Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interview with an abortion doctor in texas who has been outlawed from doing his job

From here.  I am going to crosspost all of it.


On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a new law in Texas that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a measure that has caused at least a dozen clinics in the state to stop terminating pregnancies. Dr. Lester Minto owns and operates one of the affected clinics, Harlingen Reproductive Services. I spoke with him last week as he awaited the Supreme Court’s vote.
Slate: Are you closed? 

Lester Minto: Of course not. I have nine ladies scheduled for tomorrow.

Slate: What do you tell them? 

Minto: That I do not do abortions. I cannot do them legally. And I tell them that I know that there are other things that people do.

Slate: What do other people “do?”

Minto: If they have a passport and enough money, they go over the border to Mexico and go to a pharmacy and buy misoprostol at a pharmacy. It is an ulcer drug, but it works as an abortifacient. It is not as effective mifepristone, which is the on-label medicine used in the U.S. But in these ladies’ situations, misoprostol can be a good choice. It is proper medicine in a blister pack from a proper pharmacy. Someone might even know how to dose it. But it can be an expensive choice. In the U.S., misoprostol costs 10 to 12 cents a pill. I have had ladies charged $80 a pill at Mexican pharmacies. Also passports are expensive and can take too long to get if you don’t have one already. Misoprostol only works up to about seven weeks after your last menstrual period. You need a passport now just to walk over the bridge into Mexico and back. Of course if you are undocumented this isn’t an option at all.

Slate: What do women do if they don’t have a passport? 

Minto: They buy the drug at a flea market. This is bad and sad and wrong. They are going to be buying things on the street. You don’t even know if you are getting the real thing. But these goddamn politicians ... Women are forced to crawl around like goddamn criminals. So I am here to help them.

Slate: How do you help them? 

Minto: I give them a sonogram to make sure they are pregnant—and if they are pregnant, to make sure it is a uterine pregnancy—that they have no ectopic issues or anything. Then I give them vitamins. Because if they decide to keep the pregnancy, you want it be a healthy one. If they decide to do “something,” you don’t want them to hemorrhage excessively. That is a risk if a lady is anemic. A lot of my patients don’t have great health care, so a lot are anemic.

Slate: So the women take the drug and ...
Minto: They stay close to home, and sometimes it all works fine. But if it doesn’t—or it works part-way, that is what often happens— they can come to me, and I can do “miscarriage management.”

Slate: That’s legal in Texas?
Minto: Yes, in Texas once a woman is vaginally hemorrhaging, it is legal for me to help her.

Slate: What does that involve? 

Minto: The same thing as an abortion. It’s just a change in words. It’s double talk. It’s bullshit.

Slate: Why don’t you just get admitting privileges at a local hospital and comply with the new law?
Minto: They won’t have me. They are religiously affiliated. So you know, Jesus.


Jesus indeed.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Link time!

I keep seeing cool things I want to talk about but not finding the time to do a proper post.  So here comes another link list:
Lesbians in Archie comics discussing the stress of a closeted relationship:
Advert advocating engineering toys for girls!
Or rather, trying to sell engineering toys for girls.  It’s an ace advert, go watch.
How to submit writing samples to comic publishers:
Steampunk variant covers for DC:
Fantagraphics kickstarter:

Loki meets some school kids and pushes one of them off her seat:
New Ms Marvel:
I’m dead excited about this.
DC moves to the west coast:
I feel sorry for the staff who now have to choose to relocate or lose their jobs.
Marvel animal variants:

A write up of the kid book group comics discussion from last week:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sexual harassment in comics

Over the last few days I have seen a few posts by women comic creators discussing their experiences of sexual harassament in the comics industry.  You can read them here:

Tess Fowler
Anne Scherbina
Mariah Huhner

Rantz Hosely gave his experience of seeing harassment towards women.

Rachel Edidin then offered her support for every con she goes to.

I've now just seen this post by Jamal Igle.

I was reading these women's accounts of harassment and they made me really sad.  Sad that women go through this.  Sad that men don't see how intimidating and scary their actions and behaviour is.  Sad that the women feel guilt and shame for something another person did to them.  After I'd read Mariah's story I talked to my boyfriend about it.  I recounted the times I've been harassed on the street and at work.  We talked about how I've never felt in danger when I've been drunk and walking home blitzed out of my mind.  My harassament stories all happened in broad daylight, in public spaces.  I won't recount them here.  I still feel shame at one of them, which I didn't talk to the boyfriend about, because it still makes me uncomfortable.

My boyfriend was quite shocked at Mariah's story.  At the email she'd received.  Remember that these are fellow professionals, colleagues, acting like this.  If someone in my work sent a sexually explicit email to someone else they'd be sacked.  Why is it different when someone is freelance?

