Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I don't really mean to make this blog about abortion (really, it does not occupy that much thought to me), but...praise G-d for G--gle...

Abortion demonstration marks Roe anniversary

Published Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Students who walked into WLH 119 on Tuesday night were greeted with models of the female pelvis complete with fallopian tubes, cervixes, vaginas — and papayas on which to perform mock abortions.

In commemoration of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the 35th anniversary of which is this month, the Reproductive Rights Action League at Yale (RALY), in conjunction with Yale Med Students for Choice, demonstrated different abortion methods and techniques, answered questions students had about the procedures and encouraged students to be active in abortion-rights groups during last night’s presentation. The presentation was part of a week-long celebration of the 35th anniversary of the landmark decision.

“I’m here to talk about what happens after you get past the picket lines,” Merritt Evans MED ’09, a member of Yale Medical Students for Choice, told the assembled crowd of about 15 students.

The presenters began by showing the students different surgical tools used during different stages of a pregnancy and ticking off statistics about the safety and number of abortions performed in the United States. Eighty-five percent of counties in America do not have any abortion providers, Evans said.

Evans and Rasha Khoury MED ’08, another member of Medical Students for Choice, who said she plans to become a gynecologist and expects to perform abortions, went on to describe one of the most common abortion procedures, manual vacuum aspiration, which “creates suction to evacuate pregnancy,” Evans said. The technique is a good option because the device involved is reusable and relatively cheap, she said.

“It’s not as scary as it seems. It’s just blood and mucus,” Khoury said, referring to the fetus remains in the device. She added, “You’ll be able to see arms and stuff, but still just miniscule.”

Evans and Khoury also explained the finer points of abortion-clinic etiquette, including some potentially sensitive terminology. Khoury said physicians performing abortions generally refer to the aborted fetus remains as “POC,” an acronym for “product of conception,” and refer to fetus’ hearts as “FH.”

The most complicated part of the procedure can be the emotional fallout some patients experience, she said.

“Often times, women are crying and cursing and saying they’re going to hell,” Khoury said. “It may be a quick and easy medical procedure, but it definitely is a very involved social-medical procedure.”

The presenters also urged the crowd to become involved in the abortion-rights movement by joining Reproductive Health Externships, a campaign in which volunteers are taught how to conduct abortions.

“It’s fun because you meet people from all over the country who do them,” Khoury said. “It’s pretty inspiring.”

The ethical implications of abortion may be a topic of endless debate, but Elizabeth Kim ’11, who attended Tuesday night’s meeting, said she remains unsure of where she stands on the issue.

“I wanted to learn about the scientific and medical process before I can make any conclusions about the ethics,” she said. “It disturbed me how quick and clean the procedure is, because it is a big deal.”

The week’s events began with the showing of a documentary about abortion Monday and will end Saturday with a performance by the all-female comedy group the Sphincter Troupe.


So...this article has been removed. Was it a hoax? Will I soon receive a "cease & desist" order? Was it removed because it named names or, more scarily, did the writers not even UNDERSTAND how incendiary the article would be?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Abortion Schmabortion

Every now and again, I am reminded that, sometimes, I just do not think like other people.

In the Boston Globe "Ideas" section was an article about abortion as portrayed by Hollywood. The author is dismayed that more and more protagonists are choosing to keep their babies. The offhand acceptance of abortion as a non-consequential act (or one that SHOULD be without consequence) makes me re-think my support of Roe v. Wade.

[ed. note: I am a relatively non-Christian, fiscally conservative, socially progressive male. Throughout my life I have generally kept out of the abortion debate--although I consider abortion "killing," killing can be justifiable. As for any religious aspect, I consider that a private matter between appropriate parties (e.g., the aborter and her Maker, if she believes in that sort of thing).]

The article highlights that, to some (many?) Pro-Choice is not about "choice"; rather, it is indeed (at least from the authors point of view and that of Ellen Goodman) pro abortion, termination, killing.

The author wrote: "So why does it feel like movie and TV screenwriters have come a long way, in the wrong direction [emphasis mine], since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision?", indicating that he finds any skewing of portrayals towards keeping one's baby as "the wrong direction." Hence, the right direction must be abortion. Hence, the author (and those who think like he does) are not pro "choice" but actively, decidedly, and weirdly in favor of women choosing to terminate their potential offspring.

He quotes Ellen Goodman as lamenting "abortion [is portrayed as] the right-to-choose that's never chosen." Ah, Capital 'F' Feminism: yes, ladies, do whatever you please, whatever you choose, so long as that "choice" conforms to Gloria Steinem's way of life. Choose to marry--a MAN?! WRONG! Choose to stay at home to raise your children? WRONG! Choose to bring to term that parasitic organism growing in your womb? Bzzz! Wrong AGAIN!

Through offhand comments one often gathers instant, honest insight into real thought processes: His--and that of The Boston Globe and likely its readership--is, to me, barren and, frankly, rather frightening. That abortion should not be illegal is not something that I (used to) dispute; but I indeed dispute that it should be without consequence, compassion, or concern. Some are fighting for animal rights; some tie themselves to trees; too few choose to view nascent humanity with...well...humanity.

And it is just such insightful, offhand comments as those in the article that make me re-examine my "commitment" (such as it is) to Roe v. Wade, that is, if part of the real effect (intended or not) of that legislation has been to fully devalue the reproductive process and all its participants (to include the fetus) as well as any "consequences," well then, maybe my level of support has decreased over time by a similar but inverse proportion. In other words: if Roe v. Wade leads to thinking such as the author's, then maybe that legislation ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Digging further, I find the author's blog; note that he ALSO considers (as noted in his thoughts regarding the movie "Juno") giving one's baby up for adoption as a worse "choice" than abortion, i.e., he lumps birth-then-adoption as "keeping my baby."

