abortions happen because people lack access and it takes time to gather resources.)

The claim that a D&E is dangerous for the gestating parent is patently false (3).

The claim that a D&E is demeaning to the medical profession is nothing but Alito’s opinion. Once we have debunked these other errors, we find that the procedure is not “barbaric” at all and that it is a simple, safe medical procedure. Mayyyyybe we let medical professionals decide what is or isn’t demeaning to their profession? Just an idea.

Alito wrote:
“Roe, however, was remarkably loose in its treatment of the constitutional text. It held that the abortion right, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, is a part of a right to privacy, which is also not mentioned.” (p9)


This is actually chilling.

He is literally saying the constitution does not protect our right to privacy. People have been saying since May 3 that losing Roe v Wade is the first, incredibly dangerous step to losing our rights to privacy. Well, here it is in Alito’s own words.

You cannot want to ban abortions and also have your right to privacy. They go together.

Alito wrote:
“The regulation of a medical procedure that only one sex can undergo does not trigger heightened constitutional scrutiny unless the regulation is a ‘mere pretext[] designed to effect an invidious discrimination against members of one sex or the other. . . .’ And as the Court has stated, the ‘goal of preventing abortion’ does not constitute ‘invidiously discriminatory animus against women.’ (p10)

I mean. Let me just….


lol hoookay there, upper class white cishet male.

Alito wrote:
“…Abortion has long been a crime in every single state. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions.” (p 15)

Here we begin with his series of historical arguments which date back to the 1200s and include some pretty blatant hypocrisy. There is much that I cannot say here because I have no training in law theory and no formal training as a historian. But I can say this: The world is not the same today as it was 200 years ago or even in the 1850s. We know more and we know better. When we know better, we must do better. Women/AFAB folx have always been oppressed in part by our ability to give birth. Lives were ruined and often ended by forced birthing. Why in the actual fuck would we think any of that was valid in our modern world of supposed equality? Especially not now that we understand more clearly the science behind fetal development? Just because someone held a value 200 years ago does not mean our society today holds that same value (I will be coming back to this idea at a later point in the post).

It is also vitally important to understand that abortion has always existed (and will always exist). People who did not want a pregnancy have always used various methods via various professionals to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

It is a modern Christian belief that life begins at conception. As Alito notes with regularity in his draft, historically it was only considered a crime after quickening (when the gestational parent can feel movement). And other cultures and religions hold different beliefs. In Judaism, for instance, life is considered to begin at first breath, not at conception (4). We cannot make secular laws based on one religion because, and you may want to sit down for this shocking information, but not all religions hold the same beliefs. If we want to guarantee our own religious freedom, we *must* work to guarantee religious freedom for all. Period. This is why we say “if you don’t believe abortions are ethical, don’t have one.”

All that prefaced, there is ample historical evidence that not only was abortion legal, but it was also common and accepted. Medical literature discussed abortion and newspapers advertised remedies (5). If and when abortion was prosecuted, it was not until after quickening, which happens around week 20 of gestation, well into the second trimester. Alito conveniently ignores this to redirect his reader to focus only on the legality of it, but if he were honestly citing this as relevance for the historical precedent of abortions in the US and other western cultures, he would clearly allow for early abortions. But that’s not what he’s trying to do at all, of course. Like most forced birthers, he isn’t at all interested in the lives he claims to be pro-life for.

Alito goes on to cite specific cases starting in the 13th century and then more in the 17th century. However, according to medieval law historian, Dr. MJ Pardon, there really aren’t cases in which a woman is tried for her own abortion, and many medieval cases that deal with abortion are canon law – in other words, law maintained by the church a person belongs to rather than the government where a person lives (6). None of this is relevant to Roe v Wade.

Alito wrote:
“The Court in Roe could have said of abortion exactly what Glucksberg said of assisted suicide: ‘Attitudes toward [abortion] have changed since [the 13th century], but our laws have consistently condemned, and continue to prohibit, [that practice] (p 25).’”

Okay well first of all, we’ve already proved that abortion has always been accepted so he’s flat out lying or wrong there, but more importantly I’d like to point out that laws should always reflect the society they aim to maintain. Why in the actual fuck would we make laws that aren’t relevant to our society? The *only* time such a thing happens is when the government is overextending its control. 64% of Americans do not want to see Roe v Wade overturned (7). That is nearly two-thirds of this country, a significant majority. When a government so blatantly works against the wishes of the majority of its people, I’d argue we really cannot call ourselves a republic anymore because we are clearly no longer being represented.

Alito wrote:
“While individuals are certainly free to think and to say what they wish about “existence,” “meaning,” the “universe,” and “the mystery of human life,” they are not always free to act in accordance with those thoughts (p 30).”

This is another subtle bit that’s actually chilling AF. Here is is acknowledging that there are many and varied belief systems and philosophies regarding when life “begins” and yet he specifically says that one is not “always” able to enact their own belief systems. Because he is approaching this from an inherently Christian point of view, these words are cementing US law to Christianity which is a direct infringement on the rights of many other belief systems. The implications for future laws being cemented to Christianity is terrifying.

