Roe, Pt 2

Ok, now that I have had some time to cool down, I would like to slightly walk back my post from Tuesday. Political action is not useless. It’s actually essential; I just wish it wasn’t, and I wish it were faster.

I have come to believe that local community work is a better solution to many problems than government, but as SB8 has well proven, local community work cannot even happen if it is made illegal, and the chief thing that the far right wants to accomplish in the culture wars is not merely to sideline or marginalize behavior they disagree with but to actively prosecute it. And when it comes to abortion, repealing Roe is not the end goal for anti-choicers. I follow right Twitter, and they are of course over the moon about this, but the most common sentiment is that this is not the end, but the beginning. Their next step is a nation-wide ban, and beyond that, they will likely seek to criminalize it.

So look, the Democrats are fucking worthless; all they do is maintain the status quo. If you want a more progressive world, they will not get us there. They won’t protect the planet, they won’t lift people out of poverty, they won’t reform our justice system. They’re just in government to get rich. But at this point, Republicans are the activist party, they’re in government to get rich and also to control what we all do in our own homes and communities. The more control they get, the less freedom everybody has.

So, flipping Georgia was a huge fucking deal and a lot of people worked really hard at it. I have a friend who flew out there and knocked doors and she is rightly very annoyed at everyone who cannot even be bothered to make phone calls to swing states during an election year. Merely keeping the wolf from the door is not sexy work. It’s not fun, it’s not fast, and it’s not the kind of thing that makes young men feel like splashy heroes. But it is essential, and I’m sorry I suggested that it wasn’t. I’ll try to hold my nose and do it in November.

Roe

We’ve known it was coming for so long that I honestly have nothing to say about it, but I do want to weigh in on one point: as usual the leftists on Twitter are saying that this is yet more proof that the Democrats are worthless and the political system in general has failed us, and voting doesn’t matter. And the liberals are saying wtf, you morons, the whole reason this happened was because you split the vote in ’16.

And hey, they’re both right! I mean, this was a foregone conclusion ever since Hillary lost, and had she won, it would not have happened. BUT she DID win the popular vote! People DID vote! And you can hardly ask people to seriously invest in a system in which the electoral college overrode the will of the people six years ago and there’s been nothing anyone could do ever since to stop this, despite the fact that the majority of Americans think first trimester abortion should be legal and always have, but their opinions and what they want literally do not matter, and all this hinges on the fact that a couple ancient wizards in cloaks who weren’t elected died at an inconvenient time. Like, we’re supposed to invest in a system where two Senators can hold the whole country hostage and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it? Not to mention that even liberals agree that your vote literally does not matter unless you live in one of a handful of areas. Please do not try to tell me that spending ten minutes of my precious time every day over the past six years filling up all ten of Ted Cruz’s voicemail machines in offices he has never once visited would have made one goddamn bit of difference to this outcome.

I mean, look, I’m not saying I’m going to stop voting, I’m just saying, you cannot blame people for concluding that political action isn’t especially effective.

Anyway, if you’re moved to do something that really does make a difference, I can attest that donating to local abortion funds really, really does matter. It makes a difference in real people’s lives. After SB8 you all sent so much money to Lilith Fund that we’ve been able to fully pay for almost everyone’s abortions who have contacted us ever since. Every day now, we are able to tell a woman who was laid off in the pandemic and is unemployed with five kids and no healthcare and who just found out that she has to travel out of state that at least her abortion is paid for. So many of our clients burst into tears in relief.

I think some people don’t realize how fucking expensive it is to get an abortion. Before SB8, the least you would pay for the earliest possible abortion in Texas with a needs-based adjustment from the clinic was $550 and that was just for a pill you can take at home. Now you have to pay more than that plus enough gas at inflation prices to get you to Albuquerque and back, and a hotel room. People need your money.

And don’t forget practical care funds, because travel costs are super expensive and abortion funds don’t pay for those, but there are many orgs that do (such as Fund Texas Choice, New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and many more). This is a good site to find abortion funds. I would not recommend giving to Planned Parenthood, because they’re going to be unable to provide abortions in the affected states and they do not help people to travel. (Also, they do shit like this.)

