domestic violence, LDS, true crime

Lori Vallow Daybell’s son, Colby, is now in jail…

In February of this year, I finally got around to reading about Lori and Chad Daybell, when I reviewed John Glatt’s 2022, The Doomsday Mother: Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell, and the End of an American Family. For a long time, I had purposely avoided reading about this horrific murder case, because it was just one of those stories that had the potential to give me nightmares. But I finally got around to reading the whole, comprehensive story about Lori Vallow, who was born Lori Cox. She’s a woman who has had many husbands, all of whom have eventually ended up alienated. More than a couple of them are now dead. In fact, many people with dealings with Lori and Chad Daybell have died, either due to medical conditions, or foul play.

Lori Vallow Daybell’s daughter, Tylee, was one of the two children who were allegedly murdered by Lori’s current husband, Chad Daybell, and buried in a pet cemetary on Chad’s property. The other murdered child was Lori’s adopted son, J.J., who was her ex husband, Charles Vallow’s, grandnephew. Charles Vallow was killed by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, who shot him twice in the chest. Chad’s first wife, Tammy, was poisoned until she died. As I mentioned… a whole lot of people who have had dealings with Lori and her associates are now dead or suffering.

Even a woman who had taken part in a 2007 radio contest run by Alex Cox, who had been a morning disc jockey at the time, wound up dead because she “held her wee for a Wii” and became afflicted with water intoxication. Alex Cox is now himself dead, having died of natural causes just a couple of weeks after getting married. His alleged crimes against Charles Vallow were still being investigated when he perished. There was some speculation that Alex may have also been involved with the murders of Tylee and J.J.

It seems like most everything that has been touched by Lori Daybell has turned into tragedy. That includes her one living child, Colby, who was born to Lori and her second husband, William Lagioia. As was Lori’s habit, she alienated Colby from Lagioia, then got her third husband, Joe Ryan (father of Tylee) to adopt him. Ryan, of course, was later alienated from his biological daughter Tylee, when he and Lori split. After surviving an attempt Alex Cox made on his life, Joe died alone of heart disease. Of course, if there is such a thing as an afterlife, perhaps Joe Ryan and his daughter have reconciled in the great beyond… Who knows?

This morning I read that 26 year old Colby Ryan is now in jail in Arizona, having been arrested for sex crimes. According to county public records, this past weekend, Ryan was booked into Maricopa County Jail on two counts of domestic violence sexual assault.

Colby Ryan in court.

The woman who complained to the police about Colby Ryan’s alleged sexual deviances, explained that he had visited her last week, two days before she went to the police. They had watched television, and Colby had apparently decided he wanted to have sexual intercourse. The victim tried to rebuff him, but Colby was determined, even after she clearly said “no”. She claims he forced her to have sex with him. After the assault, the woman locked herself in her bedroom, and Colby slept on her couch.

The next day, the victim secretly recorded a conversation she’d had with Colby Ryan. In it, he admits that he raped her. She later sought medical attention and a nurse completed a rape exam kit. The victim’s clothing was tested for DNA. On Saturday evening, police arrested Ryan, who allegedly admitted several times that he had sexually assaulted the woman after she had said “no” to his advances more than once.

Colby Ryan is expected to appear in court next week. He’s now in jail on a $10,000 cash bond. Given that most of his immediate family is either dead or incarcerated, my guess is that he’s going to be sitting in jail for awhile.

I’m not sorry to hear that Colby Ryan in in jail for what he allegedly did. The woman did all the right things, particularly in seeking medical attention promptly and reporting the crime to the police. Clearly, if what she’s said about Colby’s behavior is accurate, he belongs in jail. Rape is a felony, and it’s important that rapists are held accountable. The judge did tell Colby Ryan that if he is released, he will have to wear an electric monitor.

On the other hand, it does make me kind of sad to read that another member of Lori’s family is going down a dark road. I know some families have their share of tragedies, and clearly Lori’s has, even though most of the tragedies have been caused by her incredibly selfish and criminal behaviors. I do think Lori Vallow Daybell is mentally ill, but I also think she’s a criminal. And unfortunately, sometimes criminals share their proclivities with people who are close to them, either through genetics, or by setting a very poor example. I don’t know why Colby Ryan did what he did. It does sound like he had some remorse. However, he still has to be punished.

