Egg As Person in Colorado and Dating Advice for Activists

Amanda doles out dating advice for activists, an interview with the fabulous Jessica Valenti, discussing a ballot on the definition of personhood in Colorado, and a look back to when abortion was a crime all on this week’s Reality Cast.

Links in this episode:

No one will ever really love you
Colorado might redefine the "person"
The Edna Lavilla Show
Don't have sex or a non-profit will take a small amount of your money


This week on Reality Cast, I'll be interviewing the fabulous Jessica Valenti about her various outreach efforts to young women, talking about the fertilized egg is a person amendment in Colorado, examining the days when abortion was a crime, and giving some dating advice to activists.

First off, I have a plea to the anti-choice community. Please, for the love all that's sperm magic holy, get some better taste in music. I have to watch all your videos and listen to your podcasts to make this podcast, and it's really hard on my nerves to listen to this crap. Here's a sample from a recent abstinence-only video about how no one will ever really love a girl who isn't a virgin.

*insert is this music*

Man, it's like they hate the idea of pleasure so much that even their music is so miserable it makes you want to poke out your eardrums with a pencil. If you want to see the video, check out the link on the podcast page.


The Veracifier has taken on the issue of the Colorado amendment to define sperm as persons with rights equal to, and let's be honest, exceeding actual breathing human women. Oh wait, not sperm. My bad. Fertilized eggs. The law mandating that your crusty masturbation sock has more rights than a woman will probably not be on the Colorado ballot until 2012.

This ballot is interesting, because it's not just an attack on abortion, but part of the larger anti-choice program to ban contraception, starting with female-controlled kinds like the IUD and the birth control pill, as the host explains.

*insert veracifier 1*

It's worth noting that it's mainly the IUD that works this way. The birth control pill and emergency contraception work by preventing ovulation. However, scientists being like they are, which is to say afraid to speak in absolutes, won't say absolutely that it's completely impossible for a birth control pill to tweak your hormones just a little so that a fertilized egg won't implant. It's very close to completely unlikely, but nothing is absolute.

And in that teeny-tiny gray area, anti-choicers hope to extend these laws to ban both the IUD and the birth control pill, along with abortion. Here's an activist from NARAL.

*insert veracifier 2*

It's also worth noting that a number of fertilized eggs, maybe more than half even, just don't implant for whatever reason, so taken to its logical extreme, a law demanding that fertilized eggs are the exact same thing as voting citizens would require an inquest into every menstruation to make sure that the woman didn't have a legal person floating around in there for a day before she menstruated. I like to call right wingers who are obsessed with controlling female sexuality "panty-sniffers", but perhaps the better term is "tampon-sniffers"?

But the Veracifier has an anti-choicer swear that the law isn't a ban on birth control, abortion, or in-vitro fertilization.

*insert veracifier 3*

Okay, it's not a law banning birth control. It's a law to make sure that when they do ban birth control, then it holds up in court. Which doesn't actually address the charge that they're trying to ban birth control, since they are trying to ban birth control. We have concluded this, due to the attempts to start the process of banning birth control.


*insert interview


Thanks to reader Ben Alpers for sending me this Third Coast Festival radio program "The Edna Lavilla" Show. The journalist on the program decided to investigate the death of her long-dead grandmother, who perished 70 years ago in Australia when her mother was still a child.

*insert illegal abortion 1*

Of course, if it really was death by food poisoning, it would be unlikely to make it onto this program. Naturally, there's more to the story.

*insert illegal abortion 2*

The journalist, fascinated at the possibilities in digging through this history, decides to interview a woman who worked at the Woman's Hospital around the time that her grandmother died. What she learns is fascinating, if chilling.

*insert illegal abortion 3*

It's a glimpse into a history most of us don't know well, especially the economic angles.

*insert illegal abortion 4*

I won't give any more away, but it's worth listening to the whole show. It gives you a really good idea of what is in store for us if abortion is criminalized again. You hear, on occasion, an anti-choicer poo-pooh the dangers of illegal abortion. And it's true that for women who can afford black market abortions from people who actually know what they're doing, it won't be that dangerous.

But as is documented on this show and in the book "When Abortion Was A Crime" by Leslie Reagan, women who don't have the financial resources or networks to get a safe illegal abortion often resort to trying to do it themselves or getting someone inexperienced to do it. At which point, you run the risk of septic abortion, which is described on this program in gruesome detail by the nurse.

