Tag Archives: abortion

Openly Gay Politician Uses Tea-Party Dad in Awesome Campaign Ad

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There’s an adage that says, “parents just don’t understand” which openly gay Massachusetts lawmaker Carl M. Sciortino, Jr., who is running to replace now-Senator Ed Markey in next month’s state primary, is using to compel voters with is viral campaign ad.

“I’ll never forget that conversation with my dad when I had to come out and tell him…” Sciortino begins, and everyone thinks he’s going to say “that I was gay.” Instead, Sciortino throws a curveball and says, “that I was a Massachussetts liberal.” The rest of the ad cuts between the two recounting Sciortino’s increasingly liberal policies – from Wall Street and NRA regulation to equal rights initiatives.

It is touching though when Sciortino’s father begins lamenting over his son writing “The Buffer Zone” law – which protects women entering abortion clinics from harassment – but admits he’s proud his son got it all the way to the supreme court.

In the end it’s clear that neither will be giving in to the other’s political leanings, but the video ends with a Tea Party Republican saying he loves his openly gay liberal Democrat son. It just goes to show we can have different ideas and political ideals and still work together. Now if only Congress could make it work like these two.

What do you think of this campaign strategy? Share in your comments below! 

 

Love is Love: 4 Steps to Overcome Judgment

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 11.47.44 AMA soul is a soul is a soul. Love is love. You are not right, and neither am I. You aren’t wrong either. You are who you are, and I am who I am.

There is no such concept as absolute, right or wrong when it comes to who we choose to love or what color we were born as. We live in a dynamic time and have been gifted with being present to some big social inequality changes…Obama being elected President, DOMA having been nullified, women gaining more and more control over their own bodies. With each progression, there is a fire inside me that ignites. It is one that burns down one more barrier telling me I can’t be who I am. Even though I am not African-American and I am married to a man and if I were to accidentally get pregnant today I would not abort, it symbolizes one step further toward society allowing people to be themselves, to be who they were born to be, to be who their DNA dictates. We can change our character, our hair, our body…but we can’t change who we are at a soul level.

After the fire simmers down a little, melancholia sets in and takes me to a place of sadness that there even needs to be a fight about any of it. I cried today in tears of happiness for my same-sex couple friends, but also in pain for what they have to fight against. What is happening that we need to fight for love? Why can’t we as a developed society support our own families just as much as we support families that look different on the outside than ours but are the same inside? Why can’t we use our life to love our communities, the charities we dedicate to, people in need…instead of bash what we don’t agree with?

It is absolutely a choice whether we live in an angry state or a tolerant state about how other people live their lives. Anger will not change the world. Judgment will get us nowhere, except to grow old, tired and shut down. Holding onto bias-fueled resentment is hurting the person resenting more than anything. Imagine being free of that feeling. Imagine the space that could be created in life if that wasn’t there. The joy. What if you weren’t afraid anymore to let that junk go? What if you decided today was the day to pull back the curtain of insecurity and fear and step through to a life of love and freedom for you and everyone who crosses your path? In theory, it’s that easy.

I was not raised around discrimination of any kind, and it makes my stomach churn to know it is happening. That said, I have been through stages of my life where I judged, where I was stuck in small-mindedness and where I was hard on myself. Judgment is judgment, so here are my humble ideas to help as it really is all one in the same:

1. Look up. Look up to the sky, to the full moon or to the stars if you live somewhere you can see them clearly. Look up and be reminded of how this life is so much bigger than all of us. Look up and be reminded that the stars you are seeing have the same matter in them as lives in each of us. Be reminded of the very real fact that we are all infinitely connected, regardless of what the ego would like to think.

2. Hunt your trigger. We all get triggered by something in life, many things usually. Maybe for you, it is two women walking hand in lovely hand…or a bi-racial couple walks by smooching…or someone of a different race happens to make you mad but you find yourself getting more angry than you might at a person of your own race. Stop. Breathe. Instead of numbing out in your angry pain and going unconscious to it, notice the feeling. Track it, trace it, don’t let that lead get away. That trigger comes from somewhere in your past. The only way to heal is to find out the root and the connection to your life now. This trigger can be overcome if you want to be free of it bad enough.

3. Take your own power back. Usually discrimination comes from family. “I grew up this way,” is not an excuse. While it may be true that you did, it absolutely does not excuse it now. Say you grew up poor…most likely you didn’t want to perpetuate that economic state as you grew into adulthood. Most likely you don’t blame your adulthood financial troubles now on your economic state as a 10 year old. So why would you perpetuate this? Instead of picking and choosing what we blame our childhood on, let’s step into the light childhood can lend to this life, and see it for what it is. Let’s take it back to the now.

