You would think a UN treaty on rights for disabled people would be a no-brainer, but…

I made another video. Below, I have posted some documentation.

Be quiet, Jim Inhofe! Grown-ups are talking!

Be quiet, Jim Inhofe! Grown-ups are talking!

Full story here.

I actually looked at Life News to get this quote. *shudder*

I actually looked at Life News to get this quote. *shudder*

Robin Marty brought me here.

Mr. Frothy-Mix thinks the UN wants to abort his precious little girl.

Mr. Frothy-Mix thinks the UN wants to abort his precious little girl.

The opposition was led by tea party favorite Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty. Specifically he expressed concerns that the treaty could lead to the state, rather than parents, determining what was in the best interest of disabled children in such areas as home schooling, and that language in the treaty guaranteeing the disabled equal rights to reproductive health care could lead to abortions. Parents, Lee said, will “raise their children with the constant looming threat of state interference.”

#Savita could have lived with her loss.

I’m still glued to the #Savita hashtag on Twitter. It’s a sickness.

While I was browsing through the Savita-related Tweets today, I came across someone Tweeting these…words.

I’m not going to link to the Tweets. I don’t want to bring further attention on this person’s Twitter account, and besides, the idea is not unique to her. I don’t want to pick on the user.

That never would have occurred to me.

The message is true but so obvious it contributes nothing but white noise. Of course Savita would have grieved her child if she’d survived. In fact, we don’t even need to speculate on the matter of how Savita “would have” felt if she’d walked out of that hospital, because we have her husband telling us how she DID feel about her miscarriage in the small window of time in which she was still alive. She knew her daughter wouldn’t make it, and she was devastated. She really wanted that baby, but she knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable. She knew it, the medical team knew it, so what did she do? She asked the doctors to terminate the pregnancy. Savita really wanted to be a mother, but even more than that, she wanted her cervix to close up before she developed a life-threatening infection.

Then we have this:

It’s not the “baby” that’s under the attack. It’s the hospital, the medical team, and the laws.

But…seriously? No one is accusing the “baby” of anything. She was going to die no matter what, and the medical team knew it. “Defense” is a totally inapplicable concept to the fetus that died along with Savita.

However, when we’re talking about what someone would have said to Savita about her miscarriage if she’d survived: actually, I can picture myself saying to someone like her, “I’m very sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you’re okay.” I have friends who’ve experienced miscarriages. I had a conversation with one such friend about a year ago, soon after her loss. She was upset, and I was upset for her, but I was also happy to see that she had made it through the experience with minimal physical injury.

Why would I say such a thing? Why would I tell my friend that it’s good that she’s recovering so well?

Because her life does not forfeit all meaning when she fails to bring a fetus to live birth.

And that brings us to this…fascinating…idea.

I need booze.



Do you mean to say that it’s better that Savita died, because now she doesn’t have to mourn her pregnancy loss? Because that is…pretty much what the Tweet above suggests.

When Savita found out that she was losing her 17-week-gestating daughter, you know what she wanted? She wanted a prompt termination to protect her own life and health. She asked the doctors to evacuate her uterus so that the process of losing her fetus would not put her life in danger. She didn’t want to die along with her unborn daughter. Savita wanted to live with her grief.

She wanted to live.

But, because “this is a Catholic country,” they refused to extract the fetus before her heart stopped beating, and as a result of that delay, Savita died after days of horrible pain.

So, tell me: does that make her daughter any less dead?

Is the loss of Savita’s unborn little girl somehow less tragic because Savita isn’t around to grieve?

I have seen what happens when women get the appropriate medical care during miscarriages. You know what happened to all my friends who suffered pregnancy losses and lived to tell about it? They got on with their lives. Nearly all of them have since had children. I held and kissed one of those post-miscarriage babies less than a week ago. He’s beautiful and perfect in every way, and his parents are thrilled to have him. None of those children would have been born if their mothers had been left to die of sepsis from incomplete miscarriages.

Savita wanted to be a mother, and if her life had been saved with a prompt termination, she could have still had children. Her daughter was beyond help, but Savita still had a life to lead. Her mother now has to live without her.

When hate-reading becomes pity-reading.

If you want to see the Bizarro-world rantings of someone who is both wrong about everything and incredibly pitiable, check out this fresh load of nonsense that Deacon Duncan found us at LifeSite News.

If that’s their definition of “life,” I think I’ll stay out here and wallow in depravity and nihilism.

I’m busy NaNo-ing. I’ve had a good day.

On the Tragedy of Deaths of People Who Never Lived

John Scalzi gave us this rather disturbing post, which highlights all the ways in which the GOP’s current legislation around reproductive rights, and their rhetoric about rape, empowers violent men to control women’s lives. Think Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, Roger Rivard, and most recently, Richard Mourdock. If you have experienced any level of sexual assault, I advise you to proceed with EXTREME CAUTION. It’s a very effective post, but for the same reason can be triggering.

