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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Biden, money, politicians, politics, YouTube

I’m intrigued by the timing of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan…

Yesterday, I wrote about how President Joe Biden has announced a plan to forgive a portion of student loans for many American borrowers. Plenty of people are expressing their opinions about this idea. I’ve seen lots of people laud Mr. Biden for helping regular people who are struggling with student loan debt. And I’ve seen many people who are presumably angry that some people are getting “free money” when they’ve been “irresponsible.”

For the record, I don’t have a problem with Biden’s plan to forgive some educational debt. I won’t be benefiting personally from Biden’s “largesse”, but as I explained yesterday, the timing of my own school loans were fortuitous. I lucked into a low interest rate, which was very helpful for me. It was hard enough to get ahead of the loans even with that low rate. I see that now, a lot of people are paying significantly more in interest than I did. One friend shared the graphic below, which came from a longer, viral Facebook post:

Yes, I know signing for loans is a big deal, but how many 18 year olds– people we don’t even allow to legally drink a beer– understand what this will mean in the long run? Especially when they have been told since childhood how essential college is for a successful life in the United States.
The rest of the post… I think it makes a lot of sense… and cents.

As I mentioned before, I got my loans paid off after years of concentrated effort and gradually rolling larger payments into what I was regularly paying every month. After five years of paying the minimum, which barely covered the interest, I voluntarily started paying more and more. There was no penalty to prepay, and we could afford it, starting back in 2007, when Bill was in Iraq and temporarily got paid more. It wasn’t like I was spending money on anything exciting during that time, so I just rolled the extra money into paying off debts. I paid off Bill’s shitty high interest credit cards, too, and he was soon able to get a much better card. But if I’d had a higher interest rate, it would have been much harder to pay off the debts. I’d probably still be paying.

In any case, I am not upset that other people are getting help with their student loans that I won’t be getting. I’m just grateful that I don’t need the help, and that against all odds, I managed to pay off those loans. It makes no sense for me to be upset about this, either, because it’s a done deal, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There are plenty of other reasons to be angry right now.

For instance, I’m very upset about the fact that as of yesterday, abortion in Texas is virtually illegal. As of yesterday, a trigger law went into effect, making abortion a felony for those who provide the service. Yes, there are exceptions for when the mother’s life is at risk, but because of the political climate in Texas right now– and, oh, maybe the fact that it’s the number one death penalty state– physicians are reportedly committing malpractice and not giving pregnant women who actually need an abortion for medical reasons the care they need. Why? Because they don’t want to go to prison and be fined $100,000.

It occurred to me last night that the timing of Mr. Biden’s student loan assistance package is rather fortuitous, as the midterm elections approach. Lots of Republicans are positively GLEEFUL about overturning Roe v Wade. However, there is also evidence that a lot of people– Republicans included– are upset, worried, or even downright pissed that a political party is taking away a fundamental right from all women of childbearing age, not to mention their right to healthcare PRIVACY. If we learn anything from the results in Kansas, when voters were asked to vote on abortion rights, it’s that this is an issue that affects a whole lot of people. Some of the people who voted for abortion rights were, no doubt, Republicans.

I have also read reports of Republican politicians abandoning their party, because they simply can’t abide the cruel, intrusive, and downright stupid policies that today’s Republicans are pushing. Yes, there are still a lot of people who are vocal about supporting Trump and his ilk, but some conservatives are seeing the light. Some also don’t want to be associated with the likes of shady characters like Matt Gaetz, Ron De Santis, and, dare I say it? Trump himself.

I think that Biden’s decision to offer student loan help may sway some Republicans to vote blue in November. Not only would they be voting for women’s rights, healthcare privacy, and the right to have an abortion, but they would also be voting for much needed financial help with their loans instead of another corporate bailout. You can’t tell me, either, that Republicans who qualify for the $10,000 forgiveness of their student loans won’t take the help. Of course they’ll take it. Some will happily take that benefit as they loudly complain about it. I don’t remember hearing too many people from the Republican Party complaining about the temporary financial assistance Trump offered during COVID-19’s worst months.

