Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Still Learning: Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

Still Learning: Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

sunday, august 16, 2009

Change on Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Stance

I had a heated and very stupid, time-wasting Twitter argument with three men last week about the Pro-Choice debate. They told me about when life begins in their opinion. They told me that in all circumstances abortion was the ultimate evil and always wrong. I pointed out that while many women share their so called "pro-life" stance, they rarely use those arguments or argue as strongly. I feel that denying abortion is a man's way of continuing to control women. They called me names. They threatened me with God and hellfire. No one used any statistics, just a lot of yelling and a great deal of Bible thumping preaching. To argue was pointless on both sides. It fell apart when they quoted scripture to me and I said that was not the word of God, that was a man's interpretation of the word of God. Man cannot resist putting his own privately held opinion in anything he writes. I believe the scriptures are as flawed as the man interpreting them for good or evil.

I was raised Catholic. Being against abortion is a natural thing for Catholics. I am also a nurse. The other thing you should know about me is that I do believe in God but when my husband was killed in Iraq, God and I came to an understanding. I will take care of me and the people I love and he will go on letting every good thing happen and every bad thing happen and allow all of us to argue about whose God is bigger, stronger, more powerful and the true God. He will even let us kill each other over it. I will respect Him. I will appreciate the world He gave us to live in. I will also appreciate that there is no divine intervention. He is just sitting back watching to see how WE decide to use the gifts he gave us. He isn't going to butt in. He isn't going to save anybody. He is just watching. He gave us the tools, we just need to use them...wisely.

I have been on a medical mission in Guatemala. This is my second summer. I have seen women ravaged by pregnancy after pregnancy until their children die or they die. The Church does not allow contraception so from the onset of puberty in the lowest socioeconomic areas the women are almost constantly pregnant. Abortion is illegal. The women do not regain their health between pregnancies. The average wage is $1 a day per family. There is not enough food to eat. The children born from ensuing pregnancies are weaker, smaller, with more disabilities, more developmental issues than the first born. Many of these children die. Many of the mothers die. In this place, as in so many, the women and children bear the burden of poverty to a greater extent then the men.

Many women know they cannot handle one more child and so they seek the services of the village abortionist. Sometimes it is successful but more often than not the cervix, uterus and the bowel are pierced. The result is sterility or very often death from infection and sepsis. It is a horrible way to die.

I started reading about what it was like in America before women could exercise choice over their own health, their own bodies. It was much as I am seeing here. Then I read about Dr. Tiller so I read about late term abortions and the horror stories from the so-called pro-life side.

Sometimes things just go wrong. President Reagan put into law during his term that medical teams must use any measures at their disposal to save the life of an infant born alive. Well, today we did that. A baby was born alive to a 20 year old mother with three children. This baby was horribly wrong. It was born with spina bifida, and you can Google that and a cleft palate that extended up her face. She essentially had a cleft face. We did everything we could and she survived several hours in terrible pain. She died anyway in spite of our best efforts. The mother will never give birth again. She was in labor over 24 hours and the baby was breech completely obliterating the cervix and womb. The entire team was touched by what we witnessed. I know I have been changed forever.

With the diagnostic tools available to us in the US this child's condition would have been seen during normal pre-natal visits. But these abnormalities would not have been seen until late in the second tri-mester (late term abortion). An abortion would have been suggested as an option. It would need to be done skillfully so that the mother could bear another child. That is a choice the parents would have to make. An informed choice.

For me, I don't want to turn the clock back to back alleys and coat hanger abortions. I believe in education, contraception, counseling, parental permission, wait times, and CHOICE. I am pretty sure God gave me the intelligence and the ability to learn from experience and that he hopes we will continue to use the tools he gave us to help as much as we can. Sometimes that tool is abortion, used wisely.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Still Learning: Transformation

Still Learning: Transformation

To much hate. Too much shooting at the hip before finding out what is really going on.

The following post was written by A nurse who is caring for the poor in Guatemala.
She doesn't just talk and debate.
She goes out into the mud and grime and tries to save the lives of little children.
She was, until two days ago, a registered Republican.
Her husband was killed four years ago in Iraq.
She is tired of being lied to by her government.
So am I.
I do have much respect for my conservative friends, but they listen only to one side of issues, and that side is not honest.
That side is not patriotic.
That side lost the war in Afganistan because they went to Iraq for whatever reason, take your pick as to the reasons, I've heard them all.
I have heard Bush and Cheney change their stories repeatedly over the years as to why we went there, and why some of our most valued young died in a war that has no real end or even realistic goals.
When we leave Iraq, if we do, you know, and I know what is going to happen.
Another radical Islamic enemy.
Worse in every way than they were before we quit Afganistan, WHICH WE WERE WINNING, and now are losing.
I am not thrilled with the Administration's overall performance, particularly in regards to Israel, but there is much more to the story than some, apparently, are even aware of.
Because they only listen to one side.
Cat Estanol lost her Husband in the Iraq fiasco, Bruce.
If you consider yourself a thoughtful American, and you honor our soldiers, and their families, listen to her story.

In my heart and in my mind I know I cannot find peace with my husband's death in Iraq until I fully understand why he was there and simply, why did he die? What was the point? Was there a point? Did my President lie to me, to us? Why did this have to happen? Why am I still here without my husband? Was his death as pointless as I sometimes believe?