---Addendum the Second:
Contrast the above author's thinking with that of the main character in another Globe article (BTW: I generally avoid the Globe, as it tends to get me all wound up, but I was stuck in the airport...):
Men begin to reflect on their abortion "choices."

I am trying to read into the article how Globe reporting minimizes the impact of the article; I note that they use such discounters as the "whacky, right-wing religious conservative" meme, as well as a subtle stab at "men have no right" (by implying that men are now copying women in their "the personal is political" tactics).

What I found interesting about the article was the warning signal, the idea that men, blindly supporting a woman's "right to choose," themselves deny their own culpability, responsibility, and connection.

The real shockers were saved for the final paragraphs:

"Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife - more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion.

"Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, 'I suddenly realized that I had four dead children,' said Morrow, 47,'I hadn't given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me - look what you've done.'

"A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the former girlfriend who aborted twice. ... After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: "That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, 'We can't do this' . . . but you didn't."

How many women, I wonder, have sat next to a "partner" in some clinic wishing, wishing that very thing, that the oh-so-modern, completely liberated, near-inconsequential "father of the baby" would suddenly leap to his feet and shout "No! No, this is just wrong, all wrong! I am very sorry that this has happened to you--to us--but, as a man, I need to take responsibility: let's get married; learn to love, if need be; and raise this baby--our baby--raise this baby right, together, as a family!"

Anybody ever wish that?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Politics: He Took Mama to School

So, count me among those who would have dreaded a Huckabee nomination--what many see as my secular humanism (informed, more likely, by Rand's Objectivism) generally causes me to eschew religious appeal; however, today's WSJ opinion piece by Peggy Noonan (whom I respect immensely, whether or not I agree with her views) hit some nail on its head:

"From the mail I have received the past month after criticizing [Huckabee] in this space, I would say his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture.

They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs...

They believe that Mr. Huckabee, the minister who speaks their language, shares, down to the bone, their anxieties, concerns and beliefs. They fear that the other Republican candidates are caught up in a million smaller issues--taxing, spending, the global economy, Sunnis and Shia--and missing the central issue: again, our culture. They are populists who vote Republican, and as I have read their letters, I have felt nothing but respect."

Day-umm! Ouch! You go, girl!

Count me among those suffering viscerally at the dismembement of American culture. And while I generally disdain most Americans, I would rather live among evangelical optimists than marxists nihilists. In fact, I would prefer to live where I am the LIBERAL than where I am the token Conservative...

Also in her essay, Noonan writes of Obama:
"[Obama's] takedown of Mrs. Clinton was the softest demolition in the history of falling buildings. I think we were there when it happened, in the debate in which he was questioned on why so many of Bill Clinton's aides were advising him. She laughed, and he said he was looking forward to her advising him, too. He took mama to school. "

By the way: anyone have anything bad to say (e.g., is it offensive in some way to some group) re: the phrase "He took mama to school"? Specifically, why is Hillary Obama's Mama?

In any case, I am glad: Hillary is a death machine, at both the individual (can you say "Vince Foster") and the national levels. I could live with Obama (he likely would be fairly ineffectual; pretty much how I like gummint to be). I do rather wish there were a Conservative running..

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Can you believe that we have the Iowa caucuses? And what's with NH? I'm with those states (CA in particular) that claim that IA and NH have outsized influence; I'd like to see the nation vote its primaries all on one day...

Had a great New Year's Eve: asleep by 10:00 p.m. (a new record!).

Getting a bit bored with the "you'll see" comments regarding children and lifestyle: I've been waiting all my life to get to that which I am supposed to see and yet, strangely, Life just keeps on truckin'. The current crop of complaints includes my overly-conservative view of, e.g., The Wizard of Oz "dress up" kit (which my wife and I refer to as the "Hoe Hoe Hoe" Christmas present) which consisted of a pedophlypaper Dorothy dress (ending just below the crotch), A filmy "wicked" witch get-up (for the five-year old), and a satin-lingerie Glinda thing. We could not disappear that particular gift fast enough, and one relative was offended with my rapid "shut up!" in response to her "Oh, you look so beautiful" appraisal of my daughters' modeling efforts...

[ Check it; you'll have to believe me that the pics do NOT do this thing..."justice." Note also that the pic omits the high-heeled, plastic ruby "slippers." And *their* model, as JonBenetRamsey as she is, is clearly a midget, given that the dress magically falls at least to HER knees...]

Sheesh. I think the trash is already in the trash.

And you reader(s) have NO idea how weird it is that *I* appear the prude! idea (although my whole life I definitely made a distinction between "normal" lasciviousness and, oh, kiddie porn...)

On the positive side, seems that some relatives are getting the message: we only suffered about a 33% discard rate this year (and for you "starving kids in Africa" folks, we "discard" to Big Brother/Big Sister...).

That said, gifts FROM the children were amazing! Hand-crafted cards, hand-sewn items, and baked goods: perfect!

Lots on tap for the new year; business is booming and all is on course to continue my life (variously described as "Ozzie & Harriet," "rose colored" or simply "a bubble." Whoopee. I like my bubble. A lot. Being the black sheep of my family no longer bothers me, if it ever did.