I don’t usually post clips of myself when I go on TV. But I’m posting this one, where I talk about trying to get an abortion in Wisconsin and end up with a miscarriage at work instead. It was a difficult interview, which is why I like it. And, remarkably, I have good hair without trying, which is another reason I like watching the clip.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about. Here’s my twitter that caused uproar. And here’s my post about it. To give you an idea of the recent coverage, here’s the link that is, right now, on the front page of AOL, and here’s a link to an article by Lara Salahi at ABC News — I really like that one.

If you are new to my blog, and you’ve gotten this far, maybe you’ll like staying here for a while. Here’s a good page to begin on: About this blog.

I know I said that that this week is Asperger’s at work week on my blog. Maybe me talking about my miscarriage to newscasters is part of this series. I’m not sure. But I’ve been learning a lot about women from the comments about the miscarriage twitter — on my blog and on other sites. So I’m sure that other people are learning a lot about the lives of women — at work and at home. And that has to be good.

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      • emv
        emv says:

        With those numbers, the stigma on that kind of makes you want to scream. Right? Since you like numbers here are some more for you:

        Consider that women can reproduce from about age 16-46. Roughly 30 years. The most effective forms of birth control are 98% effective. However this 98% is measured not over a life time, but over a year. So 2 in every 100 women get pregnant. Continue those odds over a women’s reproductive life span (2 out of every hundred, every year for 30 years). With that if you’re sexually active even if you use birth control roughly half of women will have an unplanned pregnancy. That’s taking into consideration that not all women are having sex every year, sometimes women are pregnant, not all birth control is 98% of effective and some birth control can be even more effective.

        These numbers are (very) sloppy, but the idea that using birth control will prevent pregnancy over a woman’s lifetime is a fallacy. This isn’t emphasized (and I think rightly so) because there’s concern that the religious right and especially teens (who are especially fertile which is part of why there is such a problem with teenage pregnancy) will manipulate them to say birth control doesn’t work.

        It does work. A 50% chance of one unplanned pregnancy in a lifetime is much better than having a dozen kids. But unplanned pregnancy is part of any woman’s life. And abortion is part of a third of women in the US’s life.

  1. juliana
    juliana says:

    Penelope,

    My girl-friend turned me on to your website yesterday. I read about 15 posts, then had to get back to work. Logged on to my Google Reader, and there was this post/video. You are women’s unsung hero. I can’t even describe how much I think you rock. Thank you for this, thank you for this blog, and please keep sharing your opinions with us.
    Juliana

  2. Marc
    Marc says:

    I watched this interview as it aired. Maybe I’m crazy, but wasn’t the Pope comment at the (rather abrupt)end of the interview? Anyway, good luck.

  3. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    I love how the ad hominem attacks flow when commenters have nothing intelligent to contribute. Ladies, get a life if you can’t offer a simple opposing viewpoint in place of attacking her appearance.

  4. Carmen
    Carmen says:

    Seriously, only someone with Asperger’s could think that these topics are sane or that they’re even witty (which obviously she does). This is coming from the same person that gets “overwhelmed” trying to order dinner!

  5. donna
    donna says:

    Lydia – are you going to offer an opposing view or are you also swooning over Penelope’s unsung heroism??

  6. Stacy
    Stacy says:

    I love your blog. And your honesty. Thank you for talking about things that everyone else tiptoes around.

  7. richie
    richie says:

    You came across very well, congratulations. You didn’t fall into any of the traps he set for you.

  8. Terry
    Terry says:

    Your blogs are crazy fodder – you talk about being Jew and eating pork and dating a pig farmer. You talk about multiple men in the span of 6 months…”maybe boyfriends”. Obviously you don’t treat potential pregnancy very seriously, with your various abortions. Your references to the synogogue and making atonement – you treat religion as a joke. What do you take seriously, Penelope?