Now, I could be completely wrong about this. Maybe the timing of Biden’s student loan announcement is completely unrelated to the cluster fuck being perpetrated by Republicans right now. However, I have a feeling I could be on to something. I also think the main reason Republicans are so upset about this development is because, ultimately, it will help a lot of the people they’d like to keep down… women, minorities, people who don’t identify as mainstream. This help will be useful to people who could use a financial leg up in order to improve their lots in life. For many people, the $10,000 will be a “drop in the bucket”, but some people’s loans will be completely paid off because of this help. And some will have their burdens greatly reduced. That simple fact will make Biden look pretty good to some of them.

On the other hand, the reverse could also be true. Some Democrats might not like Biden’s decision, either because it doesn’t go far enough, or because they agree that doing this “rewards irresponsible people”. However, my guess is that most Democrats who don’t like this plan will still vote blue, because they will still consider Democratic candidates better than the alternatives. I can’t imagine someone who supports progressive, humane, public policies voting for a Republican candidate over something like this. But then, much stranger things have happened, right?

I haven’t even mentioned some of the totally ridiculous and backwards school policies being enacted right now. I will never know why so many conservatives are so much more concerned about what’s in a teacher’s classroom library than they are about kids being killed at school by gun violence. I mean, they’ll do all they can to “save” a fetus from being aborted, even if the pregnant person isn’t ready or wanting to be a parent, but they don’t do anything about those same “babies” being blown apart in a classroom by some unhinged nut with a gun. And what if they happen to be reading a book about a kid with two dads when that happens? Personally, I just think that kids should be encouraged to read. I think teachers should be better supported for their efforts, because it’s not an easy job to educate kids, nor is it necessarily well paid or respected work. Every day, teachers put their lives on the line to see that children are properly educated, but we have elected officials doing everything in their power to make their job harder. No wonder so many good teachers are leaving the field. It seems that many Republicans just want the citizenry to be dumber.

So… kudos to Joe Biden for offering this help, especially at this point in time– as Trump is fighting many legal battles and people are in a tizzy over everything. Experience has taught me that money talks. A lot of regular people are fed up with the way the country is heading, and they want to see some real help and change. I don’t think it’s an accident that this student loan measure, controversial as it is, is being presented now, as Republicans are doing all they can to take away women’s rights, dumb down kids in school, and force us back into the Dark Ages. Some Republicans will appreciate Mr. Biden’s efforts enough to vote blue in November. And some of those people will become permanently former Republican voters, like I am.

Before I go… I want to share these videos I watched by Mr. Atheist yesterday. They were pretty infuriating. I will probably end up writing about “pro-life” activist Kristan Hawkins soon, but I won’t do it today, because this post is long enough. I’ve got laundry to fold and dogs to walk. But I do want to share them with those who read this post and need a new reason to be disgusted. Maybe, if anyone is interested, I’ll offer my thoughts about these videos tomorrow.

Mr. Atheist is right. I legitimately cringed when I heard Kristan Hawkins speak.
Yep… yikes is right.

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book reviews, healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Today, in the United States of Gilead…

Special thanks to my friend “Naphtalia” (not her real name) for today’s featured photo!

It’s another very warm morning in Germany. I kind of hate this time of year in Germany, because while it rarely gets as hot here as it does in my native Virginia or God forsaken Texas, air conditioning is a rarity. That makes for some uncomfortable days when it’s high summer, even with all the shades pulled down and a couple of portable air conditioners. I never run both ACs at the same time, either, because I don’t want to run up a big electric bill. They do electric bills differently here, though. Instead of charging different amounts based on monthly use, they do a yearly average and adjust at the end of the year. But still, I don’t want to be an energy hog, if I can help it.

Bill just bought oil for our house, to get us through the winter. This year, it cost about $1000 more than it did last year, thanks to Putin’s war against Ukraine. Fortunately, we’re able to afford it pretty easily. We stay in Germany largely because Bill makes really good money over here, but also because the lifestyle is much nicer, people are saner and less violent, and it’s cool to be able to drive to so many countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of home often, though. Missing my uncle’s funeral the other day was another reminder that I’ve been gone a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of beloved relatives for the last time. The United States is my home, but it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. People seem to be absolutely batshit nuts.

