Friends & Differing Political/Moral Opinions

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For about a year I kept seeing this meme float around Facebook & Twitter:
Politics and Friends

Fucking wrong. This shit irritated me any time I saw it.. because what it’s essentially saying, is that you should respect someone even if they believe in taking your rights away. That you should continue to remain friends with someone who has vastly different morals from you, or even no morals, despite the fact that it makes you uncomfortable. It essentially says that you should shut up if one of your friends believes in some horrible shit.

It’s fucking wrong.

You do not have to be friends, or hell, even tolerate someone who is morally corrupt, or actively working to/or voting for politicians who are taking away your rights. You do not have to be friends with, or respect someone who is racist, homophobic, sexist or is literally cheering on the concentration camps at our border.

You also don’t have to be friends with someone who slut-shames, someone who participates in class warfare, or someone who doesn’t believe that the poor deserve healthcare and education.

You should not be friends with, respect, or remain in contact with someone who is actively demeaning a social class, race, sex or anything of the sort. You know why?

  1. You’re enabling them.
  2. You’re letting them know it’s okay to be homophobic, racist, classist, sexist etc.
  3. Because you do NOT have to respect, stay in contact with or even be around someone who is in favor of stripping your own rights, or rights of those you love. You are not obligated to love, like, respect, or be around ANYONE. Period.

There’s a clear difference in differing opinions and having polar opposite morals.

I am friends with a few conservatives, but there is a clear understanding that A. They don’t have to be friends with me if they don’t want, and B. That their opinions do not effect my autonomy. I am however NOT friends with people who are racist, homophobic, who wouldn’t support me if I ever needed an abortion or who are blatantly classist. I will not be friends with someone who instead of talking with me about women’s healthcare rights, accuses women who need abortions of being sluts. I will not be friends with someone who believes that just because you can’t afford healthcare, that you don’t deserve it. I will not be friends with someone who hates someone else just because of the color of their skin, who they fall in love with or their accent.  I will not be friends with someone who supports life in jail for a woman who gets an abortion, but not only lets a rapist go free, but ALLOWS THEM VISITATION OF THE CHILD. (FUCK YOU ALABAMA).

By “respecting” someone who is literally striping the rights and lives away from others, you are just enabling them.. and thus you are part of the problem.

Women’s Reproductive Rights & America

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Welcome to the United States of America! We came so far in the last decade, only to regress back 70 years in half of a presidential term. Honestly, I’ve been sitting here staring at my screen for 15 minutes now. I just don’t even know where to start anymore. All of the other bullshit aside, which I WILL be writing about in other posts.. the current attack on Women’s Reproductive Rights is such a damned shitshow, where do I even start?

Several states have passed ultra restrictive laws pertaining to abortion. Alabama is the most recent one, the legislature has passed a ban on Abortion and it is currently waiting for a signature from their governor. When the bill looked like it was going to pass, the minority proposed a amendment to allow abortion in cases pertaining to rape and incest.

It was shot down. So if this bill is signed into law, women in Alabama cannot receive an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, unless they and their doctors want to face 99 years/life in prison. Wow. I mean, wow. What do you even say to that?

Well, Twitter and Reddit have plenty to say. On the right you have men cheering and spouting nonsense about how women should “just keep their legs closed” despite the fact that it takes a dick to get us pregnant. You have people cheering on life sentences for women who get an abortion even though that sentence is harsher than most rapists, child molesters, and sexual predators receive.

Other people are bringing up cold hard facts. Like the fact that Alabama has the 2nd highest child mortality rate in the USA, only Mississippi is higher. Alabama’s child mortality rate is on par with Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Cyprus, and Ukraine. Or on a broader spectrum:

Alabama Ranking

Alabama is pretty much bottom of the barrel for our country. They have one of the highest infant mortality rates, the lowest education rating, and their healthcare is garbage. So instead of funneling tax payer money into any of these categories, you know, to keep existing children alive, educate them, and make sure they can get a job and rise above poverty.. Alabama legislature has decided to pass this bill, with the intention of fighting it all the way up to the Supreme Court.. at the expense of taxpayers.