  9. Violet Farraday
    Violet Farraday says:

    Penelope, thank you SO much for being willing to put this out there and actually defend your actions and make people aware of, as you so aptly put it, “the female experience.” As a childfree woman myself, who has also had a miscarriage and was epically relieved, I appreciate your bluntness because it echoes my own all too familiar sentiments. I absolutely DO NOT want children, and a miscarriage would be preferable to an abortion, which I would go through without hesitation if necessary. I find it interesting that talking about the “miracle” of childbirth and all the graphic (in my opinion) grossness it involves is perfectly acceptable and even celebrated, but a miscarriage is a “personal issue” and shouldn’t be discussed. And god forbid a woman is actually relieved about it! I feel that it’s just yet another manifestation of enforcing gender roles and how women who don’t embrace every pregnancy as the ultimate good are seen as somehow less female or are just confused and will eventually give in to the breeder brain.

    Okay, I got a little long winded there. I’m done now :)

  10. Erin
    Erin says:

    You have balls, you’re true to yourself, and you’ve opened the door to an important dialogue. I saw your post on twitter, and was taken aback for a moment. As a longtime reader, in no way did I think that you were being flip or careless about the miscarriage/abortion.

    I think you’re brave.

  11. Liza
    Liza says:

    Abortions are awful! They are tragic and can haunt the aborters for years. It is one of the most difficult decisions a female could ever make.

    I’ve never had an abortion. And if I’m not the one with the decision to make, than I can’t judge it.

    As far as your twitter. I would just say TMI. You can talk about sex all you want. I really don’t need to know that you are in meeting and struggling with a miscarriage. As sad as they may be, its not like you twitter when you have your period…or do you?

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      Then you really don’t need to follow her do you? You invited her tweets by adding her, so deal with it or grow up and stop being a little b!tch.

      • Sidney
        Sidney says:

        Is this the same anonymous as above? What a fine fascist you must be ranting at opposing viewpoints. And oh so brave doing it anonymously…wow, how proud your parents must be!

        Look Mom, another hate filled response sent over the web! What a fine human being I am! Can I have a cookie?

  12. David
    David says:

    And on a side note, Rich Sanchez immediately annoyed me when he called you “young lady,” as if he was your father and you needed reprimanded!

    You’re 42 and he is 51. He’s not exactly your elder by any means. I just think he’s a dick that needs to be more respectful to those he’s interviewing.

    • David
      David says:

      Haha:

      “You’re 42 and he is 51. He’s not exactly your elder by any means.”

      Not by any means, huh? How about the means of… mathematics! I’m not saying the decade age difference is significant to their interview. But, uh… I’m pretty sure that 51 is older than 42.

  13. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    Your Tweet appeared to have nothing to do with telling the “truth” and everything to do with shameless self-promotion. If your thoughts and ideas are truly intelligent and well spoken, you shouldn’t need to resort to such a blatent publicity stunt to garner attention and new readers for your blog.

    Where is your sense of privacy and dignity? Isn’t anything sacred anymore? What happened to people having friends and family, doctors and professionals to offer emotional, moral and personal support and validation? Apparently being honest with people who are close to you, and with yourself, isn’t enough.

    Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should. Your comment begs for attention, a reaction, ANY reaction, as desperately as Britney Spear’s crotch flashing, Paris Hilton’s one night hook-ups and Lindsey Lohan’s tragic breakdowns. It’s not reality, it’s desperate, full-frontal exhibitionism. And what a poor disservice it does to real women experiencing real problems and genuine emotions. Everything you wrote smacks of inauthenticity and mocks the complex, conflicting and often overwhelming feelings that pregnancy and loss can evoke.

    What a damn waste of words.

      • Miriam
        Miriam says:

        Yeah, a comment in response to a blog post is equally as self-promotional as a “Hey! Look at ME!” Tweet deliberately engineered to be splashed across major media outlets.

        Right on Noah! Real sharp! You got me on this one! I bet my comment will be on CNN tomorrow…

  14. Devon
    Devon says:

    this is awesome. thank you for not being ashamed to be a woman and not being ashamed to want to exercise your rights. and thank you for making a “publicity stunt” out of it, as one commenter calls it, because these issues need a hell of a lot more publicity than they get in the male dominated corporate media. thank you!!!

  15. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Fantastic interview! I am inspired by you. I am glad that you kept bringing the interview back to the point of having to wait to have an abortion due to state laws. I am outraged at the idea of the abortion wait time not about you tweeting about a miscarriage.

