Amy Richards

Amy Richards is at work on Opting-In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, which will be published in 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is also the co-author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future and Grassroots: A Field Guide to Feminist Activism. She co-founded Soapbox Inc. with Jennifer Baumgardner in 2000. In 1992 she co-founded the Third Wave Foundation and since 1995 she has been the voice behind Ask Amy, an online advice column.


All Work

Abortion

Tiller Was No Baby Killer

Amy Richards

The heroic efforts of Dr. Tiller were scary—even to vehemently pro-choice people—precisely because he made it possible for women to take control over their lives.

Debating Women’s Studies with Jennifer Roback Morse

Amy Richards

When FIFE, as in feminism is for everyone, a campus group invited me to speak at the University of Virginia, I was immediately on board. What I hadn't entirely absorbed was that this wasn't a straight up lecture with questions and answers, my usual gig, but a debate orchestrated by the conservative minded Intercollegiate Studies Institute about the validity of Women's Studies. The planners wondered—Are We Getting It Right?—and posed this question to myself and my debate partner, Jennifer Roback Morse. Morse, who describes herself as your coach for the culture wars, opposes the existence of Women's Studies, arguing that tax payer dollars would be better spent supporting a Men's Studies program. In formal debate speak, I was described as the affirmative debater, which was funny since the genesis of the evening was the Network of Enlightened Women, a regressive contradiction of an organization, their premise being that Women's Studies was discriminatory.

Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Scare Me

Amy Richards

Bill O'Reilly doesn't scare me. I have been on his show a few times and know that his bark is a lot louder than his bite. He's a bully, in that classic playground sense - he's not nice, unless you play his game. That said, however, when his producer invited me to contribute to a segment about the then impending Supreme Court cases dealing with later-term abortions, and the medical records from two abortion providers in Kansas being turned over to that state's Attorney General after a two year escapade, I was apprehensive. The stakes seemed higher - my other appearances dealt with dating on college campuses and unwed mothers - and abortion is automatically a heated conversation; having that conversation on contested territory seemed pointless. I agreed because I felt I had a few things to offer: exposing the anonymity that was inherit in one's medical records would make patients vulnerable and putting restrictions on "later-term abortions" would jeopardize a woman's health because it would deny her medical expertise otherwise available to her - selling her a lap belt rather than a shoulder strap, with proof that the latter was safer. Plus, when it comes to the disproportionately conservative media, I felt I owed it to viewers to offer them some hope of another perspective.

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