Let’s Talk About My Uterus

The Wonder Years

I mean, everyone else is talking about my uterus.  Well, not mine specifically.  But what happens inside, outside, and around the uteruses of our nation’s women is deemed so important that they get their own special laws and Supreme Court rulings!  Hooray!  Don’t you just feel like there are so many legislators and jurists out there who are super concerned for women’s health and just want to protect us from ourselves?  I sure do!

For years, Republican state governments have been trying to weasel their way around Roe v. Wade, passing laws which make it increasingly difficult for women to have access to good healthcare and safe abortions.  The vitriolic pushback that met President Obama’s Obamacare rule for birth control coverage in insurance policies was astounding.  I wasn’t aware that we had time traveled back to the 60s and 70s, when only married women with permission from their husbands could gain access to birth control.  Eventually, after hard fought legal battles, the birth control provision went into effect, (with a few notable exceptions, (I’m looking at you, religious zealots!)  Now that President-elect Trump has a Republican House and Senate, who knows what sort of laws will be passed which strip women of their autonomy? And with Trump’s potential to fill more than one vacancy in the Supreme Court, will Roe v. Wade be relegated, a Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “…to the ash heap of history.”

I used to believe that birth control was the gateway to parenthood.  What do you call people who use birth control?  Parents!  I used to believe that abortion was the easy way out and you were being selfish after being a slutty slut.  I even had a t-shirt from the Christian bookstore that said “Endangered Species” at the top and the Earth surrounded by animals, including elephants and panda bears.  But smack dab in the middle, with the Earth as its amniotic sac, was a white fetus.  Yeah.  I was that asshole.  I calmed down significantly during college, (you know, because those ungodly liberals exposed me to dangerous things like “ideas” and “critical thinking” and “other points of view”) but I remember when I had my lightbulb moment on abortion.  It was after my rape-adjacent experience.  In the morning light, he noticed that the condom had broken.  Shit!  So not only did I get to feel gross and guilty and ashamed of allowing someone to have sex with me, even though I didn’t want it, because it didn’t seem like my consent really mattered to him anyway, but I had to worry about whether or not I’d be knocked up with this shit-for-brains’ kid.  I don’t remember why I didn’t just go get Plan B* at the Health Center.  I remember thinking, There is no way I’m going to have the rest of my life ruined because of this.  If I end up pregnant, I’ll need an abortion.  

Oh.  It hit me.  What was apparent to plenty of other people had finally broken through the life-long pro-life programming- This was my body and my decision.  Whatever I thought was best for myself and my life wasn’t anyone else’s business.  And if something like this was happening in my life and I wanted this access to abortion and proper healthcare, without interference from outside forces who know nothing about me nor my body, then who the hell was I to limit other women in their choices?  I sure as hell wasn’t going to be one of those hypocritical people who justified their own abortion, but denied that choice for someone else.

Fortunately, I did not get pregnant.  Thanks to access to good healthcare, education, and a dose of good luck, I’ve only ever been pregnant on purpose.  (Tell a non-OB doctor some time that you might be pregnant because you’re trying to get pregnant.  It will confuse the hell out of them!)  I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to make that choice.  But I’ve thought about what Mike and I would do if I were to accidentally get pregnant now.  He and I have talked about it, and the reality for us right now is that another pregnancy and baby would be a catastrophe.  Both of my pregnancies with the girls were miserable; Rachael had me barfing until I delivered her and ZoĆ« caused me to have a horrible case of PUPPPS for 20 weeks.  After experiencing pregnancy, I don’t think anyone should be forced to go through it, especially if the pregnancy is the result of sexual violence. Add that to fibromyalgia, which includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.  Now add one child with ADD and an executive functioning disorder and another with ADHD and Oppsitional Defiant Disorder.  Yeah, no.  We’re barely coping now.  So we take precautions.  I have a hormonal IUD which, not only prevents pregnancy, but also regulates a very painful uterine condition called adenomyosis.  Of course, now that I think about it, there are scientists people who feel the IUD is an abortifacient.  It’s not true, but that’s how they feel, so laws and mandates need to be changed so women don’t have access to not just medical and surgical abortions, but different forms of birth control.  But let’s not pay attention to the nitty gritty details of women’s healthcare.  That ruins all the fun, fun, fun!