(And here I do feel I need to clarify that I am not having any “Not All ______” arguments. It is reasonable to say that not all Christianity shares these dangerous conservative views on lawmaking, but those who are allies recognize their privilege and know that what is meant here is modern evangelical Christianity which is by far the most active in US lawmaking and thus they know not to start a “Not All Christians” discussion.)

Alito wrote:
“Americans who believe that abortion should be restricted press countervailing arguments about modern developments. They note that attitudes about the pregnancy of unmarried women have changed drastically; that federal and state laws ban discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, that leave for pregnancy and childbirth are now guaranteed by law in many cases, that the costs of medical care associated with pregnancy are covered by insurance or government assistance, that States have increasingly adopted “safe haven” laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously; and that a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home (p 33-34).”

Um. Wow. This dude is a leetle bit out of touch, huh? Okay let’s dig in.

1. Attitudes about unmarried women have changed in the past 50 years. That’s true. And that’s one of the big reasons that abortion and adoption rates have declined. Because people who give birth have more social freedom to keep their babies.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t still need abortion.

2. Laws prevent people from being discriminated against because of pregnancies. Um, yes, technically these laws do exist. But any lawyer (and *ahem* Supreme Court Justices are all lawyers) should also understand that it is notoriously difficult to prove intention in court. Companies can and often do lay off pregnant people or choose not to hire pregnant people and it’s very easy for them to claim it was for some other reason. If you cannot prosecute for breaking a law, you cannot enforce the law. Therefore, all the laws in the world cannot guarantee employment to pregnant people.

3. Leave for pregnancy and birth are guaranteed. Sure. Like, a little bit of leave is guaranteed but much of that goes unpaid, creating hardships. The United States is horrifyingly behind other countries in this area (8).

4. The costs of medical care for pregnancy and birth are covered by insurance or government assistance. Again, lol, not really. The US repeatedly refuses to create some sort of single-payer plan that would provide equitable and accessible medical care to all. Furthermore, there is minimal assistance for poor families once the forced birth produces a child. This may also be a good time to point out that we are also horrifyingly behind in gestational and birth mortality rates (9) and that rate rises for Black and Indigenous people of color.

5. People who put their children up for adoption can trust their infants will find a safe home. I could write a whole other paragraph in this increasingly long and verbose rebuttal but Vox already has a good article outlining all the reasons that adoption is not an answer to abortion so if you need to educate yourself on this (I did! No judgement!) click this link.

Also important to note at this point that the part of this draft that mentions the “domestic supply of infants” was not Alito’s own words, but appeared in the footnotes as a reference to a document he is using to support his claims. Of course it also doesn’t matter if he said it himself or not because he is clearly holding that opinion. So friendly reminder that children are humans, not products. Adoption exists as a means to solve a tragedy – when a child loses their parents. Adoption is not a means to provide a childless family with a human being of their own. That would be human trafficking. Kthxbye.

Moving on.

We’re almost done, I swear.

I hated reading the whole thing, I get it. But this *is* important and so I thank you for sticking with me.

Alito wrote:
“[with Roe], the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people (p 40).”

If the Constitution “unequivocally” leaves this choice to the people – WHY, SIR, ARE YOU REMOVING THAT CHOICE FROM THE PEOPLE? He’d say “because states’ rights” but fuck that noise. The concept of “states’ rights” is only ever invoked to restrict human rights. States are not “the people.” The PEOPLE are the people. FFS. I am too old and tired for this nonsense.

Alito wrote:
“Also noted [in Roe] were a British Judicial decision handed down in 1939 and a new British abortion law enacted in 1967. The Court did not explain why these sources shed light on the meaning of the Constitution (p 44).”

Ok hang on. Maybe cover your ears.


Alito wrote:
“Viability also depends on the “quality of the available medical facilities.” Thus a 24 week old fetus may be viable if a woman gives birth in a city with hospitals that provide advanced care for very premature babies, but if the woman travels to a remote area far from any such hospital, the fetus may no longer be viable. On what ground could the constitutional status of a fetus depend on the pregnant woman’s location (p 48)?”

It’s like he technically *can* grasp the concept that access to medical care needs to be equitable, but instead of applying that to make sure all Americans have equal access to health care, he uses it against equal access to health care.


Alito wrote:
“Despite Roe’s weaknesses, its reach was steadily extended in the years that followed (p 50).”

Well, I mean first of all, read a bit about the Hyde Amendment which fundamentally limited Roe’s reach.

But also, here are the specific ways in which he claims Roe’s reach was extended. You may notice that, in actuality, these are all ways in which conservatives tried to *limit* Roe and the Court determined that Roe should not be limited. That is not quite the same as extending its reach.

The Court ruled that:
-Second trimester abortions did not have to be performed ONLY in hospitals (1983)
-minors do not need parental consent to obtain abortions (1976)
-women do NOT need to give written consent after being informed of the status of the developing prenatal life and the risks of abortion
-people do not need to wait 24 hours for an abortion
-physicians cannot determine viability “in a particular manner”
-that a physician performing a post-viability abortion need NOT use the technique most likely to preserve the life of the fetus
-fetal remains do NOT need to be treated in a humane manner

Alito wrote:
“. . . the preservation of public approval of [SCOTUS] weighs heavily in favor of retaining Roe (p 63).”

He knows the majority of people don’t want Roe overturned. He just feels powerful enough to not give a shit.