I feel sorry for all of the children who were raised by Lori, even Chad, who was the only one to survive, but has apparently turned into a criminal himself. His start in life was racked with instability, to include being alienated from his biological father, adopted by his stepfather, and then alienated from him, too, as his mother moved on to Charles Vallow. Chad has lost so much in his 26 years– his bio dad, his stepdad, his sister and adopted brother, and another stepdad, are all dead. His mother and current stepdad are now sitting behind bars. And now Chad is behind bars, and will likely do some time in prison.

I’ll probably keep an eye on this case, even though the whole Lori Vallow Daybell drama gives me the creeps. Talk about a fucked up family…

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celebrities, controversies, religion, safety, true crime, YouTube

Fundie Fridays just covered one of my favorite pet topics!

I just finished watching the latest YouTube video by Fundie Fridays, a great YouTube channel hosted by Jen and James, and dedicated to exposing the fuckery related to evangelical and fundie Christianity. I don’t watch all videos by Fundie Fridays, but I have seen a lot of them, and I almost always find them interesting, entertaining, and funny. This week, they covered a topic I’ve written about and studied myself a lot over the past twenty years or so… Behold!

As weird as they were twenty years ago, they’re probably weirder today…

I’ve mentioned before that I used to follow a forum run by former students of Pensacola Christian College. Some of the participants were graduates; some were people who dropped out; and quite a few were people who were expelled. I don’t know how it is at PCC nowadays, but back in the early 00s, a person could get expelled at the drop of a hat. In those days, the school wasn’t accredited at all, and a lot of young people went there because it was cheap, and their parents wanted them to go to a college that was as strict or stricter than they were at home.

Of course, these schools have a lot of issues, and in fact, they aren’t necessarily any safer than a secular college might be. I mean, sure, there’s a lot less drinking and casual dating, but as Jen points out in a Patheos blog post she featured, there are certainly sexual assaults on these campuses. And the sad thing is, the victims are usually treated like terrible sinners. You can follow this link to read the blog post I’m referring to, but I will issue a warning that it’s got some pretty traumatic stuff in it. The post was written in 2014, but I was reading about what was going on at places like Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian College as early as 2000 or so. I think policies have changed a bit since then, and I do know that they have pursued some Christian type accreditation now, since students place a value on that, especially if they want to go on to another university for graduate level studies.

Jen didn’t mention Christendom College, in Front Royal, Virginia. That’s a Catholic school, and famously boasts that it’s one of only 15 colleges recommended by the conservative Carson Newman Society. Last year, William Luckey, one Christendom’s most celebrated retired professors, was arrested for soliciting a child under age 16, and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. After he retired from Christendom, Luckey taught at Padre Pio Academy, a homeschooling co-op started by his wife, Julie. Julie has since resigned from the school, due to her husband’s arrest.

In 2018, several alums of Christendom College claimed that sexual assault was mishandled there. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Christendom, like some of the other extreme “fundie” colleges, does not accept federal funding. Therefore, it is not required to abide by Title IX rules that most other colleges and universities in the United States must follow. The schools that don’t accept federal funding are determined to run the way they believe their faiths see fit. Often, that seems to mean espousing racist, sexist, or discriminatory principles, and treating victims of assault as though they were in the wrong for being in the situation that got them assaulted. One alum, Adele Smith, has been very vocal about her experiences with sexual assault at Christendom. She has said that the school’s strict rules regarding fraternization and dating actually increase the risk of sexual assault on campus.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jen does a follow up on her “fundie colleges” topic. It’s a hot one– and one that I have been very fascinated with for many years. It ranks right up there with so-called “teen help” brat camp facilities, which, not surprisingly, are also often affiliated with strict religions. I’ve been reading and writing a lot about that topic, too.

Jen did mention another Virginia school– yes, she talked about Liberty University, but I’m referring to Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, Virginia. Patrick Henry College is very small– only about 300 students– and Christian based. It’s where Congressman Madison Cawthorn went to school, and where many of his female classmates claim that he harassed them. According to Buzz Feed:

Four women told BuzzFeed News that Cawthorn, now a rising Republican star, was aggressive, misogynistic, or predatory toward them. Their allegations include calling them derogatory names in public in front of their peers, including calling one woman “slutty,” asking them inappropriate questions about their sex lives, grabbing their thighs, forcing them to sit in his lap, and kissing and touching them without their consent.

