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Pro-Life At First Sight?: State Rules to Require Ultra Sound before Abortion June 22, 2010

Filed under: Abortion — afrocity @ 1:11 AM
Tags: , , , ,

On the heels of yesterday’s topic on abortion,  I wanted to quickly  post this news of a new state law in Louisiana which will require all women seeking and abortion to get an ultrasound of the fetus first.  And when this bill says all women, this  bill  means ALL WOMEN for it also includes mandatory ultra sounds for victims of rape or incest who wish to have an abortion.

With everyone paying (rightly) so much attention to the BP oil spill/Gulf crisis, this story did not receive much media attention.

Louisiana To Require Ultrasounds Before Abortions

by The Associated Press

June 16, 2010

Women seeking abortions in Louisiana will be required to get an ultrasound first, even if they are a victim of rape or incest, under a bill that received final legislative passage Wednesday.

The bill by Democratic state Sen. Sharon Broome of Baton Rouge was sent to the governor’s desk with a 79-0 vote of the state House. Gov. Bobby Jindal supports the measure.

Supporters of the proposal said they hope the ultrasound dissuades some women from getting an abortion at the handful of abortion clinics in Louisiana, by giving them more information about their pregnancies.

“This is a bill that empowers women,” Broome said in committee testimony, adding that at least 15 other states have a similar requirement.

Opponents said requiring a procedure that might not be available at a free clinic nearby will make it more difficult and costly for women to get abortions. No one spoke against the proposal on the House floor Wednesday.

An ultrasound at health care facilities around the state can cost anywhere from $80 to more than $300, depending on the location, according to a review of health care pricing websites for hospitals and clinics in Louisiana.

It was unclear how significant the change will really be, however. Testimony from both sides of the debate has indicated more than 95 percent of women who get abortions in Louisiana already have ultrasounds performed, without the requirement in place.

Broome’s bill started out in a much more controversial fashion. It would have required anyone seeking an abortion to listen to a detailed description of the fetus that included its dimensions and whether arms, legs or internal organs are visible. The woman also would have been required to get a photograph of the ultrasound.

Those requirements were removed from the bill at its first stop in a Senate committee hearing. The description and the photograph will be optional instead, and a statement must be read to the woman seeking the abortion describing her ability to get the description and photograph and view the ultrasound.

After the proposal was revised, it moved easily through the Legislature with few votes in opposition.

Louisiana has enacted a series of restrictions on abortions over the years, many of which have been overturned in courts. Lawmakers also have placed language in statutes to explain the state only allows abortion procedures because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they are legal.

Earlier this week, lawmakers gave final passage to another bill that would give Louisiana’s health secretary broader discretion to revoke abortion clinic licenses in case of safety and health concerns. Awaiting debate in the Senate is a House-approved bill that would prohibit medical malpractice coverage of doctors when they are performing elective abortions that aren’t required to save the life of the mother.

Ultrasound of twin babies

I am not quite sure how I feel about this one.  On the one hand,  the law may certainly sway a mother to continue with her pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with that as long as her health is not in danger.  However, on the other hand, if I were raped by a family member, I am sure I would not want to see evidence of the assault/abuse.   The images of the attack which live in the mind are potentially traumatizing enough.  Imagine having to look at a child fathered by an act of rape.   I know how painful it is because my mother was raped in 1957 and became pregnant as a result of a violent act- at knife point.   She carried the babyto full term and raised him for one year.  After she could no longer stand to look at her son, she gave him up to the family of the man that raped her.

Because the Louisiana law includes victims of rape and incest, I cannot say that it is absolutely benign.

You be the judge.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

VAGINA WARS–Episode V: The Pro-Lifers Strike Back June 21, 2010

On Sunday, I survived yet another Father’s Day –without a father.  Already turned down for a home cooked meal, I sent my dad a polite text at 9:00 AM CST “Happy’s Father’s Day!!!!”

He usually returns a text within a couple of hours.  By 3:00PM , my text message box was still empty.

Yep, jilted by text.

(UPDATE: I owe my readers a correction.  It seems my father did call to thank me for the text message.  I just neglected to check my voice mail. He said he “loved me”)

Sometimes, I feel like maybe my mother’s life would have been better had he not met this man.   Perhaps she would have went back to school had she not chose to bring me into this world.   She could have married a decent man, lived in a nice house.  My birth put her on welfare for the rest of our lives. What good was that?

Mother had a son already who was 15 years old. Three more years to go and she would have been Scott free. But she chose to have me because she felt that “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

Those were her words exactly when I asked her why didn’t she abort me.  She made the appointment but canceled at the last moment.  She chose my life over her happiness.

Her troubles began when she chose to sleep with my dad. When she chose not to take the birth control pill that day.  Those were the wrongs, she felt.  Dumb choices.   Not the baby.

In a jolt of an instant, she decided to keep me, let me live- however you want to look at it.  In 1968, abortions were performed illegally. Lots of doctors in Chicago would perform the medical procedure “under the examination table” .  Had my mother chose to go ahead with it, she would not have been met by pro-life advocates or sheltered by pro-choice advocates.

Just another young black woman,  getting on a Madison Ave. bus,  riding to the Northside.  She would give a man $300 and come back home after a couple of hours without much fanfare. On her way back to the Westside, she may have pressed her forehead against the bus window; looking at the little girls playing double-dutch rope in the alleyway; wondering if I was a girl or boy.  Or perhaps relieved that she just gave a child that never existed, the chance to escape the frustration of growing up fatherless.   Her battle was private.  The abortion would have been private.  The secret between herself, my grandmother (who gave her the money for the abortion), and “Dr. X”.

