Maureen Shaw is a feminist, writer, and proud mama of two. Her writing has appeared widely online, including sherights.com (which she founded in 2011), Quartz, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Mic, Scary Mommy, Women Under Siege,Jezebel, and more. Maureen holds a master’s of arts degree in human rights from Columbia University.
A forthcoming study of nearly 85,000 Norwegian mothers has found that "self-esteem decreased during pregnancy, increased until the child was six months old and then gradually decreased over the following years."
If Pope Francis were serious about taking the Church in a more progressive, merciful direction, he would stop fanning the flames of abortion stigma and focus instead on protecting women’s health and well-being.
I did not speak a word of my rape for seven years. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I spilled my secret to a supportive group of students in my women’s studies class. It was like a dam burst; once I spoke my truth, there was no going back.
Words can and do hurt, especially when they cast people who seek or provide abortion care as immoral or murderers. But pro-choice activists can embrace unapologetic language that represents hope, self-determination, and bodily autonomy.
For pro-choice activists and supporters, the complaint filed against the MedStar Washington Hospital Center represents much more than a passionate doctor pitted against her employer. This is about abortion stigma and the need to affirm and normalize abortion’s role in basic health care—something that’s infinitely harder to achieve when providers are silenced.
Conservatives and conventional wisdom have told us that it’s only rash teenagers getting abortions. But it’s not irresponsibility that makes women and girls seek abortion care. It’s their awareness of just how massive a commitment parenting is.
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