Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'politics'

Non-Apologies

I wanted to comment about Rep Todd Akin, but so many people already have. What he initially said is offensive on so many levels, as is his non-apology. The “apology” said that he misspoke, he empathizes with rape victims, but still doesn’t think they should have abortions. There is no apology in there.

I’m tired of politicians who build their platforms based off one crackpot’s scientific finding (and really, there is no scientific basis for thinking that women have way to halt a pregnancy from occurring- a woman is just as likely to conceive during consensual sex as she is in rape). I’m tired of politicians being caught in lies and instead of admitting they were wrong and saying they’ll try to be more educated in the future, just say they misspoke. His words were so deliberate in terminology from anti-abortion legislation that there’s no way he misspoke. Excuses aren’t apologies.

No matter what side of the issues you stand on, I hope we can all recognize that we need politicians who are better educated. From understanding economics to basic science to knowing what actually constitutes an apology. While not all of us understand economies, we all had to pass science to graduate. And heck, most of us learned that excuses aren’t apologies by the time we were 5.

It shouldn’t be this hard. We deserve more.

Forced Vaginal Ultrasounds: An open letter.

Dear Politicans of the United States (and the People Who Vote for Them)

There have been a lot of bills going around trying to find ways to undermine abortion. Except in trying to find legal ways to get rid of it- they’ve been creating laws to treat women as second class citizens.

One of the more popular laws being proposed and passing, are laws that require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo a vaginal ultrasound and having the fetus be described in detail. A lot of women’s rights groups are likening this to assault, since it’s a forced medical procedure.

Let’s leave abortion out of this discussion. What I’m here to write about today has nothing to do with where I stand on the issue, it’s about being a woman and standing up to protect other women.

To anyone who doesn’t know why this is a big deal, ask women what they think of going for their annual exams at a gynecologist. Why it’s important to find a gyno they feel comfortable with. It’s because as part of the exam a speculum is inserted into the vagina- and if you’re the slightest bit uncomfortable, your body will try to fight that. It’s an uncomfortable experience, enough that many women skip important health screenings.

Vaginal ultrasounds involve a probe wand being inserted into the vaginal canal to get a better look at the area.

I can speak to their discomfort. I’ve had two in my adult life, and can remember them with vivid detail. Both were procedures I consented to. The first was when I was 18 and in the ER with severe abdominal pains. They were concerned that it was my appendix, and suggested that an ultrasound would be the easiest and safest way to diagnose the problem.

Into the curtained area rolled an ultrasound tech with the machine. A man. Who looked like George Lucas. (TheBoy can verify that part, though they made him wait outside the curtained area) I asked if there were any female ultrasound techs, and after he checked, he verified that all of them were currently busy- and that if it was my appendix, that there might not be time enough for me to wait. No matter how I tried to relax, I couldn’t. So when he used the wand. It hurt. A lot. (It turned out not to be my appendix, btw. Just insanely bad cramps that needed more than over the counter ibuprofen to go away)

The second and last time was my hospital stay last year. I kept having recurring stomach pain and when I was hospitalized for a blood transfusion, the gastroenterologist I was referred to ran a ton of tests to take advantage of where I was. And yes, I needed an ultrasound to try to look at portions of my intestines. This time the ultrasound tech was a woman who spoke very kindly and calmly. It was still uncomfortable and painful.

Not to get into too much detail about my personal life, but I don’t have issues with pain during sex. So I feel like the discomfort (emotionally and physically) I experienced is probably pretty typical for the procedure. And those were two times that I knew they were needed to diagnose what was wrong with me- and I’m the sort of person who will happily endure 6 blood draws over the span of 36 hours and IVs inserted awkwardly at my wrist and elbow if it means I’ll get a diagnosis.

I do have an excellent memory. I can remember the best moments of my life in vivid detail- but the worst as well. The moments that were middling… I don’t remember in that much detail. Considering that I can remember everything about the two ultrasounds, I hope that helps you understand that it isn’t an experience I want to revisit.

Forcing women to have vaginal ultrasounds is nothing more than an attempt to scare and shame women into changing their minds. It is wrong- especially since there haven’t been any provisions to exclude women who were victims of sexual assault. That’s right. Violating a woman who was already violated.

Please, no matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, please stand up for women. If you live in a state where these bills are being proposed and being passed- please call your representatives. Tell them that you do not feel that this is an appropriate way to address abortion. It treats women as second class citizens, forcing them to undergo an invasive procedure- the legal definition of assault.

In a few states, it’s recently come out that they had forced sterilization of people that various states deemed feeble minded, due to mental health, poverty level and race. And it’s been met with outrage across the board. Yet allowing forced procedures like vaginal ultrasounds just begins to take us back down that slippery slope into allowing the government to decide that other invasible medical procedures are necessary.

Please. Don’t let the politicians wage war on women. Don’t let the government listen to a vocal minority and assume that’s how we all feel.

