For the Men

“Eleven states have passed laws restricting a woman’s access to abortion, with some states approving near-total bans of the procedure altogether. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Utah have all passed abortion-related legislation that has been signed by their Republican governors. Lousiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards also signed a bill restricting abortions.

Alabama’s law, signed by Governor Kay Ivey, is likely the strictest in the nation as it makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions even in cases of rape and incest. Laws passed in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy (before many women are even aware they are pregnant). Less severe laws like those in Indiana and North Dakota ban the use of clamps and forceps during second-trimester abortions.

According to a new FiveThirtyEight analysis, which examined all 50 state of the state speeches given by governors in 2019, the term “reproductive health” was not uttered once by a Republican. Meanwhile, the term appeared in approximately 21.7 percent of Democratic speeches.

https://www.newsweek.com/republican-governors-reproductive-health-abortion-laws-1443902

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, made it clear that states may not ban abortion outright before the fetus is determined to be viable, recognized by the medical community as around 24 weeks’ gestation. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that states may not place an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Like laws that attempt to ban abortion at 20 weeks’ gestation, bills banning abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat are intended as a direct challenge to these U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Let me be razor clear why all these states are even proposing abortion bans right now, even if they don’t get passed or they remain being argued over in session for long periods. They WANT to be taken to the Supreme Court. Their target IS Roe-vs-Wade. They want people to think that their are a lot of people who want to overturn it.

THERE ARE NOT.

Polls being done put Americans in total at about 50% in favor of keeping Roe just where it’s at and another 30% in favor of keeping it but tweaking it just a bit, and the last 20 % being unsure OR for overturning. Even polls among republicans show 1/3 in favor of keeping Roe and another 1/3 in favor of keeping it but tweaking it, with only the last 1/3 being the radical fundamentalists who want it overturned.

Many of these abortion bills are called “heartbeat” bills. How do you detect a heartbeat in an unborn fetus? (I’ll explain later that at the gestational stage these bills cover it is not a fetus, it is still an embryo.) By using a VERY INTRUSIVE and embarrassing measure at 6 weeks:

Ohio required an abortion provider to use an abdominal ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat and banned abortion when the pregnancy has progressed to 12 weeks and a fetal heartbeat is detected. North Dakota went even further, passing the most stringent anti-choice legislation in the country—a bill that bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected using “acceptable medical practice,” which is approximately six weeks through the use of a transvaginal ultrasound.

At least sixteen states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, LouisianaMaryland, MichiganMinnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) have introduced measures to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

MN, where I live, is what concerns me. I am 50 years old and Peri-menopausal. No I don’t plan on getting pregnant any time soon, but this is where I live and as long as I do it is no one’s business to tell me or any other woman what to do with my/her health, rights, or body. I will fight for my fellow women.

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HF 271)  , proposed  Jan 22, 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SF 869) , proposed Feb 7, 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HF 2101) , proposed March 7 2019

Minnesota Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SF 2245) , proposed March 11 2019

Some reproductive rights groups argue that the term “heartbeat” bill is a misnomer, since the fetus does not yet have a heart at six weeks’ gestation — the cardiac activity detectable at that time comes from tissue called the fetal pole. Up to the 10th week after fertilization the pregnancy is called an embryo and it still has no brain or spinal cord. Most malformations (birth defects) occur during this period when organs are forming. During this period, the embryo is most vulnerable to the effects of drugs, radiation, and viruses. Not until after 10 weeks is it called a fetus. It is still not viable, it can NOT live outside the uterus.

At about 14 weeks the sex of the fetus can be identified. Between 16 to 20 weeks the mother can finally feel the fetus move. Sometimes for women who don’t have regular periods, are overweight or don’t know why they are gaining weight – this is the first sign that they are pregnant. Not until after 24 weeks does the fetus have a chance of survival outside the uterus. The lungs continue to mature until near the time of delivery. The brain accumulates new cells throughout pregnancy and the first year of life after birth, but the people who want ALL fetuses born no matter what don’t care about their health care after they are born. Even if they need extreme medical care for underdeveloped lung and brain problems.

Nor do they care if the mother has medical issues during pregnancy. Make her suffer through it, no matter what, and deliver that fetus. Even if she KNOWS her body isn’t doing its job to give the fetus the required nutrients or safety/cushioning or whatever. Even if that mother feels like shit knowing her body is harming her child from her own medical issues. It takes two people to GET pregnant, even IF the pregnancy was a “mistake.” However, now what she’s going through is all on her. REMEMBER, THE ACTUAL TERM, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, NEVER GETS MENTIONED!

