Friday, August 24, 2012

Roe v Wade: Part Three

I try to steer clear of deeply political talk here. This is a "Seinfeld-esque" place with no real focus and it sometimes gets silly in nature. Usually my thought is that if you are truly interested in being an informed citizen, in knowing actual facts, you'll go find information and hopefully confirm it with a secondary source. I'm a Pollyanna, what can I say?

But here we are in America: a Presidential election year, nimrods going on TV spewing all manner of misinformation about how a woman's fundamental biology works, and a Republican platform which includes language to ban abortion outright. No exceptions. And I'm worried. 

Just so you know where I'm coming from, let me share a few of my personal views.

I am not "pro-abortion." I am pro-choice and there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between the two. I have two healthy children, and four miscarriages to report. I fully and completely understand the sacred nature of human life. But I also believe that I never once walk in another woman's shoes. And I also believe that it is an exceedingly small number of women who take abortion lightly. I do not believe that there are many women who consider that day a happy and lighthearted moment in their lives. Therefore I side with the notion that abortions should be safe and legal for any woman who decides that it is her only option.

I believe that women have been aborting pregnancies since women started having pregnancies. The first recorded abortion took place in 1550 BC and in ancient Greece and Rome, abortions were common and accepted. Women have always known which herbs will induce a miscarriage throughout all of history. The point is that making abortions illegal won't stop abortions any more than making firearms in movie theaters illegal has stopped people from shooting them up, or making heroin illegal has stopped people from doing heroin. When people want or need something that isn't legally protected, they typically find a way to get it. And in the case of abortion this means that women and babies will die. That's historic fact.

According to abortion rates have been on a steady decline. Here's a picture.

In 1973, the incidence of LEGAL abortion was was brand new. So don't be throwing that around.

This graph makes clear that women aren't out there getting abortions like they're Starbucks Refreshers. Contrary to what many on the "life" side will say, abortion is a serious issue to almost any woman who is faced with the possibility of having one. Women who need/want abortions aren't craven monsters. They're women.

The problem I have with the Republican platform seeking to shut down abortions is this: it has been decided twice (once in 1973 during Roe v Wade and again in 1992 during Planned Parenthood v Casey) that women should have the right to control their own bodies. Up to the age of viability, the contents of a woman's uterus are private to her. And it seems rather ironic that the prime directive and tagline "Nanny State" is thrown around with such abandon by Republican Conservatives when it comes to money choices, taxes, healthcare...but not when it comes to the actual control over the insides of a woman's body. The Federal government, according to the Republican platform, would be in charge of what a woman may do with the contents of her uterus. If that's not "Nanny" then I really have no idea what is.

And honestly, I have a problem with the rape and incest exception. While it's fantastic in theory, it puts the burden of proof onto the woman or girl to prove that she's been the victim of a horrific crime. A crime fraught with emotional trauma, physical trauma, and shame in our society. Some girls and women need YEARS to process the nature of their ordeals and this is why rape and incest are two of the most under reported crimes. Forcing a 16 year old girl to prove that her father raped her so she can have an abortion is simply more than I can bear. She should just be able to have one.

I hate abortions. I hate that there are women who conceive babies and for whatever reason cannot give birth to them. I hate that women are still victimized by men who make babies in their bodies against their will. Mostly I hate that women are not considered full equals yet in this society; able to make their own decisions. We aren't revered and honored as we should be, for being smart and contributive partners. 

As it turns out, women really have been living in a "Nanny State" all the time. We're working hard to get out from under that rule and make ALL of our own decisions. I do not need a man or woman in a government office to make decisions for me about what is inside my womb. Because I am the one living with that womb and it's about as personal as property can get. 

So I guess it boils down to this: If you're against abortion, then please don't have one. If your God and moral code make even the thought of abortion an emotional landmine, then by all means work to create an environment where abortions aren't NECESSARY. But please don't attempt to understand any other woman's life or circumstance. Poverty, lack of education and limited access to affordable birth control have been the top contributing factors to unwanted pregnancies. Why not focus on giving girls the education and resources they need to prevent pregnancy, rather than simply tell them what to do after the fact? And then let go of the Federal regulation and microscopic management of the cells attached to lining of my endometrium. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We have a right to the White House's beer

So here's a nugget: The White House has a home brew. Yeah that's right.

While we've all been worried about taxes, and poverty, and abortions, and rapists, and entitlements, and pipelines, and wind or coal, and wars, and the type of marriage called gay, and healthcare...there's been craft beer brewing on Pennsylvania Avenue! 