The women also reported that he would get the women alone in his car and “entrap” them, taking them on long drives on country roads and asking them humiliating and inappropriate questions about their virginity and sexual experiences. Cawthorn is paralyzed from the waist down, owing to an accident in his teens, but that apparently didn’t stop him from being a disgusting, misogynistic creep when he was studying at Patrick Henry College, if the women interviewed for the Buzz Feed story are to be believed… and given the party he represents, and its worship of Donald Trump, I am inclined to believe them. Last year, over 160 former classmates of Cawthorn’s at Patrick Henry College signed a letter accusing him of sexual misconduct.

But– Patrick Henry’s problems didn’t start with Madison Cawthorn, who arrived on campus in 2016. Twice, back in 2014, Kiera Feldman, writing for The New Republic, reported on the sexual assault issues at Patrick Henry College that dated back to 2009. The school has only existed since 2000, and many of the students were homeschooled. There’s no drinking, smoking, gambling, or dancing (except for dance classes) allowed. Students are required to attend chapel daily, and they must wear business casual attire to class. It sounds much like the rules at Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones University, where women have been required to wear skirts and pantyhose every day, and men have to wear ties to class. According to Feldman’s article:

The self-policing that courtship culture requires, however, is not egalitarian. Responsibility falls disproportionately to women, who are taught to protect their “purity” and to never “tempt” their brothers in Christ to “stumble” with immodest behavior. “The lack of men’s responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male ‘urges’ as irresistible forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterpart,” the journalist Kathryn Joyce wrote in Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (an excellent book, by the way). These movements, she noted, see “women’s bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting.”

At Patrick Henry, one alumna remembers a chapel lecture that compared women who have had sexual contact before marriage to used cars. “You want to be a Porsche,” was the message, she says, adding in an e-mail, “They basically at no point accounted for sexual assault/rape etc (cases where girls’ ‘purity’ was taken from them) and left many girls who’d been victims in the past feeling ashamed.” According to a current PHC junior, the school puts the “burden” on female students to ward off the male gaze—be it from students or professors. She remembers being called in to talk to the residential director, who told her that a male professor had informed the Office of Student Life that her shirts were too revealing when she bent over.

In a follow up article for The New Republic, Feldman wrote that Patrick Henry College had come up with a new policy regarding sexual assault. However, given that Madison Cawthorn was a student there in 2016, where he was a notorious sex pest, the issue apparently continues. It continues at other conservative Christian schools, too, like Visible Music College, an institution I had never heard of until just now. The Memphis, Tennessee Christian college was the subject of an article by NBC News in April 2022. Student Mara Louk reported that she was choked and raped by a male classmate. She had expected that administrators would help her file charges and get support after the assault. Instead, they kicked Mara off campus. They also tried to prevent her from speaking to anyone else on campus about the attack.

Later, after they told Mara Louk that they wouldn’t be helping her, the student who allegedly assaulted her reported Mara to campus administrators for having sex with her ex boyfriend. That went against the school’s rules against premarital sex. Louk denied the accusation, but officials wanted her to sign a “pastoral care contract”, in which she confessed to breaking the premarital sex rule. She would be required to finish her degree online, barred from campus, and not allowed to speak about the assault. Louk refused to sign the contract, finished her semester online, and then withdrew from the school, just nine credits shy of earning her bachelor’s degree.

And finally, just yesterday, Christianity Today reported on the abusive culture in The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. I know from my many years living in Virginia that there is a Christiansburg, Virginia based college that adheres to the Foursquare Gospel movement. It’s an eastern satellite of the religion that is based in California. It appears that the school in Virginia, once called Life Bible College, but now known as Life Pacific University- Virginia, is being investigated because of its controlling environment that included sexual harassment from a high ranking administrator. The administrator asked female students probing questions about their sexual histories and made inappropriate comments about their appearances. He also shared private information about students, to include stories about their mental health issues or other personal details that weren’t for public consumption.

