"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The obligatory abortion post

The Toronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias - whose Broadsides will be added to the blogroll when I get around to it - is asking Canadian bloggers to blog about reproductive rights on Jan. 28 - a week after the U.S. blogosphere's Blog for Choice Day.
The U.S. day produced a number of excellent posts - I particularly liked Tbogg's take on things and that of the folks at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

I've rewritten this a couple of times now due to the vagueries of blogger and the desire to get it right.

I will not be taking part in blogging about abortion on Monday.


Because I am not a pregnant woman or a pregnant woman's doctor and therefore abortion is not any of my goddamn business. Or yours. Or anyone else's. To paraphrase: "the state has no business in the bed or wombs of the nation."

Now as to blogging about what Antonia was actually asking us to blog about, why we vote pro-choice--well, see above.

If you think the state has a right to tell women what to do with their bodies or whether they can or cannot or must have children, you are just plain wrong. Now, I know if you oppose abortion for others you probably think you have good ethical moral reasons. I'm sure you point to passages in the Bible and quote your pastor or the pope or someone to try to back up your position, but you're still just plain wrong. As with suicide, eating pork, growing a beard or getting a tattoo -- the only person whose opinion ultimately matters when it comes right down to it is the person doing it.

Personally, I'd like abortion to be very rare. That's because I think all children should be wanted by both their parents and all pregnancies should be planned by both parents and all kids should be raised in a loving, stable, happy family. I'd also like a flying pony, a bottomless tub of chocolate ice cream that makes you skinny and a chance to kick George W. Bush in the 'nads. Since I'm not a complete moron, I know none of this is going to happen, ever. People will have sex without birth control and there will be unplanned pregnancies. Trust me, I know it happens. And what happens next should not be decided by a bunch of screaming, sign waving religious fanatics or moral scolds with 20/20 hindsight.

I'd like chemotherapy to rare too, and for the same reason. I'd like people not to need it. But since I'm not a fundamentalist whackjob who thinks teenagers and other people who may not be well suited to raise children together won't have sex if we all just pray hard enough and scare them sufficiently, it behooves me to have a more realistic position.

As I said, I'd like all kids to be planned, but neither of mine were, and they are no less loved for it. But I recognize how incredibly lucky I am to have impregnated my soulmate before we knew we were soulmates. If the divorce stats are anything to go by, most people are not that lucky.

We had our kids when we were married and earning enough to keep a roof over our heads, not everyone is that lucky. And I don't mean to begrudge single parents the opportunity to raise their kids, lots of single parents raise amazing kids and lots of married parents raise dysfunctional monsters. I don't think marital status has much to do with it, provided the parents or step-parents involved are committed, responsible and loving. I'd rather see a kid raised by a single mom or two daddies or a separated couple who have new partners than a couple who insist on using their kids as pawns in their insane marital chess game or who are abusive or disappear as convenient to their whims or addictions. I have little time for parents who abandon their kids, whatever the circumstances, though I'll concede that kids with abusive parents are probably better off wondering why they left than wondering why they keep getting hit or worse.

Abortion wasn't something that really entered our minds, but I'll be the first to say that others in similar circumstances might have reacted differently and that doing so would not have made them bad people. If you are childless and intend to remain so, use birth control. Not just most of the time, but all the time.

When a pregnancy happens, what happens next will and must be decided by the pregnant woman. She either will or won't have the child. She has always,ultimately, had the power to decide what happens next, it is just that our society has for the moment at least made it easier for her to make her decision without fear. Previously we, as a society, have been obsessed with trying to make that decision for her, either by outlawing certain options or pushing hard toward other options through conditioning, social pressure and shame. Women have always had abortions -- society has at times decided to make it very difficult and therefore very dangerous to do so, but abortions have always been part of human culture. So let's make sure they stay legal and safe and keep working on the rare part.
An abortion is not a haircut, and I don't expect that most women getting one consider to be such, but it certainly isn't murder either. Most women going to a family planning clinic to get information about an abortion or to actually have the procedure performed don't think they are there for a haircut, so even if you wouldn't have one yourself, just shut the fuck up and leave them alone to follow the dictates of their own conscience. No one put a gun to your head to make you have a baby, so why do you want some one else to be force to have kids? And if you are a man who thinks you have a right to voice your opinion in whether someone else has a baby or not, let me be as polite as I can and just suggest that you have a nice hot cup of STFU and cultivate another hobby.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Milton Wolff RIP
Milton Wolff should have been a lot more famous than he was, but he lived a life worth living.
He was the last commander of the American volunteers who fought against the fascists Spain. He served in the SOE and later the OSS arming resistance groups in Europe and Burma during World War Two. He fought for civil rights, sent ambulances to Nicaragua, and stole Ernest Hemmingway's mistress.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Theocrats gone wild

With apologies to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, here is your International Moment of Zen Theocratic Wingnuttery:

Former Arkansas Governor and clergyman Mike Huckabee speaking to a crowd of the faithful at Jerry Falwell's Liberty "University":


About 50 minutes into it, a student asks Huckabee "what do you attribute this surge (in polls) to?"
"There's only one explanation for it, and it's not a human one," Huckabee says. "It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people.
"And that's the only way that our campaign could be doing what it's doing. And I'm not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite.
"There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much. And it has. And it defies all explanation it has confounded the pundits and I'm enjoying every moinute of their trying to figure it out and until they look at it in a" -- here he motions in a God-like heavenly manner -- "just, experience beyond human, they'll never figure it out. That's honestly why it's happening."