book reviews

A review of The Family Roe: An American Story, by Joshua Prager

According to Amazon.com, I bought Joshua Prager’s extremely comprehensive and timely book, The Family Roe: An American Story on September 13, 2021. I have a feeling I decided to buy the book because my home state, Texas, had just passed horrifying legislation allowing private citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets a pregnant person in getting an abortion. It also effectively made abortions illegal after six weeks of gestation. Since most people don’t even know they’re pregnant at that point, it pretty much bans all abortions in the second largest state in the Union.

Although personally, I am past the point of having to worry a lot about pregnancy, and I live in Germany, where people are a hell of a lot more sensible and humane, I was, and still am, very upset about this law. I’m also upset that on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 that made abortions legal across the United States. Thanks to the Trump packed Republican leaning Supreme Court, the legality of abortion will be decided by states, and at this writing, about half of the states have made laws restricting it or even outright banning it. Yes, I’m pissed about it for MANY reasons, most of which I’ve already blogged about extensively. I’m not going to get into that in this book review. But now that I know more about the origins of Roe v Wade, I’m even more outraged that so many people apparently value the unborn over the born.

Joshua Prager has written an extremely well-researched volume about the history of Roe v Wade and the people behind the case. Not only did Prager interview a lot of people for this book, he also presented many different angles to the ruling. He includes the story of Mildred Jefferson, a Black woman who served as the mouthpiece for the pro life movement for decades. Jefferson graduated from Texas College in three years, but was considered too young to enter medical school upon finishing college. She earned a master’s degree in biology from Tufts University, and was the first Black woman to enter and graduate from Harvard Medical School. She trained as a surgeon, but it was her anti-abortion work that put her on the map. Prager includes her fascinating story in this book.

Also covered are Texas lawyers, Linda Coffee and the late Sarah Weddington, both of whom were young women in 1973, looking to launch their careers in the age of sexism. The lawyers had little in common with each other. Weddington, who recently died, was a feminine blonde woman with the gift of gab and a good public face. She and Coffee had been law school classmates, although they weren’t friends. More introverted Linda Coffee was the one who found the plaintiff, wrote the initial petitions, and filed the lawsuit. After working on Roe v Wade, Coffee went on to work on bankruptcy cases, and later became very reclusive. She suffered from financial issues and her law license was suspended because she didn’t pay the necessary fees to keep it updated. She eventually quit practicing law, moved into a shack with her partner, and has a SNAP card (food stamps). Coffee’s story is covered in detail, and like the rest of the book, is quite juicy.

The two attorneys met Norma McCorvey, a woman who wanted to abort her third child, whom she had conceived out of wedlock. Norma came from a very poor family where a lot of the women were teen moms, and she was no exception. Besides the Roe baby, Norma had two other daughters: Melissa, who was being raised by her mother, Mary, and Jennifer, who was given up for adoption, and was raised by an Armenian anesthesiologist and his wife. The third baby, Shelley, was not aborted, as the lawsuit was not settled in time for Norma to have the abortion procedure. She was born June 2, 1970, given up for adoption, and raised in Washington State, where she was blissfully unaware of the notoriety surrounding her conception, until one fateful day in 1988, when she was contacted by reporters from the National Enquirer.

Prager brilliantly covers Norma McCorvey’s convoluted and hair raising story, but he also writes about her daughters, who eventually met each other as adults. Norma died a few years ago, and she was a bit of an opportunist and a grifter. She was a lesbian who could be bought by the evangelical and Catholic groups who wanted her to become a poster child for the pro life movement. McCorvey did, seemingly just for the money given to her by the church groups, who also wanted her to renounce her sexuality. Norma’s second child, Jennifer, is also a lesbian.

Also included is information about Planned Parenthood, eugenics, and Margaret Sanger, as well as the history of abortion. But what was especially impressive to me was the way Prager told Norma McCorvey’s story. She was not a particularly sympathetic character, and yet she was very fascinating. Prager calls her a “borderline” (meaning the personality disorder), but frankly I see a lot in common with narcissists I have known. She was strongly motivated by money and prestige, was disingenuous and disloyal to her friends and family members, and never missed a chance to get over on other people. Still, Prager manages to keep her human.

You might be thinking that this book must be long, since it covers so many angles. If you’re thinking that, you would be right. It’s taken me over a month to finish this book, the bulk of which is over 400 pages. There are a couple hundred pages of notes, as well as an extensive bibliography, author’s note, and photos. I worked pretty hard to get through this book, and at times, I wondered if I’d ever finish it. That being said, I can see that it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, as well as a few other prestigious awards. Having now read The Family Roe, I can see why it got such a good reception. It really is incredibly comprehensive, yet it manages to be a juicy page turner. My hat is off to Joshua Prager’s writing chops. He’s definitely got a gift.