This issue is all about being educated and informed. It is NOT about being pro or anti birth or children or about killing. Those words are for the fanatics and lunatics and the super-religious. In NO way do politics and religion belong in the same debate for ANY topic. THIS is a medical and personal topic.

When it comes to abortion some people have morals and some people don’t. I have known women who use it as birth control. Got pregnant? Oh, go get an abortion. Got pregnant again? Just go have another abortion. Never feeling any emotion about it. Oh, had too many so that there’s so much scar tissue that you can’t get pregnant any more? Oh well, never wanted kids anyway. I have also known SO many more women that have had abortions that have felt the weight of the world on their shoulders at having had to get an abortion that they thought it would emotionally kill them to do it. The levels of guilt and self-hatred, shame, and disgust and depression left them in despair for years, but they had such heart-wrenching reasons for having to do it: usually being in violently abusive relationships, being molested by family members, being gang-raped, other rape, severe medical issues, or severe poverty or no medical or health care.

People of color, queer, and low-income people are who are disproportionately likely to seek abortion care. Then add in people with cognitive or physical/medical disabilities. And now these new laws could allow women who terminate pregnancies to be charged with murder!

Think about the barely mobile disabled person with cognitive disabilities who says yes to sex, but doesn’t really even know what sex is. That person can in no way raise a child, but will be forced to go through the pregnancy not understanding what is going on with her body, often doing things that put the fetus at risk. If she does, she will be arrested for causing the fetus harm? Many LGTBQ+ are beaten/raped just to “show them what they’re ‘supposed’ to be,” by ignorant assholes. Now they must carry a baby even though they look like a man? I could go on with the horrible stories. The fanatics don’t care who got pregnant or how or what will happen to the child after it is born. All they want to do is toss around scare-words without real facts.

“Late-term” abortions are generally understood to take place during or after the 21st to 24th week of gestation, which is late in the second trimester. That gestational period roughly corresponds to the point of “fetal viability” or when a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb with or without medical assistance. However, there is no precise medical or legal definition of “late-term,” and many doctors and scientists avoid that language, calling it imprecise and misleading. They say “late-term” may imply that these abortions are taking place when a woman has reached or passed a full-term pregnancy, which is defined as starting in the 37th week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.3 percent of abortions were performed at or greater than 21 weeks of gestation in 2015. In contrast, 91.1 percent were performed at or before 13 weeks and 7.6 percent at 14 to 20 weeks.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said in a statement released this week that pregnant women may experience conditions such as “premature rupture of membranes and infection, preeclampsia, placental abruption, and placenta accreta” late in pregnancy that may endanger their lives.

 

“Women in these circumstances may risk extensive blood loss, stroke, and septic shock that could lead to maternal death. Politicians must never require a doctor to wait for a medical condition to worsen and become life-threatening before being able to provide evidence-based care to their patients, including an abortion,” the ACOG said.

In a paper published in 2013 by Foster and Katrina Kimport on women who got abortions for reasons other than a danger to life or health or a fetal anomaly, they cited logistical delays such as difficulty finding a provider, raising funds for the procedure and travel costs.

Foster and Kimport described five “profiles” of women in the study: “They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and [experiencing their first pregnancy].”

“one woman was told by her doctors that something in her 20-week scan looked suspicious but it wasn’t until 24 weeks that it was clear the fetus had significant abnormalities.”

(Oops, I forgot to add what the article was that I took the above quotes from. My bad.)

Humiliation, agony, and the risk of sterility or death. Is that what we want to go back to? That’s what women went through before Roe-vs-Wade in the 50’s and 60’s. Back room abortions with dirty medical instruments or at home do-it-yourself by a coat hanger. Just because they want to make it illegal doesn’t mean women will stop doing it. Women will still want to keep their fortune 500 jobs. They can’t do that if they get pregnant. Ah-ha!

There it is. The Ah Ha moment. That’s what this is all about! Men trying to put women in our place. Take away our power. Get us out of the business and other work-places so men can be back in charge. They want to go back to the 50’s when women met them at the front door with their evening drink and dinner on the table.

That will actually be impossible to do. No one in the middle class down can live like that. It’s mandatory for family’s to have both parents working just to pay the bills. Think about having kids? You’d better not have a part time or a low-income job if you have a kid or two. Need to dish out $5,000 for an abortion? Insurance will only pay for it if it’s medically necessary.