A news story on simple license plates in Massachusetts prompted me to remember my mother and her choice of life:

Teenage pregnancy has plagued the African American community  to the point of being a crisis situation. “

If you saw a suffering creature, wouldn’t you put it out of it’s misery?” asked my pro-choice friend. “Those black girls need to know that having an abortion is a lot cheaper than raising a child on welfare…Look at you and what you went through.”

“Yes, look at me,” I answered.

My face must have communicated some signs of cynicism.

“No, you are an exception,” she came back. “How many kids actually escape and get a post-grad degree? One in a million?”

“I don’t know,”  I told her. ” but I see nothing wrong with women being educated by both sides of the debate (pro-life and pro-choice).  Each side acts as though it is somehow threatened by the other…”The Vagina Wars”.

“My vagina is mine and yours is yours,”  My friend informed me.

“Right. That is why I am pro-choice. However,”  I continued.  “My mind is mine and yours is yours. When it comes to propaganda and protests, let the woman decide who to listen to- if she is a woman and not a 10th grader.”

My friend shook her head.  “See you are double talking again, ” she accused.  “You cannot take both sides of the issue.”

“Why not?” I asked.  ” I am pro-choice. Life is a choice. I would choice life but when it comes to other women, I think they should make their own choice.  Meanwhile, if a woman goes to have an abortion and gets counseled by both pro-choice advocates and pro-life advocates, I see nothing wrong with it…Or a billboard, license plates, football advertisements like Tim Tebow’s”

“That was fucked up!”  she exclaimed. ” I cannot believe that you are for that Afrocity.”

For my friend, everything about this conservation was about someone being right but what if we both were?

” Pro-life puts out an ad,” I explained. “Pro-choice puts out an ad too. Free country.”

“It is about influence and confusing girls.”

“Then influence them to practice abstinence or not get pregnant at all.  That is the mistake.”

“What about medical reasons for mom’s health?” she asked. “What about that Tebow mother who risked her life?”

“Yes, and the doctor was wrong and then pro-choices went all psycho in an attempt to discredit the Tim Tebow’s mother.”

“So you agree with the ad? How is that pro-choice?”

“What is to agree with? She continued with a pregnancy and the outcome was a great person.  What is your fear that pregnant women considering abortion may actually see it and….keep the baby?  How awful!”   I said lifting my eyebrows. “For shame.”

My friend sighed.  I was a lost conservative cause but I am pro-choice so how did that happen?

I believe that pro-choice advocates have a problem realizing that deciding to continue with a pregnancy is a choice just as terminating a pregnancy is a choice.

My mother made the choice in 1968 all on her own.  She did not see a license plate or Superbowl advertisement.  Had she aborted me, she would have paid in cash with the money my grandmother made cleaning houses. Not government money.

It was a private matter.

A private war.

And life won with the help of no one.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: The Liberal Spook That Sat By The Door June 6, 2010

There are moments in my life when I wonder if  will I ever sufficiently recover from being a former liberal.

Is it possible that I could have a sort of jackass Democratic version of Stockholm Syndrome?

Like an old childhood friend that I have outgrown, there liberalism is at times, calling me when I do not want to be bothered.   The summer guest that just pops in your life with a duffel bag full of old memories and outdated viewpoints.   He comes in uninvited,  puts his feet up on your coffee table – right on top of the new Laura Bush book your were reading.  The leftie poltergeist takes control of the remote and turns the channel away from Fox News.

“Got any arugula? ”  he asks. “Better be organic.”

You see my  former liberal mindset captor never really goes away- not completely.

There is a scene in the first Twilight movie, where the main human girl–Bella is playing baseball with her new vampire pals.  Everything is proceeding idyllically.  You got your thunderstorm, your Matrix like double plays.  But wait!!!! You didn’t think that life would be that easy did you?   The mood swings, another group of vampires interrupt the game.  Human gir Bellal must pretend to be a vampire but the intruder blood suckers sense that something is amiss. They can smell it all over her.  SHE IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Uh-oh.  Was I too naive to hope that liberalism would go away quietly into the night.   Abusive boyfriends never give up.  They become stalkers and you have to get a restraining order.  You can’t get within 200 feet of  Lilith Fair.   It knows your habits forwards and backwards.  The liberal junkie itch plagues you at the most inopportune moments like when you are at a Memorial Day service in let’s say Kansas…

Me at Memorial Day Ceremony last Monday, May 31st, 2010

You are driving away from a great ultra patriotic day when you look up and see a pro-life billboard with an unsettling picture of an aborted fetus in a garbage can.  Conservative friend mentions that they helped pay for the ad.   You smile at them.  Hey free speech for all…right?   Besides there is nothing wrong with both groups getting their point of view across.  Then conservative friend says:

“Women just like killing babies and until we stop them America will never be right with God.”

Until the above statement was uttered, you feel a sense of belonging with the conservative.  Just  moments after, the invisible left-wing reservists appear and take over your personality and mouth.

“Women should have a choice, ” says Afrocity multiple liberal personality #12.   “Abortion is a very private and personal matter. Republicans want limited government concerning taxation, business ….So why would you want the government interfering with the decisions we make about our bodies? “

The conservative did not agree with me but nonetheless, the conversation did not end in a salad bar brawl like it would have had I disagreed with an Obamabot.  No one left with alfalfa sprouts in their comb over or dreadlocks.

Is there ever a total cure ?  Or is liberalism like herpes?  One day your life is left wing wart-less then the next thing you know just when you want to get down and busy for an evening of scintillating discourse  with your conservative companion…BAM!!!  You have a sudden liberal herpes flare up.

The liberal imaginary stalker –texting me while I am having a meal with my new conservative friends.  Like the previous situation I mentioned.  One the exact same day, conservative buddies and I were discussing Obama’s abysmal foreign policy record.  Everything was fine- not a cloud in the political chit chat sky. No text messages from my estranged left wing friend- the ghost of Afrocity’s past.