  16. Erin
    Erin says:

    I think what a lot of people are saying is that Penelope “rejected her young”…she wasn’t sad about the miscarriage…she was relieved…she’s heartless…etc etc.

    Human beings have animal insticts confounded by complex thinking…my point is, some mothers reject their young. It can naturally happen that you have relief when you miscarry…that you DON’T want a pregnancy. I don’t know that I believe it’s all because a woman is a sadistic, heartless baby killer. I think some of the feelings are natural and biological.

    Not very well spoken on my part, but hopefully my point came across.

    P isn’t cruel…she’s human. She’s not the only woman on earth to be relieved at a miscarriage, or to terminate a pregnancy.

    Maybe she lacks tact sometimes, but a great skill to have is seeing through to the message.

    • Jen the opinionated
      Jen the opinionated says:

      I think the problem is that some women drink the motherhood koolaide and do not realize that it is OK to be relieve over a miscarriage let alone maybe do not want a pregnancy. Why is every one judging?

      Miscarriage to me = something wrong with the fetus and the body is getting rid of it. To me that is a relief my body knows what it is doing and taking care of a problem for me so I don’t have to make that call later on down the line when I may have bonded with a baby.

      Another point I would like to re-emphasis is this, not everyone wants children but do not feel the need or get the option for sterilization. I attempted at age 22 to get sterilized and was turned down by the doctors. Thankfully that first marriage ended and I have a wonderful man who talked me into pregnancy. I admit this is the most horrid moment of my life. I was almost hospitalized due to dehydration, 24hr morning sickness and am miserable. I will be thankful when the baby is in my arms and out of my body. Knowing what I know now I’d never do this again or do it a first time. So I believe my first choice of not wanting to reproduce was the correct one.

      I will have an amazing child I am having no doubt. I just wish a stork could have brought it to us.

      • Dan
        Dan says:

        Jen, my wife and I are very pro human/life, but we also went through our first baby and you will change your mind upon seeing that child. Sophia Elizabeth was dropped from Heaven into our living room and my wife couldn’t stop crying when she first saw her. She even had to go on “lovenox” shots nightly to have her, as she suffers from some weird blood condition, and we will definitely have another, in spite of her challenges. I hope we have many more, but we are getting old and hopefully God will bless us many more times like our parents were blessed.

        I NOW finally, at age 33, understand what my mom meant when she said “you five kids were the best thing that came out of my marriage.”

        No Kidding, I couldn’t imagine life without my 13 month old (9 inside mom and 4 outside, all with the two of us).

  17. ayelet
    ayelet says:

    Friendly recommendation: Don’t start your interview responses with “Well..”
    You are great!!!!!

  18. Jen
    Jen says:

    The Asperger’s explains it. You really can’t take anything this woman says seriously. She’s not really in charge of her thoughts or her mouth.

    • Lesly
      Lesly says:

      She’s not really in charge of her thoughts or her mouth.

      You need to think that or rethink what you think you know. ;)

    • Annette
      Annette says:

      Actually, people with Asperger’s are well-known for their logical and well-articulated thoughts and speech. They’re probably more “in charge of [their] thoughts and mouth” than non-Asperger folks.

      Penelope, please keep on being your best self, and thanks so much for shoo-ing all of these taboo topics out of the broom closet!

      • David
        David says:

        “They” are “well-known” for “logical and well-articulated thoughts and speech”? From Wikipedia (gotta love my classy references, right):

        “Although individuals with Asperger syndrome acquire language skills without significant general delay and their speech typically lacks significant abnormalities, language acquisition and use is often atypical. Abnormalities include verbosity, abrupt transitions, literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance, use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker, auditory perception deficits, unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech, and oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody, and rhythm.”

        “The mainstay of management is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Most individuals improve over time, but difficulties with communication, social adjustment and independent living continue into adulthood.”

  19. Jen
    Jen says:

    I would also like to add thanks for helping me to understand miscarriage-
    I am thirty, I am a woman, and I had no idea that they can take a number of weeks to occur. Until yesterday when I read your article, I assumed it was a big-bang-hospital event when it happened- and I am close to/related to many women who have had miscarriages. This really highlights the need for discussion- my friends/relatives and I generally consider ourselves to be liberal and educated people… clearly there is a need for more education.

