For ‘Nasty Women,’ Planned Parenthood Means Choice

This is the fourth post in Care2′s new interview series, “What Planned Parenthood Means to Me.

In the past few years, social media activism has noticeably gained popularity. From Black Lives Matter to the Arab Spring, these interactive platforms have become key in rallying people to act.

On a smaller scale, the Nasty Women Project has done the same by uniting women. Initially just a Facebook page in response to the 2016 election, the initiative has since blossomed into a book.

The Nasty Women Project: Voices From the Resistance” highlights the stories of dozens of women following the election of President Donald Trump. All of the book’s proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.

I spoke with editor-in-chief and author Erin Passons, of Austin, Texas, about Planned Parenthood and the project.

What were some of most memorable Planned Parenthood stories you came across in your editing?

The main story that is centered around Planned Parenthood is by Paula Bixel from Oregon. Her mother had, as they refer to it, a back-alley abortion.

Except it wasn’t in a back alley. It was in a warehouse in Chicago. And she was only 16 at the time.

After she underwent that, she almost died. She was in a feverish state for several weeks afterward, and she never clearly recovered from that.

And something that Paula brings up in her story is she was taught to feel this shame, she was taught to feel that guilt.

Was it necessary for her to have that abortion? Absolutely. Because of the secrecy behind, it wasn’t legal at the time. You know, she was taught to feel like a bad girl.

She would go through periods of depression throughout her life, where she would have to go to the hospital for a while, take medications. She went through electroshock treatment, as well.

Tell me what Planned Parenthood means to you.

It’s a step in women’s rights. You know, obviously men also utilize the services there, but the huge majority is female.

And to me, personally, Planned Parenthood means choice. And choice doesn’t mean abortion; it means choice.

Like, I have more access to breast exams, I have more access to birth control, to basic health services. And things like these men, mostly white men, in our government are trying to take away from us.

How do reproductive rights fit into the larger goal of feminism?

I think that – I don’t how to say this nicely – women have been victimized by men sexually since Adam and Eve. And you know, if you don’t believe in Adam and Eve, whoever started this whole thing.

And, we can’t always fight back. And if we fight back, we don’t always win.

This is just another way of us taking control of our bodies. And this is also a not just for us in a sexual relationship, but women being able to enjoy sex as well.

And this is totally personal, but you know, I didn’t enjoy sex until I was in my 30s. Because there was this stigma behind it. What if I get pregnant?

I feel like having these tools and resources around us can allow us to enjoy our bodies and what they have to offer.

Why is it important to have these conversations now? 

One of these reasons is probably intersectional feminism. Because you know, you can talk about Russian intervention and Trump coming into power, but the truth is that white women handed Trump the presidency.

What we would like promote is that we need to start voting with our sex, not with our race. If white women were more educated on topics involving women of color, I feel like a greater unity would form there. And white women’s voting habits would change.

This is left field, but I remember when I became a parent, I didn’t care so much about kids. And when you become a parent, it’s like every child becomes your child. And every parent’s nightmare becomes your nightmare.

So, I feel like by unifying women from all different backgrounds, that their issues become our issues.

Did anything surprise you, as you worked on this project?

What surprised me so much was how awesome so many women are. I made a joke with my director of communications earlier, it’s like, you know, all these tropes that we hear growing up about women working together and catfights.

And I was telling her, “What if all of that wasn’t true? What if that was just was just b-t from the beginning because they know how much power women would have? If we were like, ‘F-k  that, no, we’re going to this.’”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Know someone with a good story about Planned Parenthood? Let me know at emilyerinzak@gmail.com.

Disclosure: Emily Zak is a patient at Planned Parenthood.

Photo Credit: Erin Passons

80 comments

Telica R
Telica Rabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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