Still, I was delighted to read about Kansas yesterday, and voters’ decisions to vote for allowing abortion access. I think that was a rude wake up call for the more sensible Republicans out there. They overplayed their hand, and they will probably pay for it with some really tough elections. I have read about some scary elections results in Arizona, though, and apparently the Trump loyalists, drunk on the stolen election Kool-Aid rhetoric, are leading the way to Gilead inspired insanity. Not surprisingly, reasonable Republican, Rusty Bowers, who heroically testified in the January 6th sessions, was defeated by his Trump supporting opponent. I watched Bowers speak about January 6th again, the other day, and noticed that he was almost moved to tears. I was almost moved to tears listening to him, even though I don’t like his politics or religious beliefs. Bowers is a man of integrity, and those types are rapidly leaving the Republican Party.

I don’t think people realize that the power mad conservatives want to enslave them… keep them disenfranchised and begging for jobs that don’t pay enough. Keeping people pregnant, especially if they aren’t financially or health wise prepared for pregnancy, is certainly a big part of keeping them poor. The abortion bans are already proving dangerous for people who legitimately need to terminate pregnancies for health reasons, that they should be allowed to keep private. Personally, I am less concerned about no access to abortion than I am that politicians will soon push an agenda that makes healthcare privacy a thing of the past.

Health information is a very powerful asset, and getting people comfortable with the idea of giving up their confidentiality when it comes to health matters is a big step toward keeping them down. I don’t believe these folks will stop with denying abortion and contraception access. They would like to tear apart legal privacy protections for the citizenry, so they promote bullshit about the “sanctity of life” as a reason to deny abortions to people who want or need them, while idiots like Colorado legislator Lauren Boebert crow about their ridiculous gun control theories. Yesterday, I watched a video about how she claims people in Venezuela are eating dogs because they can’t have guns. Seriously!

Well worth watching, if only because the guy who made this video is awesome. Lauren’s personal assets don’t include having a functioning brain.

I read last night that extremely pro-life Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski, just two weeks shy of her 59th birthday, died in a car crash. Two of her staffers died with her. I didn’t know anything about Walorski until last night, when I saw the article from Reuters. I went to her Facebook page, where she had just recently posted about visiting a “crisis pregnancy center” in Indiana. Crisis pregnancy centers are places where a pro-life agenda is pushed. The goal is to get the person considering abortion to change their minds, sometimes by the unethical use of misinformation or religious dogma.

The comments were pretty bananas, as people squabbled over their respective political views. One guy was especially disgusting toward the pro-choice women who were commenting. Only a few realized, at that point, that Ms. Walorski is no longer among the living and won’t be pushing her pro-life agenda anymore. I only hope that whoever replaces her is more moderate in their views. Like a lot of people, I am tired of being held hostage by politicians who think their religious beliefs have any place in making laws that affect everyone. On the other hand, I see some really ugly comments about her sudden death, including the one below…

No matter what I might think about Jackie Walorski’s politics, I’m sure she had many loved ones. This is not any better than the awful things conservatives say to liberals.
Ouch.

I don’t cheer for Jackie Walorski’s sudden death, but I really hope with all my heart that whomever takes her place will have more heart and sense for moderation. The country is being torn apart by extremism, and it will lead to even more very ugly things in the future, if something isn’t done soon.

Last night, I finished reading Black Beauty to Bill, and once again, I was shocked by how relevant that book is, even today. It was written in 1877, but it addresses animal rights, politics, and religion, and how politics and religion can turn people into insufferable assholes. Here are just a couple of quotes from the book, one of which I recently shared a few days ago.

“Your master never taught you a truer thing,” said John; “there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham—all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out.”

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 46). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws. I dare say they’ll be angry, but every man must do what he thinks to be the best for his country.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 142). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“My boy, I hope you will always defend your sister, and give anybody who insults her a good thrashing—that is as it should be; but mind, I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many ‘blue’ blackguards as there are ‘orange’, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.

“Why, father, I thought blue was for Liberty.” “My boy, Liberty does not come from colors, they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is, liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half-understand—that’s your liberty!”

