healthcare, politicians, politics, sexism, slut shamers

How I feel when a man mansplains avoiding pregnancy…

Sigh… It’s not even 8:00am, and I’m already feeling a bit irritable, mainly because my nose was all clogged last night and I evidently slept with my mouth open. I was parched when I got up, and had a bit of a headache. It’s just another day of COVID… which hasn’t made me very sick, but has definitely been a real pain in the ass to deal with. Adding to my frustrations are the horrors of the world today.

Then I opened Facebook and saw the below post by Amy Klobuchar.

Yes, Amy. This is very important stuff!

The first comment I saw was this:

Codify reproductive rights and that will take care of contraceptives. Those men in black robes need to be shut down. I shouldn’t have to fight for this again at 76 !

Shockingly, she received laugh reactions and a shitty response from another woman, who stupidly wrote this:

So I’m sure you need birth control or an abortion at your age.

Seriously? This clueless bitch doesn’t think that older women might want to engage in the fight to bodily autonomy, just because they aren’t going to be affected by pregnancy or necessarily need birth control anymore? At least one person commented to that effect. But then I saw a comment from a man named Scott:

or you could use your time productively and promote not becoming pregnant in the first place. But that is never a thought is it?

Wow… does Scott have any fucking idea of what he’s writing about? Does he know how many of his fellow men pressure women to have sex with them? Does he realize that a lot of men can’t be bothered to use condoms? Even fewer of them will consider having a vasectomy. I have no issues with men who don’t want vasectomies, by the way. If you’ve read this blog, you know why I feel that way. But I do think that if you’re going to have the nerve to mansplain to women about personal responsibility and pregnancy, you really should walk the walk. Somehow, I doubt Scott does.

A woman addressed Scott with this comment:

do you have any clue how many people choose to have babies and who end up aborting a fetus because of miscarriage, the inviability if the fetus or other pregnancy complications?

Apparently not because anyone who did wouldn’t be thinking about every abortion being a problem. When pregnant women die because of a medical emergency that was preventable I guess that means you’re not as prolife as you think you are.

Scott came back with this ignorant comment:

the life of the mother should always trump the life of the baby.

This is not what most abortions are about though, and you know it.

First off… Scott doesn’t know what other people know, and what they don’t know. Secondly, while the life of the mother *should* always “trump” the life of the developing fetus, the sad fact is, that DOESN’T always happen. Especially right now!

Last night, I read a sad and disturbing news story on NPR about a Texas woman named Elizabeth Weller, who very much wanted her baby girl to be born. But Weller’s waters broke at 18 weeks gestation, which meant the pregnancy wasn’t going to be viable. It was May 2022, a month before Roe v Wade was overturned. Texas still has that shitty law from last year, which pretty much bans all abortions and has had a chilling effect on the treatments physicians are willing to give to pregnant people. This lady went to see her doctor, who told her that she could either terminate the pregnancy, or go into the hospital and try to carry the pregnancy until the 24th week of gestation, when developing fetuses start becoming viable.

Weller and her husband decided that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy, even though they really wanted the baby. They knew that even in the unlikely event that she was able to maintain the pregnancy until the 24th week, the baby would likely be born with serious birth defects. But when Weller’s OB-GYN tried to arrange the procedure, she ran into significant obstacles. Doctors would not help Elizabeth Weller as long as her fetus still had a heartbeat. They told her she’d have to wait for the fetus to die in utero. In other words, she’d have to get really sick and put her health on the line before they would take action. So much for the life of the mother, eh?

This is not the first time I’ve read a story like this. I’ve seen stories like Elizabeth Weller’s from several different states. I’ve also seen many smug, self-righteous, arrogant comments from people like Scott, stating that if a woman’s life was in danger, the doctors would help her. What Scott doesn’t seem to realize is that right now, doctors are afraid of being arrested or sued for giving women abortions, even when an abortion is clearly medically indicated. Elizabeth Weller was forced to go home and wait until she had a high fever and was passing discharge from her vagina that smelled bad enough to make her retch. This is not good medical care, people. It’s torture. It’s cruel and nonsensical to treat women this way. This should not be happening. Moreover, nobody should have to justify or explain why they want or need an abortion! Especially to sanctimonious dickheads like Scott!

Scott continued his mansplaining, though, with this comment:

men have no say in getting you pregnant, only you do.

Seriously, Scott? Where the fuck have you been?! Tell that to the disgusting male RAPIST who impregnated a ten year old CHILD!!!

I wish it was only men who were making these ignorant comments, but there are plenty of old biddies weighing in, too. A woman named Kaye keeps commenting on Klobuchar’s post that abortions are not contraceptives. Duh, Kaye. This post wasn’t about abortion, it’s about making sure that women have access to contraceptives. There are politicians and judges who are considering taking away those rights. That’s what Amy Klobuchar is posting about.

