Best of Broadsheet 2009

Part 1: Sarah Palin, myths about teen moms, and the tragedy of George Tiller's murder


Broadsheet Staff
December 24, 2009 7:15PM (UTC)

It's that time of year when we Broadsheet writers leave behind our laptops for two days of holiday hobnobbing. But we would never completely abandon you, dear readers: We’re leaving you with our favorite posts of the year. We’ve made our list and checked it twice (we already know who's naughty and nice), so please enjoy this present (or lump of coal, in some cases) made especially for you.

But, wait, there’s more! Come back tomorrow and you'll find another gift waiting for you – the second half of our favorite posts of the year. (There were just too many sparkling gems to choose from, if we do say so ourselves.) Think of it as an extended Christmas or an abbreviated Hanukkah. Today, we bring you our top picks under the subjects of reproductive rights and motherhood; tomorrow, it's sex, lies and scandal!

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"Where Will Women Go Now?" by Kate Harding: After Dr. George Tiller's murder, women were left with nearly no place to turn for late-term abortions. The importance of this was underscored by the outpouring of personal stories from people who had been under his care. As one patient powerfully put it, his clinic was "our heaven when we were living in hell."

"The Conversion of a Pro-choice Warrior," by Tracy Clark-Flory: Abby Johnson, former director of Planned Parenthood's besieged clinic in Bryan, Texas, abruptly resigned from her job and joined forces with the very antiabortion protesters who had terrorized her for years. The 29-year-old talked to Broadsheet about her sudden "change of heart."

"10 Reasons Abortion Must Be Covered," by Lynn Harris: Anti-choice activists paint the issue of whether health insurance should cover abortion as a complicated issue, but we cut through the noise early on with a simple and straightforward guide to why it isn't complicated, and why denying coverage means denying choice.

"The Opium (and Lion's) Den of Motherhood," by Broadsheet staff: Katie Roiphe waxed poetic about the all-consuming love she felt during the first six weeks with her second child in a provocative essay in Double X, "My Newborn Is Like a Narcotic." (Provocative subhead: "Why won't feminists admit the pleasure of infants?") It turned out to be a bit of a Rorschach for us. Some thought it feminist backlash, others called it a moving paean.

"Lay Off Those Not-So-Glamorous Teen Moms," by Amy Benfer: A report finding that the teen birthrate had risen led to an attack on "romantic" and "glorious" portrayals of teen motherhood. But as former teen mom Amy Benfer points out, you can’t pin this one on "Juno," Jamie Lynn and Bristol Palin, whose stories, by the way, weren't the least bit "glamorous."

"Sarah Palin, One Tough Mama," by Amanda Fortini: When Palin resigned as Alaska governor, she left dropped jaws and question marks in her wake. But looking at her short, powerful public career offered an indelible lesson about the "appeal of the strong, confident, maternal woman." Being a "mama grizzly" doesn't exactly qualify one to be vice president, but "the tough mother persona was one we hadn't seen before in a female candidate running at the national level" -- and it's a trope that isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

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