Today In "These Christians Scare Me..."

These Christians scare me like whoa.  They're questioning candidates on religious issues and using that as a basis for whether or not to push the community to support them.  Including their feelings on having (Un)Intelligent Design taught alongside evolution in high school.  And the organizers outright SAY they're trying to mix church and state, that they want these candidates to "vote as followers of Jesus Christ".  Excuse me, scary Christian Dominionists, The Point was way back that-a-way.  You have missed it by far.  One of the major tenets of this country, espoused by our venerated Founders, was the idea of separation of church and state, to the mutual benefit of both.  Because every time people mix politics with religion, you end up with religious wars, and witch-hunts, and persecution of religious and cultural minorities.  These are not good things.  These things are not at all consistent with the vision of America as a place of freedom, with liberty and justice for all.  We cannot have liberty and justice for all, if these types of Christians are deliberately pushing politicians to vote their particular religious beliefs into laws that will affect all of us, including those who are not Christian.  That's just not how that works.  So knock it off, mmkay?

These Christians scare me a little less, because I am shielded from their predatory ways by the privilege that means I will be unlikely to ever find myself in a situation where I am reliant upon proselytizing missionaries for basic sustenance after a major disaster.  But they piss me off a lot more.  I realize a lot of Christian missionaries do not do this, and they really are there solely because their figure of worship told them to take care of the sick and the poor and the needy.  But the types who are offering baptism certificates to people who need ID documents before they can receive aid are giving the rest a bad name.  "Here, convert to our religion so we can feed you."  Fuck that.  That kind of thing is why I often liken that type of Christian missionaries to a wolf pack, swooping in on the weak and the sick and the needy and the hungry, because they are vulnerable.

I mean, really, why cannot this - "...missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake — feeding the homeless, treating the injured and preaching the Gospel in squalid camps..." - just stop at this - "missionaries have flocked to Haiti in droves since the earthquake — feeding the homeless, and treating the injured in squalid camps..."?  Let people come to your religion on their own, if it is indeed as great as you say it is, instead of taking advantage of their vulnerability to reel them in.

Irony. They Has It.

This is a real thing in the world.  A shirt, which has a heart, a cross, and a gun on it, under which are the words "Pro Life/Pro God/Pro Gun".  
Please tell me I am not the only person who sees the screaming irony of this...because when I was searching CafePress for abortion-related items, and this came up, I laughed so hard my desk was shaking.  

For the record, ProLifeProGodProGun people?  Guns were created for the express purpose of ending lives.  It is therefore fucking HILARIOUS when you proudly proclaim yourselves to be both pro-life and pro-gun in the same breath, to those of us with a sense of logic.  Oh, and also.  That Jesus dude?  Was a pacifist for the most part.  Not big on ending lives.  So being pro-God and pro-gun is also pretty funny.  Just so you know.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from your resident Snarky Witch.  Carry on.

I Am One In Three

[Family TMI warning re: my reproductive history]

One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, in America.

I am one of them.

It's not like I've really been terribly secretive about the fact that I've had an abortion. I've posted in threads on abortion at Shakesville, discussing the procedure and helping to allay a fellow Shaker's nerves pre-procedure. My immediate family all knows about it; hell, my mom made the two-hour drive to where I lived at the time so she could go to the clinic with me, and I spent the weekend afterward at her house so she could keep an eye on and take care of me. But I've also never publicly "come out" here, in my space.

I am inspired by Angie Jackson, aka @antitheistangie, who is live-tweeting and blogging her abortion this past week. She's a mother of one, whose birth control failed and who has health complications that would make carrying a second pregnancy to term quite dangerous for her. So she chose to have an abortion, and has chosen to share the experience with the world to combat the stigma, shame, and lies anti-choicers have surrounded the procedure with.

Those of us who work for social justice, who work to dismantle kyriarchy and raise the status of marginalized groups to true equality with the white-cis-currently abled-straight-Christian-man who stands at the top of the hierarchy, we know that visibility works wonders. It's easy to talk about "those people" when you don't know those people, have never met one of those people, and can believe the lies about them because you've never seen for yourself the real truth. But studies have shown that straight people who have openly-gay neighbors and coworkers and family members tend to be more supportive of equality for the LGBT community. The same goes for various racial and ethnic groups, for transpeople, for people with disabilities...and in this case, it will hopefully have the same effect of humanizing women who have had abortions, from the nasty stereotypes of selfishness and baby-hating.