Of course, we have antibiotics now, so as long as someone with a septic abortion gets those antibiotics in time, then it shouldn't be a problem. But that of course makes the ridiculous assumption that it's simple for someone to get medical treatment who needs it because of illegal activity. Many women who have illegal abortions will be afraid to go to the emergency room, because the police could be called and they might go to jail. In the past, women were often denied medical treatment unless they gave up the name of the abortionist. Considering that the anti-choice movement of this day and age is probably even more hysterically anti-abortion than anyone was in the past, it's not unreasonable to think that these concerns will come roaring back to life as soon as abortion is criminalized.


Someone has called this week seeking advice. If you're interested in doing the same, please email me at or leave a voicemail at 512-590-6038.

I count myself as a feminist man who is reasonably active in women's rights and women's equity issues. I wanted to hear your general thoughts
about dating among fellow activists and the tension that may arise when
the element of romance enters the arena.

Understandably, we're all working toward a shared goal and it's best to
cooperate to advance further – yet if I find myself attracted to a fellow
activist (as has happened in the past, and could well happen again in the
future), I find myself hesitant to articulate my thoughts on the matter.
After all, I don't want to (inadvertently or otherwise) alienate myself or
the anyone else from getting or staying involved in feminist activism
efforts simply because of someone may want to avoid me from bringing up
past feelings of romance.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Most of my adult life, I've been wary of the whole inter-office romance thing, but I think that's because I've mostly worked in somewhat conservative environments where real issues of professionalism entered into the equation. Since I've moved into activism and politics myself, though, I've come around to seeing that a different standard prevails and that inter-"office" romance is not only expected but very close to encouraged. And that's true of an increasing number of fields, because the thought is that if you're not going to meet people through your work, how will you meet them? Because intra-activist romance is basically the standard, I don't think you're going to meet too many women who'll reject you because you're both feminist activists. And if they do say that, I'm guessing most are just looking for a nicer way to let you down.

So I'd say go for it! The same rules apply to feminist activists as everyone else—be gracious if you're rejected, don't linger around being the Nice Guy and not telling her how you really feel, etc. As for your concerns about the downsides if it doesn't work out, I'd say that's one of the risks of dating we have to accept. It might not work out. You might have a future of forcing politeness and mild bravado when you're involved in your activist work, because you have to do it around someone you have this sexual past with. That is part of the landscape of our modern times, and is hardly limited to activist communities. If anyone has found the magic bullet way to escape that awkwardness, please email me at It's like STD testing or dealing with rejection. It's something you have to simply endure in order to reap the benefits of pursuing an active, happy romantic life.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, from this asinine video defending the federal payouts to Christian organizations that fly under the banner of "abstinence-only education".

*insert abstinence whine*

That you're completely out of touch with reality? The bizarre notion that Planned Parenthood is making money hand over fist from teenage girls aborting pregnancies plagues the anti-choice movement. I think it's because so many of them feel that teenage pregnancy is a production line—for them. A way to get a steady stream of white babies to infertile couples, and possibly to a few made infertile because all this talk of sin and impurity has made it too hard to get busy themselves. So they assume that someone has to be profiting off it if they aren't.

Anyway, if you want to follow the money consider what lightens the wallet more: $500 one time for an abortion, or $10,000 to deliver the baby, and then 18 years worth of clothes, food, book, and Tickle-Me-Elmos purchases. If it really were about one profit-generating business vs. another, the toy industry alone would have bought out and shut down Planned Parenthood a long time ago.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • invalid-0

    95% of the music out there (across all spectrums) is horrible, at least to everyone’s own individual taste. That Pandora whatevertheywanttocallit actually helped me find some new bands that I liked. They tag music based on multiple categories, then find others like it. (

    Here’s a question for you…what other podcasts do you listen to? I’m always curious what podcasts the podcasters tune in to. :)

  • invalid-0

    of music off the beaten path, and recordings by women to boot is They have music in virtually any genre you can think of, plus clips on their website so you can do a little “test listening.”
    For world music, I like the “Rough Guide” series, the producers pick the best – not just the most popular – songs/artists from any particular country/region/regional genre.
    It’s mind boggling just to think of how much great music will never reach the ears of most Americans because it is ignored by the radio stations. Darn you, Clear Channel!

  • invalid-0


    80% of fertilized eggs don’t implant or are lost through miscarriage within the first 3 months of pregnancy.

  • harry834

    Pregnancy only begins with implantation.

  • invalid-0

    The American College of Ob/Gyns. If you can’t trust medical experts, who can you trust?