PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, February 25, 2005

Walk A Mile

Right now, I am so apoplectically irate with Phil Kline, the Attorney General in Kansas, that I couldn't even call the radio station this morning to voice my anger. I was spluttering, fuming, and unable to fully construct sentences. If you have no idea what he's doing, you can read about it here

This is a post that may alienate some people, because it's a big ol' issue and people tend to be black & white about it. I am. Splutteringly so. I wrote this a few months ago when my alumni listserv was yapping on the subject of stem cell research & abortion, and I was rather amused that my post shut down the entire conversation. I don't often go for the full smack upside the face, but when you read this, you might understand why.

You may judge me for my choices, but in the end, my life is not (and should not be) measured by your values and choices.

My stance on abortion's pretty galvanized. I accompanied a friend to a clinic when I lived in Minneapolis. At that time, the early 90's, it was a pretty volatile scene. As soon as the police officer (sitting near the door) saw us, he left his post to come down the sidewalk to escort us in.
A man with a gun and a bulletproof vest on.
Walking us up the sidewalk.
We could have been there for birth control pills for all anyone knew. And we required police freakin' protection to walk 25 feet. Honestly, my memory of it comes as close to shock as anything else. Pro-life people were flat out screaming at both of us (they didn't know who was pregnant and who wasn't, of course.)
Plastic bloody babies, signs, bibles open, shouting "Don't kill your baby!" We got past the locked lobby (with bullet proof glass, having surrendered our drivers licenses through a slot much like the bank or a gas station) only to discover, after an hour, that my friend's pregnancy was too early to terminate. She was distraught, having mentally endured the choice, the gauntlet of judgement, and the stress of knowing she'd have to wait a month and come back and go through it all over again. Leaving was the same thing in reverse, except now we steeled ourselves against the protesters, escorted by the same officer to her car, protestors blocking the road, placards smashed onto the windshield with people screaming at us again.

I wouldn't wish that on anyone, ever again.

I understand it's those people's right to protest. It's their right to believe ardently, fervently that burgeoning cells equal a child, no differentiation. But. Creating the sense I should fear for my life to enter a clinic that exists more to provide prevention, sex-education and lower-income counseling to reduce the planet's overpopulation of unwanted children? Not cool. Hands, laws, threats - off my body. I don't "like" abortion. I think it's awful, and I wish it didn't have to even exist. But I do not want to tell a rape victim, "Just give the baby up for adoption." I don't think it's my right to tell another woman what she has to do with her body. I also don't want women to die in back alleys or motel rooms because they are denyed medical care for their bodies. For now, these reproductive rights and choices are supported by the laws in our country.

To finish the story of my friend - an irony of sorts - she miscarried the next week. was it nature's solution? The stress of what she'd gone through? does it seem more acceptable that she "lost" her zygote/baby even though she'd already made the choice (and appointment) to terminate the cell growth/"kill her baby"? I just think there are things that require us to step back & say, those are your shoes & I could walk a mile in them - and I still wouldn't know how you feel inside, so this choice is yours.
Fuck you and your witchhunt, Phil Kline. I hope with every cell in my body that the highest courts strike down & disallow what you are doing, because it is being done to intimidate and create fear, not to prosecute crimes. You are further victimizing and villifying women, who have every right to the privacy of their medical records. The doctors at the clinics are mandated to report any suspected abuse or crime. Using your office to exploit these women's experiences, because of your personal values and anti-abortion agenda is an abuse of power.

I will return later with a more cheery post. I just had to get this off my chest.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:37 AM