So. This is what a woman who's had an abortion looks like (pic is of myself, Myspace-style, to show off some pretty purple eyeshadow):

It happened almost four years ago. I had been on the Pill at the time; my then-boyfriend and I were long-distance and saw each other two to three times a year, so I tended to go off the Pill when we were apart, and then about 6 weeks ahead of a visit, go back on it, to give it time to be fully effective when we saw each other again. That visit had been shorter-notice, so I'd only been on it for about three weeks. Knowing that, we also used a spermicide, as an extra precaution. It failed. I found out about a week after he'd gone home. We had talked about the situation in hypothetical terms before, so when I called him, it was mostly to let him know, rather than discuss our options.

See, I've long known I don't want kids. Not now, not ever. I'm not a kid person. And I know myself well enough to know I'd resent having to constantly be putting this other person first, denying my own desires where they conflicted with the needs of my child. No child deserves that. I'd be a lousy mother. So instead, I won't be one at all. Which makes the question of what to do with an unintended pregnancy pretty damn simple, for me. (Yes, I'm aware adoption is an option. Three problems with that. 1: I'm terrified of pregnancy and childbirth and the toll it would take on my body, and I'm not willing to go through that only to give the child away anyway, 2: There is NO way in hell I can afford the costs of pregnancy and birth, cause that shit is expensive, and 3: emotionally, I couldn't stand to live the rest of my life knowing I had a child out there somewhere, but never knowing what was happening to it. See, I know I'd make a lousy mother cause I'm too selfish for it, but it's not that I wouldn't *care* about the kid at all. I would care, and it would compound my already-not-insignificant depression a hundred times over to care about a child of my blood and body and not know where ve was, if ve was loved and having a good life, all that.)

Thus, abortion was a decision I'd already made in the hypothetical, and as soon as the test confirmed I was pregnant, I knew what I was going to do. My first call was to my boyfriend, my second to my mother, and my third to the local Planned Parenthood, to find out if they provided abortions, or if they didn't, if they could refer me to someone who did.

Because I'd found out so early in the pregnancy, at only 4 weeks along, I was within the window of eligibility to have a chemical or medical abortion, as opposed to a surgical abortion. The nurse at PP (which did, in fact, provide abortion services) explained that it would be a set of two pills, spaced 48 hours apart, the first of which would stop fetal development, and the second of which would provoke the expulsion of the pregnancy tissue. I could take the second set at home, and spend a weekend basically having an induced miscarriage in private, instead of having the whole thing take place at the clinic. It sounded better than the alternative, so I picked that option, and that Thursday, I took the first pill at the clinic. They gave me the second set, along with some anti-nausea meds, because one of the side effects of the second drug can be severe nausea, and told me to take them Saturday morning.

I finished out the week's classes, packed up, and drove to my mom's for the weekend. I spent the weekend relaxing on her couch, watching movies together and just chilling while the drugs did their thing. It was remarkably easy, for me; I've heard of women who had terrible cramps and threw up all the time, but I basically felt like I was having a heavier-than-usual period. I went back to school on Monday, and by the end of that week, it was all over and done with. I had a follow-up appointment to make sure the pregnancy tissue had been fully expelled; it had, and that was all.

Maybe this is overshare. Maybe this is TMI. Maybe the world didn't need to hear about my abortion. But for now, when abortion is stigmatized and secretive and something to be hidden and ashamed of, the visibility is needed to combat anti-choice lies and misinformation. I look forward to the day when the culture war is won and women aren't demonized for exercising their reproductive rights in this way, and when that day comes, I will happily keep my abortion to myself, just like I would keep the details of any other medical or surgical procedure to myself, because they're personal and private and mine. Until then, though, I will stand up and say it.

I have had an abortion. I do not feel shame, or guilt, or regret. I don't think wistfully about how old "my baby" would have been now. In fact, I have to think hard to figure out how many years ago it was now. I am not sorry. I made the best decision for me, my boyfriend, my family, and my life. That's what matters.

I am one in three.


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