I suppose if I had a criticism to make, it would be that this book was so long… and it was hard to keep every aspect of the stories straight. There were many “moving parts” in this tome, so reading it required diligence, discipline, and considerable patience. Maybe Prager could have tried to condense it a bit, or at least be more concise in some of the information he provides. However, I am very glad I made the effort to read The Family Roe. I think it was time well spent. This book will likely become required reading for some, as Roe v Wade will certainly be studied for years to come. I’m sure some readers, particularly “pro-life” males, might think Prager is biased toward abortion rights. I didn’t get that sense myself, but even if I did think that, I myself believe that abortion is important healthcare that must be preserved. It boggles my mind that some people lament the “loss” of millions of souls that were aborted. I wonder if they’ve considered what the world would be like if those abortions never happened and all of those people needed to be housed, clothed, fed, provided medical care and educated. I wonder if they’ve considered how many women, denied abortion, would have either died, suffered dire health or financial consequences, or been stuck in abusive relationships if they weren’t allowed to make that very personal and private decision for themselves.

The Family Roe is definitely worth a full five stars out of five. But, if you choose to read it, be prepared to be busy for awhile. It’s not a light or easy read, and it will probably keep you occupied for a good spell. On the other hand, I can’t read the way I used to, so maybe it’s just me, and my habit of falling asleep when I try to get into books these days. Anyway, now on to my next book, which will definitely NOT be about abortion.

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fashion, good news, rants, social media

Energy surges… my body is finally kicking the crap out of the virus.

I think I’m starting to feel somewhat better now. I can tell, because when I start getting over a sickness, I get a surge of energy, and I start getting annoyed by little chores that need to be completed. Yesterday, the weather was cooler, so I took the dogs on a much needed walk. I ended up walking longer than I had planned, because there was a lady sweeping the narrow pathway where we usually go when I’m feeling lazy or sick. I didn’t want to get in her way or have to maneuver past her. When we got back to the house, I had every intention of vacuuming, because I always do that on Thursdays. But I was, all of a sudden, so tired that I hosed off the sweat in the shower and laid down on my bed. Before I knew it, I was sound asleep for two solid hours, complete with vivid dreams about a woman from my childhood to whom I haven’t spoken since the early 80s.

I went downstairs after my nap, noting that it was mid afternoon, and I just really didn’t feel like vacuuming. The vacuum remained in the closet, and I pulled a notice taped to my front door, letting me know that the chimney sweep is coming. In Germany, it’s a law that chimney sweeps have to inspect every year, even in homes that don’t have fireplaces. In our old house, we didn’t have a fireplace, but we did have a visit from the chimney sweep every year– a pretty brunette lady who was quick and polite about her business. Former landlady would always show up to “supervise” her work (and be nosey). In this house, we do have a fireplace, but our current landlord doesn’t feel the need to bother us or “supervise”. So I have to wait for the chimney sweep. It’s a good thing we weren’t away, since we got very little notice. Hopefully, I won’t share germs with him.

Bill got home last night at about 8:00 pm. Arran was as delighted to see him as I was. We had a little dinner and beer, and went to bed. I got up a little later than usual, and Bill was making us breakfast. I started a load of laundry. Bill said he thought he’d try to come home early, and I remarked that I hoped he’d be home in time to deal with the chimney sweep. After he left for work, I went up to my trusty iMac and started thinking about what I wanted today’s topic to be. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming urge to vacuum, in spite of a coughing fit. I went to the kitchen, got the vacuum, plugged it in, and briefly considered getting the laundry. Then I realized that I’m so slack about vacuuming, that I could just vacuum and be done with that dreaded chore very quickly. It’s not even 9:30 am, and I’ve already done laundry, vacuumed, and written half a post. I think I still have the energy to walk the dogs, turn on the robot mower, and deal with the chimney sweep! So let’s hear it for strong immune systems! Maybe by tomorrow, I’ll be even closer to my old self. I might even try to weed whack a little.

I still don’t know if this was COVID or a cold. It felt mostly like a cold. I had something similar last month, only my nose ran a lot more, and I didn’t have a sore throat. If it was COVID, it wasn’t bad at all, as sicknesses go. I think that’s proof that vaccines work, even though I know I’ve read comments from people who have said they were unvaccinated and didn’t get really sick with the current COVID variant. Maybe the mild illness isn’t such a good thing, though. Maybe it gives people a false sense of security when COVID doesn’t bite very hard. Then, they get really sick with a different variant. I won’t pretend to know… What I do know is that nothing I’ve had so far as come even close to what I think was swine flu in 2013. That shit knocked me on my ass for a solid week, and I was coughing and fatigued for many weeks afterwards.

