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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States’

Abortion

Abortion

I am sipping my morning coffee, casually glancing at the television, when I see the screen yelling at me:  “Breaking News!”

It seems that yet another young man has allegedly been killed by a raging posse of – you guessed it – Los Angeles cops.  And, of course, it was all caught on tape by some guy who happened to be walking in the same dark alley at 3:00 A.M., who happened to be carrying a Panasonic R-543 Ultra Sleek Camcorder and who happened to have the cool presence of mind to turn on the “record” button as he observed some badges beating the crap out of some kid.

First of all, don’t the police know by now that EVERYONE is walking around with a video camera or at least a cell phone that takes videos?   I mean, if they feel it is totally necessary to pound on someone, wouldn’t you think by now that they would scope out the area for any would-be Stephen Spielbergs?  Don’t the police get special training on how to avoid being seen doing something that will not look so good on the local news?

Well, I guess that isn’t the case.  But what really weirds me out is that the very next day, the day after their SON HAS BEEN KILLED, while their son is lying in a morgue somewhere getting a paste up job, the parents of the kid are in New York City sitting right next to Matt Lauer giving him an “Exclusive Interview.”  Will they be going to Maxine’s for a late breakfast after pouring out their hearts to the world?

“Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, first of all, thank you for coming on to our show and please accept our sincere condolences on your son’s death.  This took a lot of courage for you to come.”

The couple, holding hands for the first time in fifteen years, look painfully at Matt and meekly manage a barely audible “thank you.”

Then Matt hits them over the head with:  “Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, you’ve seen the tapes of your son surrounded by six L.A. policemen and I can’t imagine what went through your mind as you watched it.  But there have been allegations that your son was resisting arrest after being pulled over for going 110 in a school zone.  The police also say that he had in his possession 14 grams of pure, uncut Columbian cocaine, three surface to air missile launchers and the floor plan of President Obama’s summer retreat at Camp David.  How do you react?”

Before they can answer, their lawyer, who is joined at their hip and who was on the phone to them minutes after their son’s death, whispers into their ears.  Mr. Murphy nods his head and responds.  “Well, Matt, all I can say is that Seymour was a good boy.  He was well like by his classmates and his teachers.  He was a leader in his church group.  Clearly, the police had the wrong man and we will fight until we receive justice.”  Or until HOB contacts us for our story.

Then Matt interrupts to announce that they have another “exclusive.”  They have Seymour’s third cousin on the show who will share with the world his memories of Seymour.

“Thanks, Bobby G, for joining us.  Tell us about Seymour.”

“Well, I only met him once, you know.  Actually, I never spoke to him but one night I saw him hitting on some girl at this party.  He seemed like a cool guy.”

“Thanks, Bobby G,” says Matt, “I’m sure you’re gonna miss your friend, Seymour.”

Needless to say, I feel for any family that has gone through such a tragedy.   I can’t imagine the pain.

But why do so many people have this compulsion to grieve, to admit to an addiction or to confess to an affair in front of the whole friggin world?  Can that really be the healthy thing to do?

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Abortion US Supreme Court building

Abortion & The Supreme Court

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States held that women had a right to terminate their pregnancies.  The case was Roe v Wade and no other Supreme Court case has had such a dramatic impact on the lives of women in this country.

Prior to that case, most states banned abortion.  Of course, those states could not ban the desire of a woman to obtain an abortion.  For hundreds, if not thousands of years, women faced with an unwanted pregnancy have always at least considered abortion and some obtained them.  That meant that many women each year were procuring illegal abortions.

The world of illegal abortion was always a world of whispers.  A woman would “get in trouble” and, if she felt there was absolutely no way that she could have the baby, she would quietly start talking to anyone she could trust.  In every major city, there always seemed to be a least one doctor who would be willing to do the abortion, but these “abortionists” usually performed these illegal procedures in the shadows, in dirty “back alleys” with unsterilized instruments, no counseling, no sophisticated anesthesia, and no follow up exams.  The result was hundreds and hundreds of women each year died on the operating tables or wound up in the emergency room of the local hospital with their “miscarriage.”

Incredibly, some women who could not find the abortionist wound up performing an abortion on themselves.   The bloody coat hanger became a (harsh but real) symbol of the pro-choice movement because so many women used them to self-abort.  Others concocted medical potions that they hoped would kill the fetus in utero.

There have been many books and movies about the world of illegal abortion.  John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules” is a good one and the movie “If These Walls Could Talk” contained an excellent segment on a woman seeking an illegal abortion.

Ultimately, some more enlightened states like Colorado, California and New York passed laws legalizing abortion.  Clinics were quickly opened and they were barraged with patients.  Women from all over the world, yes, the world flew into those states to procure a legal (and safer) abortion.  Clinic owners talk about sending out buses or limousines to the airport to transport the dozens of women who had flown in to get an abortion.

Then, everything changed on January 22nd.  The Court said abortion was legal in all of the states with some caveats – and the floodgates opened up.  Suddenly, all across the country doctors, feminists and others started opening up clinics.  The rest is a long story, but the story is a celebration to women’s health.  Today, abortion is one of the safest and most common surgical procedures performed on women.

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