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.

Less than one month out

I am not the most athletic person in the world. I am clutzy and awkward and have a gait from my cerebral palsy. I have struggled with severe anemia. And broken bones (one dominant hand, four years ago on Monday; one right ankle, two years ago come late August).

I vowed to get in shape before I turned 40 because of the lessons these ailments taught me. How quickly strength deteriorates. How weakness can sap energy and leave you a tired heap. How walking becomes impossible if I let myself go.

I changed my eating habits. My exercise habits. I seriously started weight training.

I tried to motivate my teen daughter to be active.

And in the height of my fitness craze, I admitted to my girlfriend that someday I wanted to run a 5K. Not walk. Run.

Two years later, she signed me up for one. Training started well, in my half-hearted lazy way. These were my best times: 41:47.91, 41.45.88, 38:51.28.

 

img_4480Two months out from the race my daughter and I got sick with the weirdest head cold.

Regained my strength from that, and tried to go for my second, outdoor, three-mile run. I got caught in a snow squall. Between the cold, the oscillating snow and sun, and my sheer out-of-shapedness, I surrendered at two miles.

Finally, a few days later, I was ready to get out there and do it. I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell on my toe.

It’s not broken.

img_4841But I’m not running on it.

This race is going to kill me.

Health: Eating Disorder Support Group (2005)

Sometimes the stories we write as journalists don’t develop with the depth or the complexity that we would like. We face deadlines. We have limits to our sources. Sometimes, we touch on something sensitive that we don’t know exactly how to handle it. One such case I wrote involved a family living with HIV; another was this one, about a group of women who gathered as an eating disorder support group.

This story is not my best written, and I apologize for the cut on the bottom of the scan. I worked hard to provide enough of a voice that various people could connect to these women, but not enough information as to identify them. That is a challenge. Let’s face it. The world stereotypes and judges people and these women had a strength and a willingness to make a difference. They hoped, as I hoped, that their story would help any other women facing similar issues, doubts or feelings of inadequacy.

I don’t know if it helped anyone. I don’t know if it made anyone stop and think. It certainly didn’t change any societal perceptions, but I hope that maybe it touched one person who needed it.

Eating Disorder Support Group

Eating Disorder Support Group