healthcare, law, politicians, politics, poor judgment

Lindsey Graham proposes a federal 15 week abortion ban… so much for states’ rights!

A few months ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, much to the delight of conservatives. Finally, the abortion issue was going to be settled by the states! And those in red states, like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas could finally look forward to not allowing abortions for ANY reason. It was one more tool for males to control females… or, those who are able to give birth.

But then, usually red state Kansas had an election, and voters there turned out en masse to protect the human right for the already born to have an abortion. Suddenly, Republicans realized they’d royally fucked up with their overreaching plan to eliminate the right for people to choose for themselves whether or not to be pregnant and give birth. Besides that, there were many awful stories from women who needed to access abortions for legitimate healthcare reasons and were being denied. Some women’s doctors were sending them home to get sicker when their patients were miscarrying, because the doctors didn’t want to be arrested or sued. And some physicians were even calling lawyers before offering standard treatments.

The most troubling and awful story of all, though, came just days after the overturn caused the state of Ohio to ban abortions. A ten year old CHILD was raped by her stepfather and forced to go to neighboring Indiana to get a very necessary abortion. At first, conservative pundits scoffed at the story, thinking it was fake news put out for political reasons. But, soon enough, it became clear that the story wasn’t fabricated. Sadly, the attorneys general in Ohio and Indiana were too narcissistic to admit that policies against allowing abortions were going to ruin or potentially end people’s lives. Instead of examining bad policies, they vowed to go after the female physician who provided healthcare to the ten year old who was pregnant through no fault of her own.

Savvy Republicans have finally also started to notice that people are pissed off enough about this egregious affront against the already born, that those who usually vote third party or Republican are voting for Democrats who have vowed to protect abortion rights. Crazy Trump supported candidates are winning their primaries, but losing general elections– see Sarah Palin’s recent disastrous run in Alaska. And so, Republicans who used to have anti-choice language on their Web sites are silently scrubbing them of any evidence that they are against allowing pregnant people the right to choose. They KNOW that abortion is one of those bipartisan issues, and they are finding out that their little stunt in overturning Roe v. Wade is backfiring spectacularly. And… they are now finding out, way too late, that allowing Trump to be the Republican candidate in 2016 has completely ruined their political party. It’s now been taken over by extremist MAGA asshats whose policies don’t work for most rank and file Americans.

South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, a man who is not married and never fathered any children, has decided to address this abortion fiasco by proposing a federal abortion ban. In the past, Graham had championed legislation that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Now, he wants a FEDERAL abortion ban at 15 weeks. On the surface, this may seem okay to some people, since most abortions happen well before the proposed 15 week limit. At least it’s not a total ban, right? However, this bill does nothing to address the unreasonable and dangerous abortion bans that are currently law in many red states across the nation. What Graham’s legislation would do is make it federal law that abortions aren’t allowed after 15 weeks, except in certain cases, EVEN in states where abortion is currently allowed. So much for letting the states decide, eh? According to Slate magazine:

Unfortunately, many genetic and physical defects can only be detected after the 15th week of pregnancy. As The 19th reported in August, the earliest point when doctors can detect anomalies is between 15 and 22 weeks, when scans show fetal organ structures. Certain abnormalities detected at this stage, like Trisomy 18 and anencephaly, render fetuses “incompatible with life,” meaning they will die during birth or shortly thereafter. At most, if carried to term, these children will live just for hours or days in immense pain. And continuing the pregnancy often puts the patient at heightened risk of medical complications.

The lack of an exception for fetal anomalies in Graham’s bill is intentional. For years, the anti-abortion movement has sought to outlaw abortions due to fetal “disability.” Before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, at least nine states had passed these bans. Three states also gagged doctors from even raising the possibility of termination with patients after diagnosing fetal abnormalities.

What really pisses me off about this plan is that, yet again, conservatives are pushing a narrative that late term abortions are rampant and done for convenience. That simply isn’t true. First of all, later term abortions are rare. Secondly, I won’t say there aren’t people out there who want a second or third trimester abortion because they’ve changed their minds about having a baby. There might be one or two people out there in the world who actually are that cruel and crazy. What I will say is that the vast majority of people who need later term abortions are folks who desperately wanted their babies, but found themselves in devastating medical situations that forced them to make a terrible and heartbreaking choice. Nothing about having a late term abortion is fun or convenient. Any legislation that addresses the so called “wanton sluts” who slaughter their almost viable babies in utero, just because they’re murderous, is just a bullshit conservative narrative.

