It’s important to remember that one of the things left out of the abortion access discussion is that it is a freedom of religion issue. Banning abortion violates the tenets of some religions. It is also important to remind people that despite declarations of the opposite, this is not a Christian nation. It is not founded as a Christian nation, and many of us need to be reminded of that. More often it seems.
In fact, in the Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1796 and ratified by the United States Senate in 1797, UNANIMOUSLY and without debate under the Presidency of John Adams stated that explicitly:
“…the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli, rat. 1797
The below article was posted in USA Today on February 13, 2023. It is written by Christine Fernando and can be read here:
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that gave women the right to an abortion. More specifically, and importantly, they found the right to an abortion under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that we all have a fundamental “right to privacy”. Any laws that prohibited an abortion would be subject to strict scrutiny by the Courts.
Much has been made of the plaintiff, Roe expressing her regrets for her abortion. She had gone back and forth on this issue, and honestly I feel that she was taken advantage of by both sides. She was paid by the right to recant her wish for an abortion, and stated in the 2020 documentary, AKA Jane Roe that she hadn’t ever supported the antiabortion movement.
Roe’s holding was reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in 1992 while at the same time overruling the trimester framework established in the Roe decision and moved from “strict scrutiny” to “undue burden”.
In 2022, the Supreme Court overruled Roe with their ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the right to an abortion was not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history or tradition.”
This is false, and it is simply Justice Alito (and his cohorts) grasping at straws and making law whole cloth from their beliefs which violate the Constitution as well as basic human rights of women to their own bodily autonomy. In the ruling, they also included questioning rights now recognized as to contraception, interracial marriage, and marriage equality (same-sex marriage). Some on the right are suggesting we take another look at those rights already enshrined in law (and common sense, to be quite honest).
Abortions have been happening for as long as there’s been pregnancy. The real value of legal abortion is safety. When abortions are illegal, women are less safe. In addition, many, if not all of the proponents of eliminating legal abortion have no idea how pregnancy and birth works. They throw out terms that they don’t understand, pass laws, and criminalize medical care for women under the guise of stopping abortion.
Since Dobbs, women have died from miscarriages that weren’t treated; ectopic pregnancies that were left to fester. Women have lost the ability to have more children because of doctors waiting for the last minute to help women, afraid that anything they do to save the woman will create a liability for themselves and their facilities.
The right set up pregnancy centers who lie to women and scare them and do not give them all of their options as far as family planning and abortion. If their way is the right way, why do they need to lie?
This is horrifying, and it needs to end.
Women need to be able to make informed decisions on their family planning, their pregnancies, their terminating or continuing of pregnancies. My daughter has less rights than her grandmother had.
In addition to our activism and raising our voices, we need to contact our Congresspeople and especially Leader Jeffries, and have them bring a bill to the floor and pass it to make the Supreme Court more modern. The last time the Supreme Court was changed with respect to number of justices was with the Judiciary Act of 1869 during the Grant Administration. We currently have nine justices and thirteen circuit courts. We should have 13 justices to correspond to the circuits. For those saying that this is packing the Court, it is unpacking the Court that Mitch McConnell gave us by blocking President Obama’s duly chosen nominee in 2019 and then reversing his “logic” and pushing through Amy Coney Barrett while we were in the middle of an election. Literally while voting was happening.
We can’t stop speaking out.
The only way we can solve this disparity and reproductive health crisis is by reinstating Roe, expanding it, and codifying it into law.
Wednesday marks eight-five days until Election Day – the all important mid-term elections.
A few things happened today that I want you to be aware of as we head into these mid-term elections. (Unfortunately, I do not have links, but this are easy to google.)
First, thanks to a commited Democratic party, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which goes a long way to meet our climate goals as well as reducing the deficit whlie providing help to families.
Second, the FDA is making hearing aids available over the counter (probably by mid-October). This is crucial, and not just to people on Medicare. I have been using hearing aids since I was 52. It should have been longer than that but we weren’t able to afford it. To get them, I had to see my primary doctor, an ENT specialist, have an MRI, get signed off by the ENT, then go to a hearing aid place to be fitted with hearing aids. The aids themselves were over $5000 without the doctor’s visits and the MRI. We were “lucky” because that year my son was in the hospital and so we reached our deductible in March rather than at the end of December (like usual) and a close relative died.
Third, a 16 year old in Florida has been told in a ruling by a court that she cannot have an abortion. The reason? She is not mature enough to make that kind of life altering decision. But raising a baby, she’s mature enough for that? GTFOH.
