I have a lot of travel experiences to share. Lots of pictures, too. But for now, I’m having other thoughts. Thoughts that have been haunting me, enraging me, chasing me since before we left for our road trip. Thoughts made more vivid by the being down the street from the protests in the Texas Capitol, by being from NC and knowing what it means to need to get from one end of it to the other without a lot of money.
You know, I’ve heard all the rhetoric. I’ve heard all the self-righteous platitudes. I’ve heard the Bible-thumping. I’ve heard the junk science. I’ve heard the false narratives. I’ve heard the bullshit of people who want to quote logical fallacy definitions while creating their own.
And you know what? In my opinion, you cannot be anti-choice without being anti-woman. You cannot. You cannot be anti-choice without being anti-baby and downright anti-human. And before you get all frothy, take your rabies medication and try to hear me out.
We humans? We aren’t precious endangered animals. We aren’t the last of our kind unless we decide to start a global nuclear war or some other equally-asinine shit. We aren’t the only tiger left in our habitat. We aren’t among the count-on-one-hand species or even the threatened-but-still-enough-to-make-a-comeback species. We’re everywhere. We’re dirty and messy and we use up a lot of resources. And there’s plenty of us to go around. A few extra babies won’t make or break homo sapiens. Trust me that we’re destroying the planet so fast a few extra babies one way or the other won’t do much.
And in the face of a tide of legislation against the poor, against the environment, against education… We need more poor children without proper medicine or food or a safe place to live? We need more children in foster care? We need more children filling our detention facilities and jails? We need more parents starving to death to keep their kids fed? More schools crumbling from overcrowding and lack? We need more parents foregoing health care to keep their kids from being absorbed into a state system because of some luxury not in the budget — like dental cleanings or a bed? We need more teen mothers?
In the face of a tide of evidence that the planet’s none too thrilled with our kind… In the face of droughts and floods and fires, of wars brought about over resources (and ideology , though that largely seems a mask hiding the greed for the believers of one god or another)…. We need MORE humans? I think not. Time and again genocide has been wrought, largely over resources. Groups grow too hungry, too thirsty, too sick and tired of being sick and tired and kill — their “own kind” or not — just to get a taste of hope.
I mean, sure you have asshats like this:
It’s common for birthrates to fall when the economy is bad, but it has been declining for several decades, and experts worry it could impact the future workforce.“This means we will have a smaller population and smaller market compared to other countries, we will be investing less and we won’t be able to outpace and outgrow previous generations’ wealth. Everyone knows buying power isn’t in kids, it’s with older consumers, and if we don’t have a big enough population, the entire economy suffers,” says Steinberg
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/07/10/raising-baby-just-how-much-does-it-cost/#ixzz2Yxr5WyLp
But, let’s put on our smart-people hats for a moment and realize that we aren’t a factory-based economy anymore. Let’s remember that our farms and industry are highly mechanized. Let’s remember all our neighbors with master’s degrees working as baristas and our middle-management parents and uncles working as cashiers or clerks or at home filling out ten applications a day trying to get a job again. Let’s remember that Fox (yes, that’s what that links to) “news” will also alarm you to “foreigners” taking all the “American” jobs whether on this soil or someone else’s, so I’m not sure how they’re supposed to be credible when it comes to telling women they need to have a litter to sustain future markets. Nevermind that gem coming at the end of an article on the expense of pregnancy and raising children (though, they come to it from a thoroughly upper-middle/upper class mentality. Oh whoa the expense of private tutors and smart phones!
No, at the bottom of the economic rungs — which Fox cohorts would relegate almost all of us to if they could — pregnancy isn’t “inconvenient” for climbing the corporate ladder. It isn’t “expensive” because of IVF treatments or designer c-sections. It’s a matter of life and death in ways most of the talking heads and pundits and politicians can’t comprehend.
I took her to a supermarket
I don’t know why but I had to start it somewhere, so it started there.
I said pretend you’ve got no money, she just laughed and said oh you’re so funny.
I said yeah? Well I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.”
Lyrics, “Common People”
Because yeah, if your job won’t let you do your job because you’re pregnant… If they put you on unpaid leave… If your doctor puts you on bed rest to keep the baby from coming early or to keep you from bleeding to death… If your pregnancy related diabetes medication is too expensive… You could very well starve to death. You could very well die of some preventable complication. You could be forced to give up the children you have because you can’t afford to feed and clothe and shelter them. You may have to move to a shelter. You may have to live on the streets. You may commit petty crimes to get health care (and yes, I’ve had pregnant students do this). There are people for whom $5 is a lot of money, the difference between keeping the heat on in winter or the fan working in summer, the difference between a hot bowl of soup and eating it cold from the can. The difference between walking five miles to work and taking the bus. And those people don’t live in other countries. They live here. And a great many of them were born here. As were their parents.