Alito wrote:
“As Chief Justice Rehnquist explained, ‘The Judicial branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights whether legislative enactments of the popular branches of Government comport with the Constitution (p 63).”

Completely ignoring the idea that perhaps a document written by slave owners who did not view women as people might not be the best document for governing a nation in the 21st century, I want to reiterate that public opinion is vitally important in deciding what laws to follow and what beliefs our nation should hold. If we are not governing according to public opinion, what the fuck are we doing? Why would a culture enact and enforce laws that the vast majority of its people do not believe in?

At the end of his arguments, he summarized all his points by claiming that these following points (p 66) are the reasons the state has “legitimate interests” in this. I shall rebut point by point. (heh. heh. “re butt” heh.) If you are SO DONE with this post, it’s okay to leave now. He’s just repeating the same ignorant shit here so I’m just repeating my same actual facts and logic. Nothing really new. You get a cookie for being here this long as it is.

-respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development

I have already discussed how the embryo/fetus is mere cells early in pregnancy (1), I have discussed how the embryo/fetus does not feel or have consciousness of pain early in pregnancy (2). The question of at what moment does a human soul become involved is not a scientific one, but a personal one that each person should be allowed to consider on their own. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. But where is the concern for the gestating person? I’ve also already discussed bodily autonomy: abortion is the singular instance in which one person is forced to use their body to keep someone else alive. This is discrimination. Period.

-protection of maternal health and safety

I’ve already debunked the idea that this is a dangerous procedure for gestating persons (3).

-elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures

The use of the word “barbaric” is intended to focus one’s emotions on the pain a fetus must feel during the procedure. We’ve already debunked that. Instead let’s talk about how cervical biopsies literally rip part of the cervix away with no anesthesia for the person undergoing the procedure. Perhaps we can make medical procedures for autonomous humans less barbaric before we start worrying about undeveloped cells?

-preservation of the integrity of the medical profession

I assume his concerned about the medical profession retaining its integrity is due to his belief that abortions are “barbaric” but 1) I’ve already – twice now in this section – debunked the idea that abortions are “barbaric” 2) pointed out that he is not in any way concerned for the barbaric procedures grown adult people have to go through and 3) once again, let’s let the medical profession itself decide if it’s being harmed mkay?

-the mitigation of fetal pain

Dear lordy how many times do I have to say this (2). It’s SO easy to look this shit up. He looks either entirely unprepared and unresearched or simply controlling.

-prevention of discrimination on the basis or race, sex, or disability

I honestly don’t know how he sees that overturning Roe v Wade will help end these things? Women are still oppressed, trans folx doubly so. People of color are still oppressed. Disabled folx are also still oppressed. Forcing births onto any person in an oppressed demographic, left alone a person who has many identities that are oppressed, will only strengthen the oppression. Until birth is safe in the US (9), until health care, child care, housing, education, parental leave, food, and everything else needed to raise a child, then forcing birth onto people who are not ready to be parents furthers their oppressions.

Remember that bodies change during pregnancy and birth. And I am not talking *just* about extra skin on a belly. Bodies can become permanently different, permanently disabled due to pregnancy and/or birth. It is not a risk-free action and, in fact, abortion is far safer than childbirth. A person should not be expected to risk their health, their body, unless they choose to. Period. We don’t ask it of any other demographic except pregnant people. Stop it.

Thank you for sticking here this long. Let me know in the comments what kind of cookie you want. I mean and also let me know if you have any questions or clarifications. Fuck the SCOTUS, they aren’t working for the people any more.


1. “Human heart development slower than other mammals.” University of Sheffield. 21 Feb 2013.

2. “Facts are Important: Gestational Development and Capacity for Pain.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

3. “D&E Abortion Bans: The Implications of Banning the Most Common Second-Trimester Procedure.” Guttmacher Institute. 21 Feb 2017.

4. “Judaism and Abortion.” National Council of Jewish Women.

5. “Abortion Is Central to the History of Reproductive Health Care in America.” Planned Parenthood.

6. “Medieval law in the supreme court decision.” Dr. MJ Pardon (on TikTok). 3 May 2022.

7. “Poll: Two-thirds say don’t overturn Roe; the court leak is firing up Democratic voters.” NPR. 19 May 2022.

8. “Among 41 countries, only U.S. lacks paid parental leave.” Pew Research Center. 16 Dec 2019.

9. “Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries.” The Commonwealth Fund. 18 Nov 2020.

What is Intersectionality?

When I say that I practice intersectional feminism, I am specifically aiming to let people know that I eschew the erasure inherent in traditional “white feminism.” I am aiming to communicate that I recognize that Black women have different struggles than I ever could and that my goal is for my work to be inclusive of their needs and history as well. Because it’s not equity if it’s not for everyone.

However, I want to also recognize that I am willing to be corrected by Black women, or members of other marginalized groups I am not a part of, if ever I misstep. You cannot claim to practice intersectional feminism if you are not open to being corrected. We are all learning and unlearning, myself included. And when we know better, we must do better.

So what is intersectionality? Let’s get into it.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor of law at Columbia University and UCLA. She coined the term to “describe the double bind of simultaneous racial and gender prejudice,” particularly in regards to law (1).