I would really like to see someone do a poll/survey on the middle class to upper class to find out how many of them have abortions -vs- the middle to lower class, where most surveys are usually done via social services or Planned Parenthood. They wouldn’t have to scrape and scrimp and save every penny for months just to afford the abortion. They could just think, “oh shit I’m pregnant, oops! Better get an abortion before mommy and daddy find out. Boom. Done.”  Plus, the family doc of rich people isn’t going to rat out some little rich kid. He knows who pays for his “coke.”

OK, sorry, there’s MY “ism,” richism. I know, that’s not a word. There’s racism, sexism, I have richism. I’m rich-ist. I have issues with rich people. Rich people who don’t use their wealth to help society in any way, or only to make themselves “look” good.

Back to the issue at hand: abortion IS an elitist issue. It is one more way for those with to push down those without. You think rich people are going to be going to jail for having illegal abortions? Of course not.

It’s also a sexist issue for sure. Rapists even get rights to the kids they spawn from their rapes these days. You can NOT convince me that’s OK. It is NOT OK to force a woman to have the child from being raped. This is one more thing that a man truly can not in any way possible remotely begin to understand. A man can be raped, but a man can not become pregnant from being raped. Have to live with it growing inside you, like the rapist is again inside you, but not for minutes this time – this time he is inside you for 9 MONTHS! Then, if you don’t give it up for adoption, you live with this child possibly for the rest of your life; remembering. If you are unlucky enough to live in one of THOSE states, you might also be FORCED to have your rapist in your life, have to see him, talk to him, etc, forever, as he is allowed to be the rightful father of your child and receive parental rights and visits. You will never be allowed to forget your pain, humiliation, and how he broke your will and spirit as the state you live in goes on to do so day after day.

Mind you, I am pro-life for myself, but pro-choice for all other women. I would never tell anyone what to do in any situation and no one else has that right either. I have never been faced with that particular scenario, and I have no idea what I’d do. Thankfully, MN would never make me deal with the father of a child from rape.

I did, however, have to make the abortion decision. Being a social worker, I knew that fetal alcohol syndrome gets part of its parts from the man’s sperm, and I became pregnant by an alcoholic. I was a pretty bad social drinker myself at the time. I had also just been in an auto accident and I was in a pretty bad amount of pain. Being born with a rare genetic disease, I also had that to consider. So, given all of that what was I about to pass on to my child? Should I or not take pain medicine? How much had I drank before I learned I was pregnant? How badly did the auto accident damage the embryo? I had several x-rays in the ER, did they do any damage?

Of course as soon as I told my boyfriend, he dumped me and took off. I quote, “I don’t want a kid who’s a freak with your genetic disease.” I was hot enough to date, but…  So, now I was also alone, single again. Guess what? I also lost my job! The accident mixed with my disease had caused 5 problems in my spine and nerve damage in my shoulder. I was super depressed and in a LOT of pain. Things that are not good for developing fetuses. Since I couldn’t pay rent, you’d better believe I was thinking of abortion. I had no idea, but was thinking every minute of what kind of damage my injured body was doing to my child. I wasn’t taking anything for the pain since that would cause more damage. I began spotting and was afraid I might lose the baby. It was then that I knew for sure that I couldn’t have an abortion.

Despite everything that could be wrong with the baby I knew I would love him. It would be against everything I believe in as a nature based pagan who reveres life to abort this thing growing inside me. If my body didn’t naturally abort it for having something wrong with it, then it was meant to be my child. That is MY belief. I don’t expect anyone else to follow my belief or force it on anyone else.

I had a bad pregnancy. Many medical issues. I was in the hospital twice with infections. Due to my disease, my son’s kicks broke 3 of my ribs. I didn’t have enough amniotic fluid. My blood pressure was too high. I was constantly in pain from injuries. I was depressed. There are many reasons a woman thinks of abortion or a doctor suggests it.

He is 20 years old now. It’s been a rough ride from all of his medical needs, but I do love him with all of my soul. I will fight for women everywhere to have their rights though. NO ONE should ever tell another person what they can and can’t do unless it comes to harming life willfully and with evil intent and forethought. AND…yet with that; what defines life? Humans can’t even agree on that!

 

There are over 100 definitions of life have been proposed, with most focusing on a handful of key attributes such as replication and metabolism. Virologists: seven processes that supposedly define life: movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition. Chemists: polymers – namely nucleic acids (the building blocks of DNA), proteins and polysaccharides – virtually the entire diversity of life is built. Astrobiologists: microorganisms capable of surviving in extreme environments. 

