One Species

An exploration of human nature. How we treat one another, both the kindness and the cruelty.

5centsapound:

Children in Gaza, photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy

5centsapound:

Children in Gaza, photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy

— 2 weeks ago with 28 notes
#gaza  #palestine  #children  #middle east  #poc 
The Potato Salad Kickstarter, "Jokes" and Privilege →

gradientlair:

I understand that the potato salad Kickstarter thing is supposed to be funny and reveal how silly people are and how any project can get funding (despite the many projects that I’ve seen created by people of colour not reach funding peak). But I don’t see this. I see

(Problems reblogging as text, I keep breaking Tumb;r, sorry.)

— 3 weeks ago with 3661 notes
#racism  #classism  #kickstarter  #privilege 
nowinexile:

Video: Israeli shoves Palestinian woman into lake “just because”
This video is not particularly graphic, but it is shocking for the underlying hatred this act of violence reveals.
It was posted on the Israeli “StatusHunter” Facebook page on 4 July with a comment from Facebook user Daniel Libman:

For whoever still needs proof of how sick our country is, here’s this video. The place: Sakhne [hot springs in the north of present-day Israel]. What happened: a Jewish woman pushes an Arab woman into the water, just because. The video was uploaded by May Nachman. When asked in a comment if the woman she shoved was elderly, she responded, “No just some effing Arab, 30 years old tops.” To someone who commented that it was inappropriate she responded: “Have a laugh, don’t be square.” After a few more LOL-type comments she added: “If I get kidnapped because of this clip, come and save me.”

This example of every day contempt and racism towards Palestinians in Israel, including citizens, comes amid a growing atmosphere of incitement and anti-Arab protests. Source

nowinexile:

Video: Israeli shoves Palestinian woman into lake “just because”

This video is not particularly graphic, but it is shocking for the underlying hatred this act of violence reveals.

It was posted on the Israeli “StatusHunter” Facebook page on 4 July with a comment from Facebook user Daniel Libman:

For whoever still needs proof of how sick our country is, here’s this video. The place: Sakhne [hot springs in the north of present-day Israel]. What happened: a Jewish woman pushes an Arab woman into the water, just because. The video was uploaded by May Nachman. When asked in a comment if the woman she shoved was elderly, she responded, “No just some effing Arab, 30 years old tops.” To someone who commented that it was inappropriate she responded: “Have a laugh, don’t be square.” After a few more LOL-type comments she added: “If I get kidnapped because of this clip, come and save me.”

This example of every day contempt and racism towards Palestinians in Israel, including citizens, comes amid a growing atmosphere of incitement and anti-Arab protests. Source

(via randomactsofchaos)

— 3 weeks ago with 4298 notes
#israel  #palestine  #middle east  #racism 
sinidentidades:

LONG READ BUT WORTH IT
The Rise of the DIY Abortion in South Texas
The Alamo flea market sits off South Texas’s lengthy Highway 83. Under canopies, vendors stand behind tables full of clothing, haggling in Spanish.
Customers browse simple items—miracle-diet teas, Barbie dolls or turquoise jeans—but shoppers also scan for goods that aren’t openly displayed. Tables lined with bottles of medicine like Tylenol and NyQuil have double-meanings to those in the know: The over-the-counter (OTC) drugs on top provide cover for the prescription drugs smuggled over the border from nearby cities in Mexico. Those, the vendors keep out of sight.
I’m here to look for a small, white, hexagonal pill called misoprostol. Also known as miso or Cytotec, the drug induces an abortion that appears like a miscarriage during the early stages of a woman’s pregnancy. For women living in Latin America and other countries that have traditionally outlawed abortion, miso has been a lifeline—it’s been called “a noble medication,” “world-shaking” and “revolutionary.”
As policies restricting access to abortion roll out in Texas and elsewhere, the use of miso is quickly becoming a part of this country’s story. It has already made its way into the black market here in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where abortion restrictions are tightening, and it is likely to continue its trajectory if anti-abortion legislation does not ease up and clinics continue to be closed.
Over the past several years, dozens of states have restricted abortions. Since 2011, at least 73 abortion clinics in the nation have shut down or stopped providing services; and more than 200 abortion restrictions were legislated throughout the nation. Despite the passage of Roe v. Wade more than 40 years ago, states with pro-life politicians are still gunning to reverse the ruling—in the words of Rick Perry in 2012, “my goal is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.”
Yet these myriad restrictions on women and abortion providers have set the stage for women to skirt medical institutions to take charge of their own health. A similar story has been written in many countries around the world, where pro-life legislation has inspired similarly-creative solutions. Today, throughout Texas, miso’s story is being drafted.
Misoprostol wasn’t developed to induce abortions; it was created and marketed as an ulcer medication called Cytotec. The drug, a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analog, has many medical uses: It’s taken to prevent and treat ulcers, induce labor, induce abortions, and treat post-partum hemorrhage. In 1986, misoprostol was approved for sale in Brazilian pharmacies as an ulcer medication and was distributed OTC. Like many drugs, misoprostol’s label had a simple warning: Do not take if pregnant.
Nobody knows exactly what happened. Regardless of who uncovered its power, the pill was precisely what women needed: a magic personal solution to a dreaded problem that dared not be discussed.
In Brazil, as in many parts of the world, Catholicism dominates the abortion debate. Like adultery and murder, it was a mortal sin, worthy of damnation to hell and, according to the country’s 1940 Penal Code, a crime against life. Despairing Brazilian women with unwanted pregnancies resorted to drastic and dangerous measures. They listened to old wives tails, ramming sharp objects into their uteruses and guzzling drug cocktails, and visiting clandestine, unsafe clinics. But nothing seemed to reliably work, and all were perilous. That is, until they found the little white pill—that special drug that could “bring the period back.”
So, hushed exchanges began. When women searched for the miso, they used euphemisms: “I need to bring down my period,” or, “bring it back.” For many women, describing it in those terms felt better. It was different than aborting and sated cognitive dissonance.
As miso became more popular, Latin American doctors noticed a new trend: They were saw a dramatic decrease in abortion-related complications. Fewer women were carted through hospital doors with gruesome infections from back-alley, botched abortions, and OB-Gyns saw a reduction in the abortion complications that had so frequently plagued providers, including perforated uteruses, heavy bleeding, and fallen intestines, according to a 2012 study by the global health organization, Ipas.
The only explanation “was the mass distribution of miso at the community level,” concluded a Colombian ob-gyn in the Ipas study. Doctors also noted that the discovery and circulation all took place outside hospital walls.
In Brazil, an analysis of sales by Biolab (which began marketing the drug in 1988) shows a sharp increase beginning in 1989, sometimes exceeding more than 50,000 units per month. In 1991, the company reported that misoprostol’s use as an abortion-inducing drug could reach up to 35% of its total usage.
Public pressure to regulate the drug in Brazil mounted, and in May 1991, the state of Rio de Janeiro restricted miso’s use to hospitals, while the state of Ceara imposed a total ban on its sales. On July 17, 1991, the Ministry of Health required that the purchase of miso had to be accompanied by a prescription from a physician, and made a deal with Biolab to reduce the availability of the drug. In 1992, miso’s public availability in the State of Sao Paulo was restricted to authorized pharmacies registered with the local government. Today, it’s difficult—but not impossible—to get the drug in Brazil. Traffickers sell it on the black market and online, but it can be expensive (according to Al Jazeera, one pill can cost up to $60), and when it is sold online, it’s often counterfeit.
But, miso is still used in Brazil; it accounts for nearly half the country’s one million annual abortions. Many women in Brazil and Latin America evidently welcomed miso in the absence of safer options. Now, more than three decades later, the secret has made its way to the United States.
Texas’s Rio Grande Valley (RGV)—a wide, flat stretch of land straddling the Mexico border—is one of the poorest regions in the country and the center Texas’s abortion struggle.
In the summer of 2013, the Texas legislature passed HB 2, a set of abortion restrictions Wendy Davis famously opposed with a marathon filibuster. The bill bans abortion after 20 weeks, adds restrictions to medication abortions, mandates that abortion providers have hospital-admitting privileges at clinics within 30 miles of where they practice, and requires that abortion clinics comply with ambulatory surgical center requirements by September 2014. Some of these provisions sound sensible, but abortion rights activists believe the intended overall effect is to deny abortions.
The law went into effect last October, and the provisions have since shuttered 12 of the state’s 40 abortion providers. Some hospitals refused to grant privileges because of religious affiliation; others declined because of the expensive fees associated with the process. Nancy Northrup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, voiced her concerns about the legislation: “Texas has put the constitutional rights of its women in the hands of biased hospital administrators. As a consequence, the list of high-quality abortion providers forced to turn away patients continues to grow, while reproductive health care options for Texas women continue to shrink.”
Professional organizations, including The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, openly opposed the restrictions. A study conducted by the University of Texas predicted that the law would bar nearly 23,000 Texas women from getting abortions—almost one in every three women who seeks an abortion.
Many of these women live in the RGV, where the admitting privileges provision forced both of the region’s abortion clinics to shut down. The closest clinic for the RGV’s one-million-plus residents is now 150 miles away. For many uninsured, South Texas women, that distance is not feasible. Few have access to transportation for the long haul, and others lack paperwork needed to cross inspection checkpoints on highways that run through the state. For those who don’t know, Texas screens its residents who travel regularly.
Meanwhile, the flea market is close to most living in the RGV, and the massive Alamo pulga looks like the kind of place to find miso. According to several local sources, it’s sold here, and it’s not difficult to get—you just need to know who to approach and what to ask for.
In the US, miso is prescribed and sold legally in combination with another pill called mifepristone (or RU-486) for early nonsurgical abortion. The drug, which is also called Mifeprex, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, can only be taken in the early stages of pregnancy (within 49 days of a woman’s last menstrual period).
The miso/mife combination is increasingly popular: In 2011, it accounted for 36% of abortions before nine weeks of gestation, and it’s considered the gold standard of medication abortion, with an estimated success rate nearly 10% higher than using miso alone (92 to 95 percent and 80 to 85 percent, respectively). Because of this, the FDA has never approved the use of misoprostol alone. After all, why promote a silver standard when the gold is available?
Since mifepristone is only used to induce abortions, it’s only available in about 50 countries. In 2007, the Federal District of Mexico City legalized first-trimester abortion, and in 2011 mifepristone was registered in the country. But outside of Mexico City, abortion is only available in the cases of rape or if a mother’s life is in danger—so mifepristone is similarly limited.
But, mifeprestone is available without a prescription. In Mexico, miso is sold OTC as an ulcer medication (in the U.S., it’s only available with a prescription) creating the perfect conditions for black market sales in the United States. While no abortion clinics remain in the RGV, the Mexican town of Reynosa is not far. There, miso can be bought in bulk at Mexican pharmacies and snuck back into Texas, where it’s sold undercover at flea markets like the one I’m at today.
As I walk through the aisles of the RGV’s Alamo Flea Market, looking for the miso, I find a man in a tattered baseball hat who rests his hands on a table displaying an array of medicines: Umcka Cold Care, Posture-D Calcium, Anti-Nausea Liquid, and Valerian Root. He leans forward when customers approach.
The man and I share mutual caution as I approach the table.
“Ummm,” I snatch a bottle of Ibuprofen and squint at the label. “Do you have anything for ulcers?”
“We don’t have ulcer medicine,” he says. “Just the stuff on the table.” I’m not surprised he denies it; he may think I’m a plain-clothes police officer.
“Ok. Um, do you have something to make your period come back? I need to bring it back,” I trail off, scrutinizing his face for expression. “Cytoteca,” I ask, enunciating the teca in common Spanish style. “Do you have it?”
He exhales dramatically.
“Not anymore. I haven’t had it since the police came,” he huffs, referring to a RGV flea market raid last August in Donna, Texas, where sheriffs uncovered prescription drugs.
Shortly after, a woman was arrested for illegally selling thousands of prescription drugs nearby. Though miso wasn’t uncovered in any of the raids, the overall crackdowns and mounting police presence have made vendors wary of selling the pill. He appears to have relaxed, saying the market was booming until those raids.
"When I first found out how many women were asking for it, I couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “The market had tons of people selling the pill, and I still got asked for it so many times. Almost every time I was here, someone asked me for it."
His experience was common. There seemed to be a consensus among nearly everyone interviewed—from health educators to RGV residents—that if abortion providers remain shut, women will continue to look for miso.
“If a woman wants to abort, she’s going to abort,” says Lucy Felix, a RGV-based promotora, or health educator, at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
A native of Reynosa, Mexico, Felix explains the dilemma many local women face since the crackdown on miso. Now, to get to the nearest abortion providers, they must pass through la garita, or immigration checkpoints.
“So undocumented women, what can they do?” she asks. “They put things in their vagina. I’ve heard that women are using coat hangers or some are going to Mexico and getting clandestine abortions, where it’s sometimes dirty, unhygienic… Other women go to the flea markets. There are still places where you can get pills.”
McAllen’s Whole Women’s Health stopped providing abortion services after the admitting privileges provision went into effect and shut down entirely in March.
“It’s just the beginning,” the center’s former patient advocate, Luzevlia Carreon, observes. “It’s in demand right now. It’s what our patients are doing and they’re going to continue taking it. … The fact of the matter is that women are going to get pills and are going to figure out ways to have an abortion.”
HB2 took the community by surprise, Carreon says. Many had relied on the clinic for years.
“They were so shocked when they found out we weren’t offering abortions anymore. I even have patients that call, and after we tell them that we can’t offer abortions anymore, they’ll just say, ‘That’s fine. I’m going to figure out a way to do this on my own.’ And imagine all the women who don’t call us at all, who are still taking [miso],” she sighs. “We have no idea how many are doing this.”