At the time courts recognized either sex or gender discrimination, but not both. Crenshaw cites three court cases that highlight how the *intersection* of race and gender compound to make Black women’s experiences more challenging than either Black men or white women.

Crenshaw cites the lawsuit DeGraffenreid v General Motors. GM did not hire any Black women before 1964 so when they had seniority-based layoffs in 1970, all Black female employees were fired (2).

The women tried to sue but because GM had hired white women and Black men previous to 1964, the courts refused to see the sexism or the racism, saying “[P]laintiffs have failed’ to cite any decisions which have stated that Black women are a special class to be protected from discrimination.” (qtd in 2)

So Crenshaw coined “intersectionality” to describe how multiple marginalized identities can erase a person’s struggles and keep them from accessing justice.

The more marginalized identities a person has, the more likely they are to face oppressions. It is important to disaggregate data: remember that when people say women are more likely to be victims of violence, that likelihood rises for women of color or trans women. Not all experiences of womanhood are equal.

While it is true that one does not have to be Black to have multiple oppressed identities, feminism in the US and other culturally-related places has a long history of excluding Black activists. Because of that, it is vitally important to remember that “For many, intersectionality has always been, and should continue to be, synonymous with US Black feminist theory (3).”

So what does this mean for feminists, especially for allies? First, remember that while we may hold multiple marginalized identities, we must still recognize those we do not hold and make space for them. For instance, I may be a disabled woman living under the poverty line (and that is significant!), but I am not a Black woman and I need to make sure I am making space for Black women and not talking over them or pushing them out of the proverbial tent. Need specifics? Keep these goals in mind and aim to make them a habit in your daily life:

  • Follow BIPOC content creators and activists.
  • Center voices from marginalized groups rather than speaking over them.
  • Call out/in the people in your own groups of privilege when necessary.
  • Be willing to be called out/in. Do self-reflection on a regular basis. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Do not correct or tone police folx with marginalized identities as they speak or advocate for themselves and their community.

  • Feminism is in direct opposition to patriarchy. The patriarchy holds power with white supremacy and capitalism, therefore feminism must oppose those as well. Because for too long feminism has aligned itself with white supremacy and capitalism, we must actively and aggressively embrace intersectional feminism. Because we are not free until all of us are free. Patriarchy is bad for everyone, even the men who hold the power. The same is true for its bedfellows.

    Therefore, it’s not feminism unless it’s intersectional because we cannot truly and actually oppose the patriarchy while we are still aligned with it’s allies. Intersectional feminism because some women are Black, or indigenous, or trans, or disabled, or houseless, or incarcerated, or otherwise oppressed. Intersectional feminism because it’s the right thing to do.

    1. “Kimberlé W. Crenshaw.” Columbia Law School, 1 Feb. 2019,
    2. Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8.
    3. Davis K. Who owns intersectionality? Some reflections on feminist debates on how theories travel. European Journal of Women’s Studies. 2020;27(2):113-127.

    The Fallacy of the BMI

    Every day our lives are shaped by this simple calculations. This may not be obvious to you if your calculations happen to land you in a socially acceptable place, approved of by authorities. But for many of us whose BMIs are outside of that window, we are denied healthcare, charged more for it, or punished otherwise. The whole story is much bigger than just the BMI and at some point I will get into fatphobia itself and its vast implications in the world. But for now let’s look at the BMI specifically because it is used ubiquitously in healthcare and not only is it inaccurate but it was never meant to be used for individuals.

    This little article is just a quick fact sheet. For more complete information and history I suggest checking out the articles The Bizarre and Racist History of the BMI by Your Fat Friend (Aubrey Gordon), and The Racist and Problematic History of the Body Mass Index by Adele Jackson-Gibson.

    But for a quick overview, here are some fast facts:

  • Originally created in 1835 by Adolphe Quetelet
  • Quetelet was not a doctor, nor trained in medicine. He was a statistician.
  • His goal was to find the “ideal” man.
  • His formula was designed and intended to measure populations, not individuals.
  • His formula was derived based on statistics of European people only.
  • Numerous studies have found it is not accurate for folx of other ethnicities.
  • It cannot tell you how much fat a person has; according to the BMI, Arnold Schwarzenegger is obese. It literally just measures mass and different bone or muscle densities among individuals can skew it.
  • It’s totally arbitrary. In 1998 the guidelines were changed and “millions of Americans became ‘fat’ [overnight] — even if they did not gain a pound.”
  • Keith Devlin of NPR called the BMI “mathematical snake oil.”

  • To get a more visual idea of what various BMIs look like on real people, you can check out my new Instagram project (you can submit your pics, too!). This project is based on Kate Harding’s BMI Project which this page has historically linked to. She’s given me her blessing to bring this new version to life to update it and hopefully continue spreading the word about the fallacy of the BMI.

    Look, I know it’s nice to have a simple formula we can all agree on. But the fact is that it doesn’t work and the more we rely on it, the more we harm folx. I’ve been charged more for insurance because of my BMI. I’ve been denied medical care because of my BMI. People whose bodies are smaller than, or larger than the “healthy” range of the BMI are not allowed to donate their bodies to science (and then that means that doctors in training do not get to learn from fat bodies which perpetuates the cycle). Again, we will get into these details in a future post when we examine fatphobia, but it’s important to see ways in which BMI specifically limits people.