Also, if you want a good person on the ground to follow for updates on all this, I recommend Dr. Moayedi, who is an abortion provider here in Texas who’s been doing this work for awhile now and won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Lizelle Herrera

Last week in Texas, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera was arrested and charged with murder for a suspected self-induced abortion. Her bail was set at $500,000. She has since been bailed out the DA has dropped all charges because of course self-inducing an abortion is not a criminal act in Texas (yet). We know very little about what led up to this except that she went to the hospital while miscarrying and someone there (presumably in violation of HIPAA) called the cops and reported her for saying she’d attempted to induce her own abortion.

It might seem astonishing that a person could be indicted by a grand jury and have their bond set at half a million dollars due to being accused of something that is not against the law, but that’s an outcome of the overall confusion and suspicion toward pregnant women that S.B. 8 was intended to introduce.

This is the sort of thing that we’ve known would happen and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t understand the pro-life position, especially from women. If women don’t have full legal ownership over their own bodies while pregnant, then they are legally and publicly owned while pregnant and subject to general surveillance. This potentially puts them under suspicion after undergoing one of the most tragic and common outcomes of even the most wanted pregnancies. If somebody says you had a glass of wine, are you guilty? What if you had two? What if you smoke? What if you told everybody that you didn’t want a baby? What if you’re obese? What if you’re drug addicted? What if you drove recklessly? What if you did a home birth? What if you suffered a sports-related injury? What if you have some preexisting condition that makes pregnancy inadvisable?

In the relief over the DA dropping charges this time, it’s important to recall that Brittany Poolaw is still in prison in Oklahoma for miscarrying at four months, for which she was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison. This wasn’t even because she attempted to self-induce; it’s because she did meth (note that it’s not established that her doing meth was the contributing factor, or even a contributing factor to her miscarriage, but even if it was, she shouldn’t be in prison). She is one of about 1200 such cases over the past 12 years that the National Advocates of Pregnant Women have recorded. We can expect to see that number rise further with these new laws.

Abortion

I worked a Lilith Fund shift today, so I can’t really bring myself to blog about anything today other than that women in Texas still can’t get abortions. They are traveling to New Mexico, Colorado, Atlanta, Oklahoma, etc. For first trimester abortions.

It all makes me so fucking furious, I can’t even think of what to say about it. It feels hopeless. The news cycle moved on long ago.

(Still no armadillo.)

Primaries

I voted in the Democratic primary today. I am not a registered party member — my refusal to register is primarily symbolic because I can’t actually see myself voting for a Republican again, but the Democratic party does not represent me or my morals or my hopes for our country, so I’m resistant to joining it as though I approve of it.

However, in Texas, you do not have to be a party member to vote in a primary. You just select which one you’d like to vote in when you arrive at the voting site. It was the same in Tennessee, where I’m from, but in most states, you have to be a party member to vote at all. Obviously, I prefer being able to vote.

Technically, I guess I could vote in the opposing party’s primary and select all the candidates I feel are weakest, but I don’t approach voting like a strategy game. I try not to prioritize the candidate I think is most viable, but instead vote for the one whose platform I genuinely prefer (which nearly always renders them completely unelectable, especially in Texas). I don’t know if this is how one is supposed to vote. But if feels so cynical and empty to vote for someone I don’t actually support for purely tactical reasons (but yes, I did hold my nose and vote for Biden, obviously). Because of this voting seems increasingly futile and pointless. I have a hard time convincing myself that it matters at all.

SB8

I don’t usually write about highly politicized issues on my blog, for two reasons: first, I love many people who are all over the political spectrum and they enjoy reading my blog, and I don’t want to alienate them. And second, while I don’t write much about my job here either, I’m in a position of high responsibility in a team of hundreds of people from all walks of life with every conceivable background and belief system, and I would never want for anyone I work with to think that I might have trouble being respectful of them or fair to them at work (or even just that I might dislike them) due to differing moral or political beliefs.