Last night, I watched the most recent episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up.  

Main character, Rebecca’s, paralegal and best friend, Paula, has been accepted into law school.  At the same time, she discovers that the rekindling the passion in her marriage has led to her accidental pregnancy.  Paula has a full-time career, two children who are the worst, and a husband who, (bless his heart) is trying to pick up the slack at home so she can have the baby and go to law school.  But their family just isn’t in the right place to add another child, even without law school.  So, after agonizing over the decision, Paula makes a choice.  She chooses to have an abortion, not because she’s selfish or a bad person, but because it’s the best choice for her, her family, and their future.  Given the taboo nature of the subject, I was heartened to see it talked about in this context.  

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend


We see her, after having been to the doctor, lying in bed.  She’s not a devastated mess, but you can see the sadness in her eyes.  It wasn’t a decision she wanted to make, but she made that decision with her husband and her doctor.  Thank goodness no one was standing in her way, presuming to know what was best for her.

*I did end up using Plan B twice during college.  Again, thank goodness for access to healthcare.  And, no, those don’t cause abortions either, because science. 

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Hurting Each Other

Doctor Who

I’m going to try something different.  Rather than writing a blog on how devasted I am by Donald Trump’s presidential win or a think piece on the minutiae of all of Donald Trump’s policies…. again…. that will only preach to the choir or make the other side of the debate see,  if they would just OPEN THEIR MINDS!….. Ahem…. I want to write about the arguments people are having from both sides.  I want to invite comment, dialogue, and introspection.  I want people to speak to one another, respectfully, to see if there’s any possible way we can understand one another. It’s been my experience, in conversations and fights, that we are quick to assume one another’s thought processes, beliefs, and motives.  On the one hand, supporters of Donald Trump must be racist, misogynist, xenophobic, uneducated, bigots.  On the other hand, supporters of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders must be Godless baby killers, who think everything should be handed to them by the government, without any thought of responsibility or impunity, and cares more about the welfare of foreigners than the security and economic well-being of our own country.  The moment we begin doing this, all is lost.  We’re all guilty of it.  Yesterday, a good friend let me know that, even though my careless words weren’t directed at her, they had made her feel like I thought she was dumb and racist and even a bad parent.  

I’ve also noticed how, post-election, things seem to have been turned upside down.  For years, white, blue collar workers, especially, have been crying out that they feel ignored and their fears, invalidated.  Unemployed and underemployed, they’ve said that President Obama has done nothing for the economy.  Rather than addressing that real fear, we Godless liberals simply tried to shut them up by pointing out how much the unemployment rate has fallen.  When people complained about the cost of their Obamacare premium or how they were losing their insurance, we scoffed, assuming they were doing something wrong or that they just didn’t understand the way the system works.  Then we pointed out how it was really the fault of the greedy health insurance companies pulling out of the Obamacare system, as though pointing that out magically fixed their problem.  

Now, with Trump’s election, we’re the ones being told to calm down, in what feels like the most patronizing way possible.  Immigrants are terrified that they will be rounded up and placed in internment camps.  Muslim citizens are fearful that they will be persecuted or unlawfully deported, and wonder if they should just flee the country now.  LGBT citizens are fearful that they will lose their right to marry and federal protections from discrimination, (because Mike Pence has said those protections would be rolled back.)  Mike Pence also supports conversion therapy, (and paying for it with federal funds) something that has been found to not only not work, (nor should it have to, because there’s nothing wrong with being gay) but is extremely harmful. They also fear for their lives, as there has been a surge in LGBT hate crime, especially within the last 48 hours.  African American communities are worried by the election of the “Law and Order Candidate”.  The one who said he would bring back “stop and frisk”, the policing practice which was ruled unconstitutional for its targeting of black and brown men.  They worry that the endorsement from the KKK and David Duke’s rejoicing upon Trump’s election means even more open racism and racially-motivated hate crimes ahead.  Women are worried that their health and rights to their own bodies are in jeopardy because Trump has said that women should be punished for having abortions, he would defund Planned Parenthood, and that he would work to overturn Roe v. Wade, (which could happen as he fills Supreme Court seats.)  As the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence has signed multiple anti- women’s health and abortion rights bills into law.  If Obamacare were to somehow magically not get repealed, Pence has said that they will roll back the birth control mandate for health insurance.  Speaking of health insurance, there are plenty of people who do like Obamacare and the benefits it provides. Like the fact that you can’t be denied because of a pre-existing condition, or kicked off because you’re too sick, or can’t have lifetime monetary caps placed on your treatment. Speaking personally, as someone with a chronic illness, I now worry that insurance will stop paying for my treatment at some point. 

