healthcare, politics

The people of Ohio have spoken up for women’s rights!

The day after Election Day is often very polarizing. I remember how some people were rejoicing in 2016 when Donald Trump won the presidential election. Other people, myself included, felt like going on a bender at the news of his ascension to the White House. In my opinion, the 2016 election changed everything… and in many ways, things got worse. Emboldened MAGA Republicans decided to screw around with rights we Americans have taken for granted for decades. Roe v. Wade was overturned, and suddenly, women of childbearing age became second class citizens in most states where people typically vote Republican.

Well… I was absolutely delighted this morning to read about the results of Ohio’s election. I took it as a sign that there are still people in the United States who have common sense and decency. I’m writing, of course, of the decision Ohio voters made to establish the right to abortion in their State Constitution. According to The New York Times:

Ohio voters resoundingly approved a ballot measure enshrining a right to abortion in the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press, continuing a winning streak for abortion-rights groups that have appealed directly to the public as they try to recover from the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Issue 1, as the ballot measure is known, had become the country’s most-watched race in the off-year elections, as both parties try to gauge whether voter anger over the loss of the federal right to abortion could help Democrats in next year’s presidential and congressional races.

I am also greatly relieved to see that many of the people commenting on this issue are as delighted about it as I am. It’s a sign that most Americans do not want to see our country backslide fifty or more years by intruding in private medical decisions made by women about their own reproduction. I also realize that some people are very disappointed, because they truly believe that abortion is morally wrong. It may surprise some of my readers that I can empathize with that viewpoint. Personally, I find abortion horrifying. But I’ve also never been in a position in which I seriously had to consider having an abortion. I’ve never been pregnant.

I have never been pregnant, but I have always been practical. And I wholeheartedly believe that we must protect the rights of the already born over the unborn. The attempt to completely ban abortion has already had disastrous second and third order effects that I don’t think most people considered when they tried to impose draconian limits on the procedure.

I don’t think people who oppose allowing women to choose realize that banning abortion will lead to poorer healthcare for everyone. Why? Because doctors don’t want to work in states where they can be arrested for doing their jobs. OB-GYNs in red states like Texas, Idaho, and Florida are already leaving those states for places where they don’t have to fear prosecution for acting in the best interests of their patients. So already, women who live in states with strict abortion bans are going to have fewer doctors around to help them, not just when they’re pregnant, but also when they have other conditions that affect their health.

But while I haven’t done a lot of research on the emerging issues of physicians leaving red states over abortion, I’ll bet other doctors will leave, too. Because if state legislators can butt into women’s health, what’s to stop them from branching out into other specialties? And what about the medical schools in those states? The best and the brightest medical students won’t want to study in a state that ties their hands and threatens them with arrest over moral issues, largely influenced by politics and religion. Those who do go to medical school in red states might not want to become OB-GYNs in those states. Or, at least those doctors in training won’t want to train in those places, unless they are themselves anti-choice. I would think that mindset would inherently make them worse physicians, because their focus would be on the unborn, rather than the already born patient asking them for care.

Pregnancy can be dangerous or even deadly for some people. Physicians should have the right to be able to help their patients without worrying about being arrested and eventually incarcerated. Patients must have the right to privacy, without some politician’s ideology in the exam room with them. The United States, as a whole, already has way too many people in prison as it is. Incarcerating more people isn’t a good way to protect children. Banning semi-automatic and automatic weapons… now THAT is a good way to protect children!

I’m sure the decision to enshrine the right to abortion in Ohio’s State Constitution had at least something to do with that poor ten year old girl who was impregnated by her stepfather and had to go to Indiana for care. I’m sure many voters realized that a ten year old child isn’t equipped to maintain a healthy pregnancy. While her case isn’t necessarily the norm, the ugly truth is, children can and do get pregnant after they are victimized. They must be protected!

Other people likely voted for the measure because they realized that sometimes women need abortions for tragic reasons that are, quite simply, no one else’s business. Sometimes women have abortions because they will DIE if they don’t. And they should not have to explain that to anyone else, nor should they ever have to worry that they’ll be arrested for taking care of their own health. Imagine how absolutely horrifying it would be to learn that your much wanted baby has anomalies that are incompatible with life, then being FORCED to maintain the pregnancy.

