Abortion Doulas, The Complex Legacy of Kobe Bryant, & The Spa of Your Nightmares

July Westhale
Feb 10 · 5 min read

DDear Pulpits,

Happy February! January definitely overstayed his welcome, and we at PULP are rejoicing in the fact that the groundhog did not, in fact, see his shadow. Hell yes to early bloomin’ Spring!

In the meantime, despite the signs of warmer times, the world feels particularly heavy and chaotic at the moment — blame the fact that its an election year, blame the headiness of Aquarius season, blame the fact that Lizzo didn’t win ALL of the Grammys. It’s largely unimportant on whom you place the blame. Rather, take a minute to connect to the world around you in sensory ways — ways that winter, politics, and capitalism would have you ignore.

Today as I was walking to work, I slipped on a large, muddied petal of a magnolia. Which shocked me into remember that it’s magnolia season — they are everywhere, looking glacial and tempestuous at the same time (how do they do that?). Indeed, I think magnolia trees are January’s really fantastic host gift to us, almost as if the month already knows it’s going to go on way too fucking long.

Here’s to you — may you find the bright moments you need.

July (+ Katie)

The Vital Work And History Of Abortion Doulas, by Ray Levy-Uyeda

“And most recently, there’s been a return to a rhetoric that vilifies everyone who nears a clinic, from the provider to the nurse to the patient. Anti-choice legislation such as “heartbeat bills” and 20-week abortion bans may be de rigueur, but attacks on those who administer terminations are as old as the practice itself.

Although the word has been reappropriated and reinterpreted in recent decades stripping it almost entirely of meaning, “witches” in the fourteenth century provided aid to ailing women, kicking off a period known as the Inquisition, a hunt for “heretics” that often murdered women on its altar to God.”

Why We Have To Keep Talking About Kobe, by Katie Tandy

“The unexpected death of a hero is a Tragedy and becomes a kind of liminal public square where we can gather and process larger themes of our collective lives. We use these deaths of celebrities (Health Ledger, Carrie Fisher, Aaliyah, Robin Williams) to lance sprawling societal psychological blisters on everything from mental health and addiction to fame itself and sexual assault.

But our current rhetoric seems to go something like: because Kobe’s life was cut short, now isn’t the “time” to discuss his 2003 rape accusation. (Which ended in a settlement, the details of which were never made public.) Now isn’t the “time” to complicate his legacy, to take him to task, to compound a painful chapter for his friends and family. It’s in supposed poor taste. It’s offensive to discuss the lingering shadows of a dead man.”

Kobe Bryant, Race, And A Complex Legacy In The #Metoo Era, by Ryan Fan

“What’s the right way to reckon with Kobe’s legacy? Despite his accomplishments on the basketball court and off the court, he was still accused of rape. I have seen a lot of people question whether we can still mourn Kobe and his legacy while paying respect to his accuser.”

When Discussing Black Role Models, You Can’t Neglect Mentioning Race, by ZUVA

“Many of us are at an impasse, how do we mourn the dead while still honoring the victim? It has been a day, and there has already been a flurry of articles and people wanting to remind us of what occurred in 2003. Which, to me, is not an issue. There is no doubt in my mind that the events we have heard occurred and I believe it is vital to paint a whole picture, even if it is murky and dark in places.”

PULP It Like It’s Hot: An Art Exhibition Mutates Into The Spa Of Nightmares, by Tara Elsen

“We’ve come to experience some culture at a friend’s recommendation. We enter an old, elegant, clear white building with a sweeping marble staircase spiraling through the core of it; the gallery space spans three rooms that circle around the staircase.

The first room contains a pile of masks saying, “Free face-masks for your convenience, to feel safe.” An omen.”

Breaking Free In A Country Of Caged Desires: Ethical Non-Monogamy And Indian Queerness, by Dipyaman Sengupta

“We were ecstatic to, finally, be considered as part of the lawful Indian society as well as excited for our new sexual adventures but we were also as naive as Baby Groot and as a result, massively overestimated the impact of the monumental Supreme Court Decision. Sure, sex with a same-sex person was decriminalized in the eyes of the law but what was its status in the eyes of the common people? Was the Indian Society ready to accept a queer person with open arms?”

The Pulpit Presents: Troubling The Times, by July Westhale

& as usual, our weekly playlist!


PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

July Westhale

Written by

co-founding executive editor of medium.com/PULPMAG. Writer, translator, professor, media roustabout. Gender queer (she/they).



PULP is a multimedia sex, sexuality, and reproductive rights publication celebrating this human coil hurtling through time and space.

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