Having typed all of that, I now realize that if that was COVID, it was really contagious. I wasn’t in super close contact with anyone last week, except for when we went to the wine stand on Friday, and when we went to AAFES on Sunday, to pick up a few things. We did talk to one person who said her partner had been sick with COVID, but we weren’t that physically close to her. She was probably the source of the sickness, though.

I’m still plowing through my book about Roe v. Wade, marveling at how very comprehensive and well researched it is. Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) was a very complicated woman, but there were so many other interesting and complex characters in the story of Roe v. Wade. I look forward to finishing the book so I can write about it. I think it will make for an interesting blog post, which will probably parent a few other blog posts. 😉 And while Roe v. Wade may have been a very flawed decision, I still believe, and continue to see strong evidence that overturning the ruling is going to have tragic and devastating consequences for a lot of people. I continue to be saddened by the terrible and ignorant comments people have about abortion. Are Americans really that uninformed about why abortions are necessary sometimes? Do so many people really think that the only people who have abortions are heartless, irresponsible, awful people who are loose and careless? Do people really believe that using pregnancy as a “punishment” is a good idea?

I am genuinely heartsick about it, even though that particular ruling won’t affect me. I did read a comment from a woman last night who wrote that she got pregnant at age 50. Fortunately, she had a miscarriage, because the prospect of being pregnant at 50 was “horrifying” for her. I read a comment from another woman, who at age 51, wrote that she was going to get her tubes tied. Obviously, this is a woman who hasn’t reached menopause yet, just as I haven’t. Some asshole MAN wrote, “I think you’re good, ‘Grandma’.” Seriously? What an inappropriate and tone deaf comment by an ignoramus. I hope no woman ever lets that guy get close to them. He shouldn’t be breeding!

Can I just say I’m so sick of those kinds of rude, dismissive, snarky comments from people? And I’m also sick of people who “react” to things they haven’t bothered to read, or in the case of videos, haven’t watched. Yesterday, I shared a video by this hilarious androgynous person named River. I think River is technically a male, but they present as female– or a princess, even. River often comments on the British Royal Family and fashion, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are frequent topics. Yesterday, River made me laugh as they shared a pretty pink ring “Second Hand Suzy” purchased. River said that they didn’t have a pink ring… at least not one that one can wear on a finger! I thought that was hilarious and shared the video, which had a title that suggested it would be about throwing shade at Meghan Markle. River is actually quite kind and fair to Meghan, but I still got an “angry” reaction from a friend… who didn’t even bother to check out what she was reacting to. I know it happens constantly and almost everyone is occasionally guilty of doing it, but it’s still annoying. Why not just keep scrolling instead of making erroneous assumptions? Leaving angry reactions to friends, particularly when they aren’t really warranted, is kind of disrespectful.

The reason I shared this is at about 2:33, and my reason for sharing it has NOTHING to do with Meghan Markle.

I don’t like most of the Facebook reactions, anyway, because people use them inappropriately. On the other hand, there are times when I can feel satisfied leaving an angry reaction to someone’s rude comment rather than firing back at them. Sigh… social media is such a mixed bag, isn’t it? Remember the days when you had to communicate face to face or by letter? Seems like life was so much less complicated then. Someday, I hope someone will come up with a better version of social media. Or I’ll just simply stop caring about it.

Well… I suppose it’s time to wrap up this post and walk the dogs, so I’ll be ready when the chimney sweep gets here. I doubt Bill will be home early enough. He has to take the bus home from work, since he had to get a rental car for his overnight to Stuttgart. I need to take the dogs out for their walk… ride this wave of energy while it exists. Because, just as today’s featured photo suggests, sometimes energy surges are tragically fleeting. I’m just glad the vacuuming is done. I hate vacuuming. I need a riding vacuum.