I read some comments from some people who were concerned that protecting the right to abortion would lead to an erosion of parental rights. Some people don’t want minors to have the right to gender affirming care without parental consent. Others don’t want to allow minor girls to have abortion without parental consent. To that, I say that gender affirming care for minors generally doesn’t involve making permanent changes to their bodies. Frankly, I think it’s much better to provide that healthcare and support to minors who are transgender or non-binary, than ignore the issue and put them at risk of suicide. Either way, this is an issue that should be dealt with privately among the people involved, not politicians.

As for girls getting pregnant and having abortions without their parents’ consent, I would say that if your daughter is having unprotected sex without your knowledge, that’s a much bigger issue than the risk that she might get an abortion without your permission. I think we need to face facts and realize that teenagers are going to have sex. It should be up to parents to teach their children about sex, and how to avoid unintended pregnancies. But many parents typically do a terrible job at this task. They simply tell their teenaged children to abstain, or leave it up to the schools, which are governed by their communities.

Many educators in school systems will direct teenagers to abstain from having sex. Some of them will do that. I did. But plenty of others will have sex before they’re ready for it, and they will get pregnant. I would much rather see teenagers be able to access contraceptives and even abortion care than be at risk for doing something desperate, crazy, or stupid.

When I was a teenager, there was a well known case of a 17 year old girl named Becky Bell who got pregnant in Indiana. She asked about having an abortion, but was told that in her state, she needed either parental consent or a waiver from a judge. Not wanting to tell her parents about her condition, Becky considered her options. They included going 100 miles away to Kentucky for an abortion, carrying the baby to term and placing it for adoption, or running away to California. She feared asking a judge for permission to have an abortion because she didn’t want her parents to find out about the pregnancy.

Sadly, Becky decided to either self-abort or access an illegal abortion. The end result was that she got very sick with an infection, got pneumonia, went septic, and ultimately died on September 16, 1988. Her parents, Bill and Karen Bell, later lobbied against the parental consent law. They would have preferred that their beloved daughter have access to abortion without their knowledge or consent than what ultimately happened. They lost Becky forever because she couldn’t have healthcare privacy. This was a young lady who was on the brink of adulthood, anyway. If she’d been able to have an abortion without interference from uninvolved parties, she would still be alive today. But you never hear the pro life crowd talking about that. They just want to talk about the sanctity of life, and abstinence education. Why didn’t they care more about Becky Bell’s life?

Becky Bell’s story was later dramatized for HBO. That was how I heard about it. In 1992, she was the subject of Lifestories: Families in Crisis, “Public Law 106: The Becky Bell Story”. I remember the show vividly. I don’t see it posted on YouTube, but it looks like it can be accessed on HBO Max. Becky Bell’s story really hit home for me, because she was one of my peers. She wasn’t even a year older than me. I could have been in her shoes myself.

I think Republicans made a huge mistake when they decided to go after abortion rights. They’re going to find that this is an issue that will cause them to lose elections. I know I’m done voting for Republicans, and I also know I’m not the only one. In my case, it’s not just because of abortion, but abortion is one reason why I won’t vote for them anymore. I don’t have to worry about needing an abortion anymore, but there are people I care about who do. And also, I’m pissed off about the dreadful people in that party who seem to have lost all sense of decorum and decency.

I truly fear Donald Trump winning another election, although common sense tells me he won’t win. But then, I didn’t think he stood a chance in 2016, either. If he wins, he will do everything in his power to dismantle the Constitution, because he wants to be a dictator. And the people who support him are too stupid to realize that if he gets into power, they will lose their power, too. This isn’t about Republicans as a whole, either… it’s about Trump, who is the top Republican at the moment. Going after abortion– which I really think is more about keeping people in their places than caring about babies– was just the first step toward taking away freedoms for everyone. The United States is supposed to be a free country… but banning abortion is the height of government overreach that will have devastating effects on basic freedoms like healthcare privacy.

