For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Abortion Survey at Jeff Watson MP - Essex

Jeff Watson MP - Essex

There's a survey at the above link right now, asking for positions on abortion. Note that the default selection is for fully taxpayer funded abortions for any reason at any time, so be careful not to accidentally vote for a position you might not agree with.

At the time I'm posting this, the results are:

Which best describes your position:
4283 total votes

I support fully taxpayer-funded abortion, at any time in the pregnancy, for any reason at all;

I support some legal restrictions on access to abortion, for example restricting full access to abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy;

I support abortion for any reason but it shouldn't be taxpayer-funded;

I support creative policy options and supports that help women with unexpected pregnancies keep the baby; or

I support a complete ban on abortion.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Response to Why are Feminists So Angry?

or You just don't get it, do you?

Someone I know shared a link to a column on a website I've never heard of before.  Why Are Feminists So Angry is a transcript of the embedded video by Jessica Valenti . 

Here is my response to various points in the piece.

She begins by addressing the contents of a protester's sign; a comment I've seen fairly often, in one variation or another.  It reads "I can not believe I still have to protest this shit.

By "this shit," the protester is apparently shocked that there are still people who have problems with this issue of abortion.  My answer to that would be, "I still cannot believe that, with all the evidence of medical technology, people still pretend that abortion is anything other than the killing of a human being."  It could also be, "I still cannot believe that, after 4 decades, we commit infanticide on a massive scale."  I could come up with quite a few other responses, but I'll leave it at that, for now.

She then goes on to talk about getting an email asking her, "why are feminists so angry?"  She begins with, "It’s not that I’m angry. I’m exhausted. The war on reproductive health and autonomy feels absolutely never-ending."

 Let me explain something to you, Ms. Valenti. 

There is no war on reproductive health and autonomy.

This may be difficult for you and other activists to understand, but that's because you've framed the narrative as being about things like "choice" and "reproductive rights" and other such claptrap.  Let me say this again.

There is no war on reproductive health and autonomy.

There is, however, a war against so-called feminists that are just activists who claim to speak on behalf of all women.  There is a war against the campaign of misinformation, indoctrination and destruction against women.  Yes, Ms. Valenti.  You see, more and more women are recognising that, hidden behind such euphemisms as "choice", thousands of women are having their reproductive health damaged, sometimes permanently.  More and more women are recognising that, when it comes to "pro-choice" activists such as yourself, women are being denied the information they need to give informed consent to an invasive, damaging and dangerous surgical procedure.

How ironic that Ms. Valenti laments that states are trying to implement laws requiring women get "transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions."  Now, I don't know that these proposed laws specify transvaginal ultrasounds, or just ultrasounds in general.  I think activists just as Ms. Valenti just love the idea of waving around (metaphorically or otherwise) a rather large wand to show just how invasive such a procedure is.  I happen to know exactly how invasive such an ultrasound it.  I've had one.  It was done to try and find the cause of the pain that sent me to the emergency room.  In the end, it didn't do that job - the giant cyst that decided to do the twist with my innards was found using external ultrasound. 

In other words, ultrasounds, transvaginal or otherwise, are a normal tool in health care.  When it comes to abortions, ultrasounds are used to guide the abortionist to the fetus, so that when he (or she, but female abortionists seem to be in the minority) inserts the vacuum, he can watch on the screen as he suctions the bits and pieces out.

What self-identifying feminists like Ms. Valenti neglect to mention is that abortion itself is an extremely invasive procedure, and ultrasounds are already used to do them.  What Ms. Valenti and her fellows are objecting to is the patient - the mother - seeing the images.  She wants to prevent women from being informed as to what is actually in their uterus before they expunge it. 

She wants to deny women the information needed to give truly informed consent.

Yet Ms. Valenti and her peers claim it is those who are proposing these laws that are somehow against reproductive health.

Ms. Valenti then says, "I’m exhausted thinking about the fact that I’m still fighting a battle that my mother marched for."

To which I find myself wondering; if Ms. Valenti's mother had access to the information we now have about the grown and development of the human conceptum, would she still have marched for its destruction?

Lucky for Ms. Valenti, her mother didn't take advantage of her "rights" while pregnant with her.