4. Be kind to yourself. I have been around enough to know that the people who are hardest on others, are hardest on themselves too. Love for the world starts with a deep, passionate love affair with ourselves. Get the help needed to heal old wounds. Not bandage them, but heal them for good. Life it too short to live in the past. See beauty now. No regrets at the end of this gorgeous life.

 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

-HHDL

“Stand With Wendy!”: A Texas Senator’s Inspiring Abortion Filibuster Races Down the Clock

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 12.27.56 PMWendy Davis was just 19-years-old when she gave birth to her first child. She had helped support her single mother and three siblings starting from the time she was 14. After becoming a mother, herself, she went on to pursue further education, first at community college, then at Texas Christian University, and finally as a graduate of Harvard Law School. By these life touchstones, alone, it’s clear Davis is a force to be reckoned with.

Fast forward several decades to 2008 when Davis was elected to state senate as the progressive Democratic leader who yesterday inspired women’s rights activists around the country. The occasion for yesterday’s filibuster – which lasted nearly 13 hours, during which Davis didn’t eat, drink, sit down, lean on anything, or leave for any reason – was the anti-abortion and reproductive rights bill SB-5. If passed, this bill would have prohibited abortions past the 20-week gestation mark and result in the closure of 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, along with a host of other restrictions.

Davis began her filibuster at roughly 11am on Tuesday, and by the evening nearly 200,000 people were watching the livestream on YouTube. Even President Obama tweeted to show his support, ending his tweet with hashtag #StandWithWendy. This viral movement, contained in the space of a whirlwind 13 or so hours, swept social media and shot Wendy Davis to the national stage at unprecedented speed.

But the events of the day were by no means tidy. Davis’ filibuster was cut off by Lt. Governer David Dewhurst, for what reasons are unclear. Other Democrats on the floor jumped in to further stall the final vote, as by now the clock was ticking and the midnight deadline fast approaching. With just 15 minutes to go, Senator Leticia Van De Putte jumped in to demand her voice be heard: “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” The question acted as a rallying cry for women’s rights, and the crowd erupted in support, pushing the proceedings over the midnight mark. Thus, despite swift measures by Republicans to contest the final time of the vote, the clock didn’t lie, and the bill would not pass.

Watch Wendy Davis respond to an emotional crowd after her nearly 13-hour filibuster that secured reproductive rights for women in the state of Texas:

With yesterday’s filibuster, as well as Davis’ previous filibuster against Texas public school budget cuts, it is clear that Wendy Davis is a senator worth keeping an eye on. Her energy, drive, and progressive values may make her the strong female politician we’ve all been waiting for (not that there haven’t been many others to inspire us over the years.) What do you think? Would you vote for Wendy Davis to be the first female president? Will yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act make it harder for Davis to get re-elected to the state senate?

Photo credit: Twitter

Denied an Abortion – What Now? A Study on the Effects of Unwanted Motherhood

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 3.05.08 PMIt may have been one spontaneous night with an ex, never to be replicated; or perhaps a traumatic moment of violence and sexual abuse. She could be unemployed, ill, very young, or already a bit creaky in the joints. Maybe she has other kids at home and a partner in active duty, in prison, in the hospital, or deceased. And in the midst of working, paying bills, job hunting, taking care of children, doing homework, or whatever her daily responsibilities include, the tender belly and light periods get pushed to the back of her mind – until it’s too late.

Whatever their reasons, these are the women who discover their pregnancies late in the game, determine their best course of action is abortion, and upon medical inspection are turned away from the procedures they desperately want or need. How do these women, the ones forced into motherhood, fare and what are the effects of their denied abortions?

This question provides the foundation for an ongoing study, called “The Turnaway Study” run by Diana Greene Foster, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. Researching abortion clinics around the country, Foster’s study aims to determine the differing effects, if any, between women who seek late-term abortions and get them versus women who seek late-term abortions but are denied them, most often due to timing. (Individual states’ and clinic’s limits vary, but tend to fall sometime in the second trimester.) Such effects might range from the psychological and emotional, to socioeconomic factors, to long-term physical health. In essence, is there any statistical evidence to prove that women are any better or worse off for keeping a baby, even if they wholeheartedly wanted to terminate the pregnancy?