I think Ohio’s decision to enshrine the right to abortion will ultimately be a good thing for all Ohioans– including the unborn. Because they are going to find that people will move to their state… especially people who can provide good healthcare. They will find that doctors will want to practice in a place where they can do their jobs without fear of arrest. Bright young people will want to go to medical school in Ohio, because they can get all of the training they need to do their jobs. The military will want to do business in Ohio, because female service members will be able to access the healthcare they need and maintain military readiness. And fewer babies will be born to people who aren’t ready or don’t want to be parents. That will lead to less poverty, less child abuse, and fewer people needing welfare assistance from the state.

So, I say BRAVO to Ohio voters. I hope like hell that other states will follow suit and protect the right to reproductive healthcare privacy, although I fear that many Republican legislators red states will do everything in their power to keep the issue off their ballots. Imagine that… the Supreme Court says it’s a state issue, but the legislators in red states don’t want to risk making that decision. I’m shaking my head at that… and grateful I don’t have any descendants.

healthcare, law, modern problems, politics, social media, Twitter

The baby depository “drop box”…

Last night, I read a news story about how some conservative groups, post Roe v Wade, have decided that it would be a good idea to have “drop boxes” for unwanted babies to be placed in. These boxes are supposed to give people a way to surrender their babies with “minimal interference”. It’s seen as an expansion of the “Safe Haven laws”, which have already been around in all 50 states for a couple of decades now.

The Safe Haven laws were enacted to discourage people from dumping their babies in unsafe places, such as trash receptacles or public restrooms. Instead, parents who want to give up their babies are encouraged to take them to any emergency room, fire department, or a law enforcement agency. According to the link I provided, in four states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish her infant. In the District of Columbia, infants can only be relinquished by residents of the District. Twelve states already allow so-called “drop boxes”, which are devices that would trigger a 911 call to emergency services when the box is opened.

Personally, I am not a fan of these “boxes”, mainly because I don’t think that people who are relinquishing a baby should be able to do so anonymously. Some of them simply need help, which they won’t get if they are encouraged to anonymously drop off their babies. I know the boxes exist in other countries and are supposedly “life savers” for the babies. But it seems to me that it would be better to 1. prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, and 2. provide appropriate healthcare to women who want or need it. Sometimes, abortion is healthcare. Sometimes, it’s the kindest, most responsible thing a person can do. And all the time, it’s an extremely personal decision that should not involve anyone but the already born person who is directly involved. I agree with this point, which was made in the article I linked (and unlocked):

“Is this infant being surrendered without coercion?” asked Micah Orliss, director of the Safe Surrender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Is this a parent who is in a bad spot and could benefit from some time and discussion in a warm handoff experience to make their decision?”

As I was reading up on “baby drop boxes”, I found this letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It was sent by an adoptee rights group called “Bastard Nation”, which opposes use of the baby drop boxes. I think they make good points in their letter, as these are people who are adoptees and have to live with issues surrounding being adopted. I’m going to have to read more about Bastard Nation later, when I have more time.

Later in the article, Dr. Orliss is mentioned again:

Because of the anonymity, there is limited information about the parents who use safe havens. But Dr. Orliss, of the Los Angeles safe haven clinic, performs psychological and developmental evaluations on some 15 such babies annually, often following them through their toddler years. His research found that more than half the children have health or developmental issues, often stemming from inadequate prenatal care. In California, unlike in Indiana, safe haven surrenders must be done face-to-face, and parents are given an optional questionnaire on medical history, which often reveals serious problems such as drug use.

The article also explains that mothers who abandon their babies and have a change of heart may have a hard time reclaiming their infants. They are also not immune to being subjected to legal sanctions, particularly if there is evidence that the baby they drop off is unhealthy due to drug or alcohol abuse. It’s potentially risky for them. See below:

In Indiana, which has the majority of baby boxes, state law does not specify a timeline for terminating birth parents’ rights after safe haven surrenders, or for adoption. But according to Don VanDerMoere, the prosecutor in Owen County, Ind., who has experience with infant abandonment laws in the state, biological families are free to come forward until a court terminates parental rights, which can occur 45 to 60 days after an anonymous surrender.