I think it’s pretty plain what I think of religious based colleges and universities. Some are not as bad as others are, of course. However, I think when it comes to higher education, it’s better to go to a school where freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas is celebrated and encouraged. And I think that people should not be lulled into the idea that a college is safe, simply because it’s religious and there’s not supposed to be any “fun” but sinful activities, like drinking, dancing, gambling, smoking, or… dare I say it? Consensual sex.

Besides… I went to two publicly supported universities and I managed to graduate from both with my virginity intact. I didn’t need any rules imposed to do that. It was a choice I made. If I can do it, anyone can… but no one should feel like that’s something they have to do, especially when they are adults, and especially when they are PAYING to go to school. Just my two cents.

Anyway, I hope you’ll watch Fundie Fridays’ video about Fundie Colleges. Jen and James did a very good job on it.

In other news… Bill told me that actress Anne Heche is in critical condition because she evidently drove her blue Mini Cooper into a someone’s Los Angeles area home at a high rate of speed. As Bill was telling me about Heche’s accident, I couldn’t help but remember how, back in 2000, she was in the news for wandering into some guy’s house wearing nothing but a bra and a pair of shorts. She was very disoriented and said she needed a shower. The guy ended up having to call the police to take her away, and she was brought to a psychiatric hospital, where she spent a few hours. I remember at the time of the 2000 incident, she and Ellen DeGeneres had just broken up. She later married a man named Coleman Laffoon, had a couple of kids, and then got divorced. She sure has had an eventful, and often very sad, life. I hope she recovers from this latest setback.

And finally, here are two videos I put up yesterday. I think they turned out very nicely. I need to explore Doris Day’s catalog more. I especially like “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, although that one is getting fewer hits.

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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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healthcare, law, politicians, politics, slut shamers

Pro life activist makes a dumb comment about ten year old rape victim and abortion recipient…

Mornin’ folks. I’m sad to report that I’m sick again. I have a sore throat, slight hoarseness, cough, and congestion, and I’ve had several near misses with the urge to hurl. Some may recall that I was sick a month ago, too. That time, it appeared to be a garden variety cold. I did two COVID tests and both were very negative. Like, there wasn’t even a hint that I might have the virus. This time, I think my luck might have finally run out, since I read this morning that COVID is now initially presenting with a sore throat, and not with a fever and loss of smell and taste.

I actually feel significantly better now than I did a couple of hours ago. Once I ate breakfast, did some coughing and clearing of my throat, and drank some fluids, the pain in my throat lessened. I still feel kind of icky, but it’s not too bad. I haven’t tested for COVID, because I don’t have any tests at home. Hopefully, this won’t linger. What sucks the most is that right now, there’s a heat wave in Europe. There’s nothing worse than being sick when it’s hot as Hell outside.

Yesterday, I mentioned a satire story that’s been rattling in my head. I told Bill about it, and he was enthusiastic and was adding ideas. Last night, when Bill came home, we brainstormed some more. It was surprisingly fun. Maybe I’ll actually get down to writing it… especially if it turns out I need to be housebound. I think it could be a good story.

Now to get on with today’s topic. I hate to write about abortion again, but I just have to… I happened to see a video yesterday that blew my mind. A few days ago, MSNBC posted the below video to YouTube.

They sure are denying reality, aren’t they? The featured photo is a picture of Eric Swalwell’s visible reaction to Catherine Glenn Foster’s lunacy.

By now, many people have heard about the ten year old Ohio girl who was raped, resulting in a pregnancy. By the time her pregnancy was revealed, she was six weeks and three days beyond conception. Since Ohio currently bans almost all abortions beyond six weeks, the girl could not get the healthcare she needed in her home state. Her doctor called Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN in Indiana, where abortions are currently permitted until the 22nd week of gestation. Dr. Bernard agreed to help the girl. This poor ten year old CHILD had to travel from Ohio to Indiana to get her abortion.

Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to discount and try to debunk the story about the pregnant ten year old rape victim. They dismissed the story as “liberal talking points”. Many people were saying that it couldn’t be true, that a ten year old baby girl got pregnant. Some were even “slut shaming” the girl, saying she needed to keep her legs closed. 😮 Indiana Attorney General, Todd Rokita, went on the offensive, claiming that Dr. Bernard didn’t properly report the abortion, when actually, she did. Dr. Bernard’s lawyer has since sent Mr. Rokita a “cease and desist” letter, threatening litigation to defend against his malicious and defamatory statements regarding the doctor’s work. Rokita may also face disciplinary action for the false and unverified statements he’s made regarding this case.

Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, likewise scoffed at the story and cast doubt on its veracity. Yost said that he had not heard anything about a ten year old rape victim. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that not only do Americans have healthcare privacy, but minors’ and sexual assault victims’ privacy is especially protected, and for good reason. Yost, nevertheless, went on Fox News and said:

“We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere,”

He continued:

“I know the cops and prosecutors in this state… There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn’t leave him loose on the streets … I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence.”

It is true that this ten year old girl was raped at least twice. One of those assaults led to her conceiving with her rapist, a 27 year old man who has since been arrested. It’s absolutely terrible that this crime happened to the girl. We mustn’t forget that this happens to other girls around the world. She’s not the first ten year old to get pregnant. Any ten year old who has sex is a victim of rape. Ten year olds CANNOT consent to having sex. When that news came out, Dave Yost’s only comment was “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.” He later added, he’s “absolutely delighted that this monster has been taken off the street. If convicted, he should spend the rest of his life in prison.” No apology for casting doubt on the girl’s story, which turns out to be true. No reconsideration of the dumb comments he made regarding this case.

I think a lot of Republicans were jubilant about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it never occurred to them that the horrifying repercussions of that disastrous decision would so quickly become apparent. The rape case was reported just three days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Ohio’s abortion trigger ban went into effect. I guess I can understand why Republicans thought this was political game playing, since elections are coming up soon, and there’s about to be a desperate fight for power. But, the fact remains that this child was raped, and did get pregnant. Some people, amazingly, think this kid should have been forced to birth, even though pregnancy and childbirth are stressful, painful and traumatic, even for grown women.

Attorney Jim Bopp, who authored model legislation in Indiana in advance of the Supreme Court’s decision, said of the ten year old under his law, “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.” Figures this is an old white guy saying this. Bopp was born in 1948, and is clearly out of touch with reality. Shame on him! Doesn’t he remember what it was like to be a ten year old child?

I suppose all of this crap shouldn’t have surprised me at all, but then I saw the video I posted above. In that video, at about the three minute mark, Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) questioned a pro-life activist named Catherine Glenn Foster, asking her if she thought a ten year old would “choose to carry”. The activist stammered, hemmed, and hawed, clearly trying to evade making an exception in this case, and not answering “yes or no” to a simple question. Swalwell doubled down, demanding that she simply answer “yes or no”, which she obviously wasn’t willing to do. I was truly flabbergasted when she said:

“I believe it would probably impact her life, and so, therefore, it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.”

Swalwell reacted with shock and confusion, saying “Wait. It would not be an abortion if a 10-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?

Amazingly, Catherine Glenn Foster continued with her bizarre rationale, apparently changing the definition of an abortion, saying “If a 10-year-old became pregnant as a result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that’s not an abortion.

Say what?! Of course it’s an abortion, you twit!

Um… excuse me? YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life? Wouldn’t that be true of anyone who wanted or needed an abortion? And because YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life, it’s NOT an abortion? That is truly mind boggling! I wonder at which point Catherine Glenn Foster would determine that an unintended pregnancy would not impact the “host’s” life in some way? When is it permissible to force someone to stay pregnant? Would she want to force a 14 or 15 year old to give birth? I have actually known some very mature teenagers, some of whom did give birth. I’ve also known some 25 year olds who probably still shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street by themselves!

Obviously, yes, the girl had an abortion. An abortion is a medical procedure, and there really should not be any shame attached to it, especially in a case like this one. But one of the main reasons why I am so staunchly pro-choice is because I think if you’re going to assign personhood to a developing fetus, abortion has to be wrong in all circumstances, to include cases like this one. Obviously, I don’t think ten year olds should be forced to stay pregnant. If I feel that way about a ten year old, how can I not feel that way about everyone? I don’t like situational ethics applied in selective circumstances. Abortion is either always wrong, like murder is, or there are times when it’s acceptable. And how can we determine for another person whether or not their situation merits being allowed to have an abortion? Especially when we make it so very difficult and expensive to raise children? Why is it anyone else’s business?