“Oh, father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on who ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be, and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 143). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

I announced to some Facebook friends that I was reading Black Beauty to Bill, and one of them, a British lady who used to teach school in Britain, said it would have him in tears. Sure enough, it did. Black Beauty has a happy ending, but it really is a very good book that tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s surprisingly relevant today, on many levels. I’m glad I read it again as an adult (it was never meant to be children’s literature), and I’m so glad I shared it with Bill. He loved it, and never would have read it on his own. It’s a great book for animal lovers– especially horse lovers– but I think everyone should read it. Anna Sewell was very wise. Her book promotes common sense and compassion, not just toward animals, but also toward human beings. And it’s a reminder that things were bananas in the 19th century, too.

Anyway… it’s going to be another steamy day in Germany, and I’m in the middle of changing the sheets, and will soon be vacuuming, which is not my favorite thing to do. So I guess I’ll end this post and get on with it. Let’s hope for better news in the coming days.

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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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book reviews, true crime

Repost: Dr. Debora Green… the face of evil

I posted this piece on my original blog on February 22, 2014. It contains a review I wrote for Epinions.com on September 29, 2003. It appears here as/is.

Maybe fourteen years ago or so, I read a book by Ann Rule called Bitter Harvest.  The book was about Dr. Debora Green, a woman who, as a young woman, seemed to have everything going for her.  She was extremely intelligent and had sailed through high school, college, and medical school.  She was pretty and talented and had a thriving career.  She had started out as an emergency room doctor, but then decided she’d rather be an oncologist.  She married her second husband, Dr. Michael Farrar, a cardiologist in the Kansas City area, and bore him three healthy children, a boy and two girls.

As the years passed, Debora Green’s career hit the skids.  She drank too much, was subject to rages, and gained a lot of weight.  She failed her medical boards and eventually lost her license to practice medicine.  And finally, she determined she wanted her husband dead.  As she poisoned the children against their father by filling their heads with lies, she served him food that she had prepared.  The food contained castor beans, which is where ricin comes from.  Ricin is a deadly poison and the contaminated food made Dr. Farrar very sick. 

But Dr. Farrar didn’t die.  He just went through hell.  Finally, Debora Green decided to off him and her children, once and for all.  In October 1995, she set fire to the $400,000 home they had recently purchased, despite the fact Farrar and Green were separated.  She told her thirteen year old son, Tim, not to try to escape the blaze because the fire department was on the way.  Her six year old daughter, Kelly, asphyxiated, along with their dog, Boomer.  And ten year old Kate jumped off the roof to save herself, with no help from her mother.

Dr. Debora Green was eventually tried and convicted for murder and attempted murder.  She sits in prison in Kansas and will soon be celebrating her 63rd birthday.  I thought about this case recently and looked up Debora Green to see if anything new had happened.  I came across this photo.

This woman’s eyes look like pure evil to me.

I’m sure prison life is hard and that has something to do with the way this woman looks.  But to me, she looks like a brute.  It’s hard to believe she was once considered beautiful and brilliant.  I would not want to meet her in a dark alley, let alone go to her for treatment of cancer.

The first time I read that book, I had never run into someone like Debora Green.  Now that I’ve learned about narcissists and sociopaths, this story is easier to believe.

I liked Ann Rule’s book on this subject. Below is my review from 2003.

Is the mother of the year award in the cards for Dr. Debora Green?

Not likely. As a matter of fact, she’s rotting in prison as I write this. Why? Because she murdered two of her three children by burning down her house and tried to poison her husband by spiking his food with ricin. How did all of this come about? The whole sordid tale is spun for us in Rule’s 1997 true crime book, Bitter Harvest, a truly amazing story of a brilliant woman whose personality seemed to change dangerously by the minute.

Debora Jones (aka Deb) started life simply enough. Born to Bob and Joan (pronounced Joanne) Jones, she and her sister Pam grew up in rural western Illinois. Both girls were exceptionally bright. Deb never earned less than an “A” in school– her IQ was tested at 165. She was athletic, witty, musically talented, pretty, and popular, and she had a special gift for chemistry. After high school, Deb went to the University of Illinois to study chemical engineering; however, she was told that there was a glut of engineers. She ended up majoring in chemistry: pre med by default. It was in college that she earned her first “B”, a devastating blow to her ego. Nevertheless, she was able to graduate in three years and go on to medical school at the University of Kansas. During that time, she was married to Duane J. Green, an engineering PhD student at the University of Illinois.