This study lands in public discourse at a time when pro-life advocates preach the many dangers to women’s mental and physical health resulting from abortion. It isn’t a hard line of reasoning to follow, especially given the hormones that are already being released in early pregnancy. But, as noted in a thorough article published in the New York Times, the psychological and health effects of carrying a pregnancy to term – and then, of course, raising a child – can be just as overwhelming, if not more so.

Based on Foster’s study, women in the turnaway group suffered greater health effects, including increased hypertension rates and chronic pelvic pain, as well as socioeconomic effects that left them below the poverty line three times more often than the women who received abortions. Both groups, however, Lang points out, began with similar life circumstances.

Only 6.6 percent of near-limit patients in the study and 5.6 percent of turnaways finished college (nearly 30 percent of adult American women have a bachelor’s degree). One in 10 were on welfare, and approximately 80 percent reported not having enough money to meet basic living needs. A majority, in both groups, already had at least one child.

These are interesting statistics on several counts. First of all, women seeking abortions later in their terms share a baseline social disadvantage that includes less education, lower income, and, now, pregnancy on top of their other responsibilities. In being forced into motherhood by denial of an abortion, these women experience all the physical strains of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the often-overwhelming financial burden of another mouth to feed. No one sets out to someday get an abortion, but when it comes down to it, some women feel this is their best option – and the results of Foster’s study might give us cause to concur.

Both Foster and Lang are mindful of the politically-charged nature of this research, though. Foster does not consider herself a pro-choice pioneer, but rather a concerned ob-gyn, interested in determining what is best for women’s health.

The purpose of Foster’s study is not to set policy by suggesting new or uniform gestational limits. She notes, however, that there are ways to reduce the number of women seeking abortion at an advanced gestational age by improving access to reproductive health care. But Foster sees herself as a scientist, not an advocate. She did not set out, she says, to disprove that abortion is harmful. “If abortion hurts women,” she says, “I definitely want to know.”

Truth be told, there is no pro-abortion movement. Nobody “supports” abortion, of course, because ultimately we would hope to live in a world in which people who want to have children do, and those who don’t, don’t. The point is rather that women know what is best for them and their families, and childbearing may not factor into that at the moment.

It’s a delicate topic, though, and one that certainly warrants further discussion. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Todd Akin Refuses to Back Down After Rape Comments

It looks like Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin is still in it to win. For now, at least.

Tuesday would have been the final day for Akin to withdraw from the race without a court order, according to BBC. And despite ample pressure from across the political spectrum, he has chosen to hold his ground.

As Akin told ABC on today’s Good Morning America:

The people of Missouri chose me, and I don’t believe it’s right for party bosses to decide to over-ride those voters. It makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs, as opposed to the election process.

Let’s review the facts… Todd Akin has served as a Republican Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. He is the Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which falls under the Committee on Armed Forces. In addition to armed security, Akin is passionate about abortion issues. He and Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan co-sponsored a strict anti-abortion bill that would legally grant zygotes “personhood” and dramatically reduce women’s reproductive rights.

Akin caused a storm on Sunday when he explained his abortion stance in an interview with a St. Louis television station:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.

The “that whole thing” part refers to pregnancy. Republicans, Democrats, men, women, Americans, and people all around the world were appalled by Akin’s remarks. He displayed not only great disrespect and insensitivity to rape victims, but also an utter and inexcusable ignorance about the reproductive system. It is frightening to think that, a) Akin, who has served as representative for 10+ years, doesn’t understand how reproduction works, and b) he would then rely on shoddy, pseudo science in formulating a major political decision that could affect thousands of women. And what, pray tell, is a “legitimate rape”?

According to the BBC, the Centers for Disease Control report that more that 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year. And between 10,000 to 15,000 abortions take place every year as a result of incest or rape. Even after Akin’s swift attempts to save face, his apologies, and his acknowledgement that there is no such thing as “legitimate rape,” it seems a disgrace to our political system to have one so misinformed, negligent, and graceless anywhere near our Senate.

What do you think? Should Akin withdraw from the race?

Knit Your Congressman a Uterus

A bill in bill in Virginia that would require women to submit to an ultrasound before getting an abortion has prompted outcry from feminists and women’s rights activists around the nation. Some people are calling their Senators. Others are marching on the street. But a group called Government Free VJJ is taking a more unconventional approach…

via Mother Jones:

America’s elected leaders, particularly those of the Republican male variety, have not done too well by women lately.