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condescending twatbags, ethics, Ex, modern problems, rants, social media, social welfare

I got your “cog dis” right here, lady…

Warning… this rant probably makes me seem like a complete bitch. I don’t care.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. July 4th isn’t a holiday in Germany, but Bill gets the day off, because he works for an American company. So he’s got big plans to cook ribs on the grill, and as I write this, he’s putting the sheets on the bed that I washed after we got up this morning. We have beautiful weather again today, so it would be fun to go do something, but I think the dogs would be pissed off if we ventured out again. Besides, it’s Monday, and a lot of restaurants and shops have their Ruhetag on Mondays. After I’m done writing this post, I’ll probably practice guitar and then try to read more of my latest book, which is about Roe v. Wade. When I started reading it, the ruling hadn’t yet been overturned. It’s surreal to read about how the law came about now… and the story behind Norma McCorvey, who was “Jane Roe” in the famous 1973 lawsuit that led to American women having the right to get abortions.

I don’t really want to write about abortion again. I’m tired of writing about it, arguing about it, and reading the really disgusting, misogynistic, disrespectful comments from “pro-birthers”. And yet, I feel kind of compelled, since we’re all kind of saturated in this mess right now. It’s Independence Day, but I know a lot of women don’t feel very “free” anymore. Last night, as I was reading more comments on Twitter, I was reminded of a post I wrote in 2019 about a truly creepy Trump appointee who pushed his pro-life views on migrant women and refugees. In that post, I asked if we were now living in 1970s era Romania.

I’m sure a lot of people don’t know what I’m referring to when I mention 1970s Romania. Younger people who weren’t around when the Eastern Bloc was still communist, and the Soviet Union still existed, might not have heard of Romania’s Decree 770. From 1967 until 1989, women in Romania were basically forced to give birth for the state. Women were strictly tracked by gynecologists on a monthly basis. Those who were 40-45 (depending on the year) were expected to have four or five children. Contraception and abortion were outlawed for the vast majority of women. And a WHOLE lot of babies ended up in orphanages, not because they were actual orphans, but because their parents couldn’t afford to take care of them.

Many of the unlucky children who landed in orphanages became institutionalized. They weren’t held enough, did not receive love, and that affected their mental and emotional health. A lot of those babies were also in poor physical health; they received blood transfusions, some of which were tainted with HIV or delivered with used needles. Consequently, a lot of Romanian children in orphanages contracted AIDS.

I’m not saying that this is what will happen in the United States. Obviously, we know a lot more about HIV and AIDS now than we did in the 1980s. There are also a lot more drugs available to treat AIDS and HIV infections. But I do think that a lot of issues mentioned in this article from New Europe will come to pass. Romanian families were severely impacted with the pressure to birth. A lot of women were reluctant to have sex with their husbands, which resulted in family strife, abuse, abandonment, and general unhappiness.

People who are cheering about this loss of rights for women most likely haven’t thought very long and hard about how we will all be affected by forcing women to have babies they don’t want, can’t afford, and aren’t ready to parent. Oh, but there’s always adoption, right? Right… except there are already about 400,000 kids in foster care, waiting to be adopted. People are eager to adopt healthy infants. They aren’t so interested in the older kids who languish in the system until they age out and find themselves on their own, often without a lot of life skills other than street smarts.

I imagine that adoption could become big business again, with lawyers and private agencies brokering babies, just as they did in older times, when women didn’t have the right to choose. Maybe those adoptions will turn out okay for some kids… or maybe they’ll be tragic, as some people find out they aren’t equipped to raise another person’s child.

Once again, I give you Ex’s example. She went on a public Twitter tear last night, as Mark Hamill did what a lot of celebrities are doing right now. He tweeted a picture of a cartoon couple with the caption, “We will adopt your baby.”

Har de har har har…

Someone angrily tweeted back to Mark Hamill that she was an adoptive mother and she was offended that people were attacking adoptive parents with this trend of derisively sharing photos of couples offering to adopt.

Ugh… I hate it when people call other people “hon”. It’s so condescending!

Several people pointed out to this person that people weren’t attacking adoptive couples, they were attacking virtue signaling “anti-choice” people who want to force women to birth, and then actually WON’T adopt a child.

Glad you ended up with a child who is healthy and happy… and I hope you DO honor your son’s bio parents– especially his bio mom. It was her body that took a beating so you could be a parent.

Ex follows Mark Hamill, and she was adopted, so naturally, she chimed in. I couldn’t believe some of the bullshit she was peddling. I mean, it sounded “good”, but I know about a lot of what goes on behind the Twitter account. For twenty years, I’ve been sitting here watching and experiencing the “aftereffects of Ex”. And well, I gotta say, there’s clearly a lot of “cog dis” going on.

It’s no secret that I despise my husband’s ex wife for many very valid reasons. However, I also recognize that she did legitimately suffer horrific abuse when she was a child. She did NOT land in an adoptive family where she was loved, cherished, and taken care of as all children should be. The end result is that she visits her hellish childhood on anyone close to her, and engages in some pretty serious “cog dis”. Her tweets sound good in theory, but the reality of how she actually behaves is something entirely different, which is easy to verify, if you know where to look.