As I was reading these stories and talking them through a few things occured to me.  This behaviour is not peculiar to the comics industry. It happens in all male dominated industries, and probably female dominated or equally balanced industries too.  For example, I believe that sexism is rife in the City - the financial people.  Blaming it on comics is not helpful.

This behaviour will continue if people continue to keep it quiet. I don't mean that the harassed women should be the ones to speak up.  I mean that people in the same circle who know that someone's behaviour is not on, is wrong, makes women feel intimidated, they should speak up.  When they see harassment occur they should tell the harasser to stop it. It is especially important for men to to do this because women aren't believed.  We are sidelined and dismissed.  When men think that other men approve of their behaviour they keep doing it.  We know this.

I know there are issues with speaking up and risking your professional career.  I would never expect the women going public with these stories to name names - that could be career suicide.  I understand how it's difficult to stick your neck out.  But, there have to be ways to deal with this effectively.  Maybe I'm in a third sector bubble. I know my working environments have on the whole been respectful and I've had next to no problems over the years.  Maybe at every publisher all the managers are dicks and engaging in sexual harassment.  I can't say for sure.  But unless people speak up about it and unless they back this up with their actions, women in the industry will never know who to be trusted.

If you know of a person in your circle who acts badly - tell other people.  Tell women. Warn them.  Tell a senior manager that you are not comfortable with what so-and-so did.  You don't need to issue a formal complaint, or bring up harassment charges.  You need to vocalise your feelings.  Add to (or start) a chorus of voices that says this is not acceptable. Start with throwaway remarks.  That's how cultures change.

I don't really want people to stop buying Brian Wood's books (or anyone else's).  If you want to, if you feel you can't give him money anymore, that's fine, that's your choice.  But I don't believe in mass protests like that.  It won't change his attitudes (if in fact they haven't changed since the incidents anyway) and it won't help the women he harassed.  I will add that I haven't seen anyone call for a boycott, and I haven't seen anyone sending hateful messages to him.  But I am concerned that this may happen, because it seems to happen a lot on twitter.  I just think that two wrongs don't make a right.

I am not excusing Wood's behaviour.  Of course I'm not.  I have less truck with Igle saying that the truth lies betwene both parties' version of events.  The truth for both Tess and Anne is what they experienced, let's not deny that.  Wood's truth is probably different.  That does not invalidate Tess and Anne's truth, and quite frnakly I have far more sympathy with them than I do with Wood.

I think that most harassers do not know they are being intimidating.  I think most think they are just being friendly or flirty.  But women are brought up to be scared of the rapist in the dark.  We are taught that we may get raped everywhere we go, and that it will likely be our fault, but nevertheless we can probably prevent it.  So when someone moves into our personal space, gives a strange remark, says something suggestive, looks at you funny, you get scared.  You don't shout back.  You make excuses, you stay polite, you go somewhere safe.  You hide.  We do this because if someone is already being threatening (whether they mean it that way or not) we do not know what else they are capable of.  Having your breast stroked, your bum or groin grabbed is not harmless. It's assault and it's scary.

What I don't want to see now is people derailing these women's conversations and talking about how people change, how they don't see sexism in comics, how the truth is somewhere in the middle.  I don't want to see people excusing Wood's behaviour.  I don't want to see tone policing.  I want us to listen to women's experiences and then improving how we react to sexism and harassment when we see it.  You don't have to be all high and mighty about it.  You can just say actually that's not on.  Or hey, don't do that.

What I don’t want to see is people feeling like they need to defend the comics industry, to say it isn’t all like that, that these are isolated incidents.  When this happens, it seems to insinuate that the women talking about their experiences are somehow outside of the industry, that their experiences aren’t valid and real.  It sets women against the industry.  Women are involved in the comics industry and they are being harassed.  I am sure there are plenty of people do stand up against harassment and casual sexism, just like there are in other sectors.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems.  I am concerned that there will be a closing of ranks.  An us and them approach.  That sort of thing is useful to no one.  There must be a way to talk about sexism and harassment that doesn’t make the women who have spoken up feel like they are being dismissed.  When that happens, (anywhere, in any industry), it encourages the feeling that you can’t speak up.  That people won’t take you seriously.  That in turn means that sexist remarks and actions keep happening.

The women that spoke up are incredibly brave and I think it must have been really difficult for them to write those articles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Looking forward to Thought Bubble this weekend!

This Saturday I am travelling to Leeds to go the Thought Bubble comic convention.  I went last year and had so much fun - given how disillusioned I was with mainstream comics I just fell in love with the indies I discovered.  This year I plan to revisit the creators I found last year for new books, and search out more.  Kelly Sue DeConnick will be there and I am desperate to get her to sign one of her Supergirl issues.  There's some really interesting panels going on, and the British Comic Awards.  I'm meeting up with the Radio Bamf crew and hopefully other twitterers.