WE, the American people, have been duped and side lined. We've been misdirected from what's really important in our lives, and that is alcohol. Specifically, a Honey Ale fit for the leader of the free world.

That's the link to the petition to release the recipe. If you're any kind of patriot whatsoever, you'll sign it. 

Thank you John L., from Washington DC, for thinking of the people when no one else could be bothered. A drunk nation is a more compliant nation...and really that solves most of the problems I listed above. 

Here's the petition link again, in case you missed it:

And here are some hashtags:  #whitehouse #homebrew #onlinepetitions #honeyale

Friday, August 17, 2012

All New History!

I've had fifty ideas about things to write here since my last post. Everything I can create however is stuck in the theme of slowing down. I can't get past wanting people to calm their brains, take a deep breath and look all the way around them and gather a panoramic view of the whole wide world. 

I have a feeling people are sick of my pleas for calm minds and peaceful language. How many times can a girl extol the virtues of compassion before people start getting riled up at ME?

But there's no way around it. Everywhere a person looks, there are signs to "Act Fast!" and "Open this before you lose even more!" The dire warnings of how one person wants to destroy me (only differently than how the other person wants to destroy me...) are wearing me down. The soundbites being hurled around as if they were solid facts, being parroted back in even smaller form by those pretending to "know" what they're talking about, are killing my soul. And it's really not ever going to end. 

My children are being forced into a world I'm not entirely sure I want for them. The innovation of the technological world, combined with my culture's rather myopic view of, well, EVERYTHING, makes me wonder what their brains will look like as adults. 

My sons' school district is ditching the paper workbooks in favor of iPad apps. My sons' pediatrician still gives me a piece of paper at every visit explaining how the internet and "screen time" is unequivocally bad for my children. I hate how much paper comes home every day from school and into the recycle bin where energy is required to change it into something different, but I don't relish the idea of my boys staring into an LED back lit screen for 7 hours at school either. 

Traffic is wildly fast these days, with more drivers than ever on the roads. They're all in a hurry and texting or talking...messing with their XM radios and in a fury over a theoretical tax cut that may or may not have any affect whatsoever on their financial standing but conforms to what they think they believe about the world. Children can't play in the street because this lunatic on his or her way to work out, or catch a meeting with a very important worky worky client, or just to go to a massive 4 acre grocery store to buy some bit of inhumanely raised chemical infested food item, might accidentally hit them with their weapon of mass destruction. (Prius owners aside: they neither drive fast, nor have the ability to hurt anyone in their shrinky dink car.)

Despite sounding like the old curmudgeon who said the exact same things about the invention of the car, the invention of the telephone and the invention of methamphetamine, sometimes hurtling forward isn't the most prudent course of action. Sometimes gathering sticks and building a fort is the best. Sometimes blowing bubbles and watching the colors change in the sunlight is the best thing to do. Sometimes stopping to smile at a person you don't even know is the best thing you'll do all day. 

If everyone "opted out" for one day a week, one day a month even, and tapped into something legitimately Human, or legitimately Spiritual (and I emphatically do NOT mean a chicken sandwich) I firmly believe that all the hysterical, frantic judging and fretting and hand wringing would slow down. In the calm we'd have at least the option to engage in something other than hardened, tunnel vision doomsday preparations. 

Earlier this week, I said this: "History repeats itself. History repeats itself. History repeats itself. Now is THE MOST cataclysmic time of our entire history...which repeats itself.

What I meant in those words was that none of this is new. None of it. We fancy ourselves the great innovators and we think we're making these huge leaps and changing the very fabric of time and nature. Perhaps, in some cases we are. Landing on Mars is pretty effing cool. That's NEW. But the argument over wasting money or wisely spending money to do it is really old. Ask someone who had the same argument when the Queen sent Columbus out on ships to explore what was past the horizon. Or the critics of Lewis and Clark.

Hindsight is 20/20 because we're all too frothingly selfish in this moment to take even the smallest step towards an honest assessment of now. So my kids will stare at iPads all day, the cars will ZOOM past while I shout for the kids to stay in the fenced in yard, political ads will remind me that the other dudes are basically sending me straight into the fires of Hell, and I'll feel like a failure when I compare myself to neighbors and friends who are taking more vacations than me.

But you know? I'm not doing anything differently or feeling anything differently than my great-grandmother did. Because history repeats itself. And in the grand scheme of human civilization, I'm probably going to be just fine. 

So are you.