  20. Christine Livingston
    Christine Livingston says:

    I completely support your authenticity here. Miscarriage (and indeed abortion) are such huge taboos and women at work normally have to cover up both. I admire your courage in putting these subjects out in the open, and in putting some of the realities of life slap bang in the midst of work when these things are normally required to sit separately.

  21. Bunny
    Bunny says:

    What a great interview! I have a question, though. Why does it take an adult woman in Wisconsin 3 weeks to get an abortion? Is there that long of a waiting period?

    I’m glad that you talked about this openly- there is so much mystery around these issues for so many people.

  22. Harpreet
    Harpreet says:

    I don’t know if you read these comments, but I honestly found this so refreshing.

    I had no idea that a miscarriage took this form (the amount of time, intermittent pain).

    I think you represented your views in a graceful and compassionate manner in the face of this arsehole.

  23. Genevive
    Genevive says:

    harpreet – oh, you mean it’s only this guy giving this poor innocent woman a hard time? Get real! There are thousands upon thousands of people utterly outraged right now, and Sanchez, amongst many others, is just being a voice of reason in the madness.

    • NefariousNewt
      NefariousNewt says:

      The only madness is in the concept that a certain segment of society somehow has the right to tell an individual that what they do is wrong, simply because it offends that segment’s sensibilities. We are each of us human, each of us the product of our parents, our environment, our life. We do not all see things the same way, nor is it necessarily good that we do, lest we fall into the doldrums of conformity. Still, the individual has the right to their beliefs, and where belief is concerned, there can be no right-or-wrong answer, only what the individual determines works best for them.

      If you are outraged, Genevive, that is your prerogative, but that outrage is based on your view of the world, and in this country no one view can necessarily be held above all others, lest we cede our right to freedom of individuality. Each must make their own choice, and each must be given the chance to make it, and live with the repercussions of that choice. If Penelope chose this, then she is the only one it truly affects. Not you. Not I. While abortion is legal, it the right of any woman to decide for herself what is best, and we must look toward women in these kinds of situations with compassion, not with rhetoric.

  24. Sara
    Sara says:

    Congratulations Penelope – I’m sure with you’re looking for ways to add value to your company as you transition out of the CEO role. I think it’s incredible the sacrifices you’ll make in order to drag traffic and increase reason. You’re investors should rest assured that there is truly nothing you won’t do in order to be successful.

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      “transition” Sara? She was fired. Get it right, this is the real world, she wasn’t performing, was too involved with putting her personal life over the company, and those who provided the start up capital, Kegonsa Partners, said “enough is enough,” and sh*t canned her.

      Nice way of putting it, though. Now she can do this painfully boring, Jerry Springer blog full time.

  25. NefariousNewt
    NefariousNewt says:

    Thank you for showing that it is possible to have a rational, level-headed discussion of a polarizing topic, without invective, vitriol, or name-calling. This interview was closer to the actual give-and-take of debate than we’ve seen in a while in this country. I applaud your honesty and your willingness to take us inside a world many of us do not know well enough.

  26. roxy lonergan
    roxy lonergan says:

    you are my hero. women being women out loud and with conviction will always be my favorite thing.

  27. Kayley
    Kayley says:

    Hey Penelope,
    I would just like to tell you that the haters on this blog are nothing more than simple-minded people who think everything is black and white. They want nothing other than to oppress women and shame you. Do not be ashamed for you have nothing to be ashamed of. Any man can have sex whenever he wants and nobody freaks out, but EVERYONE freaks out when a woman does that because her uterus may or may not potentially carry a child. Absolutely no one would be commenting if a man tweeted about one of his medical procedures.

    Also. Over half of ALL pregnancies end in miscarriage. Over half of ALL of them.