No one who is in that situation– where either the mother or the developing fetus is desperately ill and facing death due to pregnancy– should have to explain to anyone else why they are choosing abortion. It is NO ONE else’s business. And no, we don’t need Lindsey Graham to ride in on a white horse and come up with an extremist federal abortion ban, especially since he is rumored to prefer the company of other men over women. I don’t understand why so many people are focused on abortion, when there are so many other problems in the world that affect people who have already been born. Why not focus much more attention on agendas like inflation, healthcare access, public safety, and international relations? You know– things that affect everybody?

Why don’t lawmakers listen to actual physicians about this issue? Mama Doctor Jones tweeted this just this morning:

Because people are pointing out medical emergencies that necessitate abortions– and YES, treatment for ectopic pregnancy is ABORTION– some “pro life” people are getting confused. Abortion is not a dirty word. Sometimes, it even happens naturally.

Another fair point by Mama Doctor Jones.

Not that I am upset that a lot of Republicans are facing uphill battles in their upcoming elections this year, but some of them need to realize that most people aren’t completely stupid. Taking away other people’s rights to choose, especially when planned or unplanned pregnancy is a condition you’ll never have to face, is just a bad idea. This summer, we’ve already seen the terrible unintended aftereffects of abortion bans. It’s only going to get worse. I think a lot of people who have given serious thought to this issue, for themselves, loved ones, or just people in general, have realized that this is an issue that politicians simply need to stay out of. Especially when they are Lindsey Graham. I don’t think he did his party any favors with this proposed federal legislation. It’s not going to pass, and it makes him look like an uninformed jackass. I’m glad to see that some people are finally seeing the light and voting accordingly. Sadly, some people are changing their minds, because they have been personally affected by the abortion bans. And some of those folks are people who were once vehemently “pro life”, but learned firsthand why being able to access abortion HEALTHCARE is essential for their own well-being.

I think it might be time for Mr. Graham to retire. Maybe his fellow Republicans will do what they can to convince Graham to find his next passion in life.

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healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Kansas shocks the hell out of me!

Good morning, folks! I woke up to the news about Kansas, and how voters there decided that they won’t tolerate abortion bans in their state. To that, I say BRAVO! I am pleasantly shocked to read that Kansans let good sense prevail and voted to allow individuals to maintain the right to make their own private, personal, healthcare decisions.

I know a lot of people think that abortion is absolutely disgusting and an abomination. If I’m honest, I find it pretty repulsive, too. But I also find many necessary medical interventions and tests repulsive. For instance, I wouldn’t be super excited to have a colonoscopy or a colposcopy, but I know those are procedures that save lives. Abortion can be life saving in many situations. No, I don’t cheer for them, but I do think that sometimes they are necessary, and I don’t feel it’s my place to intervene in another person’s decision to have one.

I think there will be some repercussions in the wake of this decision made by Kansas voters, which I know surprises a lot of people. I doubt that a lot of the Republican leaders in super red states will want to allow voters to decide on these issues, because they’ve seen that there’s a good chance that voters will vote to allow abortions. And now, there will be a lot of demand for abortions in Kansas, because people in red states who have banned the procedure will flock there for care. That will potentially make it tough for providers to keep up, and for Kansas residents who need care. Some people may decide to leave Kansas because of this decision, and some may decide to move there. That could mean a change in the local culture. Whether the change is positive or negative depends on the individual.

I read one comment from a 75 year old woman who is anti-abortion. It really irked me, because her opinion was based entirely on her religious beliefs. From the Washington Post:

Janice Dearinger, 75, a part-time alcohol and drug counselor in Shawnee, Kan., voted an early “yes” to the ballot referendum at Monticello Library on Friday.

She said that the media and the “Vote No” forces had used scare tactics and unfairly described the proposed amendment as a total ban on abortion; the Value Them Both amendment would have affirmed that there is “no Kansas constitutional right to an abortion” and given the legislature the power to regulate it. Some Kansas legislators have previously said they would sponsor bills saying life begins at conception, had the amendment passed.

“If you read what they’re trying to pass, it’s not about banning abortions altogether, it’s about limiting the ones that don’t need to be done,” Dearinger said. “They’re not saying you can’t have an abortion at all. That’s what the media is wanting you to hear.”

I want to ask Ms. Dearinger why she thinks it’s any uninvolved person’s place to determine which abortions “need to be done”, and which ones don’t? Why should anyone have to explain to another person why they want or need to have any medical procedure? It’s not her business. I presume that abortion will not be something she personally faces for the rest of her life. Why should someone of childbearing age have to ask permission of anyone to terminate a pregnancy if she is not prepared to gestate, for ANY reason?