In Latin America, miso was a lifeline for women without other options. The same is happening in the United States. The networks are starting to develop, but proper information about dosage is not widely available. Moreover, those in the know appear hesitant to distribute material—much of which is circulated around Latin America—about how to safely take the drug.
According to the WHO, more than 21 million women annually have unsafe abortions worldwide, which account for nearly 13% of all maternal deaths. Miso is a much safer alternative. If taken in the correct quantities (four to 12 pills over the course of at least nine hours) in a women’s first trimester, the drug is 80-85% effective.
In Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, according to Carreon and others, many women are using the drug improperly because they don’t have access to basic facts about the correct dosage, which is leading to problems.
A woman in Brownsville told me her friend nearly died after taking pills that her husband bought in Mexico. Instead of ingesting four of the 12 pills every three hours, as is recommended by the World Health Organization, she took two pills under her tongue, then four pills vaginally, then two more under her tongue, then four more vaginally. She began to bleed profusely and doubled over in pain. But, because she was undocumented, she was afraid to seek medical help at a nearby hospital or clinic. Instead, she crossed the border to Mexico with her five children—all the while hemorrhaging—in search of medical assistance. She has since recovered but is still in Mexico with her children because she can’t cross the border back into the United States.
“A lot of patients said that they would take the whole bottle and they would tell me they took 28 pills,” Carreon said. “They’re taking maybe four vaginally, two orally. Then an hour later, four more. I hear different ways of using these pills. It’s shocking each time.”
But strict internal clinic protocol bars Carreon and other employees at Whole Women’s Health from answering questions about miso and abortion. The drug’s other distribution channels are similarly restricted. Mexican pharmacists can’t provide information about the drug and abortion, since it’s only sold there as an ulcer medication, and many of the vendors at flea markets know little about correct dosage.
He is the first to admit he knew nothing about the pills when he was selling them. “I’m not a doctor. I sell things,” he acknowledges. “I don’t know anything else.”
“So I’m curious about how many pills you would sell,” I start. “Because women are supposed to take 12 pills over nine hours if they’re in their first trimester. That’s what most doctors recommend.”
I ask him if he knew this. His answer is a firm no.
When customers came to him looking for the pills, he says he would sell the number they asked for—which often landed in the three or four range—and would charge around $13 per pill. Commonly, buyers didn’t know how many to purchase. He once sold a woman 20.
“I didn’t know what was right,” he says.
Now that the vendors throughout South Texas operate in the shadow of the police raid, he says he’s not sure if anyone currently sells miso in the pulgas.
“The demand is going to be even higher now that the abortion clinics shut down,” he speculates. “But if it isn’t sold in flea markets, more people are just going to end up going to Mexico.”
The bridge that connects El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico, is surprisingly short—but the two cities on either side look starkly different. Halfway through my walk to Mexico, I looked to my right. I could see El Paso, neat and carefully assembled. And to my left, there was Juarez, dusty and weathered.
Once I crossed over, I stepped inside a yellow building called Farmacia del Ahorro del Mexico and asked if I could purchase Cytoteca. “No problem,” the pharmacist said, punching a few letters into the keyboard. A couple seconds later, an estimate popped up: $48 U.S. for four pills, or around $150 for the dosage of 12. Down the street, two other pharmacists gave me similar estimates, ranging from $125 to $177, the latter two for a full bottle of 28 pills.
While I didn’t take the pharmacists up on their offer, all three were able to dispense the pills for me immediately, though none of the dosages came with instructions about how to use the pills for an abortion. Misoprostol is only sold in Mexican pharmacies as an ulcer medication, and while pharmacists are aware women are using it for other reasons, they can’t provide information about how to terminate a pregnancy with it. After all, abortion is restricted outside of Mexico City.
In the late ’90s, the internet spread throughout Latin America, making information on miso available on the web. Websites about the drug began to pop up, but activists wanted to make sure that the information women were getting was correct.
Activists, feminists, and abortion advocates joined and began creating volunteer-staffed phone hotlines. These small, often DIY networks promoted miso use and distributed information about the drug, and many of them still exist today. They’re often run by volunteers who give anonymous callers medical information about miso. Hotline workers raise awareness about their services through informal, word-of-mouth networks and social media.
The hotlines have made—and continue to make—an impact on women living in countries with some of the world’s strictest abortion legislation. In Chile, where abortion is illegal without exceptions, a hotline called Linea Aborto Libre has had success. It’s staffed by young feminists who take turns passing around a cellphone. If they’re not careful, their work could land them behind bars: Getting an abortion in Chile or telling a woman how to do so is a crime punishable by 3-5 years in jail. To avoid legal prosecution, hotline volunteers read information about misoprostol abortions that’s publicly available on the WHO (World Health Organization) website.
Similar hotlines exist in Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. There are websites like Women on Web, an international collective that provides information about self-induction and sends misoprostol to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Women on Waves, a Dutch NGO, performs medical abortions on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal.
In Chile and elsewhere, these phone hotlines and other networks were game-changers, because providing information about miso can make the difference between a successful abortion and a botched one that that lands a woman in a hospital or a jail. But given all of the evidence about improper dosages in Texas, why aren’t there any hotlines in the United States? How is it that women living in the Valley actually have less access to information than women in Chile—a country with some of the most oppressive abortion policies in the world?
When I told Carreon of McAllen’s Whole Women’s Health about the phone hotlines, she immediately perked up. “Wow,” she exclaimed. “That’s so interesting. I think there’s a need for that.”
But that’s where it gets complicated. In the United States, laws related to self-abortion vary by state. In some states, women who induce their own abortions, as well as those who assist them, are subject to criminal liability, and in states like Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Idaho, criminal charges have been brought against women who used miso to end their own pregnancies. In 39 states, it is illegal for anyone other than a medical provider to perform an abortion. But there is no consistency among states when it comes to the penalties for women inducing abortion without a physician or for those who help them get information about the medications necessary.
Many abortion advocates and women’s health organizations were reluctant to even discuss the topic of phone hotlines, concerned that establishing such networks could have serious legal consequences. After all, self-induced abortion is illegal in dozens of states. One reproductive health expert told me that creating phone hotlines or handing out flyers with information about miso from the WHO is out of the question.
“Giving general information” about where to get an abortion “is never a problem. Helping a woman who wants to end her own pregnancy is a crime,” she said firmly.
But others say that setting up and operating a hotline that comes with a recorded disclaimer that it’s simply providing scientific information that’s already publicly available might be less risky. Francine Coeytaux, a public health specialist and founder of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, says reproductive health advocates often have a tendency to self-censor because they’ve been playing on the defensive against the pro-life movement for so long.
“I don’t think we should assume that it’s illegal,” she said. “It’s sharing information, and we’re not telling them what to do.”
While it appeared the raids earlier this year had ended miso sales at the flea markets, there are other ways to get it besides crossing the border into Mexico.
Buy-pharma.com, for example, sells one 200-mcg pill for $2 (or a package of eight for $16). On the Facebook page, “Cytotec misoprostol,” a user can request to buy the pills from the page’s administrator, who sells 12 pills for 950 pesos ($73.05). 
It’s nearly impossible to verify the reliability of these pills. Surfing the net for miso through search terms like “abortion pills online” yields pages of results from online pharmacies—some of which are carefully constructed to look like the buyer is in good hands.
Advocates don’t promote the use of these sites. A page on the Women on Waves website warns against buying the pills online, and it outlines a long list of notorious doctors and pharmacy websites.
“The only website we trust to help women gain access to a safe medical abortion is www.womenonweb.org and we cannot guarantee that any other website is trustworthy,” the organization writes.
Despite the cautionary advertising, some still purchase medications advertised as miso online. Molly, a feminist abortion advocate who preferred not to use her real name, buys miso and RU-486 (a.k.a “the gold standard”) in mass quantities from online pharmacies and sends it to women in the United States who want to use the drugs but don’t know how to go about getting them.
“It’s incredibly liberating having misoprostol in my bathroom cabinet,” she says. “The idea of a pregnancy scare is … less scary, in a very real way. I wouldn’t need to even tell anyone except me, if I didn’t want to.”
Molly says that many of the women who contact her are already mothers who live hours away from the nearest clinic. Often, they don’t have anyone to watch their children while they go in for the procedure, especially if they have to return for more than one visit and can’t afford to take more days off of work.
“They told me they’d try anything: herbs, soaps,” she writes in a viral web-post. “One asked if I knew how, exactly, it was that you went about using a wire hanger to abort. Two or three days later, they would receive a small, unmarked envelope. Inside the envelope were doses of two different drugs that, when used together, will abort nearly any first-trimester pregnancy.”
So far, Molly says she has sent the pills out to between 50 and 100 women. Sometimes she receives emails that seem like “suspicious pleas”—messages that sound little too-scripted, like the person behind the keyboard is playing a role to catch Molly at her own game. So now, she’s scaling back on sending the drug packages, instead referring women to international pharmacies to buy the medications themselves.
Sending the pills is risky. Legally, the process puts her in harm’s way, but even more worrisome is the possibility that the medications she sends might seriously jeopardize a woman’s health. As many reproductive health experts warn, the pills she buys from the international pharmacies could be counterfeit, or they could be real and still cause complications.
“I know, when I do it, that it could be a devil’s bargain,” Molly writes in the post. “This could be the envelope that gets traced back to me. This could be the one that lands me in prison. Or, even worse, it could be the one that kills someone. The abortion drugs rarely cause major complications (less often than birth), but they do happen. I don’t know what I would do with that on my conscience. I haven’t had to find out yet.”
Back in Texas, HB2, the state’s strict new abortion law, shows no signs of letting up.
In March, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court ruled unanimously that the admitting privileges provision in HB 2, which led to the closures of clinics in the RGV and elsewhere, “does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.” Since the law went into effect, the state’s number of licensed abortion providers dropped from 40 to 28, and only 24 centers still offer the surgical procedure.
In September, another portion of HB2 will go into effect, which requires all abortion providers to conform to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers—a costly upgrade that is expected to shut down the majority of the state’s remaining clinics. When this portion of the law goes into effect, the number of abortion facilities in the state is expected to drop to six.
Today in Texas, things are starting to look a lot like the early years of miso in places like Brazil and Chile: The simple guidelines about miso haven’t yet made it to women in the state. Eventually, in those countries, the Internet and the democratization of information prevailed. Unless, and until, abortion restrictions change again, Latin America’s DIY-abortion culture might be the future of women in South Texas.