However when the tide of  verbal mutterings turned to the situation in Arizona and need for diversity in our country,  an uncomfortable moment of the familiar liberal whiner enters the room.

Not again!!!  There is the liberal friend sitting silently by watching me.  The friend nudges me, kicks me underneath the table.  I wince at the prospect of sounding like a wishy-washy RINO- a  John McCain in brown skin clothing.

“Did she just say that gays should not be married?”  asks my imaginary estranged friend.

I kicked the pest back in the shin.  Go away! Shoo donkey fly.  We should secure our borders. If you are not a bleeping U.S. citizen or here legally, you should be deported.   The fact is, I was having a wonderful day.  Surely the most patriotic in my life.  I loved honoring the soldiers who served my country.  I loved embracing American values.  Somehow I never quite got that pill in my liberal diet.  Anytime I sounded “pro-American” around Democrats, I got shitty looks and criticism.  Now I can wear flag pins and support drilling in the U.S. without incurring a bloody nose.

Me having a post Memorial Day lunch at the Veterens Club.

Go away jackass.  I am in a good relationship now with people who respect my views and don’t reek of patchouli.

You are not here. You are in Dubrovnik- the tomb of the unknown liberal.

“Afrocity, may I ask you an honest question without your being offended?”

My conservative friend was addressing me and only me.  Gee I wonder what they are worried about offending me for.  I am a conservative too, right?

” Why do blacks want to be called African American and not just American like the rest of us?”

The room became silent as every conservative and my liberal imaginary stalker awaited my answer.

And the rest, I will leave for another post.

What will Afrocity do?  Is this the end of her as a conservative?  Or will she rise to the occasion and beat down the left wing “Hulk” menace that lies within?   Is there a cure to save her just in time???  TO BE CONTINUED.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Time to Embrace My Inner Pro-Lifer March 24, 2010

Filed under: Abortion,Pro-Life — afrocity @ 9:36 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Forgive me if I’ve told you this story before…The one about how I thought I was pregnant once just from heavy petting when I was sixteen? It was a ludicrous idea because my pants never left my leg but somehow I was convinced that grinding with clothes on while listening to the Simple Minds got me knocked up.

My period was about a week late.  I had no experience with it being late before.  My mind went to that story mother told me about the woman who was impregnated by a bullet that had brushed a man’s scrotum and passed by her ovaries (Never found out if that story was true or not).

My boyfriend said I was crazy, to not worry about it. How could I tell my mother who thought I was the great black hope – college bound and destined to make her happy that she had decided not to abort me?   I decided that I would have to abort and not tell anyone- not even my mother.

My reason for not telling her?

Simply because she would kill me.

Where would I go? How would I pay for this?  There were so many times that I sat next to her on the sofa, wanting to say something but I couldn’t.  She was my best friend and I could not bring myself to ask for her help.  Why didn’t I? After all she got pregnant with my brother at 15. Shouldn’t she understand?  Didn’t she tell me to never keep secrets from her? Even if I was pregnant.

So why did I lie by omission?


Because I was afraid. That’s all and did not want her to know. I needed her help but fear kept me from speaking to her and I am almost certain that fear kept this 15 year old in Seattle from speaking to her mother.

From this article in KOMO News dated March 23, 2010

Mother furious after in-school clinic sets up teen’s abortion

SEATTLE The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.”

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

“She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.”

Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.

“We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus,” said Jill. “They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility.”

The Seattle School District says it doesn’t run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students’ privacy.

T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but don’t always have a say.

“At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy,” he said.

But Jill says she not only didn’t have a say in her daughter’s abortion, but also didn’t know about it.

“Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.”

At 15 years of age, I still depended upon my mother for shelter, clothing and food.  She signed my report card, my field trip consent forms, she showed up to the welfare office to prove that she was taking care of me.  There were times when she did not feel like braving the Chicago winter to ride 3 buses to my high school for parent/teacher night- but she did. She could have said “get the hell out of my house Afrocity”  when ever she got angry with me- but she didn’t.

So why didn’t I give her the gift of trust?

Long story short. I was not pregnant.  Never before had a red spot made me so happy.  I told my mother afterward and she basically said had I told her earlier, she would have told me that I was NOT pregnant and saved me seven days of acid stomach and chewed pencils.   ” I am your mother and I have a right to know, ” she said.  “You could die from an abortion if you don’t find the right person- that’s surgery you know…you need help getting home.”

I am pro-choice. I always will be but- and this is a big but.  I believe that a child underage should notify their parents.

According to Washington state law, this mother did not have to give consent but I can feel and understand her outrage over learning that her daughter was taken to have an abortion during school hours.  What if her daughter came home that day and hemorrhaged in the upstairs bedroom while mom was gleefully downstairs watching Jay Leno?

A mother should know.  And to the young women out there, if you are in trouble, give your parents a chance to help you get out of trouble.  They would be happy to know that you trusted them rather than a stranger. If your parent is the enemy, as the case in the movie Precious, then you go to a trusted ADULT, family member etc.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY.

 

Sunday Soliloquy: Happy Valentine’s Day From The Abstinence Fairy February 14, 2010

Often I find that my memories are like broken pottery.  Some are jagged pieces. Others are smooth and fit perfectly into a companion, meaning that something makes perfect sense.

The sounds and textures of 1977 inner city Chicago differed greatly from the New York intellectuals I surrounded myself with as an adult or my Upper Westside brownstone apartment.   In Manhattan, there were urban strivers, well heeled  Israel traveled Jewish families, the local botox injector and his compliant injectee.   I loved New York because its appeal for me lied in its ability to make one forget what they once were.

