This is a pretty angry rant, so if you don’t like coarse language or rage, you might want to keep scrolling.
This week, I’ve been following the tragic story of 31 year old married mother of two, Kate Cox, and her request to be allowed to have an abortion. Cox, who lives near Dallas, Texas, and is currently about 20 weeks pregnant, learned that her unborn daughter has Trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edwards Syndrome. Cox’s doctors have told her that her pregnancy is non-viable, and that she is likely to either miscarry, or the baby will die during, or soon after, her birth. Additionally, Cox’s fertility may also be at risk if she continues her pregnancy.
A couple of years ago, Cox likely could have terminated her pregnancy without any interference from politicians, lawyers, or judges. It would not have been anyone’s business but hers, her doctor’s, and her family’s, if she chose to include them. But now, thanks to the cruel and misogynistic turn taken by Republican assholes in power, Kate Cox has not been allowed to make this very private and personal decision. This week, she went to court to request permission to have an abortion. On Thursday, she was given that permission by a compassionate judge who has common sense and decency. Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, an elected Democrat, granted a temporary restraining order that would allow Cox to safely terminate her pregnancy without fear of legal repercussions.
Immediately after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble’s favorable decision was handed down, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, leapt into action. He sent letters to the Houston area hospitals where Cox could have had the abortion procedure done, threatening doctors with legal consequences if they carried out the treatment Cox seeks. Then he petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for a stay, which halted Judge Guerra Gamble’s order, and forces Kate Cox to endure her doomed pregnancy even longer.
I’ve been reading the reactions to this case. Most people seem to think Ken Paxton is absolutely wrong in his decision to interfere in this case. However, I’ve seen a lot of comments from MEN who think it’s right to force Kate Cox to deliver this baby and watch her die. I am convinced that these men– most of whom truly don’t give a shit about the welfare of already born people– just want to control women. And every time I read their feeble minded diatribes about the so-called “sanctity of life”, I become enraged anew. How dare they?!
Anyway… I am a Texas voter, even though I live in Germany. I maintain the right and responsibility to vote in Texas, although it feels a bit like pissing in the wind. I will continue to do my part in trying to oust extremist Republican misogynistic thugs like Paxton out of office. And while I won’t write or say out loud what I hope happens to him, you can bet I’m calling on my higher power, too. I am infuriated and disgusted by this case, as I know a lot of other sensible, decent, kind people with functioning brains are, too. Abortion is necessary healthcare for some pregnant people, and I know this is an issue that people will fight over for the rest of my life. I no longer have skin in the game, since I’m pretty sure I’m menopausal now, but on behalf of all women, I am outraged by Ken Paxton and his anti-woman ilk. I hope Ken Paxton goes straight to Hell, and I pray the women of Texas wise up and get the hell out of that godforsaken state, and take all of the OB-GYNs with them.
Last night, I also read about an outrageous case out of Kentucky. I actually found out about it because I saw a headline about a woman who is eight weeks pregnant and wants to have an abortion. Kentucky, like Texas, has banned most abortions, so this Jane Doe has filed a lawsuit. Good for her for doing that. But, as I was looking for news on that case, I ran across another story about a young woman in Kentucky who was instrumental in getting Democratic Governor Andy Beshear re-elected (link is temporarily unlocked).
Hadley Duvall, age 21, got pregnant by her stepfather when she was 12 years old. Duvall’s stepfather, Jeremy Whitledge, had started sexually abusing her when she was five years old. At first, he made it seem like what he was doing was a normal thing. When she got older, and realized her stepfather was hurting her, he started to hold her down. Later, it became a punishment when she was “bad”. Her brother got spankings. Hadley got sexually molested by a man she’d considered her dad. Her mother and stepfather presented the image of a “perfect family”, even if Whitledge was treating his stepdaughter with the lowest form of contempt.
When Hadley Duvall was 8 years old, she learned about sexual abuse in school. She’d even learned a special song. She asked Whitledge about it, realizing that he was doing things to her that she’d learned were abusive and wrong. Whitledge, by then had been abusing his stepdaughter for years; first with anal penetration, then later vaginal and oral, according to police reports. Her abuser’s outrageously disgusting response was:
“Those rules are for strangers,” Duvall remembers him saying. “Not for your family.”