I don’t really have anything to add to Scalzi’s analysis. If you think that it would be so much nicer if all those women who are made pregnant by rapists could just have the babies adopted, rather than terminate the pregnancies, I suggest you read the post. Think adoption makes everyone happy? Seriously: read the post.

Scalzi’s focus is on the relationship between sexual violence and reproductive freedom (or the lack thereof), rather than a comprehensive argument in favor of abortion rights, and the comments are mostly very pro-choice and pro-woman. There are some comments, however, that want to convince us of why Abortion = BAD. I want to show you one of them, and I want to respond to it.

Continue reading

Attention-span issues are not just our imaginations.

Zinnia Jones has a great new post up about her son’s struggles with ADHD:

We waited for as long as possible before looking into medication for our son. We explored every other option that was available to us. He had a specialized plan at school and extra tutoring, and he still does. We worked closely with him every day to help him understand his work, and we gave him extra practice in every subject. And it wasn’t enough.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, counseling, special attention and structure get the job done, but sometimes, you need DRUGS.

I was born in 1980. When I was a kid, ADD/ADHD were not really part of the cultural discourse the way they are now. We children joked about how some kids were “hyper,” but we didn’t recognize it as a brain issue that could be addressed with medication. The idea of attention span issues without hyperactivity never crossed our minds, because the adults around us never brought it up, either. I didn’t even know ADHD was a thing until I was at least 16, and where I first learned about it, I am not joking, was in an X-Men fanfic. By then I was an excellent student, but this fanfic writer was telling me things about learning and behavioral issues that I wasn’t getting from my teachers. I wasn’t aware of ADD (inattentive, rather than hyperactive) until I was closer to 20, but by then, it was more of something that people actually talked about.

I wasn’t nearly as badly off as Zinnia and Heather’s son; for example, I responded well to tutoring and subsequently became an excellent reader, and I didn’t have behavior problems. While hyperactive kids can’t sit still, I was too good at sitting still. I was a chronically daydream-laden space cadet for most of my childhood. (Imagine that: a little girl who was always daydreaming grew up to be a novelist.) I wasn’t labeled with attention deficiency, or inattentiveness. I was called lazy, unmotivated, with lousy work habits.

It’s awfully difficult to stay motivated when focusing on simple tasks requires heroic effort.

I know some people around my age who were actually diagnosed and medicated for attention deficiency issues when they were kids, but since I sat nicely in my seat and did well on tests, my teachers never considered that maybe I found it difficult to focus in ways that most children didn’t.

By my teenage years, I learned how to do a good impression of a focused student, and in my early adulthood, I started thinking that ADD would explain a lot about me. By then, however, I’d finished college at 21 and was living like a responsible, tax-paying adult. It didn’t seem that a diagnosis or medication would help me accomplish anything at that point.

However, when I get depressed, my attention deficit symptoms get especially bad. When I am both inattentive and depressed, I have difficulties that affect the people around me. Sometimes those difficulties accumulate over time and eventually come to a head.

I just turned 32, and I still don’t know how I’d function on ADD meds, but I’m taking an anti-depressant that makes me more alert, so it helps somewhat with the attention issues. When it became obvious that Something Was Definitely Wrong With Me, I didn’t go straight for the meds. I saw a counselor, I tried drinking less, I tried eating healthier, I tried going to bed earlier, and you know what happened? Eating healthy food is a good thing, but it didn’t make me feel happier or more focused. Drinking less, also, made no difference. Sometimes I drink plenty and feel shitty, sometimes I drink very little and feel great, but sometimes I drink very little or not at all and still feel like crap, and sometimes I drink plenty and feel awesome the next day. Seeing the counselor helped some, but she also pointed out that it was almost certain that I had ADD, and she urged me to think very seriously about taking meds.

That much should tell us something: a social worker, who is involved in providing mental health services of a non-pharmacological nature, noticed that my difficulties were in the attention-span area, and advised me to consider medication.

When I visited the doctor’s office for an assessment of my brain-chemistry issues, the nurse practitioner put me on an anti-depressant first. Since I’ve experienced the side effects of beginning the anti-depressant, I can see why starting more than one psychotropic drug at a time would be inadvisable. (In case anyone’s wondering: the side effects were not dangerous, but they made me feel like I was about to develop super-powers that I’d be unable to control. Any further tinkering with my brain chemistry would have been a bad idea.) She also ordered some blood work in case I had any nutritional deficiencies that affected my mood, and so far I haven’t heard back about the blood work, but the medication makes me feel better. It’s not a magic bullet, but it definitely helps. Adjusting my diet, drinking habits and sleep habits didn’t help. The medication is the first thing to have a noticeable effect.