While dining at a Greenwich Village coffee shop, I landed in a conversation about pro-lifers and their insistence of abstinence.  My dining companion was enraged with the Bush administration. Mind you this was post September 11th, 2001. Within the hour I would hop a number 2 train and gleefully run into the Century 21 store for God knows what I did not need but I just had to have now.  The Century 21 store was steps away from Ground Zero.  Listening to the blasphemous venting led me to personify Ground Zero as this big gaping vaginal hole with  hard hatted construction workers swinging their legs all around the outsides while eating bagged lunches.    The Ground Zero vagina may seem like a bit of a  stretch- excuse the pun.  It was a wide opening, a scar, spatial memory that mostly represented my perpetual state of anxiety over conversations about abortion and abstinence.    Here we are discussing the right to end a life when three thousand lives were snuffed out within a matter of  hours.  Long airplanes making holes where they shouldn’t be.  A monumental collision which led to an unwanted abortion of consumerism, corporate America, the rape of American symbolism.

“What’s wrong with abstinence?”  I asked my companion. “I was a virgin until I was 27 years old.”

This is the part where our waitperson with ink jet black hair and heavily tattooed arms, lingered over our table – just holding my to go box in her hand over her privates like a statue of Venus (with arms).

“NO WAY!”  my companion exclaimed. “Twenty-seven????  ” Shakes head, mouth open.

“Yep.”

“…Because of religious reasons?” they asked.  “Were you Jehovah’s Witness?”

“No,” I smiled. ” Mom and I went to church on and off. We were not that religious really. The reasons were more pragmatic rather than religious. I did not want to get disrespected by guys that wanted only sex anyway and because I did not want to get pregnant until I knew I could take care of a baby on my own. That meant finish college first and get a job. When I did all of those things, then I started having sex…When I could live with the consequences.”

“Are you pro-life?”

“No, but why screw up and get pregnant and have to send my body through that let alone the money and guilt. I would rather spend the $500 bucks or whatever an abortion costs on something else…like a new handbag.”

My companion gave me a look of vague dissatisfaction. Yep, abstinence worked for me. So what? I am not some anti-sex freak-a-zoid.  Mother and I would walk through Chicago seeing the effects of unwanted pregnancy. In fact,  I was an unwanted pregnancy but here I was all master degreeded up- inhaling  a prosciutto and mascarpone  panini making 60K a year as an archivist.  As an a one time embryo, I got a break .  Why squander the miracle of my unwanted birth with yet another unwanted pregnancy aborted or kept?

Here, the pieces of broken pottery fit.  The days sitting in welfare offices, watching girls my age have one in a stroller, the other dandling on a knee and another in the oven. The advice she gave me worked for once.

Mother told me point blank. “Stay a virgin until you marry, unless you want to end up like me. Sex feels good but one moment of pleasure is not worth a life with a baby. You’re life will be ruined like a hole in your head.”

Little did we know that we were engaging in abstinence education.  Little did I know that someday I would be a pro-choice conservative on both sides of the battle field.

My mother, the knocked up from losing her virginity in a hallway, raped at 19 years old and subsequently impregnated by her perpetrator, then knocked up by her employer… was an abstinence fairy.  Go figure.

She warned, “..have foreplay, neck, fondle do whatever but that. Don’t let a boy ever put his penis in you…even with a rubber…don’t rely on the pill – that is how I got you, the pill fell under the frig and I missed that day. I could have aborted you but I didn’t because I knew you would be a girl and you would be pretty like your father’s sister. I knew you would go to college. Promise me.”

My heart felt heavy.  I was her sin eater.  It would be the only time she ever asked me to promise her anything. “I promise.”    It was done.  I was locked in a  covenant of chastity with liberal heavy petting and frustrated boyfriends who dumped me after several weeks of not getting any.  My entire sex life would be dominated by that promise. Farther down the road to fornication, I would curse my mother for making me so paranoid about sex but like Bush and his presidential term, it kept me safe.

And how can I argue with something that kept me safe for so long?

If I had engaged in sex earlier, I would have learned that I was allergic to latex condoms, may have gone with out one because of that, feared I was pregnant after the unprotected sex and got a prescription for a morning after pill…twice in two months.  The preceding events actually did occur within seven months of my having sex at 27.  BTW, eating a boatload of sushi after you take a morning after pill…bad idea.   Having sex cost me money and precious emotions. Pills, creams, doctors, lingerie- not to mention staying in relationships with people I did not need to because I did not want to be in the dreaded “one time sex” category.   I did not have to deal with all of that at 18 years of age.

My college years had been better because I did not have to worry about getting crab lice like my roommate or withdrawing because I was pregnant like at least ten others I knew.  Where did the other male half of the mistake go???  He stayed in school of course.  Pregnant girl would be just another empty dorm bed with extra long twin sized sheets, while Joe College would show up to class clad in “Tommy Hill-nigger ”  clothes waving a Kappa Alpha Psi cane.  Stepping to the latest rap groove while sister girl was in labor.

These women I speak of were all using contraception of some kind. Pull it out before it sprays, pills, rubbers, the “Today” sponge.  Each unwanted pregnancy meant another black woman not in school, an empty seat on graduation day.  Not being omniscient, I am not aware of the abortions that took place.  As it should be, those were private matters which remain unseen.  All I saw was the pregnancies, another babies momma drama, running on campus looking for child support- mostly black and Latina women.  Of course all races  were having sex, it only seemed that the under-represented groups in college were dropping out more.  Rumor had it, the Caucasians would more likely get an abortion than a minority who often could not afford it.  Many of the black women were also involved in church thus believing that abortion was a sin.

Whatever the reasons, Afrocity was out of the game because no one was getting game until she was ready to deal.

Being a conservative now, I know with many liberals my perspective on abstinence  will never have any authority.  Bristol Palin and baby have been derided by pro-choice advocates and the mainstream media as organic proof that abstinence education is a farce.