I list all these grievances and think, How could people think we’re all overreacting or just sore losers?  How do they not understand our fear or that we no longer feel safe in our own country?  This President-elect certainly doesn’t represent me or most people I know and our values.  We’re going to fight back and return our country to what it was….Oh.
It hits me. I finally get it.  Rightly or wrongly, this is how the people who voted for Trump have felt the past 8 years.  Obviously, I disagree and voted for Hillary, but I think I finally understand what it is we have to do in order to engage with one another productively.  We need to engage with one another on those feelings of fear and marginalization, not on tax policy, trade policy, and how to wage the war on terror. We need to acknowledge those feelings in one another and try to understand that they come from a place of honesty, without ill intention. We have to drop the facade of superiority, leave our armor on the moral high ground, and meet one another on neutral ground to listen to one another, without having the next shot already loaded in the cannon and ready to fire.  We have to explain how we feel, without insisting that the other person come around to our way of thinking.  I do not suggest that we abandon our principles and advocating for them. I do not suggest that we do not stand and defend others and ourselves against vitriol and hatred whenever it comes our way.  I do, however, insist that if we continue on our current path of discourse, we will do nothing but continue to talk past one another and hurt each other.

Doctor Who

A Hot Mic Was in the Room Where It Happened

A former colleague of mine grew up in Chicago.  She would sometimes tell me stories about what it was like living in the city decades ago.  I remember being horrified by one story in particular- a story about walking to and from school.  Apparently, she needed to avoid shortcuts through alleyways because of the men who hung around on her route; they liked to prey on girls.  But even if she stuck to broad daylight, these men would still grab breasts, bottoms, and anything else they could get their hands on for a quick attack and run.  One thing that still makes me inwardly cringe when I think about it, is that these disgusting men would walk up to girls, including her, and grabbed their crotches.  I couldn’t fathom the sick, twisted audacity that would compel men to rob girls and young women of their sense of power, safety, and dignity.  I was appalled that no one would do anything to protect those girls, including the police.

Talk less.
Never did I think I would hear about something like this again, especially in the context of a presidential campaign.  Unless you’ve lost power from Hurricane Matthew or are over at Fox News with your fingers in your ears, yelling, “LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA,” you’ve heard or read the transcript from the vile Access Hollywood video in which Donald Trump and Billy Bush engage in locker room banter misogynistic conversation about Trump’s methods for committing sexual assault against whomever he pleases.  Before yesterday, Trump was able to get away with his misogynistic, (and racist and xenophobic and bigoted) behavior and speech because it was only alleged, as in the case with statements made by former cast and crew members from The Apprentice, or it wasn’t bad enough for major Republicans to throw up their hands and say, “I’m out!”  (“But he’s not a polished politician and speaks from the heart!”  BLORCH!)  But now it’s on tape.  It’s undeniably Trump.  And it’s an admission of repeated sexual assault.  

He’s ne’er gonna be President now!
In any other year, in any other not bizarre reality, Donald Trump would never have been the nominee, let alone be in a tight Presidential race.  A good portion of his supporters are angry, die-hard Republicans who probably feel like they have nothing to lose; everything else seems to have failed them.  Then there’s the portion who are like the drunk guy at a party screaming, Wooooooo!  Most of the politicians who have gotten behind him feel they have no choice if they want to get reelected or keep Republicans in power.  But Trump’s declaration of grabbing pussy has been enough to make the needle on the record scratch, and make them all sit up and pay attention.  GOP bigwigs met in DC last night to discuss what to do moving forward, (even though it’s too late to replace Trump on the ballot.)  Various party leaders, down-ballot candidates, and others began putting out statements ranging from the kind of condemnation you’d hear from a principal in a John Hughes movie, (Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus) to a refusal to endorse Trump any longer, (Jason Chaffetz, Barbara Comstock) to outright silence, (running mate, Mike Pence, dismissed his press pool when the news broke and later fled from reporters in silence.)  I have to say, the Republican collective clutching of pearls, followed by polite outrage, is a little hysterical to me.  “Oh my stars, (and bars!)  I can’t believe Donald Trump would say something so vulgar!”  Really?  This entire campaign he’s shown you who he is.  But there are none so blind as those who will not see.  