I give you Ex’s tweets on this subject. Her comments are italicized, while bolded comments are from other users, and my comments are in parentheses.

I’ll admit… I would never, for any reason have an abortion personally. But I would never choose for anyone else what they should do either. It’s that whole being an American and being a Christian thing… judging others or commanding others doesn’t sit well with me. (she wouldn’t, because she’s 55 years old now, and her sweet bird of youth has flown… and also, children make excellent weapons against her ex husbands and their families… Truthfully, though, I would not be surprised if Ex would NEVER abort, even if it might save her life to do so. She likes attention.)

You’re doing what we all should do if we can… changing the life of one child at a time. I’ll tell you; I could never ever have an abortion. Not for anything in the world. I just refuse to believe that I have the right to tell anyone else what to do. (except she doesn’t mind telling her husbands and children what to do– and anyone else with a connection to her children, even if doing what she wants them to do is unhealthy, unwise, or financially disastrous… Woe be unto anyone who defies her, too. She will retaliate in twisted and horrible ways.)

Well, I could add that by continuing to have a poor class of people, the 1% could maintain power over the country easily. (I don’t disagree with her here, although she doesn’t do much to prevent poverty in her own home.)

Mark, adoption is a wonderful option. My own father was adopted when he was a skinny, sickly, weak infant (about 1939-1940). My grandfather’s first wife went to adopt and she said, “Show me the baby who is in the most need of care.” That baby grew up and at age 30, became my dad.

This is a wonderful story!!! So happy for you and your father. If only everyone who wanted a child felt this way we would not have 400k children in foster are. I was adopted, also. I’m grateful for my life, but it has been so very hard to know I was an accidental bastard child. (Ex was responding to the tweet I bolded. I find it interesting that she refers to herself as an “accidental bastard child”, when she’s also referred to herself as a descendent of a famous Scottish clan. I don’t know if her ties to the famous Scottish clan are through her careless bio parents who had an affair, or her terrible adoptive parents, who severely abused and neglected her when she was a child. I was an “accident child”, too, but my parents were married. I was also abused, though not as badly as Ex was.)

I know abortion debate rages. I was adopted… living hell… sexually assaulted for 7 years by my STEP father (mom married 7 times). I am glad I wasn’t aborted, but, all these “I will adopt your baby.” folks make me angry. They want only perfect babies; that isn’t always possible! (If she had been aborted, it would have spared a whole lot of people significant pain and grief… But, in fairness, Bill is enjoying getting to know younger daughter again, after being denied her company for 15 years. Too bad she wasn’t my daughter, so she could know her father better.)

It is so sad you posted this. You have 3 kids and worth $20M. Do you even understand a) how hard it is and b) how much it costs to adopt a kid? My wife and I looked into it and it is impossible. So many great people out there that can’t have kids that would be great parents.

There are countless children waiting… desperately in need of good parents, their lives being wasted in the foster care system! These couples who will adopt only babies are selfish and not the kind of people who should be parents. Being a parent requires unconditional love! (again, a response to someone else… and unconditional love is not something she has shown to her children. We know this because Bill witnessed it, and others have told us about the lengths she went to as she tried to maintain control of her offspring. One time, she reportedly attempted suicide as a way of keeping younger daughter under her thumb. But, in fairness, I doubt the vast majority of people are truly capable of “unconditional love”, even regarding their own kids.)

Children in the foster care system need good parents more than anyone. They desperately need to be loved and properly cared for. (true… and I’m glad it doesn’t appear that she’s trying to adopt a foster kid.)

People only want to adopt newborns. Countless children grow up parentless in the foster care system. (and some end up in hellish foster homes with “parents” who are only interested in money, and exploit the children for their own use and gratification… sounds like someone else we know.)

Exactly! 500k children who need a loving caring forever home but people will not adopt them because they are not perfect little baby packages of joy. EVERY CHILD deserves to be loved, no matter what! When we have no children in foster care I will believe “we will adopt” signs. (true enough, I guess… but I don’t know that she should be speaking about this, given her track record of parental alienation and irresponsible behavior.)

Not to mention the fact that Pro-life folks want to BAN CONTRACEPTIVES. How irresponsible is that? (does she have much experience with using contraception? Other than pressuring her husbands to get snipped for her?)