I will never sway the unconvinced crowd. Afrocity collects femorabilia and Republican friends.  My story is just another one that will be side stepped along with other allusions to conservative women as right wing nuts.   I was not repenting in church everyday while masturbating at night because I was so hot for Johnny.  I did what was practical and safe for me.  My belief in abstinence only education does not make me any less pro-choice.  Abstinence is a choice.  Sure it is less synonymous with true safe sex  education employing condom usage diagrams  along with free boysenberry flavored rubbers.

But it worked for me.

Thank-you abstinence fairy for leaving a college degree and peace of mind underneath my pillow.

College education: $70,000

Lost horny boyfriend: $1.99 for the Happy Meal I bought him when his student aid ran out

Waking up knowing 100% that your monthly visitor would come on time: Priceless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Are You There God? It’s Me Afrocity: Being A Pro-Choice Republican Without Illusions August 31, 2009

my choiceMore than any other device, the image is the surest way to transcend all barriers.  Achieving a certain notoriety for fascinating the voyeuristic side in all of us, the image is not exclusively  male or female because the common vantage point is that we all have eyes.

When I look at pro-life and pro choice “propaganda”, a term I resisted granted truthfully, that is what it is propaganda or something that persuades and appeals to emotions, I see that the abortion debate is handled in such a way that there is really no middle ground. The accusations are inescapable. Either you believe in murdering babies or you don’t. You are either for women’s rights or you’re not.

In a video interview I taped earlier this month, I described how my political location is life was racially constructed. How does this apply translate to my opinion on abortion? Is it racially constructed as well?

The sexual education between my mother and I was for the most part one without words. Pregnancy was the worse thing that could happen to a black girl. Books open, legs shut was the mantra. Abstinence is the best policy. Did she tell me what sex actually was? No.

It was not until I watched soft porn with my sound asleep uncle that I realized that babies are not made by a woman and a man “lying close together in bed”.

My uncle had the Spectrum cable channel- which was one of the first along with HBO and Showtime. He did not pay for it but somehow we received the signal in his bedroom.  In my need for a masculine figure of authority in my life, I would watch movies in his room as I did my homework. His drunken raucous laughter was somehow calming. Unlike his sister/my mother, he drank heavily and was not always sad. I accepted his Hiram Walker and Sons manufactured mirth over my mother’s growing despondency. Uncle and I would begin by watching action movies or comedies. Being a night owl by nature, I would stay up well past my uncle’s bedtime.

When the adult movies began at 1am, did Afrocity turn off the TV set?

Not on your life. I stayed and watched. Curiosity killed the young PUMA cat.

The abortion dress is said to be the most ripped off image on the internet.

The abortion dress is said to be the most ripped off image on the internet.

At 13 years of age, I  was perceptive enough to determine that these movies were created by men for men. In many films, the women were initially raped but later appear as if they actually enjoyed the attack. Others engaged in lesbian behavior yet there were no representations of men sleeping with men while women watched for pleasure and enjoyment. Then there were the insatiable nymphomaniacs. The woman who can’t seem to get enough.

Through my delicate pre-teen lens  I was the the willing voyeur, watching these forbidden movies which embodied masculine principals of patriarchy and submission. Women were not in a position of power in most of the films, save for several films featuring porn star Marilyn Chambers. Even so, it seemed that Marilyn  thought she was in complete control although I am not sure if walking home with a limp is considered power no matter how much you enjoyed it.

Abortion and rape figured prominently in several films I watched but here again, it was the male who determined whether or not the woman would be “allowed” to end the life of her unborn child.

It was “her fault” that she got pregnant and she would need “his money” to fix it.

To solidify this argument, one film featured a woman who was a naughty housewife. She was of course a nymphomaniac that her husband, while charming could not satiate. She attends a blindfolded only orgy and has sex with a kosher dill pickle, three women and several men. Later when she discovers that her sexual escapade has rendered her pregnant, she cannot afford the abortion with her monthly allowance from dear sweet protective hubby.

To make matters worse hubby was wounded in Vietnam and cannot father a child. As the movie progresses, the feminine antagonist is screwed both literally and figuratively. Her power karma dwindles as she has to prostitute herself for money in order to pay for the abortion.  At the sobering conclusion of the film, our wing clipped heroine is robbed of her abortion kitty by her final customer. But all is not lost. A member of the dominant gender,an abortionist  enters her life and gives her an abortion in return for a sexual encounter.

The erosion of this female character’s strength was what remained with me the most. It was not the gratuitous penis shots, or kinky sex (though that was a pretty big cumber pickle), what stayed with me was her total lack of control.

Roe v. Wade gave us the right to choose but this pornographic film stripped that right away by placing the financing of the abortion, back in the hands of the patriarchy.  Perhaps this was the day I became  pro-choice but I also became pro-women’s empowerment.  Pregnancy is exclusively female along with menstruation. Women should have the right to control what happens to their bodies. I will never change that opinion despite being a Republican.

Not being a mother, I am of course more familiar with the latter bodily function- menstruation.  Now this is the part where I may risk some readers but here goes…

Such imagery only angers and widens the gap between pro-life and pro-choice.

Such imagery only angers and widens the gap between pro-life and pro-choice.

Sunday mine began, as it has since I was 13.  I am also taking antibiotics for a sinus infection which in turn caused me to develop a yeast infection.  Strolling down the Walgreen ailse basket in hand, my mouth drops open at the price of sanitary napkins. $7.99 for a 28 count package of Stayfree maxipads without wings.

The tension between my monthly flow and my cash flow has always been an issue.

I asked myself a rather trivial question. During my lifetime, how much have I spent on feminine products? If I only knew.

