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Abortion Law

Abortion Law

It’s 5:45 a.m. on a cold, New England, February morning.  I’m in a total coma, surrounded by the warm blankets.  Suddenly, the friggin alarm goes off.  What the hell?  What’s going on here?

My spouse gently kisses me on the check and reminds me that the night before I had promised to go to the 7-11 the minute they opened up to pick up snacks for our son’s 8th grade field trip to the Occuquan Sewage Plant.  I had to get up at 5:45 because, as everyone knows, 7-11 stores now open earlier than 7.  Ours opens at 6:00 a.m.

I throw on some sweatpants, a sweatshirt, socks and sneakers and head out the door.  I am hit with a ridiculously cold blast of wind, numbing my body.  There is a light dusting of snow on the car windshield and when I climb into my Honda my way-too-big butt practically freezes to the driver’s seat.  I crank the ignition several times and it reluctantly engages.  It is dark.  It is cold.  I don’t want to be here.

The 7-11 is only about a mile away, so it takes just a minute or two to get there.  When I pull up, my car clock says it is 5:56.  There are no other cars in the parking lot but I can see that the lights are on and there is some activity inside.  I park the car, brace myself for the cold breeze that will greet me when I open the door, open it and run to the entrance.  I grab the door handle, pull it back and my arm almost falls as I realize the friggin door is locked.

I look inside and see the clerk behind the cash register.  He is sipping a steaming plastic cup of 7-11 coffee.  I wave to him nicely and point to the door as if to say “hey, can you unlock the door?”   He responds by looking at his watch and pointing to it.

It is now 5:58.

Abortion World Community

Abortion World Community

For the love of God, what the hell is this?   This guy is sitting on his stool all comfy and cozy, with his freshly brewed coffee, and I’m outside, staring in like a kid gazing at the toys in the window at Macy’s.  The clerk just won’t budge.  He’s got his rules, he cannot violate them or, or, well, who knows what the hell would happen if he opened them up before 6?

Give me a break guy.

I finally screamed to him:  “HEY, GANDHI, OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!!”

That, of course, clinches it.  I am forced to wait another minute and a half to get my stupid overpriced snacks.

We see this kind of behavior all the time.  Rules are the rules, you can’t bend them at all.  God forbid a store owner or a bureaucrat or anyone else should go out of their way to show a little humanity.  Nope, I’ve got my instruction manual and that is my Bible.  If I actually interpret it a little, if I use some discretion, I’ll get struck by lightning.  Don’t want that to happen now, do we?

We seem to forget that we live in a community of human beings.  We are too focused on ourselves, on our jobs, on our next recreational activity.  Life is way too short, folks.  The next time someone tries to get attention, remember that there’s another human being at the other end.

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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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