I guess Catherine Glenn Foster was trying to say that abortion is a dirty thing that only irresponsible and immoral sluts do. Obviously, a ten year old child isn’t an irresponsible slut… at least not yet. So in her mind, yes, it’s permissible to terminate the pregnancy. We just won’t call that an abortion. Except that’s exactly what it was! And why does she think that she, or any other uninvolved party, should have any say whatsoever in a case like this? In his opinion piece about this event, journalist Steve Benen wrote:

In other words, the head of Americans United for Life believes a 10-year-old impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to get an abortion — because under her preferred definition, that abortion wouldn’t really count as an abortion.

If terminating a girl’s unwanted pregnancy isn’t an abortion, what is it? Is there a preferred word that conservatives would like us to use?

Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Republicans and their allies have created a situation in which raped children will — in at least one instance, has — cross state lines in order to receive medical care. Unable to defend the legal conditions they’re responsible for, many on the right deny the legitimacy of real stories, while others on the right decide to redefine words for the sake of political convenience.

No one should be fooled. Abortions don’t become non-abortions when the impregnated Americans are sympathetic figures.

Right on, Steve Benen.

As long as I’m complaining about this, let me also add that I read an article in the Washington Post about the slim prospects of an increase of adoptable babies if abortion becomes totally outlawed in the United States. In that article, which I have linked and unlocked for the interested, journalist Sydney Trent included some of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion regarding overturning Roe v. Wade. It made my blood run cold.

“… A woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home,” Alito said, writing for the majority and summarizing the views of many Americans who oppose abortion. In a footnote, he cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report juxtaposing the tiny “domestic supply of infants” in 2002 with the nearly 1 million Americans waiting to adopt.

So basically, Republicans are hoping that forcing women to birth will provide a bumper crop of domestically produced babies for people to adopt. Where is it written that people who get pregnant unintentionally must give up their babies to fertility challenged people, or people who choose not to carry their own babies, for whatever reason? This is disgusting. There are over 400,000 children languishing in foster care today. In 2019, only about 15 percent of the children in foster care were adopted, mostly by their relatives. We certainly don’t need more babies for people to adopt. People who wish to adopt a child should take one that has already been born and needs a home NOW! Foster care is no place for kids to come of age.

I’d also like to add that babies aren’t like puppies and kittens, looking to be rehomed. They grow up to be people who will experience the trauma of losing their birth families. Yes, I know that many adoptees have great experiences with the people who adopt them. But that’s not always true. Case in point, Bill’s ex wife. Moreover, even when the experience is good, the adopted child still wonders about their origins. There’s trauma for them, and most likely, for their birth parents– at least the mother. Do people really think that’s not absolutely horrifying for the birth mom, giving up a baby that she bonded with for nine months? Especially since a lot of people will look down on her for making that choice, and/or getting pregnant in the first place.

I think we’re going to see a lot more children being neglected and abused if this situation isn’t fixed soon. There will be a lot more poverty, and more incarcerations. A lot of women will die, as they are forced to be pregnant when it isn’t safe for them, medically or psychologically. That’s not how things should be in a civilized country, like the United States used to be, before this bizarre bastardization of the Republican Party got into power and fucked up everything.

Well… I think I’ve about had my say on this… at least for today. It’s time to close this post and practice guitar for a bit. Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon, and this won’t turn out to be a really bad sickness. Or I won’t hear more ludicrous nonsense from the likes of Catherine Glenn Foster, who is apparently hoping to change the definition of abortion when the person needing to have one is a sympathetic figure, like a ten year old BABY.

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controversies, healthcare, language, law

“Abortion” is technically not defined as a dirty word.

Good morning, folks. It’s just after 8:00 AM on a warm Tuesday here in Deutschland, and I’ve already done my housework for the day, having gotten up three hours ago. The sun rises very early at this time of year in Germany, and it sets very late in the evening. Consequently, I often need an afternoon nap, because I don’t sleep long during the night.