    It’s way past time to throw the BMI in the garbage where it belongs.

    And while we’re at it – throw out your scale, too.


    1. Devlin, Keith. “Top 10 Reasons Why the BMI Is Bogus.” NPR, NPR, 4 July 2009,
    2. Quetelet, Adolphe. A Treatise on Man and the Development of His Faculties. 1835.
    3. Gordon, Aubrey. “The Bizarre and Racist History of the BMI.” Elemental, Medium, 18 Oct. 2019,
    4. Jackson-Gibson, Adele. “The Racist and Problematic Origins of the Body Mass Index.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 1 Nov. 2021,
    5. Cohen, Elizabeth, and Anne McDermott. “Who’s Fat? New Definition Adopted.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 June 1998,
    6. “The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Program: Health Implications of Obesity.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Feb. 1985,
    7. “Illustrated BMI Categories.” Curated by Kate Harding, Flickr, Flickr,

    Infopost: Reproductive Justice

    You are undoubtedly aware of the Reproductive Rights movement, which advocates for access to sex ed, birth control, abortions, and medical care during pregnancy and birth. And those things are absolutely very necessary for the health of individuals as well as for the society which those individuals live in. But those things are all rather limited in the grand scheme of things and as it turns out, we need to recognized the interconnectedness of all things not just through intersectional feminism, but through Reproductive Justice as well.

    According to Sister Song, a respected source in the RJ movement since 1997, the Reproductive Justice Movement was named in 1994.

    “Indigenous women, women of color, and trans* people have always fought for Reproductive Justice, but the term was invented in 1994. Right before attending the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, where the entire world agreed that the individual right to plan your own family must be central to global development, a group of black women gathered in Chicago in June of 1994. They recognized that the women’s rights movement, led by and representing middle class and wealthy white women, could not defend the needs of women of color and other marginalized women and trans* people. We needed to lead our own national movement to uplift the needs of the most marginalized women, families, and communities.” (1)

    Many RJ sources quote Audre Lorde when she said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

    So what is Reproductive Justice, then? Sister Song defines it as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities (1).”

    And what does Reproductive Justice look like? It includes awareness and advocacy not just for the same issues as the Reproductive Rights movement calls for, but also for environmental issues, prison reform, economic justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and it also specifically advocates for the rights of people to have children if they choose – the US in particular has a long and dark history of forced or coerced sterilizations of people of color and disabled folx. So buckle up if you’ve got the spoons for this post, cause it’s gonna be a hard road to walk.

    (And please remember, white, cis, straight, abled folx, that when I talk about “spoons” that is not for you in this case. It is your responsibility to learn this history and to share this history among your peers. Marginalized folx already know this and do this.)

    Already we recognize that the classism and racism in our culture is toxic and must be eradicated. But it becomes a Reproductive Justice issue when you also acknowledge that without universal, equitable healthcare, many cannot afford it (2). And if one cannot access healthcare, it logically follows that one therefore cannot access birth control, gestational and birth care, cancer and heath screenings, or healthcare for any children one has. Ms. Magazine has a nice little article up that notes how various aspects of economic injustice contribute to a lack of access to healthcare:

  • “women of color are disproportionately segregated into work sectors that are least likely to have access to paid family leave, paid sick leave and protections for pregnant women (2).”
  • “70% of tipped workers are women and they are three times more likely to be in poverty and experience five times the rate of sexual harassment. When the minimum wage goes up to $15, tipped workers will still be left at $5 (2).”
  • “when we talk about domestic abuse, we have to consider the experiences of undocumented people who do not report out of fear of deportation (2).”
  • “At [Planned Parenthood New York City], we see over 64,000 patients every year, many of whom are women of color, low-income and poor, immigrant and undocumented, and young people. Last year, we gave financial assistance to 10,600 patients (2).”

  • We also need to talk about the Hyde Amendment. In 1977, just four years after Roe V Wade, the US backpedaled in the name of “compromise” and “appeasing the Right” and enacted the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of federal funding for most abortions.


    Anyway. Without federal funding, low income folx cannot access most abortions on their own. Which is why we have Planned Parenthood being known for abortions when their original goal was contraception, and the majority of their services are healthcare and cancer screenings.

    But, wait! There’s more!

    “The [Hyde] amendment hinders the ability of all low-income women to terminate a pregnancy and disproportionately affects women of color, but it discriminates against Native women specifically because they are entitled to receive health services from a federal agency (3).”

    I’ll do a post on what intersectionality is at another time, but this is a good example. Many Americans struggle to access healthcare. Women struggle more than men. Women of color more than white women. And, in this respect, at least, Native American women are impacted the most. Where their identities of woman and Indigenous intersect is where they are the most impacted.

    Environmental Justice becomes a Reproductive Justice issue when it interferes with a person’s rights or ability to have and raise (or to not have) a child. This is pretty obvious when you look at the communities struggling during and in the aftermath of major storms like Katrina or Harvey. As global warming continues and storms become more destructive (4) I don’t have to elaborate on how that will affect families, particularly poor families (of which BIPOC make up a disproportionate amount).

