Reflections on Roe vs Wade

I spent 15 years of my working life as a print journalist and often I still look at the world stifling my opinions in order to present fairness, equity and facts.

It’s not dissimilar to what some of my small, family-oriented business owning friends say: that you don’t want to alienate those who trust you.

But I grow more and more disheartened by our country every day. With the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade 6 to 3, abortion will be legislated by the States.

“Conservatives” (I say that because America has a long history of not really using the terms conservative and liberal correctly) and pro-Lifers will rejoice. But I am agitated at the illogical rhetoric that our country throws out there when we, as a society, need to tackle important issues. And both sides seem ridiculously unwilling to compromise in any way. Cooperation is a dirty word to our leaders.

All of this is my opinion and here are my lamentations:

  • The logic of changing (and probably eliminating) the right to abortion is usually centered on protecting the unborn. Who is clamoring to take care of all of these unborn? What if the fetus has serious complications? What if the parents are severely impoverished or facing homelessness or addiction? What if the parents are unstable emotionally? We are a society that traditionally does not have the kindest or most efficient or even equitable healthcare, foster care or support for the disabled.
  • So, when we start talking about abortion, it’s an issue of individual rights, isn’t it? And a couple years ago when we started talking about a public health crisis— the pandemic— a lot of people who are probably very keen on pro-life sentiments also balked about the prospect of wearing a mask or mandating mRNA vaccines. Now I still don’t like mRNA technology but I understand my responsibility as the member of society and the philosophical concept of the greater good, so I got the damn “vaccine.” But the same people who say it’s a violation of personal rights and bodily autonomy to wear a mask or force a needle often think it’s perfectly okay to interfere with a woman’s bodily autonomy and health when it comes to abortion— and these same people have no concern or interest about what happens to the woman during pregnancy or to the baby upon birth.
  • This baby, this unborn life, is protected but we live in a land where guns are easily available and shootings are becoming as commonplace as Starbucks. Children can find guns and shoot other children. Teachers die in mass shooters in classrooms. Worshipping people die in churches but we value the sanctity of unborn life. To have a gun is a second amendment right. So protecting life against guns cannot by done, or so they say.
  • The big problem in this country stems from ignorance and poverty. Corporations and politicians, run by those who have financial assets, decide who has opportunity and education. Schools are woefully unequal even a mere mile apart. So while we are taught to work hard and we might achieve anything, it’s just not true.

Publication and acceptance

  
I got an email earlier this week that I was accepted into West Chester’s MA program in history.

Today I received an email with information on how to get temporary access to the article on poverty inDjibouti I co-authored with Annette Varcoe for the Sage Encyclopedia on World Poverty, volume 2.

And my husband and I are finally going to see the new James Bond movie Monday.

This post is short, but full of fun news.

Nerd news: Poverty in Djibouti/France vs. Islam

July has brought much excitement into my nerd camp. It started with a call for proposals on H-net Africa for the second edition of Sage Publications’ Encyclopedia of World Poverty. They needed someone to write an updated entry on the Republic of Djibouti, only 900-1000 words so I thought I’d take a go. I emailed the editor. It bounced. Twice.

I quickly went into journalism stalker mode and found another email address. I apologized for not using the listed email, but she didn’t mind and thanked me for my persistence. The Djibouti entry was indeed available, but as I have no Ph.D. I could not write the article without a friend, with the appropriate academic credentials to co-author.

I reached out to my beloved friend, former college peer and in some ways my role model, Annette Varcoe. She’s interested in 19th century American history, I believe areas like temperance, suffrage, and other stuff I can’t even remember. She has no interest in Africa, or the postcolonial age, or the colonial influence of France on exotic locales. Yet, she speaks some French, has an interest in women’s/gender issues and shares my type of nerdiness. Poverty, and perhaps even more so in the developing world, has a great impact on women so there we found our overlap.

The beauty of this proposed project rested in the fact that I had researched the basic statistics on poverty in Djibouti during my capstone project for my international affairs seminar at Lafayette College. I merely needed to update the facts, condense relevant info into the required format, send it to Annette, accept her feedback, and add her name.

We had three weeks to submit. I think we polished seven drafts in five days. We haven’t heard from the copy editors yet, but it was a great collaboration and we worked well together. We also pulled ridiculous amounts of scholarly info on Djibouti not quite connected to our project but stuff that crossed our mutual interests. You know a friend is special when you’re emailing PDFs on female circumcision to each other…

From that experience, I reflected on my need for my own Ph.D. It’s on my list of things to do, but hey, so is “de-clutter the house.” I think the Ph.D. is more likely to happen. I figured I’d bold send an email to _the one person I would most like to study under_ because really, what did I have to lose? I will refrain from naming the person or the school, both are amazing, because I don’t want to find myself embarrassed if when he meets me and thinks I’m an idiot.

Yes, I said “when he meets me.” He not only responded to my email but said to contact him again in September so we could arrange for a visit to campus. At that point, we could discuss my previous work and my future plans.

Finally, today, after taking a week to focus on my health (short version: gained weight and lost some physical strength/balance after breaking my dominant hand this winter) and with that on the right path (talked to my doctor! lost five pounds! feel less achy and clumsy!), I received even more “Good News for Nerds.”

The apparently unstoppable Ally Bishop asked me to drop by her class “Topics in Multiculturalism” to present France as a case study in “Multiculturalism and Religion.” I will be talking about “French vs. Islam” as an avoidance of multiculturalism in favor of unyielding universalism and the roots of the what I would term Muslim discomfort in the colonial empire. This is the backdrop for the laws of 2004 and 2010 which outlaw, respectively, headscarves in schools and face coverings in public.

Exciting stuff for a nerd, right?