I don’t think people like Scott and Kaye have really considered what taking away reproductive rights will do to our society. I can think of quite a few consequences just off the top of my head. Here’s a list:

  • Health care costs will go up, because women will have to wait until they get very sick to get abortion care. That will mean more needlessly complicated and costlier interventions.
  • Fewer people will want to be OB-GYNs, because they will be too constrained by uninvolved parties in delivering care, and they will have to pay even higher malpractice premiums than they already do. OB-GYNs have among the highest malpractice insurance premiums already.
  • There will be more children with special needs, and more children in the foster care system.
  • There will be more child abuse, because people will be having babies they aren’t prepared to parent, and they won’t necessarily want to give them up for adoption.
  • There will be more poverty, because children are expensive to raise.
  • There will be less privacy, because some folks will feel the need to intervene in other people’s personal business.
  • More men will be accused of rape, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • More women will be accused of “murder”, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • Some women will stop having sex with men voluntarily, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I hope no woman lets Scott have sex with her, given his caveman attitude.
  • There could be an uptick in domestic violence and divorce, as women won’t want to risk getting pregnant. Men will be sexually frustrated, which might cause them to drink more alcohol and engage in violent behaviors. There could be more drunk driving, and we all know what that leads to.
  • There may be an uptick in mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Some people may even turn to suicide, if a situation seems desperate enough.
  • Women will be less healthy. Some will die.

I’m sure if I felt like it, I could sit here and think of even more consequences to this ridiculous idea that women shouldn’t be allowed to control their own healthcare decisions. Politicians are already talking about trying to restrict potentially pregnant people from leaving their states to access abortion care. It’s absolutely SICKENING that they’re talking about this. I grew up hearing about how lucky I was to be an American, because we’re so “free”. Tell me, what is so “free” about passing laws that punish pregnant people for making decisions about their own bodies? Why in the world should someone like Greg Abbott, current governor of Texas, have any say whatsoever in decisions a woman makes regarding her own reproduction? The United States is turning into a police state, especially for WOMEN!!!!

I, for one, am glad that the 76 year old woman on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page is willing to speak up for other women. She’s old enough to remember when women had far fewer rights than we have now. She remembers what it was like to be a woman of childbearing age who had no right to terminate a pregnancy. In those days, people had more privacy, though, because there was no Internet. Nowadays, the Internet can trip up a person, as creepy social media sites collect information about users. Oppressive jerks like Scott want to put women behind bars, simply because they think they should have a say in what another person does with their own body!

I’ve said it before. I’m so tired of thinking and writing about abortion. It’s not something I will have to face. However, this issue is a slippery slope. No, it doesn’t directly affect me anymore, but who’s to say that the next invasion of privacy and intrusion into healthcare practices won’t affect me? Has Scott considered that this issue is just the tip of the iceberg? He’s very naive if he doesn’t realize that the powers-that-be will eventually be coming after freedoms that are important to him. Many of those folks truly believe that they have different rights and privileges than the rest of us have. I am reminded of Martin Niemöller, who wrote a very famous poem about the dangers of looking the other way:

Americans better wake up. The abortion issue is just the beginning, and it’s distracting us from a more sinister situation that is brewing. Niemöller, by the way, wasn’t all that innocent himself. He wasn’t all that interested in fighting Naziism until the Nazi movement threatened him directly.

As I close today’s rant, I want to share this July 25th video by Rachel Maddow, which shows how it’s later than we think. We’ve got idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about turning the United States into a “Christian Nation”. Listen to Rachel’s talk about former 50s era politician Gerald L.K. Smith, and his “America First” party. Listen to what Mr. Smith said back in the day, and compare it to what Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying now. It’s scary as hell. Mr. Smith was a racist, Nazi sympathizer, and anti Semite, and he wanted to be president. Smith died in 1976, but there are lots of other people just like him who are in politics now. They want to be in charge. Abortion rights and access to contraception are just the beginning of what they want to take away from rank and file citizens.

This is a fascinating look at the past… and the future, if we don’t take action. Listen to the clip she includes about Doug Mastriano, who is the Republican nominee for the governor of Pennsylvania. Scary shit!

So, you see, this issue isn’t just about abortion. And we should all fight against ignorant people like Scott and Kaye, and do our best to defeat people who want to take away our freedoms and rights to privacy. I have seen some very scary ignorance regarding pregnancy and abortion from people like Scott and Kaye. There will be real consequences if we don’t reverse this trend now.

Now to move on to guitar practice, before I have a stroke.


My new mantra…

Yesterday morning, as my eyes cracked open to a windy new day, I spotted a Yahoo! news article about a pregnant black woman who’s being shamed because she’s about to have her fifth child. I was pretty dismayed to read the story, although I give the woman, Leslie Lewis, big props for basically telling her detractors to fuck off.

Okay… so she didn’t tell them that. What she did say was this:

Seriously… where do people get their nerve?