    But things like the Flint water crisis are also examples of how Environmental Justice is a fundamental part of Reproductive Justice. Michael Moore reminds us that “you cannot reverse the irreversible brain damage that has been inflicted upon every single child in Flint. The damage is permanent (5).” Furthermore, residents’ reproductive organs may be affected (5). The City of Flint’s website does not have any updates on the situation past last July and this article by a PBS affiliate dated October 2021 notes that “As of June, just over 10,000 pipes have been replaced in Flint and the city’s website says it is in the final stage of replacement, but even still residents struggle to trust that the water is safe to drink (6).”

    If people do not have access to a safe environment in which to raise any children they choose to have, they lack Reproductive Justice. Chernobyl, Fukushima, the BP oil spill in the gulf, the issues with the Cuyahoga River, current and future pipelines, etc…. It’s all included here.

    And a reminder that while these events are global and affect many, many people, it is still BIPOC folx who are affected disproportionately because they are more likely to be living near these places, more likely to live below the poverty line and therefore have fewer options with which to remove themselves. Wealthy white people do not choose to build toxic places near their homes. (Eat the rich, by the way.)

    “Over half (58%) of all women in U.S. prisons are mothers, as are 80% of women in jails, including many who are incarcerated awaiting trial simply because they can’t afford bail (7).”

    When pregnant people are incarcerated, it is still routine within the United States to shackle them during labor and birth despite no evidence that it is necessary. JAAPL notes that “Most incarcerated women are not violent offenders. . . and there are no known escape attempts among inmates who were not restrained during childbirth (8).”

    They also note that “Potential negative health effects of restraints include increased discomfort, limited mobility, increased fall risk, delays in medical assessments during obstetrical emergencies, increased risk of blood clots, interference with normal labor and delivery, and interference with mother–infant bonding (8).”

    And they say that “Currently, 22 states have some legislation restricting the use of shackles during pregnancy, with some of these banning shackling only during active labor and delivery (8).”

    Once the baby is born, they are nearly always separated from their birthing parent in the United States. This is not, it turns out, the global norm. There are only four nations that routinely separate infant and parent: The United States, The Bahamas, Liberia, and Surinam (8).

    The good news is that there are a few prisons in the US that are working to change this. NPR has a really lovely article about this, stating that “Washington Corrections Center for Women is one of at least eight prisons in the country that allows a small number of women who are pregnant and give birth while incarcerated to keep their newborns with them for a limited time (9).” These places aren’t like Orange is the New Black – they are safe and appropriate for babies and toddlers. They are built to be child- and family-oriented and studies have shown that they benefit for the baby and the parent (10).

    Another problem unique to parenting while incarcerated is presented by The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 which intends to get children out of the foster care system and into adoption as soon as possible. While perhaps a noble goal, for parents whose children are in foster care while they serve their time it becomes a risk of losing ones child altogether. If a child is in foster care for fifteen months of the previous two years, parental rights are terminated (8).

    And a quick reminder here that prisons are literally modern slavery, per the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. According to Wikipedia, “While the United States represents about 4.2 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 20 percent of the world’s prisoners.” Putting all of this information together together makes the whole situation look kinda sus tbh.

    BIG trigger warning for this whole section.

    Ah, joy of joys. I’ve saved the most fun subject for last. (That’s sarcasm, this is the least fun subject. Maybe. Maybe they’re all equally horrific. The United States is a flat-out dystopia.)

    Did you know that the Nazis quite literally modeled their eugenics program after the United States? After California, specifically, in fact (11). Yeah. Gross.

    “Beginning in 1909 and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent. Approximately 20,000 sterilizations took place in state institutions, comprising one-third of the total number performed in the 32 states where such action was legal (11).”

    This was a program that specifically focused on the Disabled community. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” when a disabled woman whose mother was also disabled was sterilized after having a child (11).

    But they didn’t limit themselves to just Disabled folx, they also sterilized minorities. There are noted examples in Puerto Rico (11), and in Los Angeles among Latina women, many of whom were forced to sign papers in a language they did not speak or read while in active labor (watch the documentary No Más Bebés). Time Magazine notes that in the 1970s, at least 25% of Native American women were sterilized, but the numbers are actually likely higher (12).

    But the worst part is that none of this is ancient history (not that 1979 is ancient history…). A number of incarcerated women were sterilized without lawful consent in California in the first decade of this new millennium (13). And don’t forget that as recently as 2020 it came to light that ICE was sterilizing immigrant women without lawful consent (14).

    Access to good, complete sex ed, and to abortions and birth control, as well as to gestational and birth care are absolutely necessary. But, proportionally, white women deal with these other issues less often. And, historically, we tend to forget (or worse) about others when we are doing activism. Hence, Reproductive Justice was born. Just like how feminism isn’t truly feminism if it’s not intersectional, the fight for reproductive freedom means nothing if we don’t remember to include all of these other aspects of being a human.

    Additionally, we must also remember to include LGBTQIA+ issues in our work – but there has not been research done on, for example, trans fathers in prison (also we need to research that and other niche areas). Remember that queer folx need access to birth control and abortions, too. Remember that some men give birth.