I don’t trust legislators to make these decisions. I also don’t think they’ll stop at abortion. You know the old saying, “Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile?” That’s what I think could happen if we let lawmakers get a foothold in healthcare privacy rights, especially if they are Republicans. Republicans– or, at least this current incarnation of the Republican Party– are basically interested in MONEY. And while they don’t want to provide safety nets for the poor, it’s in their best interest to keep as many people poor and under control as possible. Poor people don’t have the freedoms that wealthier people have. They don’t have the voices or choices that people with money have. And a lot of people with money would just as soon keep the poor in their lot, slaving away for pittance wages while they get richer. Babies are expensive, and having one before one is ready can be financially devastating. Aside from that, sometimes abortions are simply required because without one, the mother will die.

Beau, as usual, making a lot of sense as he talks about why poor people aren’t nearly as free as wealthy people are.

I read another horror story yesterday about yet another young woman whose doctor told her she should have an abortion because of a health condition. Madison Underwood is a Medicaid patient in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where abortion bans are now in place. Her very much wanted 18 week old developing fetus had catastrophic developmental defects that were incompatible with life. Specifically, the fetus had not developed a skull, and the brain matter was leaking into the umbilical sac, which could make Madison deathly sick with sepsis. Madison was told that if she continued the pregnancy, her own life could be at stake. Her doctor advised her to go to Georgia, where at the time, abortions were still permitted, although bans are now in effect there. Abortions are allowed in Tennessee if the mother’s life is in danger, but doctors are now afraid to perform the procedure, because they don’t want to risk being prosecuted if their colleagues don’t agree with their medical opinions.

Underwood hadn’t even wanted to have an abortion. She had cried on her way to the clinic, and argued with her fiance as to what they should do. But there she was on the table, waiting for the procedure, and it was canceled. And then she and her fiance, already poor, had to travel many hours to another state so she could access necessary healthcare. They had to come up with gas money, time off work, and money for a hotel room, and all because of heartless, brainless, anti-choice people who hate women and can’t understand that sometimes abortion is very necessary healthcare. This should NOT be happening in the United States!

Adding to Madison Underwood’s sad story is the fact that her fiance’s mother supported abortion. Why? Because when she was twelve years old, she was raped and impregnated, and gave birth to a stillborn baby! As it was, Madison had to face throngs of protestors when she and her fiance went to the facility where Madison would have a D&E (dilation and evacuation) procedure. It would take two harrowing days. As they entered the facility to have necessary medical care, they had to tolerate overbearing idiots with signs and pictures of dead fetuses, demanding to know if they were “okay” with killing babies. When they said they were against abortion, but needed one for health reasons, one of the protestors asked if they trusted doctors over God. Whenever I think of people like that, I feel enraged. How dare they?!

I have just about had it with religious zealots. I’m tired of them imposing their moronic, myopic views on all other people, especially women. I’m tired of them interfering with personal, private, gut wrenching healthcare decisions that are NOT their business. I grew up hearing that Americans were free. We’re not free if legislators can insert themselves in a woman’s womb and force her to give birth. We can do better. I’m glad that people in Kansas showed the United States how things should be… and how people should vote, when it comes to abortion. I hope other states will follow suit.

In other pregnancy related news… Georgia has now declared that embryos can be listed as dependents on state tax returns. Residents can claim up to a $3000 deduction for any fetus whose heartbeat can be detected. On the surface, it sounds good… until you realize that a lot of people who want or need abortions are poor. So this provision won’t be helpful to them, because they don’t pay as much in taxes as wealthier people do. Moreover, I think this will open a Pandora’s Box that will lead to a lot of other issues, as people demand other privileges for the unborn, like driving in HOV lanes alone. 😉 Also… in order to qualify for the tax breaks, the person claiming an embryo will be obliged to provide relative medical records or other supporting documentation. That requirement– while not a violation of HIPAA, since HIPAA only applies to healthcare workers– will mean giving up healthcare privacy in exchange for saving a few bucks on taxes. And since a lot of pregnancies end in miscarriage, Georgia will be giving out a lot of money to people whose pregnancies never resulted in a live birth. That will not be popular with taxpayers.

Again… I am glad to be 50… and I’m glad to not be living in the States right now. We really need to straighten out this mess, and so many others.

Well… time to end this post and practice guitar. I made a new video yesterday, this time with me playing guitar. I don’t play super well, but I did play well enough that I got a copyright claim. Here it is, for those who are interested.

I should probably focus more on this instead of politics, if only so I learn to play better guitar!

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