sinidentidades:

LONG READ BUT WORTH IT

The Rise of the DIY Abortion in South Texas

The Alamo flea market sits off South Texas’s lengthy Highway 83. Under canopies, vendors stand behind tables full of clothing, haggling in Spanish.

Customers browse simple items—miracle-diet teas, Barbie dolls or turquoise jeans—but shoppers also scan for goods that aren’t openly displayed. Tables lined with bottles of medicine like Tylenol and NyQuil have double-meanings to those in the know: The over-the-counter (OTC) drugs on top provide cover for the prescription drugs smuggled over the border from nearby cities in Mexico. Those, the vendors keep out of sight.

I’m here to look for a small, white, hexagonal pill called misoprostol. Also known as miso or Cytotec, the drug induces an abortion that appears like a miscarriage during the early stages of a woman’s pregnancy. For women living in Latin America and other countries that have traditionally outlawed abortion, miso has been a lifeline—it’s been called “a noble medication,” “world-shaking” and “revolutionary.”

As policies restricting access to abortion roll out in Texas and elsewhere, the use of miso is quickly becoming a part of this country’s story. It has already made its way into the black market here in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where abortion restrictions are tightening, and it is likely to continue its trajectory if anti-abortion legislation does not ease up and clinics continue to be closed.

Over the past several years, dozens of states have restricted abortions. Since 2011, at least 73 abortion clinics in the nation have shut down or stopped providing services; and more than 200 abortion restrictions were legislated throughout the nation. Despite the passage of Roe v. Wade more than 40 years ago, states with pro-life politicians are still gunning to reverse the ruling—in the words of Rick Perry in 2012, “my goal is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.”

Yet these myriad restrictions on women and abortion providers have set the stage for women to skirt medical institutions to take charge of their own health. A similar story has been written in many countries around the world, where pro-life legislation has inspired similarly-creative solutions. Today, throughout Texas, miso’s story is being drafted.

Misoprostol wasn’t developed to induce abortions; it was created and marketed as an ulcer medication called Cytotec. The drug, a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analog, has many medical uses: It’s taken to prevent and treat ulcers, induce labor, induce abortions, and treat post-partum hemorrhage. In 1986, misoprostol was approved for sale in Brazilian pharmacies as an ulcer medication and was distributed OTC. Like many drugs, misoprostol’s label had a simple warningDo not take if pregnant.

Nobody knows exactly what happened. Regardless of who uncovered its power, the pill was precisely what women needed: a magic personal solution to a dreaded problem that dared not be discussed.

In Brazil, as in many parts of the world, Catholicism dominates the abortion debate. Like adultery and murder, it was a mortal sin, worthy of damnation to hell and, according to the country’s 1940 Penal Code, a crime against life. Despairing Brazilian women with unwanted pregnancies resorted to drastic and dangerous measures. They listened to old wives tails, ramming sharp objects into their uteruses and guzzling drug cocktails, and visiting clandestine, unsafe clinics. But nothing seemed to reliably work, and all were perilous. That is, until they found the little white pill—that special drug that could “bring the period back.”

So, hushed exchanges began. When women searched for the miso, they used euphemisms: “I need to bring down my period,” or, “bring it back.” For many women, describing it in those terms felt better. It was different than aborting and sated cognitive dissonance.

As miso became more popular, Latin American doctors noticed a new trend: They were saw a dramatic decrease in abortion-related complications. Fewer women were carted through hospital doors with gruesome infections from back-alley, botched abortions, and OB-Gyns saw a reduction in the abortion complications that had so frequently plagued providers, including perforated uteruses, heavy bleeding, and fallen intestines, according to a 2012 study by the global health organization, Ipas.

The only explanation “was the mass distribution of miso at the community level,” concluded a Colombian ob-gyn in the Ipas study. Doctors also noted that the discovery and circulation all took place outside hospital walls.

In Brazil, an analysis of sales by Biolab (which began marketing the drug in 1988) shows a sharp increase beginning in 1989, sometimes exceeding more than 50,000 units per month. In 1991, the company reported that misoprostol’s use as an abortion-inducing drug could reach up to 35% of its total usage.

Public pressure to regulate the drug in Brazil mounted, and in May 1991, the state of Rio de Janeiro restricted miso’s use to hospitals, while the state of Ceara imposed a total ban on its sales. On July 17, 1991, the Ministry of Health required that the purchase of miso had to be accompanied by a prescription from a physician, and made a deal with Biolab to reduce the availability of the drug. In 1992, miso’s public availability in the State of Sao Paulo was restricted to authorized pharmacies registered with the local government. Today, it’s difficult—but not impossible—to get the drug in Brazil. Traffickers sell it on the black market and online, but it can be expensive (according to Al Jazeeraone pill can cost up to $60), and when it is sold online, it’s often counterfeit.

But, miso is still used in Brazil; it accounts for nearly half the country’s one million annual abortions. Many women in Brazil and Latin America evidently welcomed miso in the absence of safer options. Now, more than three decades later, the secret has made its way to the United States.

Texas’s Rio Grande Valley (RGV)—a wide, flat stretch of land straddling the Mexico border—is one of the poorest regions in the country and the center Texas’s abortion struggle.

In the summer of 2013, the Texas legislature passed HB 2, a set of abortion restrictions Wendy Davis famously opposed with a marathon filibuster. The bill bans abortion after 20 weeks, adds restrictions to medication abortions, mandates that abortion providers have hospital-admitting privileges at clinics within 30 miles of where they practice, and requires that abortion clinics comply with ambulatory surgical center requirements by September 2014. Some of these provisions sound sensible, but abortion rights activists believe the intended overall effect is to deny abortions.

The law went into effect last October, and the provisions have since shuttered 12 of the state’s 40 abortion providers. Some hospitals refused to grant privileges because of religious affiliation; others declined because of the expensive fees associated with the process. Nancy Northrup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, voiced her concerns about the legislation: “Texas has put the constitutional rights of its women in the hands of biased hospital administrators. As a consequence, the list of high-quality abortion providers forced to turn away patients continues to grow, while reproductive health care options for Texas women continue to shrink.”

Professional organizations, including The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, openly opposed the restrictions. A study conducted by the University of Texas predicted that the law would bar nearly 23,000 Texas women from getting abortions—almost one in every three women who seeks an abortion.

Many of these women live in the RGV, where the admitting privileges provision forced both of the region’s abortion clinics to shut down. The closest clinic for the RGV’s one-million-plus residents is now 150 miles away. For many uninsured, South Texas women, that distance is not feasible. Few have access to transportation for the long haul, and others lack paperwork needed to cross inspection checkpoints on highways that run through the state. For those who don’t know, Texas screens its residents who travel regularly.