Like last year I have devised some sort of costumes.  My plans to be a thin Wondy have come to naught, because, well, my belly.  But fuck it.  It is more a homage to Wondy rather than a pure costume anyway.  Here's a couple of photos of part of it:

In my head there wasn't any fat muffin top over the jeggings, but it seems like there is.  perhaps the godl belt I have will cover those bulges.  Perhaps not.  If the weather is as cold as I think it will be I'll prolly be wearing a hoody all weekend anyway.

I have also come up with a Supergirl ish outfit, but as usual, a very casual one.  I'm leaving myself with two options so that at least one of the days I don't look all fat.  I apologise in advance if anyone I'm with is embarrassed by me.  I hope I don't look too foolish.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kid Book Group discussion on twitter tonight

Tonight on twitter is the monthly Kid Book Group chat.  This month, it is focusing on kids' comics.  It's set up as a comics clinic and I will be taking part as an expert (!) to give recommendations and advice.  If you want to join in, stroll on over to and 9pm (UK time) and follow the hashtag #kidbkgrp (note that it is a singular kid and singular book).  The chat will last for 1 hour, until 10pm.

#kidbkgrp is the brainchild of @chaletfan, a children's and young adult literature devotee.  She's great at getting people involved and stimulating discussion.  You can find out more about the book group here:

I don't think you need a twitter account to view the tweets, but if you want to join in you'll have to register.  You can have a look at the preparatory tweets here:

I hope you can join us!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Linky time

This will just be a list of things that caught my attention lately.  A long list.

Why zombies wouldn't survive long.  Or, why wildlife is bloody awesome:

A story that demonstrates brilliantly why teachers should be trained and regulated:

My Lai, sexual assault and the black blouse girl.  It's an explanation of a famous picture from the Vietnam war. ***Trigger warning***  Once you read the article the picture becomes even more upsetting.

Fantagraphics kickstarter for their 2014 Spring season:
An interview with one of the Fantagraphics guys explaining why they are doing this:

Aquaman marries Spider-Man!!  On a cake at least.  This is a great story.

Chinese movie theatre displays slashy Thor poster:

Independent bookstores can now sell kindles and earn 10% of profits from future ebook sales:
This is an amazing move and I'm so pleased they've gone down this route!  I hope it's not just limited to the United States.

An alternate Silver Banshee cover for Superman Unchained, sadly, it's not a Banshee story inside:

The set of the TV show The Addams Family, photographed in colour, it's quite pink:

The most revolting article I've ever read about food.  It talks about blood soup and maggot cheese.  It's really rough.

Possibly the best thing on the internet.  25 autocorrect fails:

Interview with Cher where she talks about Miley Cyrus, vocoders and Salvador Dali giving her a vibrator (or not):

Hope you've enjoyed them all!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Supergirl to become a Red Lantern

As of Green Lantern/Red Lantern 28 in February.

So that's what DC meant when they said they were moving her out of the Super family set of books.  Fuckity fuckity fuck.  I bet you I can tell what's going to happen.  She becomes the lead Red Lantern, sales don't do so well, her own series gets cancelled then she gets removed from the lead in the Red Lantern books and then we get to see bugger all of her.  Fuck fuck fuck.

Hells, reading this I'm nearly a Red Lantern.  Godsdammit.  Look, I like the Red Lanterns OK.  I like the rainbow corps.  However, Supergirl at her best has always been a fundamentally good character.  Friendly, sweet.  Before the Crisis she was almost saccharine at times.  She was naive, she was innocent, she was trusting and she tried to do her best by people.  Post crisis, we got Matrix.  A confused protoplasmic alien who chose to live with the Kents and become a hero.  Then we had the earthborn angel saga, where Matrix fused with Linda Danvers.  Linda was a nasty, violent piece of work, but by fusing with Matrix Supergirl she was redeemed herself.  She became a good person.  Then we had the reintroduction of the Kryptonian counsin Supergirl, who was an angry, confused mess until Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle made sense out of her convoluted back story and gave her a stable personality.  They gave her friends and relationships and a supporting cast and gave her humanity and a purpose.  And a desire to be a hero.

My point is, people don't like an angry Supergirl.  They don't buy it. Literally.  The post crisis Kara who was angry and violent and bitter was not received well.  The last series got good when Gates and Igle started, and made her a pleasant person to read about who wanted to be a hero.

What the fuck are DC playing at.

Now, trying to lok on the bright side here, Charles Soule is writing Red Lantern (I think?) and he's a pretty good writer.  he made the Superman/Wonder Woman issue 1 readable.  Nearly good.  So maybe this will work.  I'd like it to work. I really would. But I don't think it will.  Hopefully I'm wrong.

Prepare for more angry posts when this book comes out.

Incidentally, my boyfriend said that me typing this is the sound of someone wrong on the internet -  vocal silence accompanied by angry smashing of keys.