What a totally false and reprehensible thing to say. I was the victim of sexual assault by my step father for 7 years. My mother knew; I told her. She did nothing. What would you have said to me as a 9 year old child if I had become pregnant? That I was irresponsible? (again, true enough… and I’m so sorry that happened to her, because that abusive treatment contributed to turning her into the person she is now.)

I know it seems like I’m being super hard on Ex. Like I said, I know she has suffered greatly in her life. She’s not the only one, though, and plenty of people have been abused and not turned into parental alienators, liars, and exploiters. She puts on a perfectly reasonable public facade on Twitter, but behind closed doors, it’s a totally different story. And if you watch what she does, you can see that she’s quite full of shit… and cognitive dissonance.

My perfectly lovely and kind husband was denied the right to be a father to his daughters, and his ex stepson, whom he basically raised, because his ex wife is so damaged by her crappy childhood… a childhood she spent with adoptive parents who were, in no way, equipped to be good parents. Her pain has caused a lot of ripple effects to innocent people, including yours truly. I never got to know my stepdaughters because of her selfishness, nor was I able to have my own children, due to her greediness and irresponsible, impulsive behavior.

Personally, I think that sometimes, abortion is the most humane and responsible choice there is. It would have been a blessing to many people to have access to it prior to 1973. Not having access to it beyond 2022 is going to cause many, many problems… problems that I don’t think the pro-birth set have considered. I do hope that some people who agree with outlawing abortion will take up my challenge and read about Romania’s Decree 770. It might be an eye opener, that could serve to cut through some of that “cog dis” that is clouding so many people’s judgment right now.

And, just to end this post on an outrageous note, I just spotted this totally disgusting tweet by a man who thinks a ten year old child can consent to having sex…

I didn’t think it was possible, but Twitter is even more horrible than Facebook is…

Immediately following the creep’s tweet was this moronic comment from a woman in North Carolina. I probably shouldn’t follow “Bad Medical Takes”, because there are some pretty infuriating retweets there. I can’t believe how delusional some people are… Cog dis abounds!!!

I doubt this idiot is a doctor, but my mom was 10 when she started having periods. Bill’s mom was 9. It totally is possible for 10 year olds to conceive. It’s called “precocious puberty“, and these days, more girls are experiencing it than ever before.
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ethics, law, obits, religion

Sarah Weddington’s death brings out the pro-life trolls…

Sarah Weddington has just died. She was 76 years old, and had been in poor health. Nowadays, some people might think that 76 is kind of young for a person to die, but Sarah Weddington had already made history by the time she was 26. She definitely led a full and impressive life, even if pro-lifers don’t think so.

Back in 1971, Sarah Weddington was a recent law school graduate from Texas who was having trouble finding work because she was a woman. That year, having never before tried a case, she and her co-counsel, Linda Coffee, began presenting arguments on what would eventually be a landmark victory that gave American women the right to have an abortion. The two went before the Supreme Court, and on January 22, 1973, the court ruled that a Texas state law banning abortion except to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional. Weddington’s work on Roe v. Wade was groundbreaking, and whether or not pro-life advocates want to admit it, that law has actually saved a lot of lives.

Weddington got involved with Roe v. Wade because she was friends with women who were helping university students and others find doctors who would illegally perform abortions, or directing them to countries were abortions were legal. One of the women involved with this effort asked Ms. Weddington if she knew if they could be held liable, and prosecuted as accomplices. Weddington did not know the answer to that question, but said she would research the matter for free.

That was when she got in touch with Linda Coffee, who was a fellow University of Texas law school graduate, and had more experience in the matter. It was 1969, and Coffee was representing Norma Jean McCorvey, a homeless woman who was seeking an abortion. In December 1969, Coffee wrote Weddington a letter, asking if she’d like to join forces as co-counsel for McCorvey’s case. The two met a couple months later. and the wheels of progress toward women’s reproductive choice in the United States began to turn.

It was in December 13, 1971 that Weddington and Coffee began to plead their case to the highest court in the USA. Weddington was a star who enjoyed the public stage. Linda Coffee, while brilliant, was not as impressive to look at and didn’t enjoy the limelight as much. According to The New York Times, Coffee could come off looking “bedraggled”, and Weddington was younger and prettier. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, which in those days, apparently made her more “optically appealing”. In those days, maybe being “pretty” was considered especially important for women. Come to think of it, sadly, not that much has changed in that regard. But at least in 2021, more of us recognize how wrong and unfair that mindset is.

But Sarah Weddington’s life wasn’t just about Roe v. Wade. She was a person in her own right, a woman who pioneered in a profession that typically favored men. She was a young woman at a time when women were expected to stay home, raise babies, and be help meets to their husbands. She chose to become a lawyer instead, which says something about her intellect, courage, and tenacity. One would think that people might respect her for the person she was, rather than just focus on her impressive landmark work on Roe v. Wade.

