Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tweeting Your Abortion

So, there's this single mom on Twitter who is live tweeting her abortion {medical, not surgical}. Her IUD failed and she got pregnant with her boyfriend. She was 6 weeks along. She's listed some of the reasons she doesn't want to be pregnant; she has a special needs son and wants to be able to focus on mothering him; she has significant pregnancy-induced medical risks. She's also made it clear that her reason for tweeting about it is to demystify the process because there's a lot of misinformation out there, and because she wants to help remove the shame stigma.

And I think she's fantastic.

Some people are calling her an attention whore {or just plain whore}. I have a hard time buying the idea that she'd be taking these risks just for 15 minutes of fame. Apparently the death threats have already seems some extremists only value life up until a person is born. But I don't want to waste my time talking about the nut-jobs going after her. I don't have that kind of time.

This whole thing has really grabbed my attention. I've been doing research on some repro-rights and women's rights, etc. And an online friend in Provo clued me into the awful new law headed to the governor's desk in Utah. Have you ever noticed, after buying a car, that you suddenly see that car ALL the time ALL over the place? I guess it's like that. Repro-rights and abortion have been on my mind and now I'm noticing the issue coming up all over the place.

The discussion of which I've been a part regarding the law in Utah have been interesting. Some people have defended it with a "well, it's not going to be used in a bad way" argument. I think that's an irresponsible assumption. Laws are often twisted in one way or another...and the wording of this law is practically begging for it to be applied in bad ways. I have a lot of thoughts on the situation, and not sure how organized they'll turn out to be but, here goes:
  • I fell down the stairs TWICE while pregnant. It must have been on purpose! Nobody's that clumsy, right? {Hah! Even the most graceful woman can find herself suddenly QUITE clumsy while pregnant, center of gravity changes, can't see your feet, etc.} The first time I fell I hesitated to head to the hospital. I was worried out of my mind, but I was also worried I was overreacting and that I'd be a burden/nuisance to the hospital staff if I went in to get checked out. Eventually some online friends convinced me that it was worth it, if for no other reason than to get some peace of mind. So I went in. But I sit here, and I remember how I hesitated {I hesitated even though it wouldn't have cost me a dime}. And I imagine how much more hesitant women will be to seek medical attention if they're worried someone is going to report them to the police. After the case in {was it Iowa?} in which a woman was turned over to police after falling down the stairs I worry that women in Utah won't seek medical attention after accidents.
  • Who gets to decide what's reckless? Is the woman who has a baby at 40 being reckless because of her age? Is the woman who feels trapped in a violent relationship being reckless? Is the woman who drinks coffee while pregnant being reckless? What about the woman who eats deli meat, or sushi? What about the woman who goes horseback riding every day {I knew a woman online who rode every day, including the day she went into labor}. It's easy to say the law won't go too far...but not only can you not promise that, you have to ask...WHOSE definition of too far? Some people have an occasional drink while pregnant {sometimes following the, in my opinion, bad advice of their doctors}. I think that's reckless...but I don't think it should land a woman {a woman who may have a family who depend on her} in jail.
  • I'm wary of any law that seems to put an embryo's "rights" above that of an actual, living, breathing, thinking, person. - I don't believe an embryo is a person. I think at some point a fetus must count as a person because I don't feel comfortable with the idea that passing through the vagina suddenly instils a baby with person-hood when there was none the day before the birth. That said, I don't know where that line is drawn...age of viability? Maybe. But here's the thing...very, very, very few abortions are late term. In Canada {according to Wiki} "During the year 2003, 6.5% of induced abortions were performed between 13 to 16 weeks, 2.2% between 17 to 20 weeks, and 0.8% over 20 weeks" And {also according to Wiki re: the US} {my thoughts in pink} of the women who got “late term abortions” did so because of the following reasons
71% Woman didn't recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion - With the number of anti-choice laws in place that attempt to do just that {make it difficult to get an abortion} this doesn't surprise me. The pro-life movement is actually doing fetuses a disservice in this case. If they didn't make it so damn hard for women to get a safe and legal abortion this number would probably be a lot smaller because the women this number represents would have been able to get the abortion earlier on {this problem also occurs with the pro-life efforts to restrict access to Plan B and birth control}.
33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents - This is a cultural problem that won't change any time soon I'm sure, but I think the woman tweeting her abortion and the article in Glamour probably help. If 26 out of 100 {Wiki} pregnancies are ended by induced abortion worldwide, then it's probable that we all know someone who's had one for some reason or another. If we can remove the shame stigma from it then we can lower this number too. I would much rather women be choosing Plan B, or RU 486 than be getting abortions later in their pregnancies when we can't be sure of the person-hood status of a fetus.
24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion This number {as well as the 6% who didn't realize timing was important and the 5% who didn't know they could get an abortion} are disturbing. Women who are educated with the truth about abortion will have an easier time making their choice, one way or another. But the sad fact is that there is a LOT of misinformation, or in the case of abstinence only programs, no information at all. This is yet another reason I think it's great that the woman on twitter {and now another woman getting an abortion who has joined her} are tweeting. Honestly, I've been pretty clueless myself. I'm educating myself now, because it interests me. But I really have been holding some outdated, untrue, etc. ideas or been unaware of certain facts. This seems to be common. In the discussions I've been seeing it seems most of us aren't even clear on the difference between Plan B and RU 486 and how they work, nor what the laws say about our bodies. And I find myself very unsettled by the idea that we're not making sure we know what's going on, not only medically concerning our own bodies and options, but politically and legally.
8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
6% Woman didn't know timing is important
5% Woman didn't know she could get an abortion
2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy I'm wondering if this number includes induced stillbirths.
11% Other
So, yeah, off on a tangent there. But my point is this...I think a law that values fetus rights over the rights of women {about whom we have NO doubts of their person-hood} are anti-woman. Women are people, not just walking incubators.

