A Texas First But Not Last
The picture is a photograph I took at La Piedad Cemetery in McAllen, Texas of the grave of Rosaura (Rosie) Jimenez, who died in 1977 from sepsis after several days of excruciating pain and suffering in a McAllen hospital following an illegal abortion across the Texas border in Mexico.
Moral: Never underestimate a person’s feelings of desperation and hopelessness.
Rosie was the first, but not the last, to die from dangerous illegal abortion after the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade resulted in safe legal abortion being available and accessible to women and teenage girls throughout the United States. There have been more similarly unnecessary injuries and deaths from illegal abortion since hers. Tragically, our Texas Tea Party Republican dominated government under our uber-Godly Governor, Rick "Oops" Perry, has seen to it that there will be many more due to their sweeping uber-draconian anti-abortion law, HB2, a law that originated in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that has virtually wiped out safe legal abortion in Texas and is being introduced in state legislatures all over the country.
Do you spot the tragic irony in the photograph? (Answer at end of diary)
Goldilocks (Role Model) and the Big Bad Wolf
“Some 47,000 women per year are estimated to lose their lives from the complications of unsafe abortion, almost all of which could have been prevented through better access to sexuality education, fertility awareness, contraception, and especially safe abortion services.”The most heard political position in support of legal abortion care has been “safe, legal, and rare.” I often hear some version of “All of us can agree that there are too many abortions in the United States today.” Oh? What is this – Goldilocks and the Three Bears? If there are “too many” abortions in the United States today what number would be “too few?” How many would be “just right?” Are there “too few” safe legal abortions in the world, since tens of thousands of desperate women and teenage girls suffer and DIE every year from unsafe illegal ones? Aren’t the approximately 47,000 living, breathing human females who DIE every year in this world from unsafe illegal abortions 47,000 “too many” to needlessly DIE? Shouldn’t the “just right” number of safe legal abortions be “just enough” for all of the women and girls who need and freely choose them. “Enough” is ideal, but “too many,” whatever that means, is vastly better than “not enough” when referring to something essential to the lives and health of women and teenage girls.
- World Health Organization, 2008
Sadly, tragically, it is happening that our laws are being misled by so-called “pro-life”-engineered hysteria back into the conditions that once made life for many women and teenage girls a “Hell on Earth.” Has it not occurred to those who complain about “too many” abortions that (1) that is a purely subjective and meaningless judgment and (2) that the higher the number goes, the greater the need is thus demonstrated to be?
Please see information about my new book at end of diary and/or at amazon.comIf we are to follow the example of Goldilocks let’s respect her scientific methodology. Goldilocks employed the scientific method of experimentation and discovery. She did not just assume and rush in on the basis of unfounded belief, or because some “authority” told her so, or by guesswork that all of the bowls of porridge were the same. She experimented by trying a small sample of each and in so doing discovered evidence to determine which was in fact “just right” for her. She was an open minded truthseeker, not a believer. I do get the impression that, had the Big Bad Wolf stepped over from that other children’s story to assure her that she could just take it on his authority that all three bowls of porridge were of exactly the same temperature, she would not have taken his word for it and believed what he said without checking to make sure he was right and telling the truth, all the more so had she known of how devious he had proven himself to be with Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. And that would make her a scientist, not a believer. Score 1 for science and 0 for the Big Bad Wolf.
As is tragically the case with the “Big Bad Wolf” of extreme Islamic religious belief, extreme (or orthodox or fundamentalist) Christian belief also requires that women be defined as inferior to men and required to exist to varying degrees virtually as slaves to men, to be dominated, controlled, and disciplined by men and not allowed to step beyond strictly drawn boundaries of behavior and thought. Women are to serve men. To so-called “pro-lifers” they are essentially the dirt in which seeds germinate and develop. They are to be, in accordance with the traditional interpretations by men of selected “holy book” references, devalued, discounted, discredited, harshly controlled and punished, in some cases even tortured and executed, for transgressing those bounds. Women are relegated essentially to property of, first, their fathers, and then their husbands. Biblical rationales for such devaluation of the status of women and girls are plentiful. Men as well are dominated and controlled by the same rigid extreme beliefs but they are more than just a few rungs above their female counterparts since the “holy books” that prescribe the traditional devaluation of women were written and preached by men who from those ancient times of their origin were not far removed from the beliefs of their Stone Age ancestors who, devoid of any rational understanding of the laws of nature, existed in cultures beset by belief in myth and superstition imagined by early humans, not "revealed" by imaginary "gods." Human rights are anathema to those prehistoric beliefs. If you don’t believe that just open your eyes, heart, and mind, and look around you.
Again, the World Health Organization estimated, in 2008, that in those parts of the world in which abortion is illegal, about 47,000 desperate women and teenage girls DIE every year from illegal attempts by often well-intended but untrained and unskilled non-professionals to abort unwanted pregnancies or by attempting to abort their desperately unwanted pregnancies themselves. About 47,000 DEAD! That is about one every ten minutes dead somewhere in the world because they are prohibited by law from accessing a reputable legal clinic for a safe legal abortion by a trained and experienced professional abortion provider. Many times that number are