Of course I know that expecting people to be decent is probably hoping for too much. Weddington’s death has brought out the pro-lifers, who feel the need to voice their objections to allowing people to choose whether or not they wish to be pregnant and give birth. They love to bring up cardiac activity in a 22 day old embryo as a sign of life that should be respected. And yet, these same people so often have very little regard for people who have already been born, nor do they seem to give two craps about providing access to affordable and high quality healthcare to the people who are gestating those potential lives that are so sacred to them. One man wrote this:

…a fetus is not a baby…but it is a human life. It’s a separate being, with its own unique human DNA. That’s why there is such passion from the pro-life side of this debate…and why the pro-choice side is loathe to concede the humanity of the fetus.

I started to write the below response to the man who brought up the “humanity” of a developing fetus. I looked on his Facebook page. I see that he’s a fireman, and has probably saved a lot of lives. I commend him for doing that work. I do wonder, however, if he’s thought about what happens to the people he saves… I’m sure it feels good to help someone escape a burning building. But once they’re out of the building, then what?

Does he simply vote for “pro-life” candidates, even if they’re all about gun rights and keeping healthcare outrageously expensive? Does he support making birth control more accessible and affordable? Does he vote for paid time off for new parents? Affordable and accessible childcare? Affordable housing? Work policies that make it possible for people to raise their children? But anyway, I did not post the comment below, because I didn’t want to argue with a stranger, and I figured it wouldn’t make a difference, anyway, except to rally the like-minded.

Why don’t you have more regard for the people who have already been born and will be affected by the burden of gestating that potential life? Do you make it a policy to vote for leaders who want to make healthy pregnancies, anti-violence, affordable healthcare access, and family friendly work policies a priority? Or are you just concerned about saving that *potential* human life who has no concept of life or death?  

I don’t think most people who are vehemently pro-life actually care about other people. If they did, they might consider why a person might feel the need to make that decision and why it’s very personal and not any of their business. A person who feels the need to terminate a pregnancy may have very painful and personal reasons for making that decision. Many pro-life people care only about their religious convictions, and they want to impose their beliefs on everyone else.  

More often than not, it seems to me that MEN who are upset about abortion are really just angry that this is a decision that women can make without their input. They don’t think it’s fair. Well, a lot of women don’t think it’s fair when men have their fun in bed, but don’t actually do anything to support that *potential* life they’ve helped create. It’s not their name on the doctor’s bills. It’s not their body that is forever changed and potentially harmed by pregnancy. It’s not their life that is potentially upended.  

Unless you are the type of pro-life person who advocates for real change in US policies that support positive changes all of those babies being born, I’m not too concerned about your opinions regarding “humanity”. It’s sad that 50 years on, we’re still arguing about what should be a fundamental right for all pregnant people.  

According to The New York Times obituary, Sarah Weddington isn’t just a lawyer who argued for women’s rights to choose abortion. She was also herself the recipient of an abortion. In 1968, having recently graduated from law school, after having earned a college degree a couple of years ahead of the usual schedule, Weddington, who was then dating her husband, Ron Weddington, got pregnant. The two went to Mexico, where the former Sarah Ragle had a safe and legal abortion.

When she and Ron came back from Mexico, Sarah realized that she was very fortunate to have been able to get an abortion. Many pregnant people of that time period were not so lucky. Sarah became aware of women who had done terrible things to themselves in an attempt to abort. She wrote in the Texas Monthly in 2003:

I had had an abortion myself, during my last year in law school. I was not as sophisticated as I should have been about preventing pregnancy. I was seriously dating the man I later married, Ron Weddington, but I was determined to finish law school, and I wanted to put Ron through law school. There were a lot of considerations. And so we decided to have an abortion. You couldn’t look in the phone book then, but Ron found a name of an abortion doctor through a friend. We made an appointment and drove to Mexico. I will never forget following a man in a white guayabera shirt down an alley, and Ron and I having no idea where we were headed. I can still remember going under the anesthetic and then waking up later in a hotel room with Ron. Driving back I felt fine; I didn’t have any complications. But it made me appreciate what other women went through, who did not have someone to go with them or did not have the money to pay for a medically safe abortion, as I did.