I wouldn’t, in part because I believe that most individuals have a reasonable moral code and reasonable political beliefs when viewed through the lens of each person’s understanding, background, and life experience. I obviously do not agree with everyone, but I usually can at least understand where people are coming from. I do not, however, believe that all politicians, political parties, governments, lobbyists, corporate firms, activist and religious organizations, etc etc are reasonable or honest about their agendas and their aims. I believe many of them manipulate their constituents and supporters and hide their actual goals. (Note that I say “many” and not all; it’s part of the work of being a responsible citizen to look into things and determine who/what you can support.)

On this particular issue, I think it’s reasonable for people to believe that human life might begin at or near the implantation of an embryo. However, this is America: we are not supposed to get to control other people’s lives based on our own personal beliefs. Regardless of when life begins, I do not think that it is reasonable or moral for an embryo or a fetus to be given legal rights that trump the legal rights of a living human being.

I support completely unfettered abortion access for everyone for any reason at all, and I believe all insurance plans (including Medicare) should cover it. Abortion rights are incredibly important to me and it’s impossible for me to talk about anything else today. I’ve volunteered for a local abortion fund here in Texas for about three years although I’ve taken a long break since Edith was born, and I have talked to many women seeking abortion through all kinds of circumstances, throughout the pandemic, and through any number of legislative shutdown attempts and last minute saves. Today is the day we’ve been fearing and have known was coming since 2016, and its inevitability does not make it any less horrifying. Least surprising of all to me is the complete lack of media focus and the fact that Biden and Harris (not to mention Congress) said and did fuck all about this in the run up or even as it unfolded. Frankly, I do not think SB8 represents the actual goals of even most pro-life citizens, and I believe that if more of them truly understood what is happening here and what is at stake, they would not support it.

If this is something you care about, the best thing you can do right now is to donate to an abortion fund. I can vouch for all of these:

  • The Lilith Fund: this is the fund I volunteer for. We provide funding for abortions to anyone who calls us, without asking any questions and without gating their access in any way.
  • The Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund: TEA funds abortions in North Texas.
  • West Fund: funds abortions in West Texas/El Paso.
  • Fund Texas Choice: provides funding for lodging and travel.
  • Jane’s Due Process: in Texas, minors must get parental approval to have an abortion, so JDP helps those whose parents won’t consent to obtain a judicial bypass.
  • There are more funds listed here.

I feel guilty that I tapped out of this fight at such a crucial moment. I’m going back to work soon, and between that and single parenting, I don’t know how much I’m going to be able to do, but I’m going to try to get involved again, and I might also blog more about this. I’ll make it very clear which posts will be about reproductive rights, so if this topic is upsetting to you, you can skip them. Although I hope you will instead keep an open mind — there are a lot of misconceptions about abortion because it’s something that many people would prefer not to think about, but you do love someone who has had an abortion whether or not you know about it and/or want to think about it. And as is always pointed out when the government comes for our rights: you might support their overreach on this particular issue, but the precedent it sets will apply to something you don’t support eventually.

I Don’t Want to Vote for a Rapist!

I am so tired of this! I 100% believe all these women — Biden did this. Trump did everything he was accused of, and Kavanaugh did, and Thomas did, and Bill Clinton did, and Hillary Clinton enabled who her husband was and benefited from her partnership with him and defended him and did not care what he did to other women. And none of these men even really think they did anything wrong, because they think rape is knocking a total stranger over the head in an alley and anything short of that is fair game when it comes to women. Bernie is the best of the bunch when it comes to how he’s treated women, and he’s a deadbeat dad. 

What the fuck! Why does this keep happening! Most people are not rapists, so why am I continually forced into voting for one for the highest office in the land? Is it on purpose? It sure starts to feel like it! Is it to coerce all women to just abdicate the vote because they’re so disgusted they can’t bear to participate in politics, thus letting men run everything by default? Maybe! It feels intentional! 

I don’t let women off the hook for this either! Stop marrying men who hate women! Stop excusing them and accommodating them and making their lives comfy for them and having children with them who then learn from them! Stop it! Just stay single, goddamn! 

Baby’s First Activism

I’ve been busy becoming politically active for the first time in my life. Kind of. Within reason.

I haven’t ever stirred myself to get involved in my country and its direction before, and so I haven’t really known what to do, but I’ve just sort of waded in. Here’s what I’ve been doing, in case it’s of interest to anyone else.

Continue reading “Baby’s First Activism”