politics

Roe

And I wonder day to day

I don’t like you anyway

I don’t need your shit today

You’re pathetic in your own way

I feel for you

Godsmack “Whatever”

Like many, I am appalled, devastated – choose your adjective – about today’s ruling by SCOTUS. And I wasn’t surprised. I read the released draft ruling and I knew how this court was going.

But I am still appalled. I’m appalled as a woman and for other women who will need to navigate a labyrinthine series of which states allow what and assuming they can afford it as well as how to get there.

I’m disgusted at justices who seem to think that women deserve no bodily autonomy. And let’s be clear: if you are pregnant and don’t want an abortion, that is your choice. That is kind of the entire fucking point of choice. You do you and someone else will make their own choice.

And let’s not forget that legislators in this country care a lot about a clump of 8 cells but god forbid when it is born, and you could actually use services. At that point it is pretty much, “fuck off. We’re not taking care of your freeloading self.”

I happen to have five frozen blastocysts. The way things are going, will I be arrested and charged with a crime? That seems silly but honestly, given today’s ruling and the gleeful way Justice Thomas (ugh) mentioned other targets, who can say?? I never want to hear Susan Collins say another fucking word about any of this. We knew this was coming. We knew. I am so angry.

And you might be thinking, “but KeAnne, you are infertile. Aren’t more babies good?”

No. No it is not. Babies are not commodities and adoption is painful and difficult for all involved. It is not a “simple” solution for infertile couples. And while we are on that topic, in many ways, abortion and reproductive technologies are related. The same people who want to ban (and who have!) abortion feel the same way about many reproductive technologies. Many want to restrict them.

I would not be a parent without that technology. I believe in science. I have been through a lot – more than people who just had five minutes of sex to reproduce – know. I KNOW how babies are made. I have the scars from shots to prime eggs. I know the stages. I have seen a dead fetus on an ultrasound. So don’t you dare fucking preach to me about the sanctity of life. i have the scars and bills to prove it.

So fuck you, SCOTUS. Fuck you and all of us who enabled this to happen.

So, yeah. A little pissed.

North Carolina’s Race to the Bottom

There are events that make you wonder if you live where you thought you did or if you woke up in, say, Saudi Arabia. If not Saudi Arabia, then possibly a more conservative state like Texas or Mississippi. Or even Ohio.  Or maybe you still do live in the state but wonder if you’ve been transported back in time, and it is actually 1953 or 1933 and not 2013.

The War on Women has come to North Carolina.  I watched the hateful and horrifying attempts to limit women’s reproductive freedom in Ohio and Texas. I was disgusted by the personhood initiatives in Mississippi and other states. You always think it can’t happen in your state until it does. I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the new conservative majority in the NC General Assembly passed Amendment One and tried to establish a state religion. Last week, the General Assembly approved a bill that would force educators to spread false information about abortion. And, starting July 1, 70,000 North Carolinians, including military personnel, lost extended unemployment benefits thanks to a new law; another almost 100,000 will lose benefits once their time ends. The thought process is that the loss of the cushy benefits will encourage citizens to find work. That might work if there were jobs to be found.

But the General Assembly’s actions yesterday take the cake and bring home the seriousness of the changes in North Carolina. HB695 was a bill that would prohibit the application of foreign law in family court.  Late yesterday, the Senate decided to amend the bill to include major restrictions on abortion:

  • Doctors would be required to remain in the room whether it is a medical or surgical abortion
  • Abortion clinics must go through licensing procedures similar to outpatient surgical centers (there is one clinic that would qualify)
  • Clinics must have transfer agreements with local hospitals

The end result is that it will be extremely difficult for a woman to obtain a safe, legal abortion in North Carolina. Let me reiterate: a legal abortion.

The Senate hoped to avoid demonstrations and news coverage like Texas faced last week, but thanks to social media, that was impossible.  Protesters have rallied outside the General Assembly.  However, unlike Texas, we can’t filibuster this bill to death.

Y’all, I’m scared and anxious. This is not the North Carolina I grew up with. And I’m pissed and angry because I am fucking tired of old white men (and women) trying to decide my reproductive choices. Treating me as if I am not entitled or able to make medical decisions for myself. Deciding that the life of the unborn is more important than my own life; until that life gets here of course.  Then it’s every child for him or herself. Better hope your only option for pre-k isn’t the state’s program because chances are, you’re shit out of luck with this legislature. Better hope you can afford private school because this legislature hates the public school system too.

I’m tired of it. NC General Assembly: get out of my uterus and stay out. You are destroying my state and the progress we made over the last 60 years.  Maybe you should go read that Bible  you’re so fond of quoting; I think you might be surprised at what you find.

Update

As expected, the bill passed the Senate and now returns to the House for a final vote.

For shame, North Carolina.

A Rant on Reproductive “Rights” and Horrible Daycares

I’ve read a few stories the past few days that are horrific.  They make me sick to my stomach and want to cry.  They also force me to conclude that there is not only a war against women (not that I was a doubter) but also that there is true disdain for being a poor woman.