In Arizona and Kansas, Republican state legislators pushed bills allowing a doctor to lie about the health status of your fetus for fear you might opt to get an abortion. And should you make that harrowing choice, Virginia Republicans, following in the footsteps of their colleagues in a number of other states, passed a law requiring that you have an ultrasound first. (They wanted it to be the kind where the doctor sticks a paddle into your vagina, but public outcry forced them to scale it back to the abdominal kind.)

….the women behind Government Free VJJ have a different kind of approach:

“Follow these simple steps,” the website beckons…

1. Knit or crochet a vagina or uterus
2. Print a message to enclose
3. Mail it to your male Senator or Congressional Representative [links provided]
4. We’re in the process of arranging hand delivery to congressional offices in Washington, until then, go ahead and mail yours in!
5. Record your items in this spreadsheet so we can track which representatives still need to receive a “gift”!
6. Don’t forget to thank your representative if he respects women and supports our rights.

The crochet patterns available so far include uterus and “happy uterus.” For knitters, there’s a vulva, a womb (pictured), felt cervixes, and (hey, why not?)—a “snatchel.”

How’s that for creative activism?

Susan G. Komen Reverses Planned Parenthood Decision

THIS JUST IN: After a massive public outcry against the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to pull funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, the largest breast cancer charity in the world has issued an apology.

In case you had any doubt that your Facebook posts and tweets make a difference…

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” Nancy G. Brinker, Komen’s chief executive, said in a statement posted on the organization’s Web site. The statement added, “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants.”

The reversal comes in the face of an enormous furor over the decision and widespread complaints that the Komen foundation was tying breast cancer to the abortion issue. Comments on social networks like Facebook and Twitter raged about the move, and donations, including a $250,000 matching grant from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, poured into Planned Parenthood, allowing it to compensate for the $700,000 in Komen money that would have been cut.

 — New York Times

In a public statement, the foundation is has insisted that the move to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding was not political in nature, but did acknowledge that political dynamics around the highly-charged abortion had made the decision controversial.

“The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen,” the the foundation’s publist said. “We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.”

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, had this to say about the response on social media: “I have never seen anything catch fire like I have the outpouring [of support] from people of all walks of life.”

So there you have it… the power of social media realized! Did you post about the Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle? What was your reaction?

Would You Have Selective Reduction?

 In this month’s Elle, Bettina Paige shares the story her latest pregnancy, a mix of fertility drugs and artificial insemination. Paige and her husband already had a young son when they found out they were once again pregnant but this time, with twins.

Paige and her husband, although they obviously went above and beyond to conceive another child, were definitely not in a place to have two.

Paige said:

"My husband was convinced that twins would radically change our lives for the worse. We’d have to leave our beloved neighborhood for a place with cheaper rents and better public schools — there was no way we could afford private education for three kids. We’d kiss goodbye any hope of career advancement, at least for the foreseeable future. To his list, I added the loss of my income, necessary to meet our expenses. I couldn’t see how I’d be able to resume working after the birth since we could never afford full-time help, and — no matter how well they napped — two infants wouldn’t leave much time for anything else."

Paige decided it would be best for her family, although a hard decision, to have selective reduction. Selective reduction is basically what it sounds like: when you select which fetus to reduce or put frankly, abort. Although this practice has health benefits when women chose to abort one of a triplet- less chances of miscarriage and healthier twins- with reducing twins to a single child, you risk losing the entire pregnancy which is quite a big risk when you’ve already gone through so much to be impregnated, as Paige did. 

Although we live in a beautiful era of technological advancements that give women many reproductive freedoms, where is the line drawn for letting nature take its course? Even though this is the extreme, this is basically customizing our pregnancies. Will there come a day when we can choose all the aspects of our pregnancies? Designer babies, perhaps?

But what is the other recourse? Only aborting based on altruistic reasons? But what would then justify an abortion?

Paige’s primarily economic grounds for the abortion would be deemed "selfish" in many circles and probably wouldn’t meet criteria for an "unselfish" abortion, but are they all that selfish? Is knowing you would not be able to provide the best for your child and the rest of your family and making a decision based upon those facts selfish or farsightedness? 

Obviously this issue raises many questions, all to which we all have scores of answers to based upon our personal beliefs but in the end, no matter how scary the future of it may seem, the ultimate answer is that abortion for any reason is a woman’s choice, whether the rest of the community believes it is warranted or not.

What would you do in Paige’s situation? 

I think I would have done the same as her. I would have felt terrible about making the decision but at the same time, I would much rather be able to give my two children as much as I could- monetarily, emotionally, et cetera- than struggle to provide for all three of them. 