But when a new mom talked about “why it’s wrong and inhumane to make light of how difficult it is to “just have the baby,” as anti-choice extremists say everyone should have to do,” she was attacked by a dimwitted conservative without a clue. Natasha Chart’s own rebuttal is far more coherent (and less ranty) than I can pull off, but I have no doubt Fiano didn’t read the rebuttal either. Clearly, she’s capable of pulling her head out of her ass long enough to string sentences together, but not long enough for complicated thoughts or ideas. (Yeah, I’m angry.)
Ideas like the fact that notoriously-wealth-leaning publications like the New York Times (which in the past has explained such necessities like finding the right nanny and how to skip lines at amusement parks by hiring the disabled), recently delved into the expense of child birthing in the US.
Then there’s the US News article from last month.
While the law already prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on pregnancy or childbirth, they are not required to grant pregnant women much leeway when it comes to maintaining their health and the health of their babies.
Again, we find that it’s “okay” to force women to give birth, but it’s hard to legislate giving a damn about them — or even the fetus except where we can blame the woman carrying it. I’m not sure which would be more painful, watching one’s health and life fall apart because of being forced to carry an unwanted fetus or watching one’s wholly-desired fetus’s life hang in question because of a lack of access and funds. Either way, what the hell are we doing in this country? Seriously?
Some self-hating woman on Twitter tried to convince me that the fetus is its own person and that the woman is just a goldfish bowl. Yeah, those were her words, her metaphor, though later she tried to back out of her statement. She thinks because the embryo has separate DNA, we should give it a car and let it vote. That a woman, once pregnant, just becomes and empty vessel waiting to expel this fancy creature that apparently is nothing like her in that it holds far more value to those prescribing to this theory. But no, a collection of cells is a collection of cells. Until viable, an embryo, a fetus, that little bean-shaped mass that can’t survive on its own, isn’t a “baby.” It isn’t a “person” anymore than your cancerous tumor (which is also a mass of cells) is. It might have different DNA, but then again, if you tongue-kiss your amore, you’ll probably have some extra DNA swimming around in your mouth. Doesn’t mean you need to keep it and protect it until it can live on its own.
But I forgot, if one isn’t planning to procreate, one shouldn’t be kissing or having sex. Isn’t that the party line of the prudish and self-righteous? The ones who’ve never done anything wrong in their whole god-fearing lives (well, maybe a little speeding and some molestation down at the church, some ballot fixing, and some money changing, but no “big sins” like sex). It’s really hard for them to comprehend how little choices become big ones. How doing everything right still can cause things to go wrong. How hard living leads to hard lives no matter how much one tries.
They can no more comprehend the woman who implores her husband to “pull out” because they can’t afford another mouth than they can comprehend someone working three jobs and still needing food stamps. It’s hard for them to know the teenager who begs her boyfriend to wear a condom only to have it break. Or the girl too young to fully understand what her period means or why her uncle’s in her bed. Or the thirty-year-old mother of three with the IUD that fails. The woman in the abusive relationship she can’t afford to leave who isn’t allowed the money or time it would take to get to the clinic for the Pill. The forty-year-old who just graduated her eldest and just found out it’s not menopause making her feel that way, but that the risk for birth defects at her age have risen as sharply as the health risks. The woman who wants her baby so badly but suffers a miscarriage and needs one of the procedures commonly called “abortion” to clean out the dead tissue in order to avoid infection so she can try again. And thousands of other women like them, with their own stories, who are now terrified of what their states would have them do with their own bodies.
But my anger has made me wordy, so I’ll leave you with this:
On abortion, I do acknowledge that there is a wide range of personal feelings and moral beliefs about this issue, which will remain divisive. But the two “sides” are asymmetric. Pro-choice covers a whole lot of ground, even leaving room for doubt and uncertainty. Anti-choice is unflinchingly restrictive and punitive.
Here’s the essence of the asymmetry: If we pass pro-choice laws and you don’t want to have an abortion, you never have to have one unless you change your mind for your own personal reasons. You get to live out your personally held beliefs in your life under this legal system.