Middle Ages (or Medieval period), lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western…
It has only been very recently that I have come to appreciate sunglasses - big, black, opaque sunglasses, the kind that starlets wear to avoid notice in public. They make me feel like I have the upper hand in everyday social encounters. As I talk to someone, offer up banal conversation with an empty smile, my true thoughts and expressions, eyebrows and eyes, are hidden behind a protective barrier; A conversational condom.
5pm on a rotted out porch, catching the last hours of heat before the sun slips behind the mountains. Another summer in the Cariboo. These are not the endless prairie evenings that I grew up with. The heat of the day fades faster here and I am eaten by invisible mosquitoes - they only leave small, infuriating red bites as proof of their presence.
J has made a pot of coffee and filled my green mug with hot water to warm it. Small affectionate actions; so important yet so easily overlooked. Bitter black coffee has magical properties - it brings clarity to any situation.
At a friend’s suggestion I am reading Virgina Woolf’s The Waves. Reading modernist literature always transforms my inner dialogue into a stylized and affected stream of consciousness, just as reading Chuck Palahniuk turns my thoughts into harsh, clipped phrases. God help me if I ever get around to reading Finnegans Wake.
It is amazing what tragedy will do to a community. Since H’s death I have received two messages from long lost people. They told me that they care about me and appreciate me, because of course, life is transient, some would even say meaningless. In this void we all struggle to make meaning, to shore up our tenuous connections, to make ourselves meaningful by way of our meaning to others. This is not a cynical observation. What I mean to say is that it is through others we are made meaningful, through love we are given meaning.
As I watched the tragedy of H unfold from across the country, I felt more and more disconnected by Montréal’s ignorance of it. I sat at a party, unable to join in and speak because it was not a place where I could speak about tragedy and about H. Pictures of the memorials were uploaded and rather than comfort me, they instead worsened the disconnect. I wanted to so much to share my damage with others who were damaged, who knew what this particular damage felt like.
Perhaps it was only a therapeutic effect I was searching for, but then, I imagine that was what everyone else was searching for - a chance to mingle our tears and collectively bear witness to the trauma our communities had sustained. To say goodbye to our loved ones and to love each other in the wake of that loss.
The messages I received helped in some way to do that for me. To be recognized, far away as I was, and to be told that I too am loved; that I too am transient, delicate, could so easily be lost, and if so, would be greatly missed.
I saw someone beat me to this one but ima still post it.
Since the midterm elections this past November, a reenergized Republican party has forged ahead with plans to dismantle abortion rights on every front, at both state and federal levels. The developments are coming so fast and furious that it can be a little overwhelming, but here’s a recap of some of the recent highlights, in order of publication date.
1. “The Man Who Loves Women Too Much” — Contributor Sara Blustain profiles Harold Cassidy, the lawyer behind a legal strategy that reframes abortion restrictions not as simply protecting the unborn, but rather as protecting women from the consequences of their decisions—in other words, chipping away at a woman’s right to choose in the name of…women’s rights. (January/February issue )
2. “Are You Sure You Want an Abortion?” — Using information provided by the Guttmacher Institute, I put together these maps showing which states have imposed abortion restrictions such as waiting periods, obligatory ultrasounds, or mandatory counseling that includes discredited medical information. (January/February issue )
3. “The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape” — Pretty much all abortion restrictions, in this case a ban on the use of federal money for abortions, contain a rape exemption. But DC-based staff reporter Nick Baumann exposed a recent Republican attempt to redefine rape as only “forcible” rape. Boy, did that piss people off. Baumann’s story spread like wildfire—even showing up on Jon Stewart. The GOP caved on that provision. (Jan. 28, 2011)
4. “Is Providing Abortions Creating a ‘Nuisance’?” — In Wichita, Kansas, ground zero in the abortion wars, Dr. Mila Means wants to replace the murdered Dr. George Tiller as the area’s last remaining abortion provider. But thanks to threats from anti-abortion groups, and the ruling of a judge who had previously donated to pro-life causes, nobody will rent Means any office space. Kate Sheppard reports from MoJo’s DC bureau. (Feb. 4, 2011)
5. “If You Thought the GOP’s ‘Rape Redefinition’ Bill Was Bad…” — MoJo editorial fellow Maddie Oatman reports on a proposal that would let doctors refuse to abort a woman’s baby even if an abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother. (Feb. 8, 2011)
6. “South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers” — Kate Sheppard reports on a bill under consideration in the Mount Rushmore State that would have made preventing harm to a fetus a “justifiable homicide” in many cases. Her story caused a national uproar, forcing state legislators to table the bill. Nick Baumann later reported on similar bills introduced in Nebraska and Iowa. (Feb. 15, 2011)
7. “Revealed: The Group Behind the Bills that Could Legalize Killing Abortion Providers” — Nick Baumann and Dan Schulman, our DC-based senior editor, show us who’s pushing all these “justifiable homicide” bills. (Feb. 28, 2011)
8. “Texas Considers Bill to Ban Almost All Abortions” — DC staff reporter Tim Murphy reports on a mind-bogglingly restrictive bill that was penned by anti-abortion activists and introduced in the Lone Star state without even the usual exemptions for rape and incest. Christ.
9. “GOP Bill Would Force IRS to Conduct Abortion Audits” — Were you raped? Was it incest? These are the types of questions the government’s tax police would have to ask women who’ve terminated pregnancies if Congressional Republicans have their way, Nick Baumann reports. (March 18, 2011)
10. “The Limits of Tax Jihadism” — Citing the article above, political blogger Kevin Drum makes the case that Republicans are willing to push their anti-abortion agenda even at the expense of their anti-tax orthodoxy.
Click here for more Mother Jones coverage of reproductive rights.
This is why we need to get loud, get out there, and let these politicians know that we will not let this go by unnoticed. There are MORE pro-choice supporters than there are antis, and we need to be visible.
Want to know what you can do?
And be VOCAL- to your friends, to your family, to the internet, to everyone - show that we are many, we are strong, and we will not give in.
- * a bill sponsored by Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks gestation, provides no exceptions for rape, incest and health issues. Called the “Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” that bill reasons that an abortion shouldn’t be performed at a gestational stage when the unborn child might experience pain. Current law allows abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy.
- A proposed constitutional amendment backed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would prohibit using public money for health insurance policies that include coverage of abortion (already the situation in many cases). It provides no exception in cases of rape or incest, if the pregnancy would jeopardize a mother’s health, or if the fetus is not developing properly.
- The Health and Human Services Committee passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, that would limit third-trimester abortions, require doctors performing abortions to receive ethics training and mandate that abortion clinics be owned by physicians.
- the Senate banking and insurance committee passed a bill that would prohibit private insurers from covering abortions if the policy is paid for using any public money.
- The most significant proposal is a bill from Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, that would challenge the U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to choose. But without a companion in the Senate, it isn’t likely to progress.
- The ultrasound measure requires a woman to get one before undergoing an abortion and be asked if she wants to review the results. “This is about the right of a woman considering the termination of a pregnancy to possess all of the relevant information made available to her so she can make a fully informed decision,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Porter, R-Lake City, told members of the House Health and Human Services Quality Subcommittee. “Knowledge is never a bad thing.” Opponents, though, say the measure interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and forces doctors to perform a procedure that may not be medically necessary.
At least 18 bills are filed so far this year specifically targeting abortion rights.