Ms. Valenti goes on to say, "One provision in Arizona allows doctors to withhold medical information from a woman about her pregnancy if they think it might compel her to get an abortion. So if your pregnancy is in danger, if your fetus has an abnormality—a doctor could keep you in the dark and that would be absolutely legal."

How curious that, right ofter claiming her shock that doctors might have to provide women with information gained from an ultrasound, she's how shocked that doctors might withhold information?  One again, Ms. Valenti neglect to inform, herself. 

Just what medical information is there that a doctor might withhold in the belief that, given that information, "it might compel her to get an abortion."  Certainly not information that would actually endanger her life.  Do you know, Ms. Valenti, what sort of information that might be?  I can think of one in particular: gender.  Sex selective abortion is on the rise, with perfectly healthy and normally developing fetuses are aborted because of their gender.  Take a guess which gender is most likely to get aborted?  Why, female ones, it turns out.  There is, in fact, a rising gendercide happening around the world, with increasing numbers in Canada and the US.  How does a self-proclaimed feminist get around the fact that being female is a such a death sentence? 

As for "an abnormality," this is another issue entirely.  Eugenics.  Pro-choice advocates seem to be claiming some sort of moral high ground when they promote aborting fetuses that are "abnormal."  Downs Syndrome babies are the ones at greatest risk, but all developing children who are less than perfect are at risk.  Do "feminists" such as Ms. Valenti truly believe that the disabled are unworthy of life?  How do these pro-choices feel about cases where parents have chosen to abort children over such minor deformities such as club feet or, in one Canadian case involving a late-term abortion (and IVF pregnancy, no less) due to a cleft palate?  Do these feminists truly believe that only perfect babies should be allowed to be born?  Considering the attacks on Sarah Palin for not aborting her son with Downs Syndrome, just as one prominent example, it seems to me that the answer is yes.

What else shocks Ms. Valenti?  How about this.  "I’m shocked that when Ohio tried to pass their anti-choice heartbeat bill that would outlaw abortions as early as six weeks, they had a fetus “testify” by giving pregnant woman an ultrasound in front of the House. The pregnant woman didn’t speak, appropriately enough—only her fetus was allowed to make an appearance."

Yes, heaven forbid we use actual science and medical technology to make such a monumental decision.  How else is a fetus to "testify" as to its humanity?  And in mentioning that the mother didn't speak, does Ms. Valenti think that she was somehow forced to be there, against her will?  Did it not occur to Ms. Valenti that the mother was there precisely because she *wanted* her child to be given that voice activists such as Ms. Valenti would deny it?

Curious that Ms. Valenti frames this bill as being "anti-choice," while apparently wanting to deny the courts the "choice" of using medical technology to make a decision, or the mother the "choice" of allowing her child to "testify" in court.

What else shocks Ms. Valenti?  This.  "I’m shocked that in one county in North Carolina, the county board of commissioners unanimously voted to turn down a state grant that would cover birth control."

Is it really necessary to point out the no one is preventing women from getting birth control?  They voted to not pay for it with a state grant.  There is no reason for the state to be using taxpayer dollars to pay for something that is not medically necessary.  Is it really necessary, for someone who claims to support reproductive health, to point out that hormonal birth control actually harms women's health (not to mention the environment)?   Hormonal birth control takes a healthy, fertile body and chemically induces infertility.  That is the opposite of health care.  If a women still wants to do it, she can pay for it herself, or she can avail herself of the many places out there that will provide it for free.  For someone who claims to be all about "choice," Ms. Valenti would have choice taken away from taxpayers, many of whom would rather not have to pay for someone else's birth control.  It seems that self-proclaims feminists want to have choices, but want others to be responsible for the costs or consequences.

Ms. Valenti is not just shocked.  She's also sad.  "Sad knowing that the people these laws will affect the most are the ones that need care the most—they’re the most marginalized among us: young people, women of color, low-income women, those that can’t afford to travel across the state or to take days off of work to access care."