Meanwhile, the flea market is close to most living in the RGV, and the massive Alamo pulga looks like the kind of place to find miso. According to several local sources, it’s sold here, and it’s not difficult to get—you just need to know who to approach and what to ask for.

In the US, miso is prescribed and sold legally in combination with another pill called mifepristone (or RU-486) for early nonsurgical abortion. The drug, which is also called Mifeprex, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, can only be taken in the early stages of pregnancy (within 49 days of a woman’s last menstrual period).

The miso/mife combination is increasingly popular: In 2011, it accounted for 36% of abortions before nine weeks of gestation, and it’s considered the gold standard of medication abortion, with an estimated success rate nearly 10% higher than using miso alone (92 to 95 percent and 80 to 85 percent, respectively). Because of this, the FDA has never approved the use of misoprostol alone. After all, why promote a silver standard when the gold is available?

Since mifepristone is only used to induce abortions, it’s only available in about 50 countries. In 2007, the Federal District of Mexico City legalized first-trimester abortion, and in 2011 mifepristone was registered in the country. But outside of Mexico City, abortion is only available in the cases of rape or if a mother’s life is in danger—so mifepristone is similarly limited.

But, mifeprestone is available without a prescription. In Mexico, miso is sold OTC as an ulcer medication (in the U.S., it’s only available with a prescription) creating the perfect conditions for black market sales in the United States. While no abortion clinics remain in the RGV, the Mexican town of Reynosa is not far. There, miso can be bought in bulk at Mexican pharmacies and snuck back into Texas, where it’s sold undercover at flea markets like the one I’m at today.

As I walk through the aisles of the RGV’s Alamo Flea Market, looking for the miso, I find a man in a tattered baseball hat who rests his hands on a table displaying an array of medicines: Umcka Cold Care, Posture-D Calcium, Anti-Nausea Liquid, and Valerian Root. He leans forward when customers approach.

The man and I share mutual caution as I approach the table.

“Ummm,” I snatch a bottle of Ibuprofen and squint at the label. “Do you have anything for ulcers?”

“We don’t have ulcer medicine,” he says. “Just the stuff on the table.” I’m not surprised he denies it; he may think I’m a plain-clothes police officer.

“Ok. Um, do you have something to make your period come back? I need to bring it back,” I trail off, scrutinizing his face for expression. “Cytoteca,” I ask, enunciating the teca in common Spanish style. “Do you have it?”

He exhales dramatically.

“Not anymore. I haven’t had it since the police came,” he huffs, referring to a RGV flea market raid last August in Donna, Texas, where sheriffs uncovered prescription drugs.

Shortly after, a woman was arrested for illegally selling thousands of prescription drugs nearby. Though miso wasn’t uncovered in any of the raids, the overall crackdowns and mounting police presence have made vendors wary of selling the pill. He appears to have relaxed, saying the market was booming until those raids.

"When I first found out how many women were asking for it, I couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “The market had tons of people selling the pill, and I still got asked for it so many times. Almost every time I was here, someone asked me for it."

His experience was common. There seemed to be a consensus among nearly everyone interviewed—from health educators to RGV residents—that if abortion providers remain shut, women will continue to look for miso.

“If a woman wants to abort, she’s going to abort,” says Lucy Felix, a RGV-based promotora, or health educator, at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

A native of Reynosa, Mexico, Felix explains the dilemma many local women face since the crackdown on miso. Now, to get to the nearest abortion providers, they must pass through la garita, or immigration checkpoints.

“So undocumented women, what can they do?” she asks. “They put things in their vagina. I’ve heard that women are using coat hangers or some are going to Mexico and getting clandestine abortions, where it’s sometimes dirty, unhygienic… Other women go to the flea markets. There are still places where you can get pills.”

McAllen’s Whole Women’s Health stopped providing abortion services after the admitting privileges provision went into effect and shut down entirely in March.

“It’s just the beginning,” the center’s former patient advocate, Luzevlia Carreon, observes. “It’s in demand right now. It’s what our patients are doing and they’re going to continue taking it. … The fact of the matter is that women are going to get pills and are going to figure out ways to have an abortion.”

HB2 took the community by surprise, Carreon says. Many had relied on the clinic for years.

“They were so shocked when they found out we weren’t offering abortions anymore. I even have patients that call, and after we tell them that we can’t offer abortions anymore, they’ll just say, ‘That’s fine. I’m going to figure out a way to do this on my own.’ And imagine all the women who don’t call us at all, who are still taking [miso],” she sighs. “We have no idea how many are doing this.”

In Latin America, miso was a lifeline for women without other options. The same is happening in the United States. The networks are starting to develop, but proper information about dosage is not widely available. Moreover, those in the know appear hesitant to distribute material—much of which is circulated around Latin America—about how to safely take the drug.

According to the WHO, more than 21 million women annually have unsafe abortions worldwide, which account for nearly 13% of all maternal deaths. Miso is a much safer alternative. If taken in the correct quantities (four to 12 pills over the course of at least nine hours) in a women’s first trimester, the drug is 80-85% effective.

In Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, according to Carreon and others, many women are using the drug improperly because they don’t have access to basic facts about the correct dosage, which is leading to problems.

A woman in Brownsville told me her friend nearly died after taking pills that her husband bought in Mexico. Instead of ingesting four of the 12 pills every three hours, as is recommended by the World Health Organization, she took two pills under her tongue, then four pills vaginally, then two more under her tongue, then four more vaginally. She began to bleed profusely and doubled over in pain. But, because she was undocumented, she was afraid to seek medical help at a nearby hospital or clinic. Instead, she crossed the border to Mexico with her five children—all the while hemorrhaging—in search of medical assistance. She has since recovered but is still in Mexico with her children because she can’t cross the border back into the United States.

“A lot of patients said that they would take the whole bottle and they would tell me they took 28 pills,” Carreon said. “They’re taking maybe four vaginally, two orally. Then an hour later, four more. I hear different ways of using these pills. It’s shocking each time.”

But strict internal clinic protocol bars Carreon and other employees at Whole Women’s Health from answering questions about miso and abortion. The drug’s other distribution channels are similarly restricted. Mexican pharmacists can’t provide information about the drug and abortion, since it’s only sold there as an ulcer medication, and many of the vendors at flea markets know little about correct dosage.

He is the first to admit he knew nothing about the pills when he was selling them. “I’m not a doctor. I sell things,” he acknowledges. “I don’t know anything else.”

“So I’m curious about how many pills you would sell,” I start. “Because women are supposed to take 12 pills over nine hours if they’re in their first trimester. That’s what most doctors recommend.”

I ask him if he knew this. His answer is a firm no.

When customers came to him looking for the pills, he says he would sell the number they asked for—which often landed in the three or four range—and would charge around $13 per pill. Commonly, buyers didn’t know how many to purchase. He once sold a woman 20.

“I didn’t know what was right,” he says.

Now that the vendors throughout South Texas operate in the shadow of the police raid, he says he’s not sure if anyone currently sells miso in the pulgas.

“The demand is going to be even higher now that the abortion clinics shut down,” he speculates. “But if it isn’t sold in flea markets, more people are just going to end up going to Mexico.”

The bridge that connects El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico, is surprisingly short—but the two cities on either side look starkly different. Halfway through my walk to Mexico, I looked to my right. I could see El Paso, neat and carefully assembled. And to my left, there was Juarez, dusty and weathered.

Once I crossed over, I stepped inside a yellow building called Farmacia del Ahorro del Mexico and asked if I could purchase Cytoteca. “No problem,” the pharmacist said, punching a few letters into the keyboard. A couple seconds later, an estimate popped up: $48 U.S. for four pills, or around $150 for the dosage of 12. Down the street, two other pharmacists gave me similar estimates, ranging from $125 to $177, the latter two for a full bottle of 28 pills.

