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!


Alyssa Milano and her “sex strike”…

Last night, just as I was about to go to sleep, I read about actress Alyssa Milano’s call for a “sex strike” to protest all of the “heartbeat abortion bills” that have recently been introduced by Republicans eager to make a name for themselves by helping to overturn Roe v. Wade. Personally, I really think “making a name for themselves” is mostly what these legislators so hell-bent on stripping women of their rights to their bodily autonomy are after. I don’t believe that a lot of Republicans– Donald Trump especially– really give a shit if a woman has an abortion. They’re pandering to right wing Christian wingnuts, who want to control women. They’re after votes. And they’re pushing the United States back into the Dark Ages. I don’t think they care, though. They’re mostly after money and power and motivated entirely by greed. That’s just my take, anyway. Especially since most of them don’t give a flying fuck about caring for the children who have already been born.

Feeling horny, male Republican lawmakers? Go fuck yourselves.

Anyway, I had a favorable first impression of Alyssa Milano’s proposed sex strike, perhaps inspired by the Greek play, Lysistrata, or other true incidents in both distant and recent history, where women have denied sex to men to effect change. I have read that other women think it’s a dumb idea. I’ve also read that the pro-lifers have said they think it’s a good idea, which clearly wasn’t Ms. Milano’s intended target.

Personally, I think feminists who think a sex strike is a “sexist”, punitive idea, or that going on a sex strike uses sex as a weapon, are completely missing the point. Alyssa Milano correctly points out that if the predominantly male lawmakers who are trying to take the abortion choice away from women are successful, getting pregnant will become a huge liability. Unprotected sex between males and females cause pregnancies. Getting pregnant in a state where a woman can go to jail for having an abortion is very risky. Alyssa Milano correctly points that out in her call for a sex strike. You can choose to join her, or not. Frankly, I think women of childbearing age who are in a state where these heartbeat bills are being discussed would be very smart to embrace masturbation and let the men do the same. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have with someone you love. Aside from that, people have the right to choose whether or not they want to have sex, regardless of the reason. So if someone decides to go “on a sex strike”, that’s their business. You can, likewise, choose not to strike if you disagree.

Right on.

Some of the heartbeat bills being proposed go further than simply making abortion illegal after six weeks. In Georgia, for instance, the proposed law would make it illegal for Georgia residents to leave the state to get an abortion. A woman could legitimately go to prison for simply choosing whether or not she wishes to birth a baby and having the misfortune of living in Georgia. Since men can’t get pregnant, they won’t be affected by this draconian law, even though all unintended pregnancies are partly caused by men.

Sex is a very effective motivator. Withholding sex, as a lot of women already know, is a powerful bargaining chip. While some people might think the idea of a sex strike goes too far and also penalizes women, I think this issue is serious enough that withholding sex in order to force the issue is warranted. Although the heartbeat bills will certainly be challenged and it is unlikely any will become law in the immediate future, they are a legitimate threat to women’s and children’s health. After all, babies who are born to people who aren’t ready to be parents are going to be in a more precarious position than babies whose mothers are ready. I specifically mention mothers because for those nine months in the womb, it’s the mother– and the mother alone— who is taking care of that developing fetus. And in order to best take care of the fetus, she has to take care of herself, first. We don’t have enough resources for people who have already been born. Or, maybe we do have enough resources, but the people who control them are too selfish and greedy to share them with everyone.

These politicians are dangerously ignorant about rape and how pregnancy can happen. They are in charge of making our laws, so women should protect themselves by not getting pregnant.

So… I agree with Alyssa Milano. It’s too risky to get pregnant in Georgia or Ohio or any of the other states where ignorant politicians like John Becker, who thinks ectopic pregnancies can be fixed by simply transplanting the fetus in the uterus, are in charge. I think John Becker should have surgery to implant his brain into his head, since it’s clearly currently in his ass and he’s been sitting on it for far too long.

Of course, I also think that a lot of people are way too free with their DNA as it is. I think more people should use birth control, particularly when they aren’t ready to be parents or don’t want to have a baby with their sexual partner. I’d be for abstinence for that reason alone, although I know it’s not realistic.

I’m going to turn 47 next month. I won’t be having any babies, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be pregnant. So, I guess I don’t personally have a stake in this situation, except for the fact that I’m a woman and was lucky enough to come of age in an era when I could have chosen to terminate a pregnancy if I’d wanted to. There are situations in which abortion is not only desired, but advisable. When a woman has been a victim of rape or incest, or is in a situation in which her life or her fetus’s life is in jeopardy, she should be able to get an abortion if she wants or needs it. She should be able to make that decision on her own, without any input from uninvolved people. A woman who has a miscarriage should not have to worry about being under suspicion for having done something to cause the miscarriage. She should not have any concerns about going to jail for losing her baby in utero. Pregnant adults should not have to worry about doing things that are perfectly legal for non-pregnant adults to do. Pregnant children should never be forced to risk their own health and/or very life to bring into the world a baby that they are not at all prepared to care for, simply due to dangerously ignorant male politicians who insist that every unborn fetus must be born no matter what. Especially since so many of them don’t give a shit about those babies once they’ve left the womb.

Although I don’t always agree with Alyssa Milano’s views, you can count me among the pro choice people standing with her idea of a sex strike. I think it’s a fine concept. If you don’t, that’s your privilege. Be sure to enjoy it while you still can.