I wonder if the right, the so-called conservatives or family-values brigade, realizes how contradictory its positions are.  Don’t have sex until marriage (the 1900s called and they want their values back), but if  you do and get pregnant, you better keep it.  If you are pregnant, that 8-celled embryo has more rights than you, but don’t expect us to help if the child you dutifully birth needs Head Start to prepare for school.  If you expect to get government assistance (AKA welfare) to subsist, you have to work; where and in what conditions you put those kids we begged you to have isn’t our concern.

Sure, I’m likely generalizing quite a bit and being a bit inflammatory, but honestly, I’m shocked and appalled at what is going on in this country lately when it comes to reproductive rights and then the lack of policies to help care for children from the self-named “family values party.”

Look, people are going to have sex.  They’ve had sex for hundreds of millions of years, and your declaration that sex outside of marriage (a fairly recent invention) is immoral isn’t making a difference.  Women want to have sex responsibly and be in charge of their own reproductive outcomes and seek contraception, yet there is a war on that.  Women get pregnant (because they didn’t have access to contraception) and decide to seek a legal (remember that fact?) abortion.  Unfortunately, for lower income women, it may be difficult to obtain one in the legally-allowed time frame due to cost.  As a result, they may have to seek one at type like Gosnell’s.  Do you think a woman wants to have a partial-birth abortion?  Do you really think a woman wakes up one day and says, “you know, I’m tired of this whole pregnancy thing. Think I’ll get a partial-birth abortion.” The woman who settles on a place like this clinic is desperate and poor.  She can’t afford earlier procedures or better conditions and puts her life in the hands of this so-called doctor.  It’s NOT a whim.

Let’s say the woman decides to have the baby and parent it.  That’s wonderful, right? Except for the fact that she will need to work to support her family and/or obtain any government assistance.  She has to do something with the child, right? Decent, regulated child care can be difficult to obtain at best and unaffordable at worst.  Do you think this mother wants to leave her beloved child in a situation that might cause unease? That might seem unsafe? Daycare is expensive.  Good daycare is VERY expensive.  How can you demand a mother work to receive any assistance, yet make it impossible for her to find decent care for her child?  And then when tragedy happens, you cluck that this is what happens when mothers enter the workforce, conveniently ignoring the fact that you have contributed to this Scylla and Charybdis.

You might be wondering what dog I have in this fight.  I admit that I am privileged.  I own it.  Jimmy and I are fortunate to be able to afford the best daycare for our son and any other services he might need. We have the ability to shop around and evaluate excellent facilities according to our whims. I’ve never worried how we were going to support our family.  Never worried about the toll an extra mouth to feed might take. Never had to fight for any type of contraception (and I write that with great irony given my particular conditions).  Hell, we were able to pay a lot of money to have a baby.  Conservatives, we are your people! Except for the fact that I loathe injustice.  I loathe children not being able to get a fair shake in life. I loathe children being placed in unsafe conditions due to a lack of government intervention.  I loathe women being treated as lower-class citizens.  I loathe feeling like my gender is denied intelligence in some political circles. And I also loathe being told what to do with my own body. And overall, I loathe unfairness.

I wonder what it says about a country that values upholding the right of its citizens to own guns–even guns that could almost be weapons of mass destruction–over valuing and caring for its youngest citizens. As Cohn’s article points out, government subsidy of childcare could have huge returns as far as reduced prison, health and special education costs and increased economic contributions.   To me, it seems a no-brainer. What am I missing?

After Newtown, I lost a friend on Twitter after I tweeted that the Republicans cared more about embryos and potential than actual children since they were reluctant to enact gun control measures.  I understand she was offended, but I stand by that sentiment, and nothing I have read has altered my stance.

The explanation often given is to let the free market decide.  Capitalism will decide. I don’t think so. When I was in high school and learning about different types of economic systems, my teacher pointed out that capitalism without restraints can be very harsh.  Capitalism is the “honey badger” of economic systems.  Unsafe conditions or too-low wages? Capitalism don’t care.  Read The Jungle and then tell me government intervention is  unnecessary. The programs FDR put in place and similar social programs were necessary to blunt the sharpness of Capitalism. Yet too many politicians seek to dismantle them. Why care for the elderly?  Why allow our citizens to feel like their country rewards them for any service? Hell, just let us die and then bulldoze over us to build the next monstrosity to profit (for a few!) Capitalism demands.

I’m mad. I’m angry. I’m furious that anyone, let alone any woman, any mother, regardless of financial status has to justify any decision she makes.  Has to jump through hoops to make pertinent decisions for herself, her body and her children or future children. Has to believe she has no other option than to go to a cut-rate abortion provider who doesn’t even clean up after prior procedures. Has to put her precious child in a situation that feels not quite right in order to earn money.

We live in the richest, most free country in the world, yet we’re content to let religion and dogma prevent us from doing what is ethical and what is right. Am I wrong to be bothered by that?

 

The Anxious Electorate

In case you haven’t heard, are an alien, or have been living under a rock, today is Election Day in the United States, and we are in the process of electing the next President of the United States.  Many of us hope the next President will be the current President which is sort of a Schrodinger’s Cat equation.