Because these relinquishments are anonymous, they typically lead to closed adoptions. Birth parents are unable to select the parents, and adoptees are left with little to no information about their family of origin or medical history.

Mr. Hanlon, of the National Council for Adoption, pointed to research showing that over the long term, birth parents feel more satisfied about giving up their children if biological and adoptive families maintain a relationship.

And in safe haven cases, if a mother changes her mind, she must prove to the state that she is fit.

According to Ms. Kelsey, since her operation began, two women who said they had placed their infants in boxes have tried to reclaim custody of their children. Such cases can take months or even years to resolve.

Birth mothers are also not immune from legal jeopardy, and may not be able to navigate the technicalities of each state’s safe haven law, said Lori Bruce, a medical ethicist at Yale.

While many states protect surrendering mothers from criminal prosecution if babies are healthy and unharmed, mothers in severe crisis — dealing with addiction or domestic abuse, for example — may not be protected if their newborns are in some way affected.

The idea of a traumatized, postpartum mother being able to “correctly Google the laws is slim,” Ms. Bruce said.

But then… the article also points out that some of the babies do well, and turn out to be healthy. I have been thinking, though, that all of this focus on babies being born could lead to less freedoms for potential birth mothers. Are laws going to be changed that force potentially pregnant people to get prenatal care, since their bodies are basically being thought of as akin to vessels now? If a woman doesn’t regularly see her OB-GYN, is she going to be punished? If she does something considered unsafe, will she be at risk of arrest or incarceration? That’s another thing– why are so many Americans so hot on jailing people? We have so many incarcerated people in the United States, and some of the anti-abortion folks just want to put more people behind bars. What kind of life is that?

There’s something really sickening about the fact that drop boxes weren’t acceptable to many conservatives for collecting votes, but they are for babies. It’s like dropping off a book at the library, or something. There should be more to relinquishing a baby than simply dumping off a kid in a box. Maybe something can be done to make the situation less dire for the natural parents so that they don’t feel compelled to abandon their offspring. In any case, I would hope that people are made aware of the fact that there’s a window of time in which the parent can reclaim the baby, if the situation is such that they’ve panicked or had a change of heart.

Anyway, once again, I expressed my opinion. I immediately got an inappropriate laugh reaction from someone I quickly blocked. I noticed two other “laugh” reacts, both from obvious MAGA trolls. Then I got a nonsensical comment from someone. I wrote “huh”, because I genuinely didn’t get what they were on about. That person came back and said they didn’t have the time or crayons to explain it to me, so I blocked them, too. If your response to me is immediate rudeness and insults, I don’t see why I should waste any time with you. If you choose to interact with me unsolicited, and all you have is mockery, then welcome to my block list. I don’t have the energy for it. I wonder, though, is that the overall goal for these people? To be so insufferably obnoxious that they immediately get blocked by strangers on social media? I think a lot of them make rude comments for attention. If they get blocked right off the bat, they don’t get any attention. So what have they accomplished, other than looking like assholes?

I’ve decided to be a lot more aggressive about blocking people who deliberately annoy me. I think the current political climate calls for it. There’s no reason to engage with people who are disrespectful and immediately make personal attacks against others. That doesn’t mean I block people who simply disagree. It means I block people who are sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. I don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does.

This one guy was going on about killing babies in the “whom”. Seriously, that was how he was spelling “womb”, as he sanctimoniously lectured us all about how babies shouldn’t be denied all of the “wonderful and beautiful” things in life. Yeah… like climate change, poverty, housing shortages, inflation, gun violence, domestic violence, political nightmares, rampant crime, extreme debt, and every child’s special hell– abuse. There are worse things than not being born, and I’m so sick and tired of reading comments from pro-life (birth) men, whose lives will never be personally affected by pregnancy or childbirth. A lot of them are only “pro-life” because they are upset about not having the choice to opt out of parenting and resent being forced to pay child support. See this video from a West Virginia legislator for more on that phenomenon:

“Chris Pritt owns his own law practice, Pritt Law, where he specializes in divorce, custody arguments and child support. But standing before the state legislature in West Virginia, his argument was a linguistic pretzel to justify eliminating all child support for the parent who gets custody of a child. According to Pritt, there are fathers who don’t want to be involved in the lives of their children.