  • As best as I've been able to glean from the news is that this whole mess got started after a 17 year old girl hired a man to beat her up in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. I definitely think the girl should be charged with filing a false police report, but I certainly don't think we need to go and create a dangerously vague law in response to this one, very sad situation. And I'm annoyed that the "solution" to this problem is to create a new law that infringes on women rather than CHANGING the bad laws that created the situation in the first place. This girl hired this guy because her father wouldn't let her get an abortion. Utah has parental notification and consent laws in place so her FATHER got to make the decision about HER body. That's just wrong. Parental consent laws are wrong. And here's why I think that...first, it's not the parent's body. The parents will not be going through 9 months of pregnancy and then giving birth. It's not the parents who will have to provide for this child by either raising it or giving it up for adoption. Secondly, parental consent laws basically say "we, as a society, think you're old enough to be a parent but not old enough to decide on your own, without your parent's knowledge/consent whether to have an abortion." That's ridiculous. But now they're making another bad law to fix the problem created by the first bad law! I also have to wonder how this girl might have fared if Utah schools taught comprehensive sex ed. Did you know that the Provo location of Planned Parenthood gives out more Plan B than any other PP in the nation? Just something to think about.
  • This law isn't about protecting people, it's about punishing women...punishing them for having THE SEX outside of the prescribed manner, or punishing them for being "BAD MOTHERS" {being reckless while pregnant}, etc. This girl was stupid, but I don't think we should make stupidity criminal. What I do think is that we should make it easier for girls like her to get safe, legal, and {preferably} early abortions.
I really do think that, ultimately, most anti-choice laws have more to do with punishing women than we'd like to admit. And the way some pro-lifers talk about women only strengthens that suspicion. If it were really about babies then the pro-lifers wouldn't be trying so hard to limit access to Plan B {emergency birth control} or regular birth control. But it's NOT just about babies. On some level it's about THE SEX. Some people don't want people having sex outside the prescribed "appropriate" manner {heterosexual marriage}. It doesn't matter that not everyone holds the belief that only married people should have sex. Some people who think that's wrong think that they're on a moral high ground which makes it OK to enforce that belief on society as a whole...even if that means embracing sex education methods that lead to MORE teen pregnancy and MORE STDs. Of course, there are also the people who think that a fertilized egg = person. And I just don't know how anybody is supposed to reason with them. They're opinion isn't based on science or anything provable, so trying to explain to them that a 6 week old fetus should not have the same rights as a 20-something year old mother of one is, at best, a frustrating endeavor. These are often the same people who think regular, hormonal birth control, is evil because sometimes an eggs manages to get fertilized but then doesn't implant because of the birth control. To these people any type of abortion, even the ones women don't know about that were caused by their birth control, are murder. And then there are the outright liars who have been saying this woman on Twitter has aborted a fetus with arms, and eyes, and hands and blah blah blah.