After medical school, Deb became an emergency room physician. She divorced Green and met Michael Farrar, a medical student four years her junior. Farrar fell in love with the attractive, vivacious senior resident who drove a sportscar. They married in May 1979, but Deb kept Green’s name for “professional reasons”. In the early years of her marriage to Farrar, Deb supported Mike with her ER physician’s income as he completed his training as a cardiologist. However, she soon grew tired of the mundane cases she saw in the emergency room and decided to change her specialty to oncology (cancer).

Mike recalled that he knew he was making a mistake as he walked down the aisle on his wedding day. His parents didn’t like Deb and her parents didn’t like him. Nevertheless, he went through with the wedding. On the first night of their honeymoon, he had a hard time getting Deb to consummate their marriage; she preferred to read a novel instead. When they did have sex, it was uninspired. The couple managed to have three children anyway, a boy, Tim in January 1982, a girl, Kate (called Lissa in this book) in December 1984, and another girl, Kelly in December 1988.

Mike enjoyed great success in his career as a cardiologist and was regarded as a rising star in the medical community of the Kansas City area. Deb, however, experienced problems. While she was technically quite proficient, her patients found her cold and uncaring. Her colleagues found her hard to work with, especially when they disagreed with her. Deb rarely kept up with new advances in her field and was unable to pass her boards, while Mike managed to pass with flying colors. While their marriage had never been good, it soon became worse. At one point, Mike caught her stealing painkillers from her patients. Deb eventually ended up leaving medicine altogether.

More disturbing were Deb’s temper tantrums, which she would sometimes indulge in public. Mike would usually see her go off in airports when flights were delayed. She’d cuss out ticket agents, using the “F” word and various other epithets liberally in front of her children and throwing her professional title and Mike’s around in order to get her way.

Despite the horror of their marriage, Deb would not grant Mike a divorce, so Mike moved out of their upscale Kansas City, Missouri house and into an apartment. Four months after his move, Deb implored him to move back home, promising him that things would be better. Mike decided that if he complied, they would need a larger house. They found one in Prarie Village, Kansas, and at a bargain. But at the last minute, Mike changed his mind. Not long afterward, the Kansas City house caught on fire, forcing Deb and the kids to move into Mike’s apartment for awhile. The reconciliation was enough to convince Mike to cave in and buy the house in Kansas, for considerably more than he had originally agreed to pay for it. The fire in Kansas City was ruled an accident, so insurance paid for the damage. Mike and Deb ended up making $20,000 on its sale.

From there, things really started to go south, until the night of October 24th, 1995, when Tim and Kelly Farrar were killed by fire in their parents’ beautiful home. On several occasions during August and September 1995, Mike was in the hospital, suffering from a mysterious illness that brought him to the brink of death over and over again. His symptoms baffled doctors, until Mike found castor beans in Deb’s purse. Castor beans are very poisonous. They contain ricin, which is the third deadliest toxin on earth, next to botulism and plutonium.

I realize that I’ve given quite a bit of information here, but really I’ve only scratched the surface of this very convoluted story. Ann Rule has done a great job of presenting a horrifying case in great detail. There’s a lot of information to digest, but it’s interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading, even though the book is 482 pages long. Rule includes pictures which I found astounding– they show how Deb Jones changed from her high school picture to her middle aged adult picture. As a teen and young adult, Deb had been quite attractive. By the time she was in her forties, she no longer resembled the same person. She had gained a lot of weight, cut off all of her hair, and even her face looked different. In short, the woman was unrecognizable.

If you’ve ever read one of Ann Rule’s books before, you know that she provides several components to her books– the background story, the legal story, and the police story are a few that spring to mind right now. Readers get to examine Deb’s cold detachment as police interviewed her after the fire. Readers also get to read the accounts of other family members and witnesses who noted Deb’s strange reaction to the loss of two of her children.

I’ll admit that it took me awhile to get into this book the first time I read it, but once I started to really read it, I got hooked. This is definitely a fascinating read, and I for one am very glad that this is one mother who won’t be celebrating Mother’s Day in the comfort of her own home. 

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