Reminding her critics that she’s a married adult and that she and her husband work very hard, Leslie Lewis took people to task for making offensive comments about her family planning choices. She claims that this is a “people of color” issue. Lewis brings up how TLC makes millions of dollars portraying huge white families in a positive way, yet when black families have a lot of kids, there’s the assumption that the home is broken or that the family is somehow on the public dole. She even got nasty private messages from a woman who assumed she and her family were on welfare and that she should be on birth control. Lewis notes that there aren’t any reality shows about large black families.

Perhaps Leslie Lewis is right about this attitude being a significant person of color issue. As a childless white woman myself, I don’t know from personal experience. What I do know is that people are far too concerned about what women, in general, do with their bodies. I have gotten inquisitive questions and rude comments because I don’t have children. One of my friends, who has just one daughter, commented that she got a lot of crap about not giving her child a sibling. And if you’ve read this blog for any time, you already know how I feel about the abortion issue and how people stick their noses into women’s uteri. It’s definitely rude, but it’s also kind of sick. Why is another person’s family planning choices anyone else’s concern? Especially when so many people who are pro-life also think that any social welfare safety nets should be abolished.

I decided to read the comments on the Yahoo! article. I don’t do that very often on Yahoo! articles anymore, mostly because there was a time when I read them regularly and the comments would make me feel horrible about the human race. So many ignorant trolls comment on Yahoo! But this time, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised… until I came to this comment.

No problem with large families if you can support them . . . However the minute you start asking for additional benefits and funds to help feed, educate or support them I’m out . . .pay your own way!”

Not to say that I think people who can’t afford children should have them, but life is full of surprises. Sometimes bad things happen. What does this person say when someone who had a good job and five or six kids suddenly gets laid off or very sick and needs assistance? Most people with this attitude think people who need help should turn to charities, particularly the religious based. But what if you’re not a religious person and you need help? Should you be forced to sit through a church service to get food or help paying the rent? Working people pay into the welfare system. It’s there for a reason. Anyone who has paid taxes has the right to ask for assistance if they need it. Plenty of people who need help also work and pay taxes. And if you really care about children– particularly if you think women should be forced to give birth– you should want children to get what they need to thrive, so they can grow up to be healthy and productive members of society. People need to stop judging others, especially when they don’t have all the facts about someone’s personal situation.

Birth control is expensive, requires a prescription (which means a doctor’s visit), and until recently was often not covered by health insurance. The Affordable Care Act now forces insurers to pay for at least one type of FDA approved coverage. However, our “pro-life” orange fuckwad “president” is currently trying to get this vital provision overturned. So, all of the conservatives out there who would shame a person for being pregnant and tell her she should be on birth control should probably do some thinking about what they care more about– money or their pro-life ethics. It costs a lot more to force women to birth children than it does to cover their birth control. I know… I know… poor people shouldn’t have sex, nor should they be eating cookies, steak, or shrimp… or otherwise finding any joy in their lives… /sarcasm… not until they’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, right? Bullshit. Poor people deserve to enjoy life, too. Mind your own shopping buggy and your own bedroom.

Another person had this to say:

Unfortunately 49 percent of folks in this country do not even have an extra 1000. 00 in case of an emergency. My personal opinion is to have fewer children and be able to give them more, i.e. braces, good education, college fund, etc. People with large family’s [sic] do not seem concerned for the future nearly as much. They will assume family, church, or the government will come to their aid. To me this is selfish and not responsible. This applies to all races and ethnicities.

Okay, so you think it’s “selfish”. Sounds like a personal problem. What exactly do you expect to accomplish by sharing this opinion with someone who is already pregnant? Do you think that by telling her this, she’ll think of your opinion the next time she has sex and take appropriate precautions? Personally, I think it’s wise to have smaller families in these trying times. I always expected to have children, but now I’m glad I don’t have them. That doesn’t mean I feel the need to tell other people how large their families should be. It’s none of my business. It’s none of yours, either. As a matter of fact, I come from a large family myself, but one of my sisters and a lot of my cousins are childless. Quite a few aren’t even married, and some are even older than I am. But I have one cousin who has five beautiful kids. I’m happy for her, as it’s her choice.

Anyway, it’s clear that Leslie Lewis isn’t poor, nor does she have a bunch of “baby daddies”. She’s happy to be having her fifth child, and the baby is going to a great home with involved, hardworking parents. It looks like Ms. Lewis has a healthy family, and she and her husband are doing just fine. There’s no need for anyone to open their mouths or type a screed about their reproductive choices. In fact, just as it’s the case for anyone else, it’s no one else’s business how many children they have.

Which now brings me to the title of today’s piece, inspired by this clever BBC clip my friend Rebecca shared with me…

Fuck off. Stop judging women for their family planning decisions or questioning them about how many children they do or don’t have. It’s none of your business.