But back to the "punishment" idea. If you listen long enough to the arguments against choice you'll hear the subtle indicators that underlying the anti-choice movement is a current of misogyny. Phrases like "well she should have kept her legs shut" or the more polite version "she made her choice when she chose to have sex" and "she wants to have sex without consequences" {"consequences being a code-word for "punishment"} are often thought-stoppers. But we should think about them, hard. First off, we should think about the imbalance of this attitude. It takes two to do the {horizontal} tango. But we only seem to insist on punishing the girls...their biology makes it so easy to do so. But secondly, when we throw arguments out like "well, this is the consequence or her previous choice" as an argument against abortion we're basically saying it's more important to us that this girl or woman face the consequences/punishment for having THE SEX than it is to consider her well-being or the well-being or a potential child. And, for those of us who are married and using birth control, it's doubly crappy for us to use this argument. When we do that we're saying it's OK for us to have THE SEX and not want the consequence {babies} because we're married...but it's not OK for the unmarried people. That's a double standard based on moral codes not all of society shares.

So, there are some of my thoughts. I'm pro-choice. I'm uneasy with late-term abortion; it's great that it's so much more rare than the anti-choice movement would have you think. I don't know that I would feel comfortable legislating my uneasiness. I think that if we made sure all our citizens had not only comprehensive sex education, but easy and affordable access to birth control, Plan B birth control, and RU 486 that we wouldn't even need to worry about late term abortion. And I think the new law in Utah is at least as stupid as the current laws that created the problem in the first place.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Gotta Ask Yourself…

Q: According to Ezra Taft Benson, “we are to ‘give heed unto all [of the prophet’s] words’--as if from the Lord's ‘own mouth,’" and the prophet will “never lead the church astray” {see quotes below}.

"I say to Israel, The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God." (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)

“I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home....Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: "My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it." Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, "But you don't need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray." Marion G. Romney [In Conference Report, October 1), p. 78]

The Prophet Brigham Young said {among many reprehensible things}:

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.109)

As a Mormon I was always told that God would remove a prophet before he would let him lead his people astray. So, here’s what you gotta ask yourself: If Brigham Young was the prophet, and he was incapable of leading the church members astray, then what do we make of this particular teaching?

Was he just “speaking as a man?” The problem with that idea is that:

  •  Ezra Taft Benson warned against dismissing the teachings of a prophet in just that manner.
  • It seems far too convenient an excuse to not make anyone with a shred of logical thought suspicious. “Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! Don’t go astray! Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! Follow the prophet! He knows the way…except for when he doesn’t because he’s just speaking as a man and we can feel free to dismiss anything he says if we don’t like how it makes the church look.” {That last bit is a play on a song Mormon children sing regularly on Sundays.}

So, was he not speaking as a man after all? The problem with that idea is that:

  • It makes it pretty damn clear that the church was in fact racist and that God is a huge jerk.
  • It begs the question…why is interracial marriage OK with God now, but not then? Which in turn begs the question…so, in the future, will God decide he’s OK with gay marriage after all?