I’d rather be divisive, than indecisive.
Trump’s comments were repugnant and felt so violating that I felt nauseous as I fast-forwarded over the video whenever it was replayed on the news.  Yet, it’s the responses from many of Trump’s fellow Republicans which make me feel truly objectified and stripped of my power and dignity.  Anything short of a condemnation of Trump’s words AND actions, and a repudiation of Donald Trump and his candidacy, is feckless and meaningless.  It demonstrates to women in this country that elections are more important than their dignity.  It is reinforcement of rape culture at the highest level.
It is also not enough to say that Trump’s words were vile and that women should never be spoken about this way.  Trump didn’t just say that he thought about sexually assaulting women.  He claimed to have sexually assaulted women, simply because he could.  Because of CNN’s Erin Burnett, we also know that Trump wasn’t just talking a big game.  (Related, Scottie Nell Hughes can go jump up her own ass.  Also related, Ana Navarro is kickass!)  How, in the name of Zorp, can we have a president who openly admits to sexually assaulting women?  It doesn’t matter if it was 10 years ago, an excuse some supporters have used to brush off how serious this is.  It is not as though the “mistakes” he made have a shelf life and no longer affect the lives of the women he assaulted after 5, 10, 15 years have passed.  To elect a President Trump will revictimize these women, reinforcing their lack of power against such a predator.

They don’t need to know me; they don’t like you.
The call by some, e.g. Rep. Comstock, for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump at the top of ticket infuriates me!  How the fuck does that even make sense?  Set aside the fact that the man is xenophobic, unethical, (“In a unanimous opinion, the appeals court said Gov. Pence acted illegally in accepting federal money for refugee resettlement and then refusing to use that money to aid Syrian refugees.”) homophobic, (and this….this list is not exhaustive) anti women’s rights, and the governor of a state where he might not have been reelected, as Hoosiers weren’t thrilled with him, overall.  You still have a man, who claims to be a Christian, and is so thirsty to be President that he hitched himself to Donald Trump’s wagon.  Clearly he has poor judgment and an ambition which outweighs his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You have a man who lied his way through the Vice Presidential debate.  Also a man of faith, Tim Kaine’s aggravated crazy eyes led me to believe he was going to call upon God to smite Pence for breaking the 9th Commandment.  You have a man who has repeatedly refused to answer how he can square his faith with the words and actions of Donald Trump. You have a man who seems like a measured, reasonable politician in interviews and on the debate stage, but who hid from reporters, rather than denounce Donald Trump for assaulting women.  You have a man who, after taking time to collect himself and get the campaign messaging on point, still refuses to flee from sin.  From the article, referring to Trump’s debate tomorrow night, “…he looks ‘forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.'”  Are you fucking kidding me?  He has shown us what’s in his heart, repeatedly!  And no, Trump didn’t apologize.  He said he’s sorry he’s done dumb stuff, sorry if anyone was offended, but the Clintons started it!  You know, at the Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence used the line that so many pro-lifers use: We judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.  Perhaps he should reflect on that and apply it in his own life, rather than tacitly condoning the actions of a monster.

You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
You know, my colleague and friend didn’t just suffer through her assaults and humiliation until she moved away. No, she learned to fight back.  Finally, she had had enough, as one would-be pervert discovered one day.  This soft-spoken grandmother narrowed her eyes as she recounted how she squeezed his balls and commanded, “Don’t you ever touch me again!”
In November, we women need to grab our country by the balls and say NO!  We cannot allow a predator to claim the Oval Office, nor can we ignore the behavior and words of the politicians who have continued to stand by this predator.  We reaffirm our power with each vote we cast!  Together we will say, “Fuck you, Donald Trump!  You cannot do whatever you want!”