So, if you’re wondering why I haven’t posted Sunday Storytime in several weeks, the answer is very prosaic: I’ve been depressed for months, and so I’ve found it extraordinarily difficult to write anything. I feel somewhat better now, and I’ve written more recently, so things are looking up. Moreover, they’re not looking up because I’m eating more vegetables or abstaining from refined sugar. I’m feeling better because of DRUGS.


Mom-blaming only goes so far.

This is cute. Doug Barry at Jezebel reports on some article at the Telegraph (aka Torygraph) about some study that says children pick up their drinking habits from their mothers, not their fathers:

A British think tank called Demos tracked the drinking patterns of 18,000 people over the last three decades, finding that, at about 16, those more precocious drinkers were most influenced by their peers, while at 34, their propensity to “binge drink” correlated to how much they had thought, as a young-un, that their mother drank. Researchers found that for each step on the four-point scale of booziness that mothers ascended, their children’s drinking rose about 1.3 times above government recommendations. Fathers, meantime, had no such effect on their kids’ adulthood drinking habits

Now, granted, the study subjects were all born ten years before I was, and America is not Britain, but then again Britain is our mother country and we’re not all that different in culture. I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes, the children’s drinking habits have nothing to do with the example they learned from their mother and everything to do with their own depravity. Sometimes, the mother is a near-teetotaler for most of the children’s youth, and the children know it, and they still grow up to fill their Recycling bins with beer bottles. Some children learn things without any help from their moms, such as: it’s fun to get hammered.

Congressman from Maryland is letting words out of his mouth.

It’s Labor Day weekend, and where I live, that is a big deal, and the big deal takes up a lot of space and makes a lot of noise, so I’m kind of hiding in my apartment for most of the weekend to avoid the crowds who take up the sidewalks and the random motorists who don’t know how to get to the mall. Right? Right. Meanwhile, Representative Roscoe Bartlett, from my very own state of Maryland, is not thinking very clearly about the way he answers questions regarding abortion rights:

“Oh, life of the mother – exception of life of the mother, rape and incest. Yeah, I’ve always — that’s a mantra, you know, I’ve said it so often it just spills out,” he said. “If you really – there are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest — compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage.” …. [I]n terms of the percentage of pregnancies, percentage of abortions for rape as compared to overall abortions, it’s a tiny, tiny percentage,” Bartlett said. […]

“Most abortions, most abortions are for what purpose? They just don’t want to have a baby! The second reason for abortion is you’d like a boy and it’s a girl, or vice versa. And I know a lot of people are opposed to abortion who are pro-choice,” Bartlett said.

I think that a pregnant woman who “just [doesn’t] want to have a baby!” has a very good reason to have an abortion. I want babies to be welcome family members to invested, enthusiastically consenting mommies and their partners.* If a woman gets pregnant accidentally and simply doesn’t want the child, she is not a moral failure for getting an abortion. The fewer women who have babies just because they forgot their birth control, the higher percentage of children born to parents who actually want to have children, and therefore put a bit of thought and effort into taking care of them, the fewer children who are neglected or abused. In this regard, abortion is not a tragedy, much less is it a crime. Abortion prevents tragedy. It is much easier to say to new parents, “You have a baby, now take care of it” if they actively decided to bring that child into existence.

The second “reason” is just bunk. Sex-selection is not a major problem in America. Where sex-selection is an issue, it’s in cultures that value boys more than girls, and where girls’ lives are, let’s face it, kind of shitty. Where pregnant women don’t have the option of aborting female embryos, their daughters are up against infant exposure, abandonment, malnutrition and medical neglect. This is a much bigger problem than what their mothers want. It’s also about their fathers and grandparents, as well as the other families around them. People like Roscoe Bartlett seem to think that a society will somehow become less misogynistic if women are told that their lives have no value except for making ALL THE BABIES. People like me seem to think that if a culture views daughters as equally valuable children as sons, then terminating pregnancies just to avoid having girls will no longer be an issue. With that in mind, we seem to think that if those daughters are allowed to decide what to do with their grown-up lives, including how many children to have (if any), that will do a lot more for women’s place in society than just forcing women to give birth to daughters when their in-laws are violently determined to have grandsons.

His final sentence is just nonsense. “Opposed to abortion who are pro-choice”? No. You’re making shit up. You’re just opening your mouth and letting noise come out. If abortion is not an option, there is no such thing as pro-choice.

*And gay daddies. I think fertile young women should not be coerced into continuing their unwanted pregnancies for the benefit of any couple in want of a child. But if a woman decides to make a baby for a gay couple, or any infertile couple that wants a baby, that’s awesome. What’s important is that babies have families that really want them.

Rep. Todd Akin is wrong about everything.

Congressman, who exactly are these “doctors” who’ve been telling you about reproductive biology? They should not be licensed.