Fourth, Liz Cheney lost her primary to a MAGA lunatic, and I’m being somewhat generous by using the term lunatic. Look her up. I’m not a Cheney fan, but at least she’s not part of the conspiracy theorists. She has been an admirable Vice-Chair for the Jan. 6 committee, and perhaps Chairman Benny Thompson can include her as part of the legal staff or committee spokesperson after she can no longer serve in January.
These four examples are only four of the very many reasons that everyone needs to vote in the Election on November 8th. Vote all the traitors, Q-anons, and corrupt Republicans out of office. Vote Blue.
We have the opportunity to turn things around. It will take time, more time than we’d like, but it will happen if everyone buckles up and does their part. Democracy is at stake. Our futures and the futures of our children are at stake.
I have been struggling as I know many people around the country are struggling, especially women, girls, and trans and non-binary people with uteruses. I can’t promise that my language will be consistently inclusive in this writing. I can promise to try. Not mentioning trans/NB people doesn’t mean that they are not part of the discussion or part of my thoughts and fears, but right now, I have two strong emotions at play: first, my daughter and millions like her and second, the Constitution.
For those of us who grew up with constitutional norms and the sentimentality as well as the reality of the rule of law, who grew up with William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and for the people following now in the turmoil and unease of an activist court and are looking towards Ketanji Brown Jackson for similar inspiration, the death knell of the Constitution is heart-wrenching. Not as heart-wrenching as the forced birth of pubescent children or the forced trauma of losing a wanted pregnancy as well as the derailment of dreams, but it is still something to be mourned. I’m not sure we can come back. My eternal USA-USA optimism has been shaken to its core these last several years and this term of the Supreme Court has been the nail in the ever lowering coffin.
I studied law for half my college career and that came after a hobby of reading everything law related available, studying in my own way the law, knowing legal precedents and bathing in the light of the dreams of freedom. Re-reading that sentence now, it is so clear that I am speaking from a place of extreme privilege, my whiteness showing starker than the background of the screen I type on. Everything else, my Jewishness, my womanhood, my economic status – all of that is hidden under the whiteness that wrote that beloved Constitution. When I graduated from college, I got rid of most of my textbooks, but I kept ALL of my law books. Why? Well, they were historical. They set precedent with opinions from the greats, both before and during my lifetime. These books would continued to be studied for generations and while they would be added to, they would still be the basis for many rulings to come.
Little did I know.
The year I had jury duty was the year Justice William Brennan retired. I went to Brooklyn Federal Court, after driving over an hour and a half, parking underground, and walking across a public park to the courthouse, and I bought a Time magazine with his picture on the cover. I read it during my lunch before I was assigned to a case. I was excited. Until I listened to the case and discovered the weight of my civic duty. I was a hold-out for awhile, but we sorted it out and I was dismissed with the thanks of a grateful court. I couldn’t wait to do it again.
With one term, one swoop of Russian interference, Republican obstinance and recalcitrance, Senatorial and Presidential corruption, and let’s be honest, overt racism, and those books on my shelf have become obsolete.
Miranda – not required.
Engel v Vitale – coercive prayer
Roe v Wade – no bodily autonomy if you’re a woman, no privacy
MA v EPA – overturned – enjoy your brown air and water
Griswold, Casey, Oberfell – their futures in question
But Skokie? Skokie remains. Oh, unless you’re picketing the Supreme Court justices. In that case, no first amendment rights for you. Who cares about McCullen v Coakley?
This week in Akron, Ohio, a ten year old girl was forced to go to Indiana to obtain an abortion after her rape because a judge ruled that she was three days over the legal limit to get one in Ohio. Truly, the Lord’s work, amirite? During this same week and same town, a Black man (Jayland Walker) was shot in the back sixty times (ninety rounds fired) for running away from a traffic stop.
These two incidents, traumas on families and communities are only a microcosm of what is happening across this country.
It is only a matter of time before a rapist is granted joint custody with their victim for a forced birth baby. Who thinks that this is okay?
We (with SCOTUS leading the way) are dismantling the First Amendment. The most important amendment. So important it comes first, before anything else. I remind you that we are not a Christian nation. We are multicultural, interfaith, NO faith, multidimensional, and to stay free we must act free. All of us. Violating one person’s civil rights, their human rights is a stain for us all.
The First Amendment falls as fascism rises: little by little and then all at once. You are here in the timeline.