I think we all need a Xanax or Valium or a potent potable.  I am extremely anxious about the outcome of what is projected to be a very close election and based on what I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter, many feel the same way.  What I don’t know is whether that anxiety is universal; my fellow Obama supporters are admittedly anxious, but I admit that it doesn’t appear that I follow many vocal Romney supporters or if I do, they are staying quiet or I am ignoring them.  Probably a mix of both.

I am nervous.  Four years ago, I watched triumphantly and emotionally as Barack Obama was elected President.  We were still in the first trimester with Daniel, and I felt that momentous things on top of momentous things were happening.  It was a brave new world.  That was probably a foolish, hyperbolic thought, considering how our government works and the reality of getting anything done in this country. But it seemed like old wounds could be healed and the potential for greatness was there.

I’m not saying the Obama has been a perfect leader.  Far from it.  I freely admit that he squandered opportunities and truthfully, Hillary Clinton was our candidate of choice.  But I believe in the Democratic party, and I believe that Obama has the intelligence and ability to make real change in Washington, change that this country desperately needs.

I write that and then I smile sadly because I fear the reality is that it won’t really make a difference which candidate is elected.  Obama will be obstructed by politicians whose primary goal is to make him fail (appalling) while Romney will be forced closer to the center than his party will like by Democrats.  More cynically, I wonder if any of our leaders or our system of government is prepared to make the revolutionary, incredibly difficult decisions we need made for a sustainable future.

Despite those cynical, dark thoughts, it is Election Day.  For a few more hours, we can sit on the edge of our seats, watching the will of the people revealed.  That is worth acknowledging and honoring and regardless of which candidate is elected, publicly I will respect him as the holder of the greatest office in the world.  I make no promises about what I say behind closed doors 😉

Election Day anxiety manifests itself in interesting ways.  When Jimmy was getting Daniel’s room ready tonight, he felt compelled to have the following conversation with the stuffed animals in Daniel’s room:

Jimmy: Well, cuddlies.  Today is an important day.  Today is Election Day.  I just wanted you all to know that we voted for cuddly rights today, and in our home, we support that any cuddly has the right to cuddle any other cuddly he, she or it wants.

Cuddlies: Silence.

OK.  At least the cuddlies know where they stand in our house.

Happy Election Day.  Let us all inhale and exhale, being thankful this day comes only once every four years.

9/11: Remembrance of Things Past

I hadn’t planned on blogging about the 10th anniversary of September 11. What could I add to the plethora of other posts, especially by those in NYC, Washington DC or Pennsylvania that day? I was and still am in the hinterlands of Raleigh, NC. But the more I saw other posts and tweets and Facebook posts, the more I felt compelled to add my small voice to the larger whole. And as Daniel plays with his trains in the kitchen, oblivious to what today signifies, maybe this post is for him.

Then

I was 24 years old, a fresh 24 years old because my birthday is September 9. J and I were less than 3 months from our wedding day on December 1. I was working at the same place I am now somewhat doing the same thing I am now. I was in a meeting when everything began. A stupid, banal, absurd meeting that was ostensibly focused around planning an internal organizational development meeting we were having in late October but had turned into a drama-filled meeting in which we aired our grievances and accused each other of sabotaging each others’ efforts to contribute to the planning.

I knew the meeting was stupid then and in retrospect, it seems even more ridiculous. After we heard the news, we adjourned and for the rest of the day, everyone shuffled around, not knowing what to do. My future in brother-in-law worked in Manhattan, so it took us a while to make sure he was ok.

When I met J and home after work, we ordered pizza and watched the coverage on tv. At the time, we lived close to the airport and that night was eerily quiet. I had never realized before how much noise we absorbed from the airport. I also dreaded hearing any aircraft noise that night because I knew it would mean very, very bad things.

Even though I didn’t live in a major metropolitan area, I was terrified. My only experience with war and terrorism had been the brief Gulf War in 8th grade, and that made war seem quick and easy. That American might could easily overpower any foe.

In the months following, 9/11 hung over us. It felt weird to plan our wedding when there was so much suffering. We had wanted to go to France for our honeymoon, but we decided to go to Asheville instead. These are minor, minor issues compared to what those directly impacted had to deal with. But I was scared.

Now

I have just turned 34. J and I will have been married 10 years this December. We have a beloved 2-year-old after several long years of trying.

I don’t want us ever to forget that day ten years ago because those who gave their lives deserve to be remembered. But I do think about how America has changed, especially when I consider our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, our current economic situation and the increasing pronouncements that America is slipping from its super power status and reduced influence on the global stage. Can that be tied to the impact of 9/11? It’s not that I think the terrorists “won,” but I think that as a nation, we are guilty of knee-jerk reactions instead of taking the long view and planning.

In some ways, I am still scared. I am scared for our nation and our government’s inability to work together to make the hard decisions. I’m scared that it appears we have legislators and citizens who believe that their ideology is more important than saving this country. I’m scared for Daniel and what kind of country he will grow up in.

That’s a bit heavy and political for a gorgeous September day, but for me, remembering is not enough. Reflect. Figure out what we could have done differently. Acknowledge any mistakes. Then move forward. Making this nation strong and proud is the best way we can honor those who lost their lives that day.