In a strange coincidence, this news is brought to you by Dr. Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield.


It is hardly surprising that men can and do have fertility problems. It’s something that ought to be a corollary of Sod’s Law: if one thing has any form of input into another thing, there is potential for the first thing to be broken, causing problems with the second.

Only in a society which has a long history of believing that only women could be infertile, which pathologises the female body, which venerates the male, the masculine and the phallic, and links those things with virility, strength and power, could we even be seeing such a nonsensical item of non-news.

If a woman is automatically worth less in our society because of the genitalia she posesses, so too is a man worth more by virtue of the genitalia he posesses. And when we have a set-up that means that men are over-represented in the sciences, where such research should be carried out, and when the tacit support of the patriarchal status quo is the default for reporting, why on earth would research into male inadequacy ever be carried out?

Dr. Pacey, that research would be valuable, if only to try to even the score a little with all of those studies that show women as lacking.

What about Teh Menz, indeed?

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Because I take an interest in why people are turning up here, I noticed that among the annoying search terms, there was also one for “abortions in Sheffield”.


Obviously, the Sheffield Fems do not perform abortions. However, as feminists, abortion is an issue that we identify with. Simply put, we believe that abortion is a choice that all women should have access to.

As such, there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning.


The most sensible place to go for Sheffield-specific advice or help is the Sheffield Contraception and Sexual Health Service. They offer “unplanned pregnancy advice” and say that it’s better if you make an appointment to see them, but if that isn’t helpful or convenient, there are also drop-in sessions Monday-Friday, from 8:30am – 11am and 12:30pm – 3pm.

To make an appointment, call  (0114) 2716816.. Their appointment times appear to vary depending on which of the three clinics you want to go to.


For anybody wishing to find out how to get an abortion in general, I reccomend visiting the Abortion Rights site. I’ve linked to the page that deals specifically with women who are pregnant, and offers advice on where to go. Specifically, it says this:

“If you are entitled to NHS care, your GP, family planning clinic or Brook Centre (for under 25s) can refer you for a free termination on the NHS. A consultation and the procedure will be carried out in a hospital or abortion clinic. You should ideally be offered a choice of different methods, depending on how long you have been pregnant.

It is usually easiest to get an NHS abortion before 12 weeks of pregnancy. The legal time limit for most abortions is 24 weeks.

If you are not entitled to NHS care, cannot tolerate the NHS waiting list or prefer to use private services, you can refer yourself to a private clinic. You will be charged from around £350.”

The same page also has links to other helpful, non-judgemental organisations.


Lastly, if you run this search, wanting to find an abortion, know that at least one of the sponsored links you will find will not help you. That link will take you to a website called Life Charity. I won’t link to it here, because it is not the kind of site I would wish to endorse. Besides, it’s a sponsored Google link; search for abortions and you’ll find it.

Life Charity seem, on face value, to be a very nice, pleasant kind of organisation. But for any organisation dealing with abortion to say that their “mission is to uphold the utmost respect for human life from fertilisation (conception) until natural death” sets alarm bells ringing.

Yes, they sound nice. But that little part of the sentence that says “life from fertilisation (conception)…” means that they don’t actually support women having abortions at all. If they believe that life begins at conception, then they also believe that abortion is murder.


Be very aware of any organisation with “life” in the title. I’m not saying that they’re all going to be bad, but I am saying that they are not likely to support you if you’re sure that an abortion is what you want. And if you’re not sure, they’ll do their best to get you to decide not to have one. That may or may not be appropriate. I can’t say, because it varies from woman to woman. But be aware that it happens.


This is the kind of information that the Sheffield Fems ought to be providing. If you can think of anything else that would be useful to see linked to, please contact us and let us know.



Here are the few pictures I took while we were in the city centre today.

Our Lovely Placards

Our Lovely Placards

placards2

We were in town for about 2 hours handing out around 400 information cards from Sheffield Domestic Abuse Forum (see here), which contain useful phone numbers and info for anyone suffering from domestic abuse and are small enough to be tucked away out of sight if needed.

We also had about 100 posters with a long list of telephone numbers from domestic abuse charities around S. Yorks and Derbyshire which we asked people to display somewhere that they can be seen by women.

After 2 hours on the street we were kinda (or VERY) cold, so here we are warming up!

TEA

Feeling beginning to return to our fingers!

Feeling beginning to return to our fingers!

We chose today to do this, because it is Reclaim The Night in London this evening and while we couldn’t make it down there, we wanted to do something around that theme. Apart from the cold (and one crazy man) it was a very successful day and we did hear a number of stories of courage from women that have experienced domestic abuse and hopefully we will have helped many more to get help.

A special mention goes to the lovely lady that spoke to us as we were just setting up, who gave us £1 for a cup of tea “for when we got cold”!

As most of us are unable to travel down to London Reclaim the Night on Saturday (22nd November), we’ve decided to organise some action our own in Sheffield.

We are meeting at the town hall (in the city centre) at 2.00pm with our placards, flyers etc. to raise awareness and get people talking about the issue. If you’re free, please come down and join us!