While growing up, I never ever saw my mother buy feminine products. We had no money.

You could not buy them with foodstamps.

My guess is that she used discarded old towels we had.

I assume this because she attempted to coax me into a similar practice when we were without money. Our discourse exchange on the matter was burdened by the 31 year gap in our ages. With my first period, I insisted to be taken to the store for pads. Thanks to sexual education in school, I knew they existed. Tampon usage was shunned by most in my class including the teachers. The awful myth circulating was that any girl who uses a tampon is automatically NOT a virgin and will perish a horrendous death of toxic shock syndrome.

Succumbing to her thoroughly modern daughter, mother purchased the old beltless bulky pads for me and did not know how to put them on me. When I ran ou of thoset, I went to the school nurse  pretending my period had caught me off guard. After doing this ten times or so, the nurse caught on and gave me a box of pads once a month.

Abortion-Rights-02

“I have too many and would only throw them out, ” she said.

I was thankful that they had sticky stuff on the bottom and did not have to use safety pins. That nurse fed me the self esteem needed by a maturing young woman. Thank God for school nurses and sex education. The nurse was a woman helping a girl. I could trust her and she knew what it was like to be me. Now what if it were more than just pads that I needed? Should my mother know about it? I thought of the woman in the porn movie. What if I needed an abortion? Take into consideration this article which appeared on Townhall.com by Star Parker, a wonderful conservative that happens to be African American like me:

Abortion 3Monday, August 31, 2009

Star Parker :: Townhall.com Columnist

A time for truth on abortion
by Star Parker

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin missed a great opportunity to personally kick off an issue of enormous importance to her state and to the nation.

She was scheduled to appear with me at an Alaska Family Council event in Anchorage to launch Alaska’s Parental Involvement Initiative, which will require parental notification of teenage girls under age 18 before they can get an abortion. But, the schedules of we mortals cannot retard the imperatives of history, so, despite Mrs. Palin’s absence, we’ve gone to war with the army we have.

Currently 35 states have laws that require either parental consent or notification in order for a teenage girl to receive an abortion. Alaska passed one in 1997.

However, after ten years on the books, in 2007 the Alaska Supreme Court, arguing that sharing this information with parents violated the privacy of their teenage daughters, found the law unconstitutional. So now a 13 year old can get an abortion without the knowledge of her parents.

A large percentage of these abortions are paid for with state Medicaid funds, but no one seems to think that parents’ privacy is being violated using their tax funds to pay for these.

Research shows the remedial benefits of parental involvement when a pregnant teenager considers abortion.

And research shows the profound psychological damage caused by teenage abortion. But, perhaps we should be wondering who we are today that we need to gather data to address an issue as intuitively obvious as whether a teenage girl may abort her child without her parents knowing.

Of course there are exceptional considerations, like abusive parents. But the Alaska initiative deals with this, as did a similar initiative in California, which was defeated last November.

No, this is not about being reasonable. It is about ideology. And what we have are opposing worldviews that cannot be reconciled. It’s about choosing one or the other.

Yeast cartoonYes, I am pro-choice and Republican but even I have my limits. Whether in the name of privacy or under the guise of women’s rights, I do not believe that it is fair for pro-choice advocates to exclude parental consent when it comes to a 13 year old girl, not a woman but a girl, having an abortion. A 13 year  parents should be involved in that decision or at the very least be aware that their child is sexually active.

My decision to be pro-choice is based upon a woman’s right to privacy.

Speaking of privacy over twenty years later, I am no longer the girl in the school nurse’s office. Here I am a full grown woman, standing in a Walgreens drugstore aisle with a problem. The yeast infection medication I need is behind a locked Plexiglas cabinet along with pregnancy tests and ovulation detectors.  Great, now my purchase of this embarrassing product entails my announcing to the Walgreens powers that be that I need something to stop croissant production. Of course with my luck, the only person available to open the security case for me is an Asian man of about 30.

“Which item do you want?” he asked timidly. This poor man did not want to help me and the feeling was mutual. But there we were.

I pointed to the yeast infection treatment that was on sale for $9.95 down from $18.95. Seems my timing was not so bad after all- yeast must be in season. I noted that the store clerk did not look me in the eye. With a quick “thanks”, I took my yeast killers and maxi pads to the cashier who was also a male. I placed my feminine items on the counter along with a bag of 5 flavored Life Savers roll candy. The male cashier flirted with me until he saw the guilty products, Life Savers roll candy and Vagistat, I must be a real winner.

“Do you want me to double bag this?” he asked. His face was red. He was wearing lots of liberal flair. An Obama button (ick) along with another pin that read “Green is the new black”.

Why the red face? Being a liberal, he must understand my plight as a woman.Surely he is a feminist and cares about my monthly cell slouthing activites.

Shaking my head, I said “No, why should anymore trees have to die because I have a yeast infection…I will pay by debit card.”

Yes, with one swipe of rectangular plastic, I do have the power.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY


 

Say It Ain’t So Jane Roe July 14, 2009

abortion poster I have always believed that one of the most unfortunate and weakest chapters in the pro-choice movement is Jane Roe.  Yes, Jane Roe, that Roe…the “Roe” in the 1973 landmark U.S.  Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade.  Jane Roe aka. Norma Leah McCorvey, is now in her sixties,  and a pro-life church going lesbian living in Texas.  In her biography, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice, McCorvey claims she was manipulated by her lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington during the 1970′s trials. She also admitted that she lied about her pregnancy being the result of a rape.

Clinging to her pro-life stance and religion, she was arrested yesterday during Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing.

The Washington Post

‘Jane Roe’ Arrested at Supreme Court Hearing

By Paul Kane
Monday, July 13, 2009

The woman at the center of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion rights ruling was arrested today at the confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor among a wave of anti-abortion protesters who lined the sidewalks outside the Senate office buildings and several of whom made it into the hearing room and disrupted in an attempt to disrupt the proceedings.