While I didn’t take the pharmacists up on their offer, all three were able to dispense the pills for me immediately, though none of the dosages came with instructions about how to use the pills for an abortion. Misoprostol is only sold in Mexican pharmacies as an ulcer medication, and while pharmacists are aware women are using it for other reasons, they can’t provide information about how to terminate a pregnancy with it. After all, abortion is restricted outside of Mexico City.

In the late ’90s, the internet spread throughout Latin America, making information on miso available on the web. Websites about the drug began to pop up, but activists wanted to make sure that the information women were getting was correct.

Activists, feminists, and abortion advocates joined and began creating volunteer-staffed phone hotlines. These small, often DIY networks promoted miso use and distributed information about the drug, and many of them still exist today. They’re often run by volunteers who give anonymous callers medical information about miso. Hotline workers raise awareness about their services through informal, word-of-mouth networks and social media.

The hotlines have made—and continue to make—an impact on women living in countries with some of the world’s strictest abortion legislation. In Chile, where abortion is illegal without exceptions, a hotline called Linea Aborto Libre has had success. It’s staffed by young feminists who take turns passing around a cellphone. If they’re not careful, their work could land them behind bars: Getting an abortion in Chile or telling a woman how to do so is a crime punishable by 3-5 years in jail. To avoid legal prosecution, hotline volunteers read information about misoprostol abortions that’s publicly available on the WHO (World Health Organization) website.

Similar hotlines exist in ArgentinaEcuadorPeru and Venezuela. There are websites like Women on Web, an international collective that provides information about self-induction and sends misoprostol to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Women on Waves, a Dutch NGO, performs medical abortions on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal.

In Chile and elsewhere, these phone hotlines and other networks were game-changers, because providing information about miso can make the difference between a successful abortion and a botched one that that lands a woman in a hospital or a jail. But given all of the evidence about improper dosages in Texas, why aren’t there any hotlines in the United States? How is it that women living in the Valley actually have less access to information than women in Chile—a country with some of the most oppressive abortion policies in the world?

When I told Carreon of McAllen’s Whole Women’s Health about the phone hotlines, she immediately perked up. “Wow,” she exclaimed. “That’s so interesting. I think there’s a need for that.”

But that’s where it gets complicated. In the United States, laws related to self-abortion vary by state. In some states, women who induce their own abortions, as well as those who assist them, are subject to criminal liability, and in states like MassachusettsSouth Carolina, and Idaho, criminal charges have been brought against women who used miso to end their own pregnancies. In 39 states, it is illegal for anyone other than a medical provider to perform an abortion. But there is no consistency among states when it comes to the penalties for women inducing abortion without a physician or for those who help them get information about the medications necessary.

Many abortion advocates and women’s health organizations were reluctant to even discuss the topic of phone hotlines, concerned that establishing such networks could have serious legal consequences. After all, self-induced abortion is illegal in dozens of states. One reproductive health expert told me that creating phone hotlines or handing out flyers with information about miso from the WHO is out of the question.

“Giving general information” about where to get an abortion “is never a problem. Helping a woman who wants to end her own pregnancy is a crime,” she said firmly.

But others say that setting up and operating a hotline that comes with a recorded disclaimer that it’s simply providing scientific information that’s already publicly available might be less risky. Francine Coeytaux, a public health specialist and founder of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, says reproductive health advocates often have a tendency to self-censor because they’ve been playing on the defensive against the pro-life movement for so long.

“I don’t think we should assume that it’s illegal,” she said. “It’s sharing information, and we’re not telling them what to do.”

While it appeared the raids earlier this year had ended miso sales at the flea markets, there are other ways to get it besides crossing the border into Mexico.

Buy-pharma.com, for example, sells one 200-mcg pill for $2 (or a package of eight for $16). On the Facebook page, “Cytotec misoprostol,” a user can request to buy the pills from the page’s administrator, who sells 12 pills for 950 pesos ($73.05). 

It’s nearly impossible to verify the reliability of these pills. Surfing the net for miso through search terms like “abortion pills online” yields pages of results from online pharmacies—some of which are carefully constructed to look like the buyer is in good hands.

Advocates don’t promote the use of these sites. A page on the Women on Waves website warns against buying the pills online, and it outlines a long list of notorious doctors and pharmacy websites.

“The only website we trust to help women gain access to a safe medical abortion is www.womenonweb.org and we cannot guarantee that any other website is trustworthy,” the organization writes.

Despite the cautionary advertising, some still purchase medications advertised as miso online. Molly, a feminist abortion advocate who preferred not to use her real name, buys miso and RU-486 (a.k.a “the gold standard”) in mass quantities from online pharmacies and sends it to women in the United States who want to use the drugs but don’t know how to go about getting them.

“It’s incredibly liberating having misoprostol in my bathroom cabinet,” she says. “The idea of a pregnancy scare is … less scary, in a very real way. I wouldn’t need to even tell anyone except me, if I didn’t want to.”

Molly says that many of the women who contact her are already mothers who live hours away from the nearest clinic. Often, they don’t have anyone to watch their children while they go in for the procedure, especially if they have to return for more than one visit and can’t afford to take more days off of work.

“They told me they’d try anything: herbs, soaps,” she writes in a viral web-post. “One asked if I knew how, exactly, it was that you went about using a wire hanger to abort. Two or three days later, they would receive a small, unmarked envelope. Inside the envelope were doses of two different drugs that, when used together, will abort nearly any first-trimester pregnancy.”

So far, Molly says she has sent the pills out to between 50 and 100 women. Sometimes she receives emails that seem like “suspicious pleas”—messages that sound little too-scripted, like the person behind the keyboard is playing a role to catch Molly at her own game. So now, she’s scaling back on sending the drug packages, instead referring women to international pharmacies to buy the medications themselves.

Sending the pills is risky. Legally, the process puts her in harm’s way, but even more worrisome is the possibility that the medications she sends might seriously jeopardize a woman’s health. As many reproductive health experts warn, the pills she buys from the international pharmacies could be counterfeit, or they could be real and still cause complications.

“I know, when I do it, that it could be a devil’s bargain,” Molly writes in the post. “This could be the envelope that gets traced back to me. This could be the one that lands me in prison. Or, even worse, it could be the one that kills someone. The abortion drugs rarely cause major complications (less often than birth), but they do happen. I don’t know what I would do with that on my conscience. I haven’t had to find out yet.”

Back in Texas, HB2, the state’s strict new abortion law, shows no signs of letting up.

In March, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court ruled unanimously that the admitting privileges provision in HB 2, which led to the closures of clinics in the RGV and elsewhere, “does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.” Since the law went into effect, the state’s number of licensed abortion providers dropped from 40 to 28, and only 24 centers still offer the surgical procedure.

In September, another portion of HB2 will go into effect, which requires all abortion providers to conform to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers—a costly upgrade that is expected to shut down the majority of the state’s remaining clinics. When this portion of the law goes into effect, the number of abortion facilities in the state is expected to drop to six.

Today in Texas, things are starting to look a lot like the early years of miso in places like Brazil and Chile: The simple guidelines about miso haven’t yet made it to women in the state. Eventually, in those countries, the Internet and the democratization of information prevailed. Unless, and until, abortion restrictions change again, Latin America’s DIY-abortion culture might be the future of women in South Texas.

(via randomactsofchaos)

— 3 weeks ago with 53 notes
#abortion  #texas  #mexico  #brasil  #brazil  #women  #women's health  #reproductive health  #prolife  #prochoice 
fuckyourracism:

reverseracism:

What is “The United States of America”

While I don’t intend to co-opt black oppression in any way, this image perpetuates the erasure of native slavery history. Natives experienced slavery too and it’s not so “either or” as the image suggests. 