I don’t really want to write about abortion today. It’s a topic I’m a little tired of at the moment. However, abortion is what everybody seems to be talking about right now. I have some comments I’d like to make in a place where I’m not going to hurt people’s feelings, get into pissing matches with the deliberately obtuse, or otherwise get mired in a bunch of Internet noise. My blog is a place where comments are generally respectful and reasonable. I think abortion is an important topic that deserves that much gravity.

Yesterday, I ran across an interesting Tik Tok/Facebook video by Mama Doctor Jones, a board certified OB-GYN from Texas who is currently working in New Zealand. In the video, Dr. Jones talked about what constitutes an abortion, and what the treatments are for certain medical conditions that occur during pregnancy. She made the video in response to comments by Live Action, a right wing, anti-abortion propaganda machine.

A screenshot from Mama Doctor Joneses’ video. Notice the emotional language. But, in fact, all of these conditions require terminating the pregnancy, which is precisely what abortion is.

Live Action had put out this comment regarding “abortion”, obviously likening abortion to the negative image that many people have of it. The people at Live Action obviously consider the medical procedure that abortion is as “murder”. Abortion isn’t murder, though. Abortion simply refers to the termination of a pregnancy that doesn’t result in a live birth. Moreover, in spite of how Live Action spins it, abortion is a treatment for a number of legitimate medical issues that come up in pregnancy. In fact, a miscarriage is technically called “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. Abortion is not a dirty word, but that group, and others who want to limit a person’s ability to terminate a pregnancy, wants to make it so.

I don’t see anything “dirty” about these definitions.

Above is a screenshot of Dictionary.com’s definition of abortion. Nowhere in that definition do I see a single definition that depicts the vile description of abortion that is being put out by Live Action. Abortion simply refers to ending a pregnancy, for whatever reason. There are different techniques used to achieve an abortion, depending on the circumstances. Under the above definition, abortion might involve taking a pill, removing the contents of the uterus, removing a body part, or actually going through labor and delivery. It depends on the case, and the time during pregnancy at which the abortion occurs.

The problem is, the term “abortion” has taken on so much emotional baggage that people automatically think of it as sinful and wrong. That baggage is causing a lot of people pain, as medical conditions that happen during pregnancy and require that the pregnancy be terminated are technically abortions. People don’t want to think of a necessary termination as an “abortion”. The term “abortion” has a nasty connotation that conjures up images of someone who got careless and wants to end a pregnancy out of convenience or shame. Groups like Live Action liken abortion to murder. But abortion isn’t really murder, either. See below.

Notice the first definition. In that meaning of the word “murder”, it’s specified that murder is the “killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.” At this point, abortion is still legal in many places, but I don’t know of a place anywhere on the planet where it’s legal for somewhere to kill another person with premeditation or malice. I also know that sometimes people have abortions because that developing human being is causing severe physical or mental health problems that threatens the life of the already born person. In that case, an abortion is less like murder and more like self-defense.

One could also argue that a developing fetus simply has the potential to become a human being, but hasn’t yet reached that designation. It all depends on when life actually begins. People also have varying opinions on when that happens. We haven’t yet decided if life begins at conception, or at birth. The federal government seems to think life begins at birth, but religious people and hyper-conservative people want to say it begins at fertilization. A consensus has yet to be reached. See below.

I have some dear people in my life who have had to end pregnancies for health reasons. These are women that I know would probably never voluntarily opt to have an abortion. I write “probably”, because a lot of us think we know what we would do in a given situation, but we don’t actually know until it happens to us. For instance, I feel pretty certain that if I were a rape or incest victim, I would want to have an abortion. But I also know for a fact that I have a pretty serious aversion to seeing doctors. I was traumatized by an OB-GYN when I was 22 years old, and that has made me very reluctant to seek medical care unless I absolutely have to have it. To be honest, at this point, even if I have to have medical care, I still might not seek it. I haven’t seen a medical doctor since 2010. Going to see physicians causes me great anxiety.