Source: Elle

Photo: CC Flickr//FuFu

Smart Cars, Terrorism, & Hoping for Audacity

Waiting for my dearie in the parking lot of Whole Foods this weekend, I approached the woman loading her groceries into her adorable silver Smart Car. "Do you like it?" I asked. She gushed, thrilled to boast about its ease in parking in Boston’s lunatic parking scheme. "The only thing I don’t like is the potholes in Somerville. I have to drive around them."

Always interested in things green, I repaired to Google to find out about SmartCars. I’d heard of them, of course, but what I wanted to know was what made them so smart. I have to admit, despite a quick toot around the SmartUSA site, that I still don’t know. What froze me in my tracks was the gas mileage 33/41; city/highway, respectively.

What’s so smart about that?

My Mitsubishi Galant gets 23/28. The Honda Insight, available in Europe for years, gets 60/66. Why should I be impressed with SmartCar’s 33/41? It’s half the car size-wise. Shouldn’t it get double the mileage?

Domestic terrorism has raised its ugly head in the past two weeks. The death of women’s health caregiver Dr. George Tiller points to further dissonance in the United States over the subject of abortion. The Holocaust Museum killing perpetrated by white supremacist James Von Brunn is another example of domestic terrorism.

Why do we persist in thinking that terrorism is limited to extremist Islamic perpetrators when it’s patently clear that we have our very own terrorists at home?

Bill Maher, bless him, is given to sermonizing at the end of Real Time; it’s my favorite part of the show. In this Friday’s episode, he told President Obama that the "time for the audacity of hope is passed," and that now Bill is "hoping for audacity." I’m with him 100%.

Smart Cars aren’t so smart.

Domestic terrorism is alive and well on U. S. soil.

President Obama is taking careful, strategic steps in Washington.

The AA definition of insanity is "doing the same thing, over and over again, in the same way, and expecting a different result." Change, dear one, is the only option at this point. The only option. Change. Radical, untried, brand new ideas implemented to change the way things have been done around here for decades.

When are we going to get it? What’s it going to take?

More car companies combusting and rising from the ashes with taxpayer dollars?

More senseless murders because we do not agree, let alone play well, with others?

More talk and less action till yet another bottom falls out of another industry?

Years ago, I went to see a friend and his son in Idaho. He was a single dad, and his son was eight at the time. At one point Josh tore into the living room where we were visiting and begged his dad for some ice cream assuring us that he could get it himself. My friend acceded to the demand. It was summer holiday. His son had eaten whatever protein necessary.

Josh tore into the kitchen. We heard the scraping of an old chair on equally ancient linoleum as he dragged it to the freezer to get his prize. We heard the bowl. We heard the spoon. Then we heard a huge crash.

My friend, without missing a beat in our conversation, called out, "Hey, Josh, whatever you’re doing, do something different!"

Hey Smart Car, whatever you’re doing, do something different!

Hey Homeland Security, whatever you’re doing, do something different!

Hey President Obama et al, whatever you’re doing, do something different!

If we want change, we have no choice, but to do something different. Are you in?


For spiritual nourishment, visit Susan Corso’s website at www.susancorso.com.

Part 3-Abortion- Decreasing the number, Why Barack is our best bet.

So why is Barack our best bet because there must be a broad and sweeping overhaul in this country of how we deal with poverty, education and health care. Students are not given honest and thorough sex education, this is why Barack supported SB99 a bill introduced in Illinois to overhaul the sex education in schools. The bill cited information taught in sex education classes had to be current, factual and doctor approved. The bill also dealt with teaching appropriate touch to children who are at risk of sexual abuse. Which I believe teaches empowerment of setting boundaries that affects people for lifetimes and this will help young women and men when faced with having sex.
Providing access to health care will make a huge difference in prevention as well as education. Working with the fact that in many states contraceptives including the pill are not covered by insurance, even though Viagra is (and is now used as a recreational drug).
Helping people out of low income and poverty situations will make a difference for those who find themselves pregnant and can’t take care of themselves or their families, find they have no other option but to abort.
By being a "black man" raised by a white family hopefully will bring a new light on the controversy of mixed race adoptions. This has the possibility of lowering the number of black and Hispanic kids who are in foster care.
And by having taught Constitutional Law at The University of Chicago will help all of those who site the ninth amendment to support their gun rights, yet want to dismiss it when it comes to a women’s right to govern her body.
McCain and Palin’s solution of reversing Roe V. Wade will only hurt the middle class and economically distressed. The rich will always find a way. (e.g. going to their gynecologist and having the procedure called something else and letting their insurance cover it).

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