  28. donna
    donna says:

    NefariousNewt – I don’t know why you wasted the time you just did to write that whole thing, but thank you. I guess you did make me realize two things. First, it does no good to stand up against utter absurdity – there are just so many people waiting to back it up that once you realize that, it’s like a second blow. Second, I now know the reason why I steer clear of people’s blogs, their Tweets, their Facebook updates – it’s all people’s personal opinions – usually uninteresting, occasionally offensive, ALWAYS time wasting. Better to live the life you’ve been blessed with. I’m stepping out of this conversation.

    over & out

  29. Name
    Name says:

    Next time you should use birth control. Have you heard of that?
    You are utterly disgusting.
    Use birth control.
    Stop using the death of a child( as a prop for anti-abortion issues. Find another way. You are the one that is ridiculous
    to use this for you own agenda

    Use birth control if you do not want to have a child.

    The natural part is being educated enough to find ways of not getting pregnant in the first place and all the stds
    involved having unprotected sex

  30. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Watching Rick Sanchez interview at the beginning was painful, but through your graceful and honest demeanor, I feel he softened up in the end. Great interview!

    I think what you’re doing is great, and I really admire your courage to stand your ground. I discovered your blog about a week ago, maybe a day after your twitter, and I have found your site informative, exciting, and empowering. Thanks

    MissMentor

  31. Rochelle
    Rochelle says:

    A miscarriage is a loss even if you don’t realize it. And I’m sorry for your loss. God is waiting for you to talk to Him about this. He loves you.

  32. Jess
    Jess says:

    What a jerk! Great interview. I doubt I would have been able to stay that polite and diplomatic.

    Just another woman chiming in to say thank you for your honesty and courage.

  33. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    Pen, do you have a reference for the statistic that 75% of women will have a miscarriage / have miscarried? I don’t disbelieve you but I’d like to see it. The only statistics I’ve seen say that 15-20% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage or that 15% of women who already know they are pregnant will miscarry.

  34. liam.
    liam. says:

    i’ve been reading your blog off and on for a while now, and i have to say that i am very impressed! if people would talk about these historically taboo issues, perhaps they wouldn’t be the root of so much confusion and contention.

  35. Rosalie
    Rosalie says:

    Thank you thank you! I have never seen such a well-reasoned interview on the topic of abortions or miscarriages, especially in the face of such idiocy. I really took your point about “Whether or not you believe women should have the right to abortion, they do in this country” to heart. We do seem to get bogged down in vague morality things and ignore that it’s a right guaranteed by the Supreme Court for thirty years.

    Though I have not had an abortion or a miscarriage, I might experience either in the future– and if by then, it is the slightest bit LESS taboo, it may very well be because of your openness.

  36. J (the regular poster one)
    J (the regular poster one) says:

    P, you looked really pretty! I know it’s not a comment on the substance of the interview but whatever.

  37. Jim
    Jim says:

    Penelope – WOW!

    You handled that interview with Sanchez so calmly and professionally. He started off okay, but then lost his journalistic objectivity and brought in his own beliefs. Who gives a shit whether he’s Catholic and Pro-Life.

    You helped advance the cause for women, despite having to talk to a thick-headed guy.

    On a related note, the PEW organizations just released a public opinion poll on abortion in America. Apparently, while Democrats are holding their own, opposition is rising among Republicans. This is cause for concern for women’s rights to abortion.

    And by the way, Penelope, your hair is much nicer than Rick’s. Stay brave…

    Jim
    …Father of four adult kids and Pro-choice in Ottawa, Canada

  38. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    You handled the interview very well. You were calm, you answered the questions, you made your points, you mentioned your company, you smiled. Regardless of whether people agree with you over the issues, they could definitely learn from the interviewing technique.

    ***

    When he said “I’m Catholic so I have a hard time with this. Did you have to get over that?” (I paraphrase), I thought you were going to say “Get over Catholic guilt? No, I’m Jewish”.

    The response would have been too glib perhaps but I thought it was a strange way for him to phrase the question.

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Jews who actually practice their religion do not believe in killing babies, so if she were a real Jew, this would not have been a consideration for her.

  39. Dan
    Dan says:

    It is my hope that your so called website “sponsors” will be boycotted by the pro human movement. Strange that you would brag about wanting to kill your baby, but I am sorry for your loss.

    I will not eat at Chili’s until they drop your sponsorship.

    • Sidney
      Sidney says:

      Your waistline thanks you Dan.

      The “people who shop at Wal-Mart” website should do a “people who eat at Chili’s” version. Amazing how people with no palate for quality food can end up so large.

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