    We must remember that the gestational and childbirth mortality rates in the United States are abysmal. We have twice the birth mortality rate compared to other high-income nations at 17.4 per 100,000 births (15). France is next highest with 8.7 deaths per 100,000 births. New Zealand, Norway, and the Netherlands have 3 or fewer deaths per 100,000 births. But wait, it gets worse! For birthing folx who are Black, the rate in the US is 37.1 deaths per 100,000 births. What, and I want to be very clear here, the FUCK? (15)

    None of us are free, while so many of us cannot access their basic human rights. Take this information and share it and together we can begin to fix this mess we call a society.

    Fellow white folx, please remember: While it is absolutely imperative that we make Reproductive Justice a priority, we must remember that it is not our movement. As allies, we should share information, but never speak over BIPOC or any other marginalized community, particularly in a movement they started.

    If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned a cookie.

    1. “Reproductive Justice.” Sister Song, Sister Song,

    2. Ko, Michele. “Economic Justice Issues Are Reproductive Justice Issues.” Ms. Magazine, Ms. Magazine, 8 Feb. 2019,

    3. Theobald, Brianna. “The Native American Women Who Fought Mass Sterilization.” Time, Time, 5 Dec. 2019,

    4. “Environmental Justice Is Reproductive Justice and Reproductive Justice Is Environmental Justice.” Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood, 1 July 2020,

    5. Pickens, Josie. “#FlintWaterCrisis Is a Reproductive Justice Issue.” Ebony, Ebony, 2 Feb. 2016,

    6. Blakely, Natasha. “Seven Years on: The Flint Water Crisis Has Yet to Conclude.” Great Lakes Now, PBS, 27 Oct. 2021,

    7. Bertram, Wanda, and Wendy Sawyer. “Prisons and Jails Will Separate Millions of Mothers from Their Children in 2021.” Prison Policy Initiative,

    8. Friedman, Susan Hatters, et al. “The Realities of Pregnancy and Mothering While Incarcerated.” Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 13 May 2020,

    9. Corley, Cheryl. “Programs Help Incarcerated Moms Bond with Their Babies in Prison.” NPR, NPR, 7 Dec. 2018,

    10. Clarke, Matthew. “Benefits of Allowing Prisoners to Raise Babies Born in Prison.” Prison Legal News, Human Rights Defense Center, 3 June 2016,

    11. Ko, Lisa. “Unwanted Sterilization and Eugenics Programs in the United States.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 19 Nov. 2020,

    12. Theobald, Brianna. “The Native American Women Who Fought Mass Sterilization.” Time, Time, 5 Dec. 2019,

    13. Johnson, Corey G. “Female Prison Inmates Sterilized Illegally, California Audit Confirms.” Reveal, 2 July 2015,

    14. Narea, Nicole. “The Outcry over Ice and Hysterectomies, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 15 Sept. 2020,

    15. “Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries.” Commonwealth Fund, 18 Nov. 2020,

    Facts About Sex & Gender

    A couple of months ago on our Facebook page, we had an invasion of TERFs. TERF, if you don’t know is an acronym that stands for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist,” or someone who defines themselves as a feminist, yet fights against trans rights. It has been proposed that perhaps FART, or Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobe, might be a more apt name and I cannot argue. It’s not feminism if it’s not intersectional. *shrug*

    Over the course of the invasion I realized that a lot of folx simply do not have the most up-to-date information about sex and gender. For instance, modern science now fully recognizes that the human spectrum of sexes is not a simple binary of male and female, and that those folx whose physical traits do not align with either male or female are not “broken” or in need of fixing, but that, simply, there are many ways to be human and “male” and “female” are merely two of them. So I knew my next infopost needed to address these topics. Sit back and get ready to learn some really cool shit. Humanity is far more diverse than our society has ever given it credit for, and frankly, I think that’s beautiful as fuck.


    Aren’t sex & gender the same thing?


    What is sex? In this context, “sex” refers to the physical characteristics of a person’s body. I.e. the parts that are used to assign genders at birth or genetic information.

    What is gender? “Gender,” on the other hand, is a set of socially constructed behaviors and/or characteristics that typically go with a person’s sex, although they do not always align.

    Sex and gender do interact with each other, but they are not the same thing.

    When we define terms, PLEASE REMEMBER that definitions can help us to communicate more clearly but that people are more important than dictionary definitions and that as languages evolve, so does our understanding of words and their definitions! So these definitions may be new to you, but that’s okay!

    Isn’t transgender a new concept?

    Western culture, on the whole, has not historically had a unifying definition of gender outside of male/female. Within American culture and the cultures that formed American culture (stemming from Christianity, really), transgender is a relatively new concept to us. That doesn’t mean that trans folx never existed! In fact we have records of many people “living as” the opposite gender to the one they were assigned at birth. But these instances were rarely public knowledge, likely due to the punishments trans folx would receive at the time (2).

    However, other cultures have long acknowledged three or more genders. The UN Free & Equal, an initiative of the UN Humans Rights Office, has an excellent map that shows some of the cultures which have historically acknowledged sexes, genders, and sexual orientations outside the binary (3). (Please note this link is fussy- it always gives me an error the first time. Usually works the second time.) Among them are listed indigenous cultures from the Americas, Russia, Indonesia, Asia, as well as European and Mediterranean cultures dating back to the Enlightenment and ancient times. Worldwide, queer folx have always existed and have been culturally acknowledged.

    How many human sexes are there, really?