When Hadley was twelve, she started having menstrual periods. She’d only had a few when she realized that she hadn’t had one in awhile. She told Whitledge, and he told her to “fake being sick”, so she could stay home and take a pregnancy test. I don’t know why she’d need to fake being sick for that, since pregnancy tests only take a few minutes. But she did as she was told, and the test was positive. She was pregnant with Whitledge’s baby, at just twelve years old.
While they were waiting for the test results, Whitledge told Hadley that she could “sneak” a boy from the neighborhood into the house and claim it was his baby (OMG), or they could go to Louisville and she could have an abortion. Hadley didn’t even know what an abortion was at that point in her life. Two weeks later, by the grace of God, she had a miscarriage. But she didn’t know what a miscarriage was, either. She assumed she was just having a very heavy period.
As I read this story, my blood was boiling. I am outraged by people who want to force women to give birth at all costs. I think their attitudes show that they HATE women, and they care more about the well being of a potential person than the welfare of the woman whose body is being used to generate that life. I see a lot of shaming, cruelty, and outright contempt for pregnant people who shouldn’t be pregnant for health or maturity reasons, or don’t want to be pregnant for other reasons. It makes me feel rage on their behalf.
But then I continued reading about Hadley Duvall and saw this comment from her abuser, that made me feel even more disgusted…
In September 2019, Whitledge sent a letter to [Hadley’s mother, Jennifer Adkins Miller] acknowledging the abuse, writing, “Because of my weakness I failed as her father. I failed as her protector.”
JEREMY WHITLEDGE WAS NEVER HADLEY DUVALL’S FATHER, AND HE WAS CERTAINLY NEVER HER “PROTECTOR”!!!!!
He is a vile, despicable, sadistic, disgusting, loathsome piece of shit! I hope he joins Ken Paxton in Hell!
I don’t know how Hadley’s mother didn’t know what was happening in her house. The article explains that her mother was addicted to drugs for years, but finally got sober after a year in rehab. Hadley was astute enough to see that her mother would struggle if Whitledge was out of their lives. She realized that if she told her mom what he was doing to her, Whitledge would go to prison. But finally, in the spring of 2017, Hadley decided she had to tell her mother about the abuse. She texted her mom from school and told her she had something important to tell her. While they were in the car, Jennifer Adkins Miller pressed her daughter for answers… and finally, she heard the truth about her worthless husband. She slammed on the brakes, vomited, and went to the police.
Jeremy Whitledge is now serving twenty years in prison. And Hadley Duvall made the very brave ad for Andy Beshear, to help girls and young women have the option of terminating their pregnancies. Duvall goes to a Christian university and says she thinks there should be limits on abortions. I wonder, though, if she really thinks women have later term abortions for fun, and it needs to be regulated by law. First of all, late term abortions are rarely performed in any case. It’s hard to find providers willing to do them; they are very expensive and painful; and they are typically not covered by health insurance. And secondly, those who want to have an abortion for convenience sake would almost certainly have them early, if they were left to their own devices. It’s much cheaper, less painful, and easier to do it that way.
I think it shows a profound distrust in women as a whole, to say that politicians need to pass laws that limit or restrict access to abortions– especially when they disingenuously claim to be doing it for the women’s health. I don’t know of anyone who is “pro-abortion”. It’s not something anyone does for a good time. It’s a healthcare procedure that some women need for their own well-being. And it’s no one else’s business if a woman wants or needs to have one. No one should ever be compelled to explain it to anyone else.
The fact that the United States has backslid in this way is just mortifying. Sadistic, perverted, misogynistic creeps like Ken Paxton and his ilk are determined to ruin or end many women’s lives with these extremist laws that force women to forgo crucial healthcare for the sake of a developing fetus. It makes me sick that people like Paxton are in power.
Folks, I’ll be honest. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and there are a lot of days when I just wish I could be beamed out of this world so I don’t have to think about this horror show we’re in now. Depression and anxiety are two reasons why I’m sitting here with vague pain and pressure in my stomach and doing nothing about it. The prospect of Trump in office again makes me even more depressed. And that feeling of despair is mixed with rage and despondency when I read stories like Kate Cox’s and Hadley Duvall’s… although at least they fought back. I have great respect for the women who are not accepting these bans without a huge fight, even as moronic, hateful, anti-women dipshits in red states keep voting in these fantastically misogynistic fuckwads, who make terrible, dangerous laws that affect us all and place the well-being of an embryo or a fetus over already born people. All I can do is continue to write about it… and rage as I read about it, as my gentle, sweet, loving husband sits by and listens. Thank God for Bill, at least.