The Untold History of American Indian Slavery
"Long before the transatlantic African slave trade was established in North America a transatlantic slave trade in Indians had been occurring since the very earliest European arrivals. It was used as a weapon of war among the European colonists and as a tactic for survival among Indians who participated in the slave trade as slavers. It contributed to the fierce decline in Indian populations after the coming of the Europeans along with devastating disease epidemics, and lasted well into the eighteenth century when it was replaced by African slavery. It has left a legacy still felt among Native populations in the east, and it is also one of the most hidden narratives in American historical literature.
Documentation
The historical record of the Indian slave trade is based on many disparate and scattered sources including legislative notes, trade transactions, journals of slavers, government correspondence and especially church records, making it difficult to account for the entire history. It is well known by historians that the slave trade began with the Spanish incursions into the Caribbean and Christopher Columbus’s taking of slaves, as documented in his own journals. Every European nation that colonized North America utilized Indian slaves for construction, plantations and mining on the North American continent but more frequently in their outposts in the Caribbean and in the metropoles of Europe.
As the pieces of the puzzle come together in the scholarship, historians note that nowhere is there more documentation than in South Carolina, what was the original English colony of Carolina, established in 1670. It is estimated that between 1650 and 1730 at least 50,000 Indians (and likely more due to transactions hidden to avoid paying government tariffs and taxes) were exported by the English alone to their Caribbean outposts. Between 1670 and 1717 far more Indians were exported than Africans were imported. In southern coastal regions entire tribes were exterminated through slavery compared to disease or war. In a law passed in 1704, Indian slaves were conscripted to fight in wars for the colony long before the American Revolution.
Indian Complicity and Complex Relationships
Indians found themselves caught in between colonial strategies for power and economic control. The fur trade in the Northeast, the English plantation system in the south and the Spanish mission system in Florida collided with major disruptions to Indian communities. Indians displaced from the fur trade in the north migrated south where plantation owners armed them to hunt for slaves living in the Spanish mission communities. The French, the English and Spanish often capitalized on the slave trade in other ways; for example they garnered diplomatic favor when they negotiated the freedom of slaves in exchange for peace, friendship and military alliance. In another instance of Indian and colonial complicity in the slave trade, the British had established ties with the Chickasaw who were surrounded by enemies on all sides in Georgia. They conducted extensive slave raids in the lower Mississippi Valley where the French had a foothold, which they sold to the English as a way to reduce Indian populations and keep the French from arming them first. Ironically, the English also saw it as a more effective way to “civilize” them compared to the efforts of the French missionaries.
Extent of the Trade
The Indian slave trade covered an area from as far west and south as New Mexico (then Spanish territory) northward to the Great Lakes. Historians believe that all tribes in this vast swath of land were caught up in the slave trade in one way or another, either as captives or as traders. Slavery was part of the larger strategy to depopulate the land to make way for European settlers. As early as 1636 after the Pequot war in which 300 Pequots were massacred, those who remained were sold into slavery and sent to Bermuda. Major slaving ports included Boston, Salem, Mobile and New Orleans. From those ports Indians were shipped to Barbados by the English, Martinique and Guadalupe by the French and the Antilles by the Dutch. Indian slaves were also sent to the Bahamas as the “breaking grounds” where they might’ve been transported back to New York or Antigua.
The historical record indicates a perception that Indians did not make good slaves. When they weren’t shipped far from their home territories they too easily escaped and were given refuge by other Indians if not in their own communities. They died in high numbers on the transatlantic journeys and succumbed easily to European diseases. By 1676 Barbados had banned Indian slavery citing “too bloody and dangerous an inclination to remain here.”
Slavery’s Legacy of Obscured Identities
As the Indian slave trade gave way to the African slave trade by the late 1700’s (by then over 300 years old) Native American women began to intermarry with imported Africans, producing mixed-race offspring whose native identities became obscured through time. In the colonial project to eliminate the landscape of Indians, these mixed-race people simply became known as “colored” people through bureaucratic erasure in public records. In some cases such as in Virginia, even when people were designated as Indians on birth or death certificates or other public records, their records were changed to reflect “colored.” Census takers, determining a person’s race by their looks, often recorded mixed-race people as simply black, not Indian. The result is that today there is a population of people of Native American heritage and identity(particularly in the Northeast) who are not recognized by society at large, sharing similar circumstances with the Freedmen of the Cherokee and other Five Civilized Tribes.”  
Source

- Jimmy

fuckyourracism:

reverseracism:

What is “The United States of America”

While I don’t intend to co-opt black oppression in any way, this image perpetuates the erasure of native slavery history. Natives experienced slavery too and it’s not so “either or” as the image suggests. 

The Untold History of American Indian Slavery

"Long before the transatlantic African slave trade was established in North America a transatlantic slave trade in Indians had been occurring since the very earliest European arrivals. It was used as a weapon of war among the European colonists and as a tactic for survival among Indians who participated in the slave trade as slavers. It contributed to the fierce decline in Indian populations after the coming of the Europeans along with devastating disease epidemics, and lasted well into the eighteenth century when it was replaced by African slavery. It has left a legacy still felt among Native populations in the east, and it is also one of the most hidden narratives in American historical literature.

Documentation

The historical record of the Indian slave trade is based on many disparate and scattered sources including legislative notes, trade transactions, journals of slavers, government correspondence and especially church records, making it difficult to account for the entire history. It is well known by historians that the slave trade began with the Spanish incursions into the Caribbean and Christopher Columbus’s taking of slaves, as documented in his own journals. Every European nation that colonized North America utilized Indian slaves for construction, plantations and mining on the North American continent but more frequently in their outposts in the Caribbean and in the metropoles of Europe.

As the pieces of the puzzle come together in the scholarship, historians note that nowhere is there more documentation than in South Carolina, what was the original English colony of Carolina, established in 1670. It is estimated that between 1650 and 1730 at least 50,000 Indians (and likely more due to transactions hidden to avoid paying government tariffs and taxes) were exported by the English alone to their Caribbean outposts. Between 1670 and 1717 far more Indians were exported than Africans were imported. In southern coastal regions entire tribes were exterminated through slavery compared to disease or war. In a law passed in 1704, Indian slaves were conscripted to fight in wars for the colony long before the American Revolution.

Indian Complicity and Complex Relationships

Indians found themselves caught in between colonial strategies for power and economic control. The fur trade in the Northeast, the English plantation system in the south and the Spanish mission system in Florida collided with major disruptions to Indian communities. Indians displaced from the fur trade in the north migrated south where plantation owners armed them to hunt for slaves living in the Spanish mission communities. The French, the English and Spanish often capitalized on the slave trade in other ways; for example they garnered diplomatic favor when they negotiated the freedom of slaves in exchange for peace, friendship and military alliance. In another instance of Indian and colonial complicity in the slave trade, the British had established ties with the Chickasaw who were surrounded by enemies on all sides in Georgia. They conducted extensive slave raids in the lower Mississippi Valley where the French had a foothold, which they sold to the English as a way to reduce Indian populations and keep the French from arming them first. Ironically, the English also saw it as a more effective way to “civilize” them compared to the efforts of the French missionaries.

Extent of the Trade

The Indian slave trade covered an area from as far west and south as New Mexico (then Spanish territory) northward to the Great Lakes. Historians believe that all tribes in this vast swath of land were caught up in the slave trade in one way or another, either as captives or as traders. Slavery was part of the larger strategy to depopulate the land to make way for European settlers. As early as 1636 after the Pequot war in which 300 Pequots were massacred, those who remained were sold into slavery and sent to Bermuda. Major slaving ports included Boston, Salem, Mobile and New Orleans. From those ports Indians were shipped to Barbados by the English, Martinique and Guadalupe by the French and the Antilles by the Dutch. Indian slaves were also sent to the Bahamas as the “breaking grounds” where they might’ve been transported back to New York or Antigua.