It’s not just the men, though. On Twitter this morning, I read some MAGA woman’s comments about how miscarriages that require D&C aren’t abortions. Except a miscarriage is LITERALLY referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. She also went on about how necessary medical treatment for situations like ectopic pregnancies aren’t abortions. Except they are. If there is a heartbeat in the embryo that is lodged outside of the uterus, and the pregnancy is terminated for medical reasons, it’s still technically an abortion. Abortion isn’t a “dirty word”. But these MAGA people want to term it as “murder”, which it’s not, and refer to it as a specific action involving ending a “healthy” pregnancy. People get abortions for all kinds of reasons that are important to them, none of which are anyone else’s business. Calling abortion “murder” is just a way to rile people up and get them to think irrationally. Murder is a legal term that involves people who have already been born.

I didn’t engage the MAGA woman, but one look at her Twitter page was all I needed to know that she isn’t someone I want to have anything to do with. So I blocked her, too. I considered blocking a guy who was demanding “proof” of a Twitter user’s story about a friend whose pregnancy ended in the 7th month of gestation and she couldn’t get appropriate medical care before she got sick. The guy actually demanded that she “prove” it to him. So, she blocked him. He was whining about being blocked, but other people were telling him that she doesn’t owe him personal information about her friend. Besides, there have been enough recent news stories about people being denied appropriate medical care in deep red states when they are miscarrying. That is a situation that will only get worse. And this is a world we want to bring innocent babies into? Where the females will be obliged to stay pregnant or denied medical assistance when they are in trouble because doctors are now terrified of being sued or arrested? Or the babies can be anonymously “dropped off” in a depository box, instead of handed to a human being? Maybe the boxes have saved lives, but I still don’t like them. I should be able to state that without some stranger laughing at me or calling me “stupid”.

I am all for allowing people to have abortions when they want or need them. It’s a personal healthcare decision, and restricting it causes a whole host of slippery slope situations that will cause big problems down the line, as well as a loss of privacy and freedom for already born people. People don’t seem to realize that forcing people to gestate will result in a lot of social problems that will affect everyone on every level. Because those new babies being born will have many needs… and we don’t meet all of the needs of people who have already been born as it is.

Moving on… a little levity for Monday…

I suspect Ex must be starting a new cycle of abuse, as she posted a picture of a man who appears to be #3 on social media with the following comment:

Oh how this touches my heart. I was adopted; my reunion was like this with my birth father, except he then refused to acknowledge me to his family. I am fortunate to have had a real Daddy to raise me and love me. He’s passed and I miss him so much! Hubby has to fill in on hugs! (interesting how she values her adoptive father, who by Bill’s account, was kind of non-commital to her and was always out at sea, but she denies her children access to their fathers, or replaces them when she gets divorced with inferior models, like #3)

My guess is that she and #3 may have hit a rough patch and she’s now making up with him… the cycle of abuse is starting again. But who knows?

I was also amused to see this comment from Ex, who apparently hasn’t heard of Duolingo… Duolingo does, in fact, offer what she seeks.

[her favorite author] does her homework and makes us do ours!!! I want to learn Gaelic but cannot find a program, not even BABEL has it. Anyone know of a good app or website or person I can learn SCOTTISH GAELIC, not Irish, from?!?! I’m of Scottish descent and want to know my own tongue!!!!

Anyway… Ex was born in Texas, not Scotland. I have lots of Scottish ancestry myself, but I am an American. So is Ex. And plenty of poison has come from Ex’s tongue, whether it’s through speaking, kissing, or giving someone head. So I think she knows enough of her own tongue, and should keep it to herself. 😉

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!