No matter which way you look at it, it’s absolutely disgusting. We all know that abortions will happen whether their legal or not (and underground railroads will be set up again for women who wish to have an abortion), all this is is taking away a women’s autonomy. It’s designed to take away a women’s right to have a say over their own body and life. It’s taking away equality. It’s simply an attack on women.

One of the MOST common responses to the abortion debate is this: “There’s other options!! What about adoption!?” Well sit back, and let me tell you about my experience.

I became pregnant at 17. Primarily because I had never learned about contraceptives nor how the female reproductive system works. After dealing with Pregnancy Crisis Centers (Christian Scam Artists) and getting well versed on abortion from my medical provider (Planned Parenthood), I chose adoption. Back then I had those options, I was healthy enough to carry my child to term, and I didn’t want to go through what I thought would be the emotional turmoil of abortion.

I started looking up adoption organizations. I came across MANY scams, ie: trafficking, and then when it came down to meeting a lady from one of the legit ones, it became a race against time. It looked like my choice for adoption, would end up with placing my child into foster care as there isn’t as many people adopting as you think. The foster care system/social services is horrifically under funded and overwhelmed.. which you think these Christians funding these bills & laws would work on first.

I lucked out. My Stepma knew a couple who was trying to adopt as having a biologic child didn’t work out for them. After hearing about them, and then meeting them, I was ABSOLUTELY THRILLED. I knew they were the right people to raise my child, and wanted to begin the process.

The paperwork was astronomical, and add on the fact that I was 17 and had no transportation, I had to walk MILES, while pregnant to meet up with my advocate. She let me know that it was going to be daunting, and a lot of work, but I had absolutely no idea. The first thing we had to do was to get the father to sign off on his rights.

Let me tell you, seeing as how he was the ONLY person I was sleeping with at the time, I KNEW it was his. That or the 2nd coming of Christ. So we contacted him and he refused and demanded a paternity test. For those of you who don’t know. A paternity test is not only invasive before the baby is born, but expensive (and not covered by insurance a lot of the time). My advocate essentially told him, either sign or be prepared for a child support suit (he was military, so that’s it’s own can of worms on his side) as soon as the child was born. We were able to get it signed and proceed.

In the coming months I had to prove that I wasn’t being forced into it, that I was of sound mind, and that this was not something that I’d back out of later (even though you’re legally allowed to). It was absolute hell. Add that on to the normal monthly and weekly OB appointments.. again, with no vehicle, and it was damn near impossible.

Fast forward to my son’s birth. It was horrific. I was 17, and had no idea what was going on. My OB induced, for a reason I still don’t understand (it wasn’t because of my health), so labor was STRONG, painful and horrifically long. Those labors usually don’t matter once you hold your child in your arms, but that was the most painful part. I had to hold a child, a child that I wasn’t going to take home with me, knowing that there’s a great chance I’d never see him again.

I had to walk out of that hospital, in pain, bleeding, without my child later that day. The emotional turmoil that I went through after that spurred months long deep depression and destructive behavior. Add that to all of the months I was unable to work (I was already out of school), and basically being thrown out of my friends group, it was a recipe for disaster.

For YEARS, at work, at college, in my every day life, when people found out I gave up a child for adoption the reactions were vastly negative. Rumors were spread among my friends regarding my sexuality, and I was loudly berated at my work: “You gave him away?!? You’re such a bad mother, only a shit mother would give up their child”.

I quit that job shortly after.

My point is, adoption isn’t this easy answer either. It’s signing up for a lifetime of grief and often times depression. It’s not the “obvious answer” in the abortion debate, and it should never be. Both options deserve to be weighed equally.