“People always try to make that one of those things, ‘Oh, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question,” Akin said. “It seems to me, first of all, what I understand from doctors is that’s really where—if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Rep. Akin has been told by some nondescript set of “doctors” that the female body has mechanisms that prevent establishment of pregnancy in the event of a “legitimate” rape. The implication, therefore, is that if a woman is pregnant, then she couldn’t have been truly raped. She must have wanted it.

In which case, the question of abortion rights for women who were impregnated through rape is null and void, because there is no pregnancy from “real” acts of rape.

However, just in case he’s wrong, he hedges,

“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Congressman, we do not have to agree to your choice of words. The “child” in question is in fact an embryo or fetus, usually aborted sooner rather than later. No one suggests that an abortion is a way of “punishing” the embryo/fetus, either; it’s about letting the woman get on with her life.

Finally, the suggestion that the rapist should be punished is a big fat NO SHIT. No one suggests that abortion should be used as a substitute for prosecuting and penalizing rapists. There’s no reason why a woman can’t get an abortion while the court system prosecutes the man who forced his sperm into her. This isn’t an either/or. Most pro-choice advocates tend to think that if a woman reports a rape, and she turns up pregnant, the rapist should be prosecuted even if the woman decides to have the baby. The police and court’s actions on the rapists are a totally separate issue from the woman’s reproductive decisions.

And what else does Mr. Akin have to say?

Yet Akin, who was just nominated earlier this month, has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Since his nomination, he’s advocated a complete ban on the morning after pill, and called for an end to the federal school lunch program. He also infamously said student loans had given America, “stage three cancer of socialism.

He wants us to be forced to make babies, but there should be no assistance in seeing that those children are fed. A post-secondary education is reserved only for those who can pay for it out of pocket. In all fairness, though, if we cut off school lunches, then the kids who are currently eligible for the lunch program will spend their school days feeling so miserable and unfocused that they won’t be able to learn anything, so they won’t even think about applying for college.

Concerned Women for America hate women in America. Hate ’em.

Ever notice how pretty much every advocacy organization in this country which includes the word “family” in its name is focused on misogyny, homophobia and racism? If we see it in the plural form, then it might be okay, such as “healthy families” or “women and families,” but in singular, it’s nearly always bad news. Groups like Family Research Council are full of terrible proposals for women and children, and they keep repeating this word “family” to make horribleness sound nice.

The House GOP just passed a reauthorization of VAWA with all the good new stuff taken out.

In past years, VAWA enjoyed bipartisan support and garnered little controversy. This time around, however, top Religious Right groups have rallied against the bill due to the protections it would extend to immigrant, Native American, and LGBT victims of domestic abuse. These groups, including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, and the Southern Baptist Convention’sEthics and Religious Liberty Commission, made noise on Capitol Hill and are most directly responsible for the events that will unfold in the House today.

And…what do these people have to say? Concerned Women for America took the lead in writing to Senators:

We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing today to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda. […]
There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.
Further, this legislation continues to use overly broad definitions of domestic violence. These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. Victims who can show physical evidence of abuse should be our primary focus.

They use “family” to mean that it’s better for children to grow up watching Daddy beat Mommy to a pulp (and possibly put her in an early grave) than to help Mommy take the kids and get away from Daddy. Such situations often also involve violence on children, but I suppose it would be so much worse for children to grow up without their fathers:

In 1998, Johnson was arrested by the Perrysburg Police, again on domestic violence charges. According to the police report, Johnson provided a “very similar” account of the incident to that his wife Ofelia and 14-year-old son gave police. Both wife and son reported that Johnson had Ofelia Felix-Johnson in a wrist lock, and when the son attempted to stop Johnson from hurting his mother, Johnson put the son in a head lock such that he was “unable to breathe and was choking up food,” according to the police report. After the son broke free, the police report continues, Johnson “put his right hand around [the boy’s] throat and pushed [him] against the wall with his back to the wall and choked [the boy] for about 5 seconds.”

Timothy Johnson is one of the people who signed the letter opposing the Senate’s version of VAWA. Yes, I’m sure a convicted wife-batterer and child-batterer would know all about the demise of families.

In a sane world, a phrase like “family values” would bring up a commitment to caring for your kids, loving your partner, being there for your siblings and taking care of your elderly parents and grandparents. In public policy discussions, “family values” should refer to policies that empower people to build and maintain healthy family relations, but there is no room for battering in a healthy family. Part of caring for your kids is not beating up their other parent. Part of caring for your kids is also raising them in an environment in which you, and they, are not subjected to violence.

To say it “destroys the family” to empower battered women to leave their abusers assumes that a family no longer exists if the husband and father is no longer in it. It assumes that upholding a man’s relationship to his wife and children—even if the relationship is a toxic one—is more important than allowing women and children to live without battering. If that’s what “family” means, then, fuck it: I’m promoting the Feminist Agenda. Concerned Women for America can go concern themselves right off a short pier.