Yesterday morning, I attended my church online. I usually attend online. As the mass ended and the congregation was dismissed to relay the Good News, the priest and deacon processed from the altar to the music and singing of America the Beautiful. I can’t say what I would have done had I been there, but at home, online, I turned it off. I thought, and continue to think it’s inappropriate. I get that people want a patriotic song, and as far as patriotic songs go, this one isn’t bad, but as a recessional to mass?
No. No. No.
The song on its own wasn’t the problem. Play it after the mass is actually over, while people are still congregating, but not as part of the closing.
I have two distinct memories of my father’s patriotism. We were at a professional baseball game (The Mets, of course), and I didn’t stand for the National Anthem. It wasn’t a protest. It was a lazy elementary school child. The look he gave me. The same for a school assembly when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I had no problem with the Pledge, but my sitting wasn’t an option. This look was accompanied by a whispered admonition. And I remember those moments with my dad. He wasn’t a nationalist; he wasn’t our country can do no wrong, but he knew the importance of that respect and I do too. I don’t think he would appreciate how I feel today and how I don’t want to celebrate Independence Day. Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States took away what little freedom my daughter and I had, and I can’t celebrate that. I hear Black and brown people asking what we’re celebrating in the first place, and I hear them.
I have four books to recommend to everyone and then one more thing:
About six or seven years ago, maybe a bit longer, I was driving in the car with my daughter and she suddenly said through a tight throat and tiny tears that she didn’t want to have a baby. She hadn’t even gotten her period yet. She was under ten or was ten, I don’t remember. What I do remember was trying not to cry because she was so appalled about the idea of having a baby, not the idea of being a mom even though that was kind of foreign to her, but physically being forced to have a baby when she didn’t want one. I said to that she didn’t need to worry about that. No one was going to force her to have a baby. She wanted to know how I knew that. I told her I knew that because I would never let that happen. Never.
And I never will.
Not my daughter, and not yours, and not trans men or non-binary folks. No one.
This brilliant piece by Slate writer, Dahlia Lithwick is a must read by everyone who calls themselves pro-choice and those who don’t. The idea that the people crying ‘our body, our choice’ over masks are the same ones brutally stomping on the bodies of pregnant people. Stomping is not an exaggeration.
This law is unconstitutional, but somewhat more importantly it is unconscionable. We should be protecting women, transmen, and CHILDREN who find themselves pregnant and unready, for whatever reason, and not forcing them to give birth.
We must remember these draconian laws and constant attempts at controlling our reproduction and our bodies at every election moving forward. GET OUT THE VOTE. Each and every election.
Read the entire article, but this quote from Lithwick really brought it home for me.
The inevitable answer is chilling: This isn’t about guns or speech or money or war. It’s about women, their lives and their bodies and their autonomy. That’s what allows you to do shoddy work, with careless disregard, because who’s going to stop you? You only do the thing in the dead of night, without care or effort, because you believe women are so used to being gaslit that you expect them to just tolerate it. You only do the thing in the dead of night without care or effort because you genuinely believe that they’re only women, and they deserve what they get.
I listened to an amazing podcast last week from the women of Hysteria, who drop a pod every week with their perspectives on what’s going on in the news and the world. They are part of the Crooked Media family. I know, I post so much of Crooked Media’s media that I seem to be a stan, and to be honest, I am. I listen to most of their stuff, don’t agree with absolutely everything, but I always learn something.
This episode of Hysteria was called Abortion On Demand, No Apologies, and it is where I got the title for this post from. Erin Ryan and Alyssa Mastromanoco begun wuth a conversion about last week’s news and outrage and then Erin is joined by Grace Parra, Megan Gailey, and Dana Schwartz who all share very personal, and very poignant stories of their experiences with abortion and reproductive health. It is something that affects all of us every day. It’s very emotional for the podcasters as well as for me the listener. I was transported alongside them and I was touched deeply by their words.
I’m pro-choice, but that is all I will offer by way of my own opinions. The women of Hysteria really lay their experiences on the line. I’ll leave it to them to share their stories.
One thing that was said however that I do want to share, and it stems from the Me, too movement, Times Up, Male politicians who know nothing of women’s bodies regulating them and passing laws that are not only Draconian, but also physically impossible to enforce (reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy in the uterus is one example). Whenever a man, and it is almost always a man, decides that an embryo is more valueable than a real live women, women all across this country need to rise up, protest, and in doing so are forced into a retraumatization of their original hell, whether that is rape, incest, abortion, or any other trauma faced. They are expected to bare their souls, and then they are often ridiculed and the men are often astounded that what happened to them is real, and they are sorry, but not sorry enough to let women control their own bodies.
