Cocking A Snook Too!

Independent, Irreverent Unschoolers – or at least one – Take On the Universe

Well, at Least We Don’t Live in Australia: Thoughts on Abortion April 21, 2009

prochoice21

I woke up to the sound of a vibrating cell phone.

Since it only vibrated once, it was almost undoubtedly Calvin texting me. I figured this morning’s text would be something about the day-to-day operation of the Venn diagram that is our lives, pertaining to our plant or trip to the beach, but it was the other kind of Calvin text: the Kind that Keeps Me Angry/Amused About the World Around Me.

He’s a very good news source, and he knows exactly which stories will make me scream/laugh. Today was a screaming day.

A 19 yr old Australian is facing 14 years in prison for “organizing her own miscarriage,the text read. [Abortion is] legal there, just illegal to seek.

That makes no sense, I texted back.

Correct, he agreed.

So if someone jumps out of an alleyway and gives you one against your will, it’s OK, but if you make an appointment, it’s not?

Sort of. The law is 100 years old and doesn’t even make complete sense by today’s legal standards. “Seek your own” is the key phrase, but it isn’t defined.

According to Wikipedia, the law in Australia is pretty similar to the state ours was in pre-Roe – cases turn on a state-by-state basis. Abortion is the law of the land, there, in the sense that an abortion performed based upon the health risks of the mother is always legal, but each state has the right to define what that means.

Therefore, the young woman in question, who facilitated her abortion with the much vilified “abortion pill,” is in violation of the law because she based her decision to abort not on health concerns, but on the fact that she’s nineteen years old, for god’s sake. The pill, misoprostol, is essentially banned in Australia, and was smuggled in from the Ukraine.

Luckily, much of Australia seems to be with her, although most of the news stories I can find make the old mistake of saying “pro-abortion activists” are rallying. This is a label that rubs more and more on me these days, creating an emotional and political blister the size of Kansas. No one is “pro-abortion.” No one likes the idea of it. Nobody has one with relish. What I am – and what most people in the pro-choice movement are – is a person who wants control over my own life.

This story hits home with me for several reasons, not least because this girl is my age. If I were to require an abortion at this point in my life and someone were to get in my way? Oh, there would be carnage, and damn the consequences. Conservatives try to obfuscate the issue by whining about life. What about my life? I am a fully developed person, a citizen of these United States, and I have certain unalienable rights to this vessel which is my own personal body. Sure, a fetus has the potential to become a life. I am a life already.

There were several moments in Barack Obama’s campaign that made me want to vote for him twice. One of those moments was during the Saddleback forum, hosted by the Devil. The Devil asked Obama about abortion (although he did not challenge him to a fiddlin’ contest, which is a shame), and Obama responded thus:

“I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members.”

Thank god that we are not in Australia, and that this man is our president. But does anyone remember that, for a while there, we were alarmingly close to this?:

Sarah Palin and her child named after a tree or something

Sarah Palin and her child named after a tree or something

Q: Your stand on abortion?

A: I’m pro-life. I’ll do all I can to see every baby is created with a future and potential. The legislature should do all it can to protect human life.

Source: Q&A with Newsmax.com’s Mike Coppock Aug 29, 2008

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a nuance gap between two candidates.

I think it comes down to this: the pro-choice concept is difficult for some people to latch on to because it involves the complex task of making your own decision with no guidance from anyone else.

Think about it. Atheists make religious fundamentalists uncomfortable because we manage to operate by a moral code which we ourselves developed, free of biblical intervention. Religious fundamentalists are people who cling to the chains that bind them, who genuinely don’t know how to operate without a set of rules handed down from on high. Why wouldn’t these people want abortion legislation?

I think women who are anti-choice are that way because they are as horrified by abortion as, well, anyone. And they are even more horrified by this thought:  what kind of monster am I if I decide to have an abortion? If abortion is illegal, well, congrats, you don’t have to struggle with your better angels at all. Decision has been made for you, and you have an excuse not to think about unpleasant things.