    Intersex is the appropriate term today for folx whose bodies do not physically align with either male or female. Older terms you may have heard are no longer considered polite and h*rmaphrodite is considered a slur. Amnesty International has a good, short article debunking five common myths about intersex folx (4). Click the link for more information, but I’ll highlight a few here:

    Being intersex is rare. As we learn more about genetics and hormones, we discover people who may not have otherwise been aware that they are intersex. In recent years a 70 year old man and father of four had surgery to repair a hernia during which it was discovered that he had a uterus (5). Some intersex conditions are only known through chromosomal or genetic workups (5). And some medical professionals and folx with PCOS consider this to be an intersex condition, although there is not yet a firm consensus (6). All told it is estimated that there are about as many intersex folx on the planet as there are redheads (4). (I do not believe PCOS is counted in those numbers. For more info on how PCOS can be considered intersex, check out Hans Lindahl’s video on Youtube.)

    Being intersex is a condition that needs to be corrected. Our culture has been so obsessed with the gender binary that we have performed painful and irreversible surgeries on children and infants, often without their consent (4). “Although doctors and parents may be well meaning, the reality is that the procedures performed on intersex children can cause major problems, including infertility, pain, incontinence and lifelong psychological suffering (4).”

    Intersex folx are transgender. I mean some of them may be, but ultimately the two conditions are fundamentally different conditions. “An intersex person may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither (4).” Just like being born cis male or cis female, “intersex” refers only to the physical self, while “transgender” refers to the person’s internal identity of who they are.


    NEVER ask someone about their genitals. That is personal information and it is NONE of your business!

    People are more than their genitals, and your job as an ally is to simply trust that a person knows who they are and to use the language they ask you to use.

    What do trans rights mean for feminism?

    It is important to note that transgender folx – and intersex folx – being accepted and embraced by the feminist and queer movements is not in any way harmful to those movements. This is one argument I hear from TERFs all the time; they accuse me of somehow harming women by being inclusive of trans folx. I honestly cannot comprehend such a thought. When your feminism is intersectional, it already includes marginalized folx. The patriarchy is bad for everyone, even white men. All “patriarchy” means is that men hold the power, not that they spiritually and wholly benefit from it. That can be another post for another day; today I want to talk about the history of feminism.

    As a scholar of women’s history I have learned that the suffragist movement systematically kept Black suffragists out. I have learned that second wave feminism, while being somewhat more racially inclusive, excluded the queer community, calling lesbians “The Lavender Menace” (for real tho is there a gay riot grrl band named The Lavender Menace yet because there should be).

    TERFs are nothing more than the next wave of exclusionary feminists. They are entirely unoriginal and utterly boring. To truly be worthy of the term “radical” one would have to be doing something new and unprecedented. Alas.

    If one is not making sure their feminism is intersectional, they aren’t really doing the work of Feminism. Rather, they are doing the work of the patriarchy, of white supremacy, of capitalism, of oppressors.

    This umbrella is big enough for all of us. Make room or get out.

    Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.

    All of this is not knowledge I was given as I was growing up. Much of the genetic knowledge of sex is more recent than my high school biology education from the dark ages in the 90s. It’s okay to have not known this stuff before now. But as we know better, we do better. Make sure to make room for your trans and intersex friends and don’t gatekeep them because you simply didn’t have the right info.


    1. “Gender and Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization,

    2. “History of Transgender People in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Dec. 2021,

    3. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Throughout History.” UN Free & Equal,

    4. “Its Intersex Awareness Day – Here Are 5 Myths We Need to Shatter.” Amnesty International, Amnesty International, 11 Oct. 2021,

    5. Ainsworth, Claire. “Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 22 Oct. 2018,

    6. Lindahl, Hans. “Is PCOS Intersex?” Hi, Hello, Hans, YouTube, 20 Nov. 2020, Accessed 5 Jan. 2022.

    Hymen Facts – Is Virginity Even REAL?

    Image text: Hymen Facts Image shows six sketches of hymens. First, a ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Second a very thin ring of tissue. Third shows a vaginal opening nearly covered except for a sort of slit in the middle. Fourth shows two openings in the tissue. Fifth shows a medium-sized ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Last shows a hymen with several small holes in it.

    Spoiler alert: nope! It’s a construct we made up! Read on for more info on hymens.

    Image shows a sketch of a vulva with text labeling the anatomy: clitoris, urethra, vaginal opening, and hymen, also called vaginal corona.

    Hymens don’t necessarily break when something is inserted into the vagina (1).
    And they can break without any vaginal insertion: through injury, or masturbation, etc (1).
    Hymens change in size, shape, and flexibility across a person’s lifespan (1).
    The hymen will often tear during the first vaginal birth (2).
    Hymens have very few blood vessels and may not even bleed when torn (1).
    There is no universal definition of the term “virginity” – its meaning varies by era, culture, and religion (3).
    Clinicians are not trained or educated on the complexities of the hymen (1).
    The term “intact hymen” has no anatomical correlate and should not be used (3).

    If you want this information in the social media formats or in a printable flyer you can use for your clients or students click here.


    1) Mishori, R. “The Little Tissue That Couldn’t
    2) Frye, Anne “Healing Passage
    3) WHO “Eliminating Virginity Testing
    4) drawings by Nina Reimer