I really don’t know which is worse – the original trauma or the reliving each and every time a politician decides that women need their help in making medical decisions. They relive the trauma, and there is no apology for them in their living nightmare.
I wrote this soon after the mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, and shared it on my Facebook page. I wanted to also share it here.
Whenever the topic of abortion comes up in a church setting or with church people, I tend to hold my breath. I don’t know how many people are aware of my pro-choice stance. If asked, I try to be clear that I am for women’s reproductive rights in all the forms that women choose to use them. My most vocal place is probably on my Facebook and Tumblr, and no one from church, save one, is on Facebook or knows about Tumblr at the moment. That’s not to say I’m hiding my beliefs, I don”t think I do, but that’s how it’s been.
I had been looking forward to our Bishop as presider of the Divine Mercy Mass a few weekends ago. When I entered, I was handed a song-sheet and offered a relic to venerate, which I did.
I was early so that I could participate in the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, before the start of Mass. I find those group chaplet recitations and rosary prayers very moving.
The Mass went as it usually does except that it was the Bishop and there were four other priests in attendance plus the deacon. It gives the feeling of something special; not that each liturgy isn’t special in its own way, but the larger group of religious gives it a certain presentation. We have a really good music ministry and they are always outstanding and were on this day as well.
When the Bishop began his Homily with a reference to an unnamed political candidate who proposes punishing women for abortions, I cringed. I could feel my body tense up. I didn’t expect him to endorse this candidate. It also wasn’t because I expect my clergy to come out and talk about pro-choice or reproduction in any way that is not Catholic doctrine. This is something I accept within the church. In the particular case of my priest, he’s never brought abortion up in a political way; only as part of the prayer of the faithful for life, from conception until natural death, etc. with the exception of promoting 40 Days for Life. I usually add my own two cents of prayer silently to include all those who I feel should be included, and who are most often excluded – the women in their most difficult moments.
So when the Bishop brought up Donald Trump, not by name of course, I held my breath.
He talked about how that isn’t the way we should be thinking about the women who have abortions. He never once mentioned preventing abortions, banning abortions, birth control, adoption, none of it.
What he talked about was how we focus on the baby and we should be focusing on the women. He also used the word women, not mother. He talked about how women have their reasons for abortions and when they have them, we need to support them. Whether it’s their choice or their only choice, we need to show them this compassion we talk about. Real pro-life people don’t tell these women that they’re going to hell or that they’ll be punished. Real pro-life people are there for the women after their abortions and without judgment.
I’ve never heard such a pro-choice sentiment from a clergy person let alone a Bishop.
Of course, I know he’s not pro-choice, but this is the first time I’ve heard someone of his stature talk about women using another choice other than carrying the fetus to full term and having the baby.
I was pleasantly surprised on his focus towards the women.
Compassion and mercy are not talking points from Pope Francis; they are a way of living and I for one am happy to see it outside of the media and inside my own parish and diocese.
Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. That’s the decision that maintains a woman’s right to choose; to do with her body as she feels; It gives her privacy. It gives her autonomy. Many people herald it as a pro-abortion decision, but any of us who have contemplated abortion know that it is not. We know that no one, NO ONE, is pro-abortion.
As a country, we’re okay with the death penalty, even in cases where the convicted party is mentally disturbed – not the Charles Manson crazy, but developmental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and mental ages that are well below their chronological age.
As a country, we’re okay with war; perpetual war since 2011.
As a country, we’re okay with torture.
We’re okay with domestic violence and victim-blaming where women are involved. Where men are involved, we reduce them to women.
We can’t even pass a VAWA that includes ALL women.
What is going on here?
I read something recently from someone who I respect, who is pro-life, who is a good-hearted, loving, peaceful person describing abortion (in some instances) as a convenience. Women don’t want to be inconvenienced. I strongly take issue with that way of thinking; that stereotype. Women who have abortions because of economic reasons are not doing it as a convenience. These women, for the most part are living in poverty. They have children and are often single parents. There is no universal child care option for them to get steady work or they work several jobs for part time hours. They are living in abusive situations that they can’t escape because they have no control over their own money and/or bodies.