Technologists: artificial life can involve biologists creating new organisms in labs by stitching together parts of two or more existing life forms. But it can also be a little more abstract. There are even teams that are beginning to explore the creation of robots with life-like traits. Ever since the 1990s, when Thomas Ray’s Tierra computer software appeared to demonstrate the synthesis and evolution of digital “life forms”, researchers have been trying to create computer programs that truly simulate life.

Philosophers: Maybe the things we think are essential are really just peculiar to life on Earth. After all, everything from bacteria to lions is derived from a single common ancestor, meaning that on our chart of life in the Universe, we only really have one data point.

In the words of Sagan: “Man tends to define in terms of the familiar. But the fundamental truths may not be familiar.”

What a tragedy it would be if in the 2020s the new Mars rover trundles straight past a Martian, simply because it does not recognise it as being alive.

“The definition can actually hinder the search for novel life,” says Cleland. “We need to get away from our current concept, so that we are open to discovering life as we don’t know it.”

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170101-there-are-over-100-definitions-for-life-and-all-are-wrong

 

Isms, White Privilege, & 1st World Problems

I recognize that I am happy to know that my white privilege keeps me, even in poverty, better off than others. I am so very glad that the bad things that have happened to me in my world have never been as bad as living in the Congo or other places dealing with genocide, female genital mutilation, child soldiers, daily air bombings like Syria, night raids when your family is taken away and women and children raped, or even in the American South where a black person gets gunned down simply for the color of their skin or anywhere in the USA Native American women go missing at high rates and it seems no one gives a damn.

Across the world women are still stoned for having healing skills or when THEY are the victims of rape and it’s said THEY bring shame to their family because of it. No, wait. That still happens right here in the US. So, too, do child marriages, it’s lawful to rape your wife in most states, and the police state in the US is being granted more and more leeway and freedom every day – including the right to beat and rape prisoners. That’s right. In most states it is lawful to rape a prisoner. That is, we know rape is illegal; however there is no law against NOT raping a prisoner.

Why write about it all? Why me? Simply because I AM white. People of color experience atrocities at profoundly high rates. It’s sickeningly ridiculous. What do we do? We continuously keep telling them to “get over it.” “Rwanda is history, slavery is history, the Indian schools is history, it’s all history, blah blah blah…” but it’s not history to their living parents, grandparents, and for some of them – living it now. We are living in times where icky “isms” of the past are coming alive again at raging rates worldwide. When those “old times” are starting to happen all over again how do we tell them to “get over it?”

That purely is white privilege speaking when telling them to get over it. Do these things not happen to white people? Of course they do, but that’s not the point. We know they happen to people of color at proportionately much higher rates. That is the point. They bring up “people conquer other peoples, that’s what history is about. The conquered people assimilate and you get over it.” Tell that to Ireland and Scotland, who are still fighting to be free countries and people who are still learning their old ancient languages. The same goes for Native tribes all over North and South America, Africa, Asia, and well virtually everywhere you find Native Tribes. I don’t think any place ever completely assimilates. The old hangs on.

The thing is, the old, they don’t have a voice. They are our memories. What happens is, many don’t want to let those memories go; memories of place, culture, peoples, and time. Whether or not those memories are good ones or not don’t matter to those who are doing the remembering. Some are remembering bad times and want revenge or justice. Some are remembering their culture and language and want to share. It is the children who grow up hearing the memories who are caught. Caught between hearing what actually was, and what is embellished upon by the rememberers, the children can also grow up with scars from the past.

When any person is asked where they are from they usually say a place. How many people answer, “I came from my loving parents,” or “I came from adoptive parents who took me in because my birth parents were killed in horrible…” due to whatever holy war or government war or war for oil or against slavery, etc, happened. How many people answer that they come from, and then go on to describe their culture instead of either a person or a place?

In the United States we don’t really have one culture to define us, unlike most countries. We have regions of culture. Each town or city may even have different areas or spots of culture. Is that good or bad? I think it is very good, yet now there are many who think the opposite. As a child growing up in the 1970’s I remember learning that the US was a “melting pot” and we were supposed to think of that as a good thing. That was supposed to be the American “culture.” The “American Dream” was supposed to be that everyone was to look forward to each generation living a bit better than the last. Yet another aspect of American culture. However, what that symbolic idealistic culture was hiding was the fact that our dreams were hiding behind white faces on the TV telling us about all this melting pot. The actual melting pot wasn’t actually meant to be seen or heard.