I also suffer from depression a lot of the time, and that often makes me feel worthless. The state of the world right now adds to my depression, and makes me think it would be better to be dead. So I can’t say for certain that I would seek an abortion if I got pregnant due to rape (which I know I wouldn’t at this point in time). I probably would want one… because my healthy mental days are usually more plentiful than my unhealthy days, and I’m sure I would not want to raise my rapist’s baby. I also know that I would not want to give a baby up for adoption. But I say that as someone who has never experienced forced intercourse with a man, and has never even been close to being pregnant. I would probably feel emotionally shattered if I were ever raped, and that would affect my self-esteem. So, to be frank, I can’t say for certain I would have an abortion. I only know how I feel right now, which is that I would probably want one.

The people in my life who have had to end their pregnancies for medical reasons desperately wanted to have their babies. They would never choose to have what we think of is an “abortion”. They needed medical care for an emergency situation that involved terminating a pregnancy. Technically, they DID have an abortion, as defined by the medical establishment, but it was not the kind of abortion one might have at Planned Parenthood. And they don’t want to think of their procedures in that way. I can totally understand that. But I also think that it might be helpful if we stopped thinking of abortion as something dirty and sleazy. Sometimes, it’s a necessary, life saving, medical procedure, and like all medical procedures, it really should be private business, with no emotional baggage attached by other people’s opinions.

Personally, I think any person who wants to have an abortion should have one, for ANY reason. It’s not up to me or anyone else to judge whether or not their reasons are valid. People who are pregnant against their wills are not going to be motivated to take care of themselves the way they should. I think it’s a lot crueler to force people to gestate– crueler for the pregnant person AND the developing fetus. Because choices that pregnant people make will affect that developing fetus, and it’s possible that the person born after such a pregnancy will have to live their whole lives with the choices made by the person who birthed them. We don’t have the ability to force pregnant people to take care of themselves, and I don’t think that’s what most Americans would want to see happen. That would put us on a very slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare culture.

I like Mama Doctor Jones because she makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen her respond very logically to people who come at her with emotional comments full of shame and judgment. See below.

I totally agree with Mama Doctor Jones that allowing abortions in “some situations” is hypocritical. If we’re going to assign personhood to developing embryos, then almost no reason for abortion should be acceptable. Allowing it in certain circumstances, but not others, is problematic if we’re calling embryos people. The embryos are “innocent”, right? But forcing women to have babies conceived in the commission of a crime seems cruel to many. I think forcing women to have babies they don’t want to have is cruel. It doesn’t matter how or why they got pregnant. If abortion is okay in one situation, it should be okay in all situations. And before anyone brings up abortions that happen later in pregnancy, let me just say that those abortions are very rare, and usually occur due to a catastrophic medical issue. I highly doubt that women, as a rule, decide to terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester unless they have a damned good reason. They certainly don’t do that for convenience.

Darynidia’s comment is especially good… Why is it that so many people who want to deny women the right to choose, also have no problem suggesting suicide to already born people?
Yes. She sums up my feelings nicely.

So… these are my thoughts on the word “abortion”. I really don’t think of it as a “dirty word”. It’s not defined as a dirty word in the dictionary or by medical professionals. Some members of the public have made it a dirty word by implying that people who seek them are careless, immoral, heartless, cruel, unChristian, slutty, or whatever else. It ain’t necessarily so. Your aunt who had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons technically did have an abortion. That procedure saved her life. Your sister who had a miscarriage technically experienced a “spontaneous abortion”. That doesn’t make her a bad person. Your high school friend who got pregnant after having unprotected sex went to a clinic to have an abortion. She’s still a decent person, worthy of respect and understanding. Maybe that procedure saved her life. Either way, it’s no one else’s business but hers.

The people behind Live Action deliberately use shaming language to push their agenda and make people feel bad for exercising self-determination. I would trust a board certified physician like Dr. Danielle Jones, OB-GYN over them anyday. I say that as someone who does not trust doctors, as a general rule. And I do not follow the word of any organization that gets into bed with so-called conservative leaders like Donald Trump and his ilk. This is a man who brags about molesting women and has probably funded and/or caused a few abortions himself. Abortion isn’t a dirty word in any sense, and people should stop attaching so much shame to it. It’s a neutral word that has been burdened with the dogmatic agenda of religious and political groups, who simply want to control women and maintain their power.

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