The historical record indicates a perception that Indians did not make good slaves. When they weren’t shipped far from their home territories they too easily escaped and were given refuge by other Indians if not in their own communities. They died in high numbers on the transatlantic journeys and succumbed easily to European diseases. By 1676 Barbados had banned Indian slavery citing “too bloody and dangerous an inclination to remain here.”

Slavery’s Legacy of Obscured Identities

As the Indian slave trade gave way to the African slave trade by the late 1700’s (by then over 300 years old) Native American women began to intermarry with imported Africans, producing mixed-race offspring whose native identities became obscured through time. In the colonial project to eliminate the landscape of Indians, these mixed-race people simply became known as “colored” people through bureaucratic erasure in public records. In some cases such as in Virginia, even when people were designated as Indians on birth or death certificates or other public records, their records were changed to reflect “colored.” Census takers, determining a person’s race by their looks, often recorded mixed-race people as simply black, not Indian. The result is that today there is a population of people of Native American heritage and identity(particularly in the Northeast) who are not recognized by society at large, sharing similar circumstances with the Freedmen of the Cherokee and other Five Civilized Tribes.”  

Source

- Jimmy

(Source: whatwhitesdontknow, via quiteaqueen)

— 3 weeks ago with 962 notes
#usa  #america  #history  #poc  #native american  #slavery  #american history  #north america  #south america 

lastofthetimeladies:

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

themidwifeisin:

Check in at TheMidwifeIsIn.tumblr.com if you have any other questions.

There is also the Abortion Pill (Mifepristone).  It can be taken up to 9 weeks (but is most effective up to 7 weeks and check the laws in your state). It is comparable to a miscarriage and after getting the intial dosage from your medical service provider, you take the rest at home and go through the process at home.

This is super important, valuable information that I think many people don’t know. Also, when you go to an abortion clinic (I at least know this is true for Planned Parenthood) there’s a counseling meeting where you discuss the alternatives with a doctor and sign a consent form saying that abortion is what you really want. A lot of people who oppose abortion will want to tell you that abortion clinics and reproductive health centers will try to convince you to have the abortion, but that’s just not true. (I mean, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions. Family planning and community health centers like Planned Parenthood are often more concerned with prevention and awareness and other aspects of health. They’re more interested in helping you have options than they are in only giving you the one.)

Nor is it true that any medical center will throw the embryo away in a dumpster after the procedure. I’m sure none of you really thought that, but slander is a vicious thing that spreads and becomes true in the eyes of those who want to believe it because it fits into their agenda.

Additionally: know your rights. When I worked at Planned Parenthood, I learned that protesters are not allowed to be in front of the building or in the parking lot. They have to stay on the sidewalk, further away from the building. They are not supposed to try to convince you not to go into the building, nor can they physically block you from going in or follow you inside. You have to be let in by someone already in the building, which means that any appointment you have there - counseling, a check-up, a mammogram, an abortion, a testing - will be confidential and safe.

(via sugarbooty)

— 3 weeks ago with 36488 notes
#abortion  #women  #health  #health care  #women's health  #reproductive health 
nowinexile:

Settlers Abduct Palestinian, Inflict Serious Injuries
The setters kidnapped Tareq Ziad Odeily, 22, after two settler vehicles invaded the village, forced him into one of their cars, and drove away. The settlers first sprayed his face with pepper-spray, the Raya News Agency has reported. He was then taken to an isolated area, where he was repeatedly beaten, kicked, punched and stabbed before the settlers fled the scene, leaving him severely bleeding, apparently believing he will die of his wounds. Source

nowinexile:

Settlers Abduct Palestinian, Inflict Serious Injuries

The setters kidnapped Tareq Ziad Odeily, 22, after two settler vehicles invaded the village, forced him into one of their cars, and drove away. The settlers first sprayed his face with pepper-spray, the Raya News Agency has reported. 

He was then taken to an isolated area, where he was repeatedly beaten, kicked, punched and stabbed before the settlers fled the scene, leaving him severely bleeding, apparently believing he will die of his wounds. Source

(via stay-human)

— 3 weeks ago with 57 notes
#palestine  #israel  #middle east  #war  #war crimes  #crimes against humanity  #violence  #gore tw 
ifnotyouwhoelse:
Pity the Children
by
Chris Hedges
An Afghan child looks toward the site of a suicide bombing that occurred near a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, last February.

Outstanding article describing the experiences and conclusions veterans took from war. More than physically, the war destroys lives of people socially and psychologically. A MUST READ that displays the irony in the senseless action of war. Below, some extracts and quotes:

“I live in a country that is so wealthy we can wage wars and not have to think about them,” Turner said. “It is a pathology handed down from generation to generation. We talk about our military. We use words like ‘heroism.’ But when will we start to care about people whose names are difficult to pronounce?  Combat brings with it trauma for those who inflict the violence as well as those who suffer it. See a lot of combat and the trauma is severe. But the worst trauma is often caused not by what combat veterans witnessed but by what they did. The most disturbing memories usually involve children.  … The schizophrenic nature of the war meant that on some days children were to be courted and on other days threatened. The children could never tell how troops would respond. …People who carry weapons and travel with armed units have a terrifying God-like power to humiliate, to demand instant and unquestioned obedience and to kill. Those who do not carry weapons live in states of unrelenting terror and powerlessness. The powerless often seek to become invisible, avoiding contact with the hydra-headed groups of killers that roam the landscape and speak in the language of violence. …None of this is what these veterans or children wanted. They wanted, and continue to want, what we were created for—love. And the battle with the demons of war is the battle back to what is sacred and whole in life. Some will make it. Many will not.

ifnotyouwhoelse:

Pity the Children
by
Chris Hedges

An Afghan child looks toward the site of a suicide bombing that occurred near a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, last February.
Outstanding article describing the experiences and conclusions veterans took from war. More than physically, the war destroys lives of people socially and psychologically. A MUST READ that displays the irony in the senseless action of war. Below, some extracts and quotes:

“I live in a country that is so wealthy we can wage wars and not have to think about them,” Turner said. “It is a pathology handed down from generation to generation. We talk about our military. We use words like ‘heroism.’ But when will we start to care about people whose names are difficult to pronounce?

Combat brings with it trauma for those who inflict the violence as well as those who suffer it. See a lot of combat and the trauma is severe. But the worst trauma is often caused not by what combat veterans witnessed but by what they did. The most disturbing memories usually involve children.

The schizophrenic nature of the war meant that on some days children were to be courted and on other days threatened. The children could never tell how troops would respond.

People who carry weapons and travel with armed units have a terrifying God-like power to humiliate, to demand instant and unquestioned obedience and to kill. Those who do not carry weapons live in states of unrelenting terror and powerlessness. The powerless often seek to become invisible, avoiding contact with the hydra-headed groups of killers that roam the landscape and speak in the language of violence.

None of this is what these veterans or children wanted. They wanted, and continue to want, what we were created for—love. And the battle with the demons of war is the battle back to what is sacred and whole in life. Some will make it. Many will not.

(via crookedthinking95)

— 3 weeks ago with 11 notes
#war  #violence  #usa  #middle east  #war crimes  #trauma  #ptsd  #army  #navy  #marines  #military 

justanotherpalestinian:

Ramallah, Palestine this morning - the aftermath of a night full of raids and destruction by the brutal Israeli Occupation Forces.

(via stay-human)

— 3 weeks ago with 171 notes
#palestine  #israel  #ramallah  #middle east  #war  #violence 

fuckyourracism:

lilcochina:

takeastepinsidemybrain:

Such an inhumane act, this is disgusting. Mohammed Abu Khdeir, may your soul rest in peace.

Oh my god

Here’s a source for further info. 

(via stay-human)

— 3 weeks ago with 26357 notes
#israel  #jerusalem  #middle east  #palestine  #violence  #human rights  #war crimes