One that doesn’t deserve equal weight is “Just keep your legs closed!” or “Stop being a slut!”. As I mentioned above, this is absolute trash for numerous reasons. When it comes to “just keep your legs closed”.. so the argument is to remain abstinent.. 100% of the time until we’re ready to procreate? Short of sterilization (which I’ll get to in another post), birth control isn’t 100% effective. So, we’re just not supposed to have sex with our boyfriends, or husbands unless we’re procreating? We’re just supposed to keep our legs closed? Well guess what y’all.. I’m pretty sure the men would change their tune if we refused to have sex unless we’re trying for a child. I’m not even going to give the slut comments any use.. because in order for us sluts to get pregnant when we don’t want to be pregnant.. guess what we need? That’s right.. DICK. Back to logical thinking.. it takes two to get pregnant. The blame is NOT solely on the woman.

I just don’t get it. I don’t. I don’t understand how these Christo-Fascists can even live with themselves when voting in favor or supporting these bills and laws. No one is mandating abortions for women. No one. All we want is the CHOICE to make our own medical decisions.

It’s only a matter of time to see how far this goes. These states are violating federal law, so they must fight up the chain. However, when they make it to Kava-dick, is he going to hold to what he originally said? That he wouldn’t challenge existing law ie: Roe V Wade? I doubt it. We’re coming very close to the need for direct and drastic action (for many reasons INCLUDING reproductive rights), and the question is? Will you stand for what you believe in? Or live on your knees?

 

 

Planned Parenthood & Why I Didn’t Punch a Protester

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As some of you know, I’m a patient at Planned Parenthood. I have been, on and off, throughout all of my sexually active life. I originally started going there when I became pregnant as a teenager. My younger years didn’t include much of a sex education, much less how to protect myself. So I learned rather quickly about pregnancy tests and missed periods before I learned about different kinds of birth control available to me.

When I figured out I was pregnant, at the urging of a girlfriend a went to a local community clinic. (Let me preface this, while I’m militantly pro-choice, I’m personally pro-life. I walked into that community clinic knowing that I didn’t want an abortion. I most likely wanted an adoption to take place if I couldn’t raise this child on my own.)

Before I even took a pregnancy test there, I was handed anti-abortion literature. It was complete with pictures of dismembered fetuses and warnings of infertility and breast cancer. (I also didn’t know the REAL statistics on either.) When I was asked what I was choosing BEFORE being given my results or any information beyond the anti-abortion pamphlets, I realized where I had walked into. I knew not to say anything about abortion, so I went with adoption. The last thing teenaged me wanted was to be smacked in the face with more fetuses.

After being informed that I was pregnant, I was then told that if I picked adoption, that they could help me find a Good Christian Family. Then I was given (what I now know are false) statistics on child abuse in families outside of their networks. I promptly gathered my bag and left.

One of my other girlfriends asked me to go to Planned Parenthood instead. There are two clinics by me. One is further away in Chicago, the other over the border in Wisconsin. I got a ride up there and had a walk in consult. There I was not judged, I was given information about all of my options. I learned the real statistics on abortion, I learned that there were many different choices for adoption agencies, and I learned about all of the resources available to me throughout my pregnancy and if I chose to raise a child.

They weren’t pushy, they let me make my own decisions and then referred me to an obgyn closer to me. Long story short, I had a healthy pregnancy, and I gave my son to a wonderful family after he was born. It was one of the simultaneously hardest yet most rewarding process as of yet.

After the birth of my son, I didn’t have health insurance. So continuing to see my doctor wasn’t really an option for me. So I went back to Planned Parenthood and asked about my birth control options. For a couple of years I continued to go to Planned Parenthood for my birthcontrol as well as my annual exams since they are the easiest office to get into when you’re paying cash.

Now to current day. I have the high-risk strain of HPV, and I have for a while now. My immune system is funky, so I have a hard time clearing the virus. I had a LEEP procedure last year to remove pre-cancerous cells, and it was time for my follow up pap. I do not have traditional health insurance anymore, and my regular gyne is hard to get in if you’re paying cash. So I booked an appointment online for my pap smear, and headed into the office today.