Grief is a powerful thing. At the time he died, people would say things to me like "It's a process." No, it's not. It has been 4 years and I am not "over" it or “through” it or whatever you want to say. He is here with me in my heart and in my mind every minute of every day awake or asleep. No, I have NOT learned to live with it. No, time does not heal. I get stuck on the Why? part of his death. Why is he dead? He was shot. He was shot 21 times with assault rifles. His Captain said that it was over quickly and he was gone before he fell to the ground. I like to think that he didn't have time to think, to be scared or worried. In my heart and in my mind I know I cannot find peace with his death until I fully understand why he was there and simply, why did he die? What was the point? Was there a point? Did my President lie to me, to us? Why did this have to happen? Why am I still here without my husband? Was his death as pointless as I sometimes believe?

People say things to me like “he died to keep us all free.” No, he didn’t. He served our country to keep us all free, but he died because he was sent to Iraq. That’s not the same thing. He was one in a long line of military men in his family, father, grandfathers, uncles, and now brothers. I am proud of him. I am proud of what he did. I am proud that he made a conscious decision to serve his country and that he served honorably. It is some solace that he was killed while he was trying to help someone, not kill someone. He had a good heart. What he was asked to do must have been killing him inside but he did it because it was his duty.

What I am not proud of is the fact that I believe that we, Americans, were manipulated into a conflict and that he was killed to advance the theories of a few egotistic men as they saw the US as a benevolent superpower deciding which regimes get to stay in power and which must fall so that we may maintain our superiority. Men with Napoleonic complexes, most of whom never served in any military capacity, career politicians, who want to rule the world, and still want to, by advancing what they say are conservative principles. I am a conservative but those principals they have outlined are not my principles.

Would it be easier, would it be safer for America if by sheer military strength all other nations in the world followed our example of democracy and western thinking and did as we wanted? Yes, of course. Should we strive to bend others to our will? No. It is wrong and I believe immoral, not to mention unlikely. We have a hard enough time running the US, let alone the world.

I am quite certain that what led us into Iraq was a perfect storm of a nation shattering event, powerful men positioned in influential places and a weak President that could be convinced to follow their position. Many things point to a group called PNAC or Project for the New American Century. I read the website and things started to fall in place for me. I don’t believe in the things they believe. I do feel that my husband died for their beliefs, not to keep the America free. This blog is not about a conspiracy theory. It is about how my beliefs have been shaken to their core and changed forever.

When I turned 18 I registered to vote. I registered as a Republican. I was raised Republican. I was raised hearing Rush Limbaugh play on my mother's radio every day. I have been active in the Republican party forever. I volunteered and worked. I attended meetings, distributed flyers, registered people to vote. I was active in the Republican Party on campus when I was in college.

I married and my husband went into the Marines, a family tradition. He enlisted after college because he knew it would not be his career but wanted to serve just not as an officer. He was sent to Iraq and was killed only 5 months in to his tour. He and I discussed the war and his responsibility to do as our President asked. He didn't agree with the war, and this was in 2004, but he honored our President and went to serve.

I recently signed on to Twitter and then everything changed. Everything. What I thought was the GOP no longer exists as far as I can tell. My Republicans Party no longer exist. They have been replaced by a bunch of rude, disrespectful, and yes - crazy people. The hatred and invectives spewed daily by conservatives on Twitter has completely altered my feeling about the party. I agree with NOTHING that is being said. I have started unfollowing everyone who says hateful and disrespectful things. If you are sporting the "Joker" avatar made to look like President Obama - that's an automatic Block. I don't like the way people demean others and the President. I don't like how they malign everything that comes out of the administration. I don't like how these people make Americans looks unruly, uneducated and uninformed. I don't like what is happening.

President Obama is our President. He deserves our respect as did President Bush. I never joined in the Bush-bashing that went on during the last years of his administration. I rarely agreed with him but I always showed respect and I always listened to what he had to say, respectfully. It is interesting to note that during the Bush administration, anyone who disagreed with them was labeled a traitor, lacking patriotism.

The way people talk about President Obama and his administration is unpatriotic, it is disrespectful, it is wrong. He is our President and we are in as much jeopardy at this moment as we were the day after 9/11, it is just in a different form. The GOP habit of scaring Americans into compliance has just worn thin for me. All I read is lies and distortion coming from the Right. They are yelling nonsensical talking points to stop all forward movement. I find I cannot get behind a Party that conducts itself the way I have seen the GOP act especially in the past 6 months. I believe the driving force is just plain racism. They cannot believe our President is African-American and so everything he says, everything he does is wrong. Everything. This needs to stop. I am so afraid, so very afraid if this hate-mongering doesn't stop, someone will be killed. I don't want any more killing. What I am most afraid of is that our President will be killed. It seems to me that is the point of all this. Agitate a crazy person who will get rid of what the GOP sees as a problem. It is what I hear in every word Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck or Michelle Malkin speak.

This nonsense we are seeing now from both sides needs to stop. Both parties are equally corrupt and there is very little substantive debate about anything anymore in our politics. It's all name-calling, outlandish insults and demonetization of the other side as all that is wrong in America. Rush is a hypocritical blowhard who most likely doesn't believe the majority of what he says-it's an entertainment program after all, not news or insightful analysis, as is the case with most talk radio.

I have resigned from the Republican Party. I have resigned as a volunteer in my district. I re-registered as an Independent and it was not a decision I made lightly. Do I hold the Bush Administration responsible for my husband's unnecessary death? Yes I do. Do I trust the GOP? No I don't. Do I want to be a part of the direction they are headed? No. I quit.