Later, I heard stories of women who had not been so lucky. Some had beaten their own abdomens or jumped down stairs to try to induce an abortion. Others had eaten mixtures of chemicals and cleaning products. I’ll never forget seeing a photograph of a woman lying on a black-and-white checkered bathroom floor who had died from having an illegal abortion. Doctors told me about women whom they had seen hemorrhaging or in shock or with infections, who had stuffed all kinds of things into their uteruses because they were desperate to have abortions.

Don’t “pro-life” people care about the women who feel so desperate to have abortions that they’re willing to do things like take poison, stab themselves with coat hangers, or go to “butchers” who render them sterile, make them sick with infection, or even kill them? Don’t these people, so passionate about the “sanctity of life” and the “humanity” of developing embryos, give two shits about the situations facing the people whose personal situations don’t lend themselves to being pregnant? And who gets to decide when a person’s life is “threatened” enough that abortion becomes okay? And why should those situations be anyone else’s business?

Sadly, a lot of religious “pro-lifers” think that Sarah Weddington is now burning in Hell. One man commented thusly on Weddington’s obituary:

No, we’re not delighting in her passing. We’re simply stating that she will probably spend eternity with the Prince of Darkness. Even after her evil actions before the court, she could have repented and asked for forgiveness. I highly doubt she did either.

What the fuck?

I think about “Christian” people like Jim Bob Duggar, who recently lost his bid to become an Arkansas State Senator. His time as a reality star offers a treasure trove of proof of what religious people actually think about other people. Mr. Duggar’s wife, Michelle, famously counseled their daughter, Jill, to be “joyfully available” when Jill’s husband wanted sex, even if Jill was “big pregnant” and didn’t feel like having sex. Michelle told us all that being sexually available to her husband is a woman’s lot in life, and that no one else could righteously fulfill that need, other than a man’s wife.

Jim Bob and Michelle now, of course, have a son named Josh who is sitting in jail, awaiting sentencing for getting his sexual “needs” fulfilled illegally. Their son apparently didn’t get the message that his sexual “needs” should only be fulfilled by his wife– not that Anna hasn’t done her share. Jim Bob stated that he thinks rapists should be executed. I wonder if he’d like to start with his son, Josh… who was once a “precious” embryo in Michelle’s womb. Granted, even Josh has “value”, I guess. He is the father of seven, after all, and I’m sure his children deserve all the regard that any born person deserves. Life is about to get even harder for those kids and their mother, though…

I find it curious that Jim Bob Duggar, who is apparently so concerned about the rights of the unborn, thinks that already born people are expendable and should be executed for any reason… and that being truly “pro-life” can co-exist with also being “pro-gun”. Guns are literally devices that are intended to wound or KILL living beings, all of whom I assume were God’s blessings to someone or something.

As disgusted as I am about Michelle Duggar’s comments about being “joyfully available”, I also wonder how many times she felt forced to have sex with Jim Bob, a man with chronic halitosis and poor social graces, because his dick was stirring. And how much attention did Jim Bob pay to Michelle’s menstrual cycles, so he could force her to pop out as many of “God’s blessings” as humanly possible?

Seriously–there are men who are like this. Some of them even work(ed) for the federal government. And a lot of these men– many of whom vote for pro-life Republicans and screech about small governments and their personal liberties– don’t seem to realize that not so long ago, there were some communist countries that were all about forced birthing. And there are some countries where a woman can wind up in prison because she had a miscarriage. That doesn’t sound very “freedom-loving” to me. But even those countries are starting to understand that this is a decision that should be up to the person directly involved with being pregnant, not governments, law enforcement agencies, or MEN who will never have to face being pregnant.

The bottom line is that Sarah Weddington did a huge serve to many women when she took on the fight to allow women to choose. No one is forced to have an abortion in the United States. It’s a CHOICE. And it’s a choice that should be private, involving only the person who is directly involved in the pregnancy.

Whatever the pro-life men think of Sarah Weddington’s marvelously courageous work on allowing women to choose abortion, I think she was a brave and incredible person, and there was so much more to her life than Roe v. Wade, although that was VERY important work. She was a teacher, a traveler, and a brilliant woman who fought for other women. She has no reason to ask forgiveness for the very important work she did.

It’s too bad that some people think she’s gone to Hell, simply because she didn’t have the same views about religion that they do. More often now than ever before, it’s clear to me that a lot of religious people aren’t actually very good people, when it comes down to it. They care more about their “holy book” and religious platitudes than actually helping people. At least Sarah Weddington did not live to see the day when her work was ruined by Donald Trump’s stacked Supreme Court and so-called “freedom loving men” who only care about freedom for wealthy white people with dicks.

May Sarah Weddington rest in eternal peace. I’m sure wherever she is now, it’s better than down here.

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