Norma McCorvey, 61, of Texas, better known as “Jane Roe” in the famous Roe v. Wade case from January 1973, was arrested after she and another protester started yelling during the opening statement of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), according to Capitol Police. McCorvey, whose pursuit of the right to access to abortion in the early 1970s led to the ruling that has been a pivotal part of every Supreme Court nomination process since, eventually become a notable opponent of the procedure.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the Capitol Police said McCorvey and Francis Mahoney, 68, of Florida were charged with unlawful conduct for disrupting Congress, the third and fourth such arrests the police made during the more than five-hour proceedings. McCorvey was part of the group of protesters outside the Hart Senate Office Building throughout the day, a gathering led by Randall Terry, the former head of Operation Rescue, an organization dedicated to ending abortion.

McCorvey, who used Roe as an alias in her court filings for fear of retribution, remained an abortion-rights supporter until the mid-1990s. Working at a women’s clinic in Dallas, she befriended some Operation Rescue protesters. In 1995, she was baptized and has been an anti-abortion activist ever since.

The last two rows of the hearing room were reserved today for about 50 members of the public, who rotated into the hearings for short intervals and then were escorted out to allow others to view the proceedings. McCorvey and Mahoney were part of a group headed out as Franken was praising the service of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a staunch supporter of the Roe decision. Kennedy left the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, making this the first Supreme Court confirmation fight without his presence since 1965.

When McCorvey and Mahoney started shouting, they were quickly removed from the room. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Judiciary Committee chairman, banged the gavel on the crowd for the third time today.

“Officers, please remove whoever is causing the disturbance,” Leahy said. “Again, as Senator Sessions and I have said, this is a meeting of the United States Senate. We’ll show respect to everybody who is here, we will show respect to everybody, including to Judge Sotomayor, to the Senators on both sides of the aisle, and we will have order in this room.”

Late Term abortion

An Example of Pro-Life Propaganda

In exploring the pro-choice versus pro-life positions, I remained pro-choice despite my new identification as a conservative.  The days of coat hangers and drinking turpentine are thankfully over and it should remain that way.  Norma McCorvey is free to change her mind as much as she wants. What I do take issue with is her openly fighting the right to choose  for other women.  The hypocrisy is a bit astonishing.  Even if I was once pro-choice and I did convert to pro-life as a personal choice, which I have by the way, I would not advocate and deny that choice for other women.  Whether she likes it or not, McCorvey’s alter ego “Roe”  left a distinguishing mark in American History. She is the ultimate “herstory”  and I embrace her right to protest. However, I feel that she would be more effective as an pro-life advocate if she allowed her story to fruitfully serve as focus point for provative discussions on abortion.  In a sense, McCorvey is a living relic of history, a historical actor.  She should speak about her motivations in 1971 as juxtaposed with those during the 1990′s which led her to convert to pro-life.  All puns aside,  Norma McCorvey should find more effective ways to be productive for the pro-life movement. Getting yourself arrested at protests is actually quite liberal and in the end nothing but a bunch of noise and court hearings.

There I said it.

When I was a liberal, I was never into that.

Perhaps if Ms. McCorvey told her story in a less progressive fashion, she could actually influence teenagers such as Bristol Palin to choose abstinence. It worked for Afrocity and yes I am pro-choice but I will always feel that abstinence is best for teenagers.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: The Birth Of My Political Uncertainty May 17, 2009

Filed under: Abortion,Pro-Life — afrocity @ 10:33 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Baby LifeSince the beginning of Autographed Letter Signed, I have devoted Sunday to reflections on my past. As you can tell, I am haunted by memories of my mother and childhood and spend considerable time writing about events that occurred during some of our darkest times. Even so, the primary commitment of this blog remains loyal to political matters. Autographed Letter Signed is a living political archive of sorts. It is not my life diary. I would not subject you to that. However, I often find that one’s political beliefs are connected to their past. Of course there are times when this is not the case. Take “Ann” for instance, a woman I met through an Illinois GOP group for women. Ann was raised in an uber- liberal household. Her parents were Volkswagen van driving hippies who grew weed in their basement. Like myself, Ann lived in Manhattan during the September 11th tragedy. 9/11 changed Ann’s political beliefs forever. She had lost a dear friend and found herself becoming increasingly disenchanted with leftist ideologies. She did not vote in 2004 and voted for McCain/Palin in 2008.

In contrast, the birth of my inner Republican was more gradual. It was always there incubating and kicking the shit out of me. My mother would say something liberal and there it was sticking a foot from the inside of my belly and into my mouth. Nothing I did would get rid of the thing. No matter how many trips to Whole Foods I made for soy milk and organic chard, despite my joining that student chapter of Amnesty International , there was no aborting my conservative thoughts. Strengthening with my age it finally got the best of me in 2008. It was unceremonious and mostly self-congratulatory. At first I could not verbalize the new Afrocity to anyone except my PUMA pals. By Obama’s inauguration I was somewhat emboldened. I expressed my conservative views more openly. My circle of liberal acquaintances began to decrease. It was disconcerting but a relief to my pocketbook as they often wanted to eat out all the time. As with any new edition, the birth changed me and there were adjustments and compromises to be made.