Whitney

If you’re not sure who your representatives are at any level, check out http://www.votesmart.org/ and input your address. It’ll spit out who represents you from the Presidential level all the way down to your local government. Then just click on their portaits and you’ll get their phone numbers and emails. If you’re truly upset, actually call and speak to someone. Emails don’t seem to weigh as heavily as a physical letter or a phone call.

Tolerance.

I’m going to take a break from discussing important things like my kids or the shoes I covet to talk about something even more important. Tolerance.

As I’m sure you all know, Terry Jones, “pastor” for the Dove World Outreach Center planned to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11 because they believe that Islam is evil. I use “pastor” because I deeply feel that any leader of a church that actively encourages intolerance isn’t really religious. I refuse to call Fred Phelps of Westboro anything for that reason. I’m using planned, because earlier today he said he wasn’t going to do it anymore because the imam involved with Park 51 said they were going to move the site if he did. Though frankly, I think it was merely Jones trying to emotionally blackmail them into moving the site- I doubt such a promise was made.

Many people have said that it’s their right to burn the Quran, that there isn’t any law to stop them. Indeed, there isn’t. Just like there aren’t laws that bar Westboro (and on occasion Dove World Outreach Center) from protesting at soldier’s funerals. However, the lack of a law doesn’t mean that the actions are right.

The irony is that fundamentalist Muslims like the ones who call for suicide bombings say that America and Christians want to destroy Islam, and intolerant idiots like Jones only give them examples that they speak the truth. And just as sad, people who react with intolerance like this only reaffirm that they were successful in instilling fear in the hearts of Americans.

There are plenty of people that I deem to be rational who have tried to side with anti-Muslim sentiment by saying that Islam is inherently a violent religion. While we hear reports of stonings and executions from fundamentalist ruled regions, the fact is that there are millions of Muslims who peacefully reside in the United States. Violence comes with nearly any religion. Let’s not forget that Christianity brought about the Crusades which were to demolish non-Christians. Or all the wars that were fought in the Old Testament in God’s name. Or the Spanish Inquisition. Even today, there are people who claim their acts of violence were committed in God’s name. But we discount them as nut cases. Shouldn’t we listen to the many Muslims who say that those who call for violence don’t speak for them and believe that the men behind the terrorists are nut jobs as well?

I guess it all comes down to two things we were taught as kids (well, I was taught, at least)- that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, and that you should never stoop to someone else’s level just to prove a point- all it does is make you the same as them.

My favorite suggestion came from Facebook, where a friend reposting what a friend of his had posted- that if they plan on declaring it Burn the Quran day, that everyone else should declare it Douse a Bonehead in Fire-Retardant Chemicals Day, and yes, show up at the church with fire extinguishers. Since that isn’t against the law either.

However, I think that these two men put it eloquently. Instead of 9/11 being “Burn a Quran Day,” why don’t we make it “Read a Book” day?

I promise, back to fluff tomorrow.

Language? We don’t need no stinkin’ national language.

One of the common complaints I’ve heard in the immigration reform debate is that the United States needs to make English the official language. That we’ll save money in only printing one versions of forms, and right now we’re catering to illegal immigrants.

Why am I even mentioning this issue? Someone on Facebook (an app friend, who clearly doesn’t know me) suggested that I “like” a page called “THIS IS AMERICA…I SHOULDNT HAVE TO PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH.” Just a joke right? Take a peek at the profile picture. Read More…

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” HAS to go.

Right now, the House has voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) by a vote of 234 to 194. A Senate panel has similarly voted 16-12. The next step to repeating DADT is for the Senate as a whole to include it as an amendment to a Defense Department funding bill and pass it.

And it’s about time. The US is big on equal rights. We have constant opinions on Muslim countries and their treatment of women as second class citizens, and yet, we treat gays and lesbians the same way.

We acknowledge that those who choose to serve our country are choosing to make a sacrifice for all that our nation stands for. We honor them, and in many cases, most Americans will go to great lengths to vilify anyone who dares say anything against the men and women in the military. Yet, for a percentage of them, these men and women are being asked to live a lie every day. They are forced to hide who they are for fear that they will be booted out of the military, and unable to ever return to the life that they had chosen because of the sexual preference they were born with.

What was the big deal? Did they worry that gays and lesbians would corrupt the straight soldiers and be so focused on having sex with them that they wouldn’t concentrate on the war? Because, honestly, they’re people. They know (quite well) that straight individuals can’t be swayed. They’re there first and foremost to serve their country. To imply that is an insult out and out.

From a statistical standpoint, the military is stretched far too thin as it is. Just based on populations, it’s a statistical inevitability that there will be homosexual individuals in the military. If they’re removed from the military- that’s even FEWER soldiers out there. Which means longer tours, more frequent tours… and for what? Because a few homophobic individuals refuse to believe that gay people are well, people. People who can put duty first. People who understand that sexual orientation is instilled at birth, and thus, you cannot switch teams. People who just want to lead the same life that a straight individual has.

Now that I got that off my chest, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the night and clean up the living room. Strike that, reverse it. I’m going to clean the living room and then enjoy the rest of the night.

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