No, Ms. Valenti.  They are not being denied access to care. Access to abortion or birth control is not synonymous with medical care. This may come as a surprise to you, but there are a great many clinics out there that will provide women with crisis pregnancies in the US with medical care for free.  They continue to help women who need it after their babies are born, too.  And no, these are not "fake" clinics that "lure" women, as their opponents so shrilly claim.

What else saddens Ms. Valenti? "I’m sad that women’s health and lives have become secondary to their ability to conceive."

Here, Ms. Valenti is once again framing the narrative in a dishonest way.  No, their health and lives are NOT secondary to their ability to conceive.  Pregnancy is not a disease, and our ability to conceive is not a burden.  Self-proclaimed feminists would have women believe that becoming pregnant is the worst thing that can happen to them; that it's a life-destroying event, and that having a child when they're not "ready" is a tragedy.

This particular view is actually quite offensive and degrading.  It basically says that women are physically weak and fragile, and psychologically incapable of raising a child until some magical line is crossed and they are suddenly "ready" to have a child.  It's demeaning and infantilizing.

Ms. Valenti then goes off with some extreme examples and bombastic claims, as if they were at all the norm, making it seem as if the only reason women get abortions at all is for medical need, when the reality is the opposite.  She's sad, she's angry, she's furious. 

The then asks her email writer, "—the real question is not why am I angry; the real question is, why aren’t you?"  Then, after defending the abortion mill, Planned Parenthood, she has the gall to say, "It’s about affirming our basic humanity."

Because, Ms. Valenti, we don't agree with you.  We think you and your fellow "feminists" are the ones who don't get it.  You claim that you do what you do out of love and compassion.  We don't believe you. 

The problem, Ms. Valenti, is that you are denying someone else their basic humanity.  You are denying someone else their body autonomy.  You are denying a developing child it's very life.  The word fetus is not a word used to describe a tumor or a clump of cells.  It's not a word that describes some part of a woman's body.  It's a word the describes a developmental stage of a human being. 

Planned Parenthood, in particular, is not the bastion of kindness and compassion you paint it out to be.  It is an unethical organisation that is responsible for incredible harm to women.  They claim to be about women's health, but are nothing more than an abortion mill

Ms. Valenti, you express your exhaustion, shock, sadness and anger that you and other self-proclaimed feminists are still fighting the battle you thought you'd won 40 years ago with Roe vs Wade.  Would it surprise you to know that Roe vs Wade was based on a lie?  That "Roe", Norma McCorvey, was coerced into lying that she was raped?  That she never had an abortion and is now fighting to have the ruling that bears her name overturned?

Ms. Valenti, your cause is based on lie upon lie; that this issue is about "choice."  That it's about "reproductive health."  That it's about "women's rights."

What you and other "feminists" don't seem to get is that people are starting to learn the truth.  They are beginning to realize that the fetus is not irrelevant.  That a woman's "private choice" has very public consequences.  That there is another person involved; a person who has been denied their very humanity in the name of "choice."

Modern medical technology has made it impossible to deny that a human fetus is an individual, separate yet dependant upon its mother.  It is a living being with its own brain waves and its own heart beating its own blood through its own veins.  It reacts to stimuli.  It feels pain. 

Where is your love and compassion, Ms. Valenti, for that other human that's involved when it comes to "choice"? 

At the beginning, you talk about how you can't believe you're still fighting this battle after all these years.

What you're not getting is that you are fighting a battle that's built on illusion.  To frame the battle as being about "reproductive health" and so on is your deception.  The curtain is being pulled back and the truth is being revealed.  The truth of millions of lives, with all their potential, snuffed out.  The truth of millions of women irrevocably harmed by the lie of "choice." 

To be honest, I don't expect you and your type of "feminist" to get it.  You have too much invested in your illusion.  Part of that illusion is that your "side" is the one that's got the best interests of women at heart; that your position is the one that's compassionate and loving, even as it destroys the lives of thousands upon thousands of women. 

Meanwhile, more and more people are getting it.  They are recognising that the real war against women is the one that demeans their intelligence, denies them information, lies to them about the consequences of "choice" and tears into their bodies, their minds and their souls. 

The real war against women is the one you are waging.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

So what's the accomplishment?

 I've seen the video at the following link shared by a lot of people on facebook.  Take a moment to watch it at the Do You Even site, then pop back here.