As always the staff were absolutely wonderful! If you didn’t know, April is FREE STD testing, so if you haven’t been tested in a while, or have an oppsie, now’s the time to head in and get tested! Anyway, I had my exam, they’re requesting my records from my previous gynecologist (no leg work on my part!!) and I’ll get the results from the pap in a couple of weeks and know if there’s anything else I need to do.

As I was waiting for the consultant to calculate my fee, I was reading the sign on the wall regarding threats of violence and bomb threats. Essentially instructions for how the staff should handle either. I thought to myself, I’m lucky. I’ve only dealt with protesters here once.

Something to note: this Planned Parenthood clinic does NOT provide abortions. In fact, many don’t. They can direct you to places, including offices not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, if you need an abortion, but this location does not provide abortions. Just regular old healthcare. Hell the lady before me was coming in for information on her first mammogram.

This Planned Parenthood is particularly important because the area it’s in is lower income. It also serves a broad area around it, hence why I drive 40 minutes to that clinic. This is a clinic where girls and women can get check ups, screenings for cancer, as well as birthcontrol and referrals to other doctors. This clinic caters to those without insurance, as well as those below the poverty line. This is not strictly a clinic that hands out abortions. This is a clinic that HELPS the community. (Hey WI, how is your teen pregnancy rates coming along?)

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Yet, as I go to leave, before I hit that door, I noticed a heavy set white male with a sign out front. (9.9/10 times they’re always white males) I couldn’t see the sign from my perspective, yet as anyone knows, the Planned Parenthood protesters can get out of hand really quickly. I’d like to think that I did more than think about taking a swing at him, but I didn’t. I ducked out the door to my car and prepared to be called a whore. Thankfully he was too busy yelling at cars to even notice me, so I tried to snap a picture of him from my car, but as you can tell.. it didn’t turn out too well. His sign read, in really shitty writing, “God save her babby!”

As I drove my way back home, I became enraged. This asshole is posted up outside of a healthcare clinic, with his stupid sign, protesting me, 2 other girls getting paps, and one asking questions about mammograms. I’m literally at the clinic to be screened for a cancer that thanks to a virus I’m predisposed to, and this fucker is protesting it. This male, who doesn’t even have a uterus, is posted up, scaring women who are just trying to receive sometimes life saving healthcare.

I wish I had had the gumption to tell him off to his face, yet I was hyper aware of how badly that situation could have spiraled. So as I was thinking about this, I reminded myself yet again, about how fucking STUPID it is, that I have to worry about protestors to get my damned cervix swabbed. Not only that, but a protestor who was protesting what went on in the other sexes’ bodies.

As some states try to pass barbaric abortion laws (read the book Red Clocks by Lemi Zumas, it’s relevant) and old white men try and tell women how to medically treat our own bodies, while funding is pulled from these clinics, it’s the women that suffer. It’s us that lose even MORE access to not only safe abortions, but basic healthcare. It’s absolutely unacceptable.

The irony of it all, which boots me in the face every single time, is that the majority of what Planned Parenthood does is try to PREVENT abortions and unwanted pregnancies. They try and pick up the slack that parents and school systems leave by not explaining birth control methods and safe sex. Pro-Life advocates should be FUNDING Planned Parenthood so they can continue getting out into the community handing out condoms, plan b and letting women and girls know they have options to AVOID becoming pregnant.

Unwanted pregnancies and abortions will NEVER go away. If abortion is outlawed, whether by a certain week or all together, they will still happen. Only they will happen illegally and sometimes unsafely. Instead of trying to prevent abortions from being needed, people in this country try to outlaw them yet at the same time make it harder to get birthcontrol and making abstinence only education more prevalent. If you can’t see the problem with the previous statement, then I consider you a lost cause.

In the meantime, I will continue to frequent my Planned Parenthood, I will continue to hand out pins and stickers I get from there. I will continue to tell girls and women to go there for their needs. I will continue to vote for politicians that back them and women’s rights.

Most importantly, I will sit and wonder about how this adamantly pro-life people will handle it when one of their female family members wants or NEEDS an abortion.