Women would choose to avoid pregnancy rather than terminate it, but increasingly this option (birth control) is being taken away because corporations are people, too, my friend. The owner of Hobby Lobby is against contraception for religious reasons and chooses to force his employees to follow his religious beliefs instead of allowing them the freedom to follow their own religion.
The sooner the people in this country realize and accept that this country was founded on the principle of not only freedom of religion, the freedom to practice individual religions by individual people as well as, and in addition to the freedom to be free of religion entirely, the sooner these arguments will be null and void. We need to stop inflicting our beliefs on others. This country was founded on our differences; we should embrace them.
When my church does their prayer of the faithful, they almost always include a prayer for life, from conception to natural death. Very rarely, but sometimes, they reference abortion directly, and my mind invariably wanders and prays for the women; that they continue to have the freedom of choice; that they have the support, the autonomy, the health care and the reproductive rights that they should have in a free society.
We should be supporting women who choose abortions instead of terrorizing them.
The most recent act of terrorism in Colorado Springs that targeted the Planned Parenthood there killed a woman, not having an abortion, but supporting her friend, a man on his cell phone on the street, and a policeman/security personnel. This is horrible, and the fact that many of us hand-wave it away as collateral damage is more than a little disturbing.
The sooner we get back to our basics of bodily autonomy and religious freedom, the sooner we can move on as a country to more important things – stopping our military involvement, the quagmire, eliminating the gender gap in pay and rights, giving Americans the right to have access to health care that is actually healthy and affordable.
Women, when left to their own devices will make the right choices and the right choice is whatever they feel is right for them, not what you feel is right for them.
Yesterday I wrote about abortion. I’m sure that I will be doing that again. I write about many controversial issues and I’m not naive enough to think that my opinion is the only opinion. I don’t mind discussing facts and I have enough of an open mind that I listen to other viewpoints even if I continue to disagree with them.
I like comments. I like feedback. I don’t mind dissension. I will approve comments if they disagree, but where I do mind and won’t approve is if I’m talking about abortion and/or reproductive rights, you shouldn’t be commenting on illegal immigration and Obama’s policies on such. If you’re going to state “facts”, make them facts. Tell me where your information came from.
How many kids are in foster care?
How many kids are abused?
How many kids are murdered? In my area we’ve had two in the last three months.
The thing I will answer from this unapproved comment is two-fold:
1. It’s subjective to say that I sound superior but I’d agree. I am superior to a fetus that can’t live outside its mother. I’m alive, breathing on my own and capable of higher reasoning and cognitive thought.
2. It’s true that I’m here because my mother did not have an abortion. She, however did not have any choices in 1966. I don’t know what her options would have been if abortions had been legally available. I know that I and my siblings were clearly wanted and cared for and loved. I also know that if I wasn’t here to talk about a woman’s right to do with her body what she deems, someone else would be speaking out in my place and for that I’d be grateful.
(It says: “Until life within the womb of a mother is safe, life outside the womb will never be safe.”)
(*Note: I saw this earlier today and I had an opinion on it to share. Not all of my reflections this Lent will be on my positive journeying through the forty days. I have many things that cross my mind in a day, and this was today’s. Trigger warnings for abortion and choice.*)
I could not disagree with this more. In fact, I find it offensive that this is part of a so-called pro-life campaign.
In fact, I think the opposite is true: it is our obligation to care for those already born and through education and appropriate birth control, abortions will, and have been going steadier, lower.
The false equivalency of a fetus and a grown person having the same safety concerns tells me that the person who wrote this sign doesn’t understand the real issues that women in this country, pregnant or not, face on a daily basis.
Is abortion really less safe than being born without a spinal cord or a brain stem?
Is abortion really less safe than starving and dying in poverty?
Is abortion really less safe than living in a chronically abusive household?
Do we really care more for our unborn than our already born? Our persons of color? Our single parents? Our foster kids? Our child victims of rape who are forced to carry babies to term when their emotional states and their physical bodies are not ready for it?
Shouldn’t we begin with taking care of those outside the womb first? If we can’t get that right, how can we presume to know what’s the best options for inside someone else’s body?
We also know that a fetus could not survive on its own without its physical attachment to the mother, the host, unlike people who are already living, breathing, thinking human beings. It is not a symbiotic relationship; it is strictly one-sided. If you remove the baby from the situation, the mother will still be alive. The opposite is not true.
I would prefer less bumper sticker sanctimony and more real world options without the attack on pregnant women at every turn.