Woman, don’t you know your place?

Work has had me out straight lately as Mainers are fond of saying (translation, real busy) yet despite being busy as hell, I have been paying attention to the world happenings and frankly it’s scary. Is it me, but have the powers to be, whoever those powers are, decided to launch a full scale attack on women? Oh, it’s easy to look at all the “progress” women have made but at the same time, while we are busy living and well…being busy, it seems everywhere we look; people are looking to put women back in the safe box. I think of the popularity of the show Mad Men and wonder if the popularity of that show is reflective of a desire to be back in a simpler time in America when women and the darkies knew their place?

So with the economy in shambles and no clear path to turn the economic ship around, why are we even discussing women’s bodies? Seriously. Yet that is where we have been recently, back in 2010 when health care in the US was overhauled one of the provisions was preventative care, and part of preventative care includes free birth control. Seems like a no-brainer to me, after all preventing pregnancies unless they are wanted is a win-win from a cost standpoint, yet religious institutions and technically I work at one aren’t too happy. Specifically religiously affiliated institutions would have to pay for birth control, so now we have the Catholic Church getting pretty pissy. For real? Hey, Catholic Church you have far greater problems than a professor at one of your schools getting free birth control, pipe the hell down. Obviously this thing is making for great sound bites especially in an election year. Funny thing is even Catholic women in 2012 are rather fond of birth control and often take it regardless of what the church says.

Shifting gears we had the debacle with the Susan G. Komen folks and Planned Parenthood folks, who in the end while they reversed their decision to defund Planned Parenthood, showed their true colors and who lost a lot of goodwill. How the hell does an organization supposedly focused on saving women’s lives decide to fuck over another organization that saves women’s lives too? Politics and a warped belief system, I tell you. Despite the fact that abortion has been legal in the US for damn near 40 years, we are still harping on it, if you don’t want one, fine don’t get one, but trust that women who do make that choice are of sound mind and please get out of other folk’s business.

Just a few nights ago, we had the Grammy awards and a documented abuser of women was applauded. Worse yet, some young women took to the social media airwaves announcing how they wish Chris Brown would beat them. Really? Society has us so twisted that we downplay abuse against women. I am a big believer in second chances after all if there were no second chances, you wouldn’t be reading this post. That said, with alarming regularity we see celebs like Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen and others who perpetrate violence against women being given chance after chance. That says a lot about us especially because we still live in world that judges women and people of color far more harshly. Of course if you happen to be a man of color but rich and or famous you get some of the privileges typically afforded only to white men. Beat ya old lady, hell kill her and do no time. Looking at you OJ.

Lastly we have washed up rappers making videos instructing boys and young men on how to sexually assault girls and women. Too Short made a video of so-called fatherly advice, and XXL magazine put it up on their website…of course now that the chorus of protest has come out, folks are back pedaling. Problem is the cat is out of the bag, so once again women’s bodies are not our own. If a young man actually listened to Too Short’s advice the take away is that women’s bodies are only here for the pleasure of men.

Frankly as a woman raising a girl who will one day become a woman, I am saddened. As the mother of a young man, it saddens me to think that some young woman may find him strange and less than manly because he was raised to respect women, not just their bodies but their minds.

Clearly we are at war and this time the enemy is not overseas but instead all around us, waiting to come out and strip our humanity. To reduce us to mere bodies to be controlled by men, and damn it, I am not going to take it.

Musings on the big A

This week I was shocked to hear about the death of Dr. Tiller, one of only a few providers of second and third term trimester abortions in the entire United States. A couple of nights ago, I was flipping through the tv and ran across one of the cable news shows, I believe it was Anderson Cooper and he had a physician on the program who had known Tiller personally as well as a woman who made the choice to carry to term her fetus that she knew would not live more than a few hours. I went to sleep thinking about the abortion issue and after many years have decided to come out of the closet.

I have had an abortion. Many times women will say after giving birth to their first child that they  could never imagine having an abortion, women who prior to giving birth had always fancied themselves pro-choice. Well my story is different it was only after I became a mother that I came to understand why abortion must always remain legal and safe in this country.

I admit thoughts of abortion crossed my mine when I got pregnant with my son at 18, but I could not make that choice, obviously he is here and he is one of the two greatest lights in my life. That said, it was after he was born and I understood what it meant to be a mother that I understand why some women make the choice they do to terminate and I ended up being one of those women.

I won’t provide the details, the hows and whys don’t matter, just that having already been a mother, I knew I was not ready emotionally, financially or mentally be a mother again at that time in my life. Could I have chosen adoption? Maybe, but at least at that time, cuddly babies of color were not a priority for adoption and the idea of my offspring existing in the world not being treated right at someone else’s hands was not a thought I could bear.

I am older, stable and a Christian, do I have regrets you may wonder. No, I don’t. I have made my peace with that choice, yet for years I have lived with the secret. Even now I hesitate to write this knowing I have real life friends and family including my son who may read this and judge me. Yet I clearly believe that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

Working in my line of work, I have seen families that brought children into the world they were not ready to parent…I believe that the scars of bad parenting last a lifetime. As a Christian I am constantly frustrated with those who are so completely anti-abortion yet do nothing to help out the kids who are here. People who complain about welfare moms yet get riled up about abortion.

I think about the many clinics I have run across over the years that claim to help women who are pregnant and dealing with an unwanted child but where are those same people when that child is 10, 12 and so on?

Dr. Tiller’s murder was a tragedy on so many levels as surely the killer may have felt it was his job to rid the world of evil…yet who the fuck are we to judge? So many folks run around claiming the name of Jesus but if Jesus was here, I doubt he would be happy with them. Jesus himself said he who is without sin throw the first stone, this was said in the context of the woman caught in the act of adultery.

I also decided to share my story because so many folks wonder about the women who choose to have an abortion…who are these women? Well these women are your sisters, daughters, friends and yes maybe even your mother. Rich women, poor women, black and white…we are the faces of abortion.

Note: I suspect such a hot topic will get more hits here than usual so I am letting you know now, all new commenters must be approved by me and if you choose to leave a nasty post, expect that you won’t see it here.