Makes you wonder…doesn’t it?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I’m A Winner!

I would just like to say THANK YOU to all those who voted for me in the Brodie Awards. I won in two categories!


Check it out!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Please Vote For Me

If you head over to Main Street Plaza they’re having a blog awards thingy. I’m nominated in the following categories and would LOVE it if you voted for me. :)
Best Humor Piece: Well, Duh
Best New Blog: A Marvelous Work and a Blunder
Best Gay Rights Post: Some Common Arguments Against Gay Marriage
Best LDS Church Watch: I’m Not Buying It
I would especially like to win Best New Blog and Best Gay Rights Post {though, I feel weird about that being straight and all…but it’s a post of which I am very proud}. I actually didn’t vote for myself under Best Humor Piece because, well…the LolDowment {scroll down} just DESERVES to win.
So anyway, please vote for me. I’ll love you forever and ever, or something.
Thank you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire!

The official church statement regarding the film 8: The Mormon Proposition:
"We have not seen '8: The Mormon Proposition.' However, judging from the trailer and background material online, it appears that accuracy and truth are rare commodities in this film. Although we have given many interviews on this topic, we had no desire to participate in something so obviously biased." {via the Washington Post, emphasis mine}
HA! Ha ha ha! AHHH HA HA HA! *snort* HA HA HA HA HA HAA! Ah ha ha! *snicker* Hee hee hee hee hee! *squeal* Ha ha HA ha ha HA! *pant*
I can’t speak to the accuracy of 8TMP because, like the church, I haven’t seen it {yet}. But I’d like to think that if the film were full of lies and inaccuracies the Washington Post might have pointed that out, or that Sundance wouldn’t have selected it, or that…you know, the church would actually address WHAT is inaccurate or untrue. But sure, go ahead and just refuse to see it because it’s “so obviously biased” and throw out snarky little sound bites about accuracy and truth to make people {and by “people” I mostly mean “church members”} believe it’s just anti-Mormon propaganda and the church is once again, the victim of persecution. I mean, I don’t for one minute buy this “accuracy and truth are rare commodities in this film” crap because if that were really the case the church could point out specifics. But you know, that’s not their style. The usual game plan is to paint anything critical of the church or its history as anti-Mormon lies and pretend it isn’t there {and warn the members to NEVER read such things}.
But that’s not what has me laughing.
What has me laughing is that this is the ultimate example of the pot calling the kettle black {except, in this case I don’t think they’re calling the kettle black so much as calling the clear crystal vase black, but I digress}. I mean, of all the organizations to know about lack of truth and accuracy the LDS church has to be a top one. After all they’re intimately familiar with lack of truth and masters of purposeful inaccuracy.
"Truth surely exists as an absolute, but our use of truth should be disciplined by other values. ... When truth is constrained by other virtues, the outcome is not falsehood but silence for a season. As the scriptures say, there is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Dallin H. Oaks
"My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors." Dallin H. Oaks
“There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.” Boyd K. Packer
Both of those men are current church leaders. Clearly they think the church’s reputation and the member’s “testimonies” matter more than truth or accuracy. And of course they’d have problems with full truth and accuracy regarding church history. Have you READ the true and accurate history of the LDS church? It doesn’t take much delving into that history to come face to face with problems with the version the church teaches. I’m not going to get into all the examples in this post because, well…it would be a really freaking long post and it’s already been done {by members of the church no less}!
You want a really insightful look into the practice of “lying for the Lord?” Check out this article.
I could, honest to Google, write an entire blog on NOTHING but the lies and inaccuracies the church teaches and not run out of material for years. So excuse me while I go laugh some more about the ridiculous hypocrisy of the church’s statement regarding 8TMP.
Because if I don’t laugh I’ll cry.