I will always and forever remain an advocate of pro-choice. Comedian Dennis Miller who is a conservative spoke on the issue of abortion and made a brilliant quote that sums up my feelings perfectly:

“And by the way, my belief is that if men were the ones getting pregnant, abortions would be easier to get than food poisoning in Moscow.”- Dennis Miller

No one has the right to tell me what to do with my body. Period. I do find the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate rather fascinating. Last week, Gallop released poll results on the number of Americans who are pro-life vs. pro-choice:

Los Angeles Times

51% identify as ‘pro-life’ in U.S.
It’s the first time the Gallup Poll finds ‘pro-choice’ outweighed — at 42% — and a near-reversal of last year’s figures.
By Robin Abcarian
May 16, 2009

At a time when President Obama is trying to convince opponents in the abortion battle that they can find middle ground — in rhetoric, if not reality — a new Gallup Poll shows that more Americans describe themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.”

For the first time since it began asking the question in 1995, Gallup reported Friday, a majority of adults questioned for its annual survey on values and beliefs — 51% — said that when it comes to abortion, they consider themselves “pro-life”; 42% consider themselves “pro-choice.” (The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.)

This represents a significant shift, Gallup noted. As recently as last year, 50% of respondents called themselves “pro-choice” and 44% identified themselves as “pro-life.”

Moderate and conservative Republicans accounted for the change; Democrats’ attitudes toward abortion remained constant. “It is possible,” Gallup said in its analysis, that the president “has pushed the public’s understanding of what it means to be ‘pro-choice’ slightly to the left, politically.”

Regarding abortion restrictions, the largest proportion of Americans supports legal abortion only in certain circumstances — as has been true since 1975 — according to Gallup. This year the figure is 53%.

cheetah fetus

cheetah fetus

During my conversations with Obama supporters, I was warned that a vote for Sarah Palin was a vote to eradicate Roe V. Wade from our lives. I did not believe them and voted for McCain anyway. Call me naive but I think that Roe V. Wade is here to stay. My pro-choice stance was one of the few remaining threads that kept me tied to the Democrats. In 2008, tired of voting with my uterus and melanin count, I finally cut the cord, took off my gown and checked out. No wheelchair needed, I ran out of Donkey Memorial Hospital and jumped into a taxicab butt naked.

When I had partly recovered from being a liberal, my conversations about being pro-choice focused on privacy and liberty more so than “when does life begin? ” questions.

In high school, our history teacher held a debate between a pro-life advocate and a representative from Planned Parenthood. I was about 16 at the time and even then I thought the Planned Parenthood woman’s argument that life does not begin at conception was bogus. I believe that life begins at conception. That still does not make me a pro-life advocate. As the debate between the two women went on, my African American classmates became rather vocal in favor of pro-life. I was not surprised since two of them were in class and pregnant. My eyes rolled over at them, I was anti-sex and a virgin I would remain until 27 years of age. By now the projection screen at the front of the classroom was showing the pro-life film Silent Scream. Before the debate we were asked by a show of hands, how many of us were for abortion and how many against. Out of 32 students, about 15 were pro-choice. When we were asked the same question after the debate, only 3 students raised their hand in favor of being pro-choice. I was one of them and the other two were Caucasian women (one of whom later had two abortions).

After history class, gym was next. We were in the swimming block which meant either changing into our swimsuits or feigning our periods. I would have my period for the 3rd time that month and sat on the side of the pool watching the others complete their laps. Suddenly, the smell of chlorine was over taken by the stench of vomit. “Glynn” a pregnant student had lost her lunch on the aqua tiled pool side. It was a school rule that pregnant students were a matter that we could not openly discuss. But everyday there Glynn was with her stomach getting ever so larger and now here she was in a moo moo bathing suit spewing the free lunch program for all to see. Viewed one way, it was an unfortunate and embarrassing incident for Glynn. Yet I could not help but feel holier than thou because I would never be in that situation. Knocked up by the school clown, an uncertain future, too big to attend prom…Like my mother. Like my grandmother. My aunt.

Elephant Fetus

Elephant Fetus

My thoughts turned to my own birth. It was unplanned. I was a bastard (still am). My mother almost got an abortion with both my brother and I. An abortion would have been illegal at the time and one of the coat hanger/baking soda sort.  But for some reason she made the choice to keep us. All four of us. Later I would find out that my mother was raped at 19. This was 4 years after my brother was born. She was raped by an older man she was dating. One evening, her attempts to break up with him went unheard. He punched her in the face, knocking out her and two teeth. She came to with him on top of her. Encountering her subsequent missed periods and rising belly brought on a denial that was deeply severe. So severe that she nearly gave birth on the porch steps. The child of rape was named William. My mother described him as ” a bad baby” . He had red hair which was unusual for an African American baby but considering his paternity not so unusual.
There was no airbrushing, no overwhelming feeling of motherly love. She hated William and even let him burn his arm on a hot iron. “I just let him” she told me looking at the hardwood floor. That was her explanation for the lack of protective intervention. Some women come to love their children born of rape or incest. My mother would not be one of them. At the age of two, William was sent to live with the man that raped my mother. I would never know “Boochie” which was the pet name my older brother had given him. Yes, my older brother remembers his younger brother quite well. He spilled the beans to me about “Boochie” when I was a teenager. I was insulted that mother had kept me in the dark about this child but she said she had a right to her privacy and I could still see the pain in her eyes as she tried to explain what happened to him.

“I never loved him like my other children.” she said. “He was so bad like his father.”

We never spoke about “Boochie” again. My brother never forgave her for giving way his baby brother. After she died, he thought of finding William. I said let it pass. Her wish should be respected.

I remain pro-choice but I have softened some with regards to my views of teenage pregnancy and its results. My 20th high school reunion was last year. I did not attend but my classmates were kind enough to send me some photos. In one of the photos was “Glynn” and her son. The son she was pregnant with while we were in school. The son who made her throw up at the pool. He was now in his 20′s, beautiful and accomplished. My teen aged disdain was converted into a mature smile. Without ever going there, I internalized Glynn’s love as I watched her beam with her accidental, unplanned, inconvenient bundle of joy.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

 
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