January 15, 2016


"Reasoning From Experience, On Abortion and Beyond," Alexandra Brodsky, Feministing: "Last week, 113 attorneys signed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs challenging Texas's draconian abortion restrictions [HB 2] in an upcoming Supreme Court case, [Whole Woman's Health v. Cole]," Brodsky writes. According to Brodsky, "The signatories are public defenders and corporate lawyers and anti-discrimination advocates and retired judges ... Each has had an abortion, and attributes her professional success to access." She explains that the brief targets the lawsuit's "likely swing vote," Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has claimed in other abortion-related rulings that women regret abortions. In a "brilliant" strategy, "[t]he amicus signatories push back on Kennedy's misconception from a powerful position: within his own professional community." She continues, "[I]t's also a big deal for the law, period, to see a group of women arguing from personal experience, not despite personal experience." She explains that the brief's signatories challenge a legal tradition of devaluing personal experience, particularly among disadvantaged groups, "[b]y speaking simultaneously as lawyers and as women who have had abortions." Brodsky adds, "They are urging the Court to rule for the clinics because they know the law and because they know abortion. Personal experience doesn't disqualify them from speaking: it positions them perfectly to protest." Pointing to Kennedy, Brodsky concludes, "The Court's decision in [Whole Woman's Health] must rely on the reality of how the clinic restrictions are actually experienced by people in Texas, and how abortion care actually affects patients' lives, not how [Kennedy] imagines it might" (Brodsky, Feministing, 1/13).

What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:

~ "New Ads Counter Anti-Choice Hate Speech, Destigmatize Abortion," Nicole Knight Shine, RH Reality Check.