Governments lie, people are treated like shit. We know this. Viet Nam happened, Kennedy was killed, Martin Luther King was Killed, The 60’s tried to rebel and help and we go some new laws and thought the isms would start to die. The 70’s got lax and we celebrated the love we thought the 60’s had won – OK I’ll give ’em credit for protests. We started to go back and forth between Republican and Democrat parties defining themselves in new and profoundly worse ways every presidential election. Everyone in the parties getting farther and farther apart, separating our country. Our political parties have pushed so far apart until they are unrecognizable today and our government doesn’t recognize our people or the rights fought for back in those days.

Atrocities have happened here in the US. Yes We do horrible things to each other every day in the name of our politics, religion, beliefs, etc. We have terrible murderers, mass shootings, rapists, hell we even have ass-hats who think it’s OK to run people over with their cars simply because they are protesting something. Our near-past is full of lynching people for being black or gay, going to your house or place of worship to shoot you because you aren’t the same faith, and priests and rich college boys going free for rape. Our daily newspapers are full of horrendous and unspeakably gory crimes, yet if they are done by white people they get a lesser sentence and if they are done by a person of color – or heaven forbid – a person fleeing through our southern border, they suddenly are taking over our electronic devices and our lives.

Put it all into perspective though, would you? White people, please. Do any of the daily horrible things that you read or hear about actually affect you personally most of the time? Is your brother, sister, son, daughter, etc being  lynched or shot or followed through a store due to the color of their skin? Is your house or car fire-bombed or have a brick thrown through a window because you are gay, black, or called a witch? Yes? Ah, but how often? Now, if you were a person of color, these things would be happening to you multiple times over.

Now Americans as a whole should put it into modern perspective, too. Have we had the number of terrorist bombings here that France or other countries have had? Have we had to live through anything like a Rwandan genocide? I’m talking to white people here, because yes, our Native American brothers and sisters sure as hell have. Yes, the Indian Schools were still functioning in this last century. That’s not history. That’s modern. How about the barbarous actions in Syria? I am begging white Americans to stop whining about the trifles in their first world lives. Yes, even poor white Americans. Especially poor white Americans who keep voting for the Republicans who keep them poor. (Oops, my bad. That’s another post.)

There surely, honestly can’t be any white poor American who thinks they are worse off than a poor black person in Africa? A person living in the Syrian war? Anyone living in a cartel-ridden country in South America? If they do, then shame on them. Even if you live in a shack without running water in the South in America you can still find water to drink MOST of the time and you DO have that shack. Shit, I’m being one harsh bitch, right? I’m not stupid. I KNOW there is real abject poverty here in the USA that could be done away with if the richest 3 families in the US didn’t earn more than the bottom 50% of Americans. However, I also know that those poor families are not being bombed every day. They don’t have militia or cartels coming to their homes any time of day taking their food, or even worse, taking their family members away or raping them and then taking them or just killing them for fun.

I am part of poor America. I live below the poverty line. I am grateful that I am not being bombed, yet. With 45 in office, it’s an iffy subject. I have friends who don’t have running cars and sometimes go without running water or functioning heat. I also went to college and have a degree and a professional license. However, I became disabled and living on Social Security is not a living wage. Medicare is not a functioning health care insurance for my needs. I scrimp and save and go to food shelves.

I am so glad I don’t live in a war-torn country or anywhere else where crimes against humanity happen on a daily basis. Oh, I have to stop and laugh. I forgot who our current leader is for a moment. Sorry. No. Really. I AM happy to live here. We have SO many freedoms. I will fight tooth and nail to keep what so many in our country are trying to take away right now from so many in our beloved melting pot. I know it is my white privilege that allows me to live so freely in the US without fear. Having been a foster parent to several children of color I’ve seen the looks from the white folks. I’ve watched the managers of grocery stores follow my teen foster son for no reason. I’ve dealt with the school leaders giving harsher discipline to mine than others. There are different types and levels of fear.

I thought I knew fear. I know rape. I’ve seen the desire of a man to need to make his fist connect with my flesh, yet I held his eyes with mine in the moment of the dare and won. He may have had my body, but not the rest of my flesh. He had his moment. I wouldn’t give him more. I was able to fight back. That was but a moment in time. No, I don’t trivialize rape.  There is so much pain happening to so many people at any given moment. There are too many of the people willing to “walk on” through their days and do nothing. My white privilege allows me to get therapy and keep walking.  Can you all look into your soul and like what you see looking back? Have you looked at your isms and shaken them enough to know that you have them? Have you faced them? Do all the white people who are whining about their 1st world problems realize they are fearing what they fear in themselves?

Right now I fear I’ve rambled all over the place in this post.