Heart Touching Inspirational Transformation

 Pretty awesome, right?



Okay.  Let's look at this story for a moment.  Here we have a Gulf War veteran; a former paratrooper with injuries to his back and knees, no longer able to walk unassisted.  He started doing yoga, regains his mobility, and now he can not only walk, but run, again.  That's pretty friggin' amazing!

Oh, wait.  That's not the story we actually got.  Not really.  What we really got was ZOMG!!!1! he got SO FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and he can't walk anymore.  His stomach was OUT TO HERE!!!!  But he LOST 140lbs in a year and LOOK AT HIM NOW!  He's skinny again!  What an amazing transformation!

(oh, and btw, he can walk and run now)

I realize this is a year's worth of clips put together and necessarily edited, but whoever put the video together had the choice of what to focus on.  There was an incredible story to share.  To go from having to wear back and knees braces, and having to walk with two canes, if walking was possible at all, to being able to throw those away and regain full mobility, thanks to a year of doing yoga, is pretty darn mind boggling.  Only a year!  That's just all kinds of amazing!

So why the focus on his weight?  It's almost as the weight itself was what caused his mobility problem and, thanks to the magic of weight loss, suddenly he's cured!  Even the brief clip of the yoga instructor was curious.  He describes seeing the back brace, the knee braces, the canes, but OH WOW!  He weighed 297 lbs and had a big belly!!!  I have to help this guy!

Wait.  What?

Even when the video does mention the "most important thing", just before showing him walking, then running, towards the camera, it comes across as a side note.  Just a minor benefit of what he REALLY managed to accomplish, which was to get skinny.

Look.  I can completely understand the challenges this man faced.  My own husband has been struggling with a back injury for many years.  (He's due to see a spine specialist in just a few days, where he will be assessed for surgery.)  Among the old injuries that have come back to haunt him are a knee injury in one leg and an ankle injury in the other.  He's in massive amounts of pain, controlled only so far through painkillers and muscle relaxants.  Last year, he actually had fewer days that he made it into the office then the sick days and holiday time he took because he was in too much pain to come in (though some of those days, he was still able to work from home).  Thankfully, he's good at his job and still managed to keep up with his work, and beyond, and his current employers are pretty amazing about accommodating his health problems.
And yes, he's gained a lot of weight as well.

Also, he does yoga and/or Tai Chi. Pain prevents him from doing it all the time, but he does try to keep it up as he definitely notices that it helps.  We also got him an exercise machine that he can use without further injuring his back or knees, plus we got him some free weights.  We recently picked up a home gym (small, cheap, but adequate for the job), so more weights have been added to the mix.

It helps.

Most of the time.

Other times, things go south, and he's near immobile for days.  Either his knee gives out or the pain in his back gets out of control.  Sadly, weather plays a big part in this, with sudden temperature changes making things incredibly painful for him.  Temperature changes such as the last few weeks, where we've gone from -44C for weeks to the +3C we're having now.  Such temperature extremes are the norm for winters where we live, and it wreaks havoc on his body.

But he keeps on going.

We know he's a good candidate for a surgical fix on part of his back problems - a herniated disc - and we're hoping the spine clinic will be able to give him more tools to deal with the other issues that are contributing to his pain.

Thankfully, no one has given up on my husband, nor has he given up on himself.

And thankfully, while his weight is brought up as a contributing issue, so far no one has tried to tell him that if he just lost weight, all his problems would go away.  Pretty much everyone has been on top of the fact that the weight he gained has been a consequence of his pain and immobility, not a cause. 

I'm really impressed with what the guy in the video accomplished.  To regain quality of life so dramatically is incredible!

Yet I can't help but shaking my head over the video.  Instead of focusing on the astounding results he got in regaining mobility in just one year by doing yoga, it focuses on how much weight he lost, how quickly he lost it, and how thin he got.

Gaining weight was a side effect of his loss of mobility.  Losing weight was another side effect of his regaining his mobility.

Here's a man whose injuries completely destroyed his quality of life.  Through yoga, he was able to recover that quality of life.

That's an amazing story!

So why did they make something that looked like a weight loss ad?