I am an inverse fundamentalist christian. I want everyone to step into the light, to see the beautiful future they can have if only they believe in it. But that future is not accessible through hate and fear. It is accessible through freedom, it is visible in the first steps taken away from dogma and puppet-strings, toward the terrifying brilliance of a world you can create yourself.

Advertisements
 

A Suggestion From the Liberal Lion May 3, 2007

I don’t try to be brilliant, it just comes to me.

So I wasn’t surprised when, without even trying, I came up with the most innovative sarcastic social experiment since Swift’s A Modest Proposal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about abortion and gay rights recently, as the Liberal Lion within me wakes up, indulges in a long, huge yawn, and takes stock of the current political climate. Though up and roaring through the Terri Schiavo debacle of 2005, he was soon lulled into a deceptively peaceful sleep by the conservative talk radio I’ve listened to of late.

But as I said, the Lion is now awake, and pontificating about politics in that annoying way Liberal Lions will.

“McCain is compromised by his base, not to be trusted.” He growls. “And you can’t trust a damn thing you see on television. Liberal media my tail, I’d like to see a one of them not in the administration’s pocket. Obama is the Manchurian Candidate, can’t be trusted either. Johnny Damon is the True Antichrist.” (the Lion is decisive in his thoughts, and liberal to an almost paranoid degree. Also a rabid Red Sox fan.)

The Liberal Lion was first prodded from his nap by Texas legislators and their ever-more-creative ideas to strip women of their rights to choose.

Frigging ultrasounds? DNA samples? Payoffs? Bastards!” he roared when he awoke (the Lion is sometimes rather coarse and profane, and for that I apologize).

The Lion was further stirred from his slumber by two classmates of mine, both of whom were gay and neither of whom was terribly pleased to have fewer rights than I.

The Lion was pleased to hear they’d emailed the president about his agenda as it related to them, but the Lion became quite upset when they received a form letter in response (although I don’t know what he was expecting).

“That basically says,” he intoned, “Thank you for writing. We are sorry you will spend eternity burning in hell.”

Then came the Idea.

“Hey,” the Lion posited, “what if we gave those conservative freaks” – I apologize again for the Lion, his perceptions of conservatives are both highly outspoken and highly uncomplimentary – “exactly what they wanted?”

“What?” I said. I admit, this was so uncharacteristic that I was brought up short. (more…)

 

Ruminations on Olive Oil March 25, 2007

Standing in line at a fancy grocery store, I spotted a display (among many).

EXTRA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL! It proclaimed.

Excuse me? I thought. Extra extra? Isn’t that a little unnecessary?

That is to say, I never really understood the concept of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to begin with. Is it made from olives that aren’t allowed to touch other olives? Are they modestly shielded from life’s elements by tarps?

And Extra Extra Virgin Olives – what on earth does that entail?

Or does the “virgin” refer to the oil itself? Has it never been mixed with another oil, commingling and developing new, brassy flavors? I certainly hope not, one takes for granted when one buys olive oil that it is, in fact, olive oil, and not some other hybrid. But then it seems that they shouldn’t have to bellow about its virginity so explicitly.

Having all these thoughts in the line at the store, I suddenly reached a breaking point. I wanted to tap the older woman in front of me on the shoulder and ask her my question, maybe she’d know the answer. But no, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to stand up in a shopping cart, I wanted to address the store at large, I wanted to shout it to the heavens: “Isn’t just being a virgin enough for you people anymore?”

It’s not just olive oil – women, too, now, are expected to come with a label that reads Extra Extra Virgin.

Much of society appears to have decided – rather abruptly, if you ask me – that it is not enough to wait for a person, time, and place that connote “right” and “safe” before you have sex for the first time. To make the whole process more efficient and less painful, the decision-making process has been streamlined – good news! You’re no longer required to make those pesky decisions; we’ve done it for you.

Person: Husband/Wife.

Place: Hotel Room.

Time: Honeymoon.

I could say a lot of things about the abstinence program. I could say that repression, sexual or otherwise, isn’t healthy. (See this movie to learn how it leads to broken families, insanity, and arguably the Great Depression.)

I could say that it makes people ashamed of what’s perfectly natural, and thus leads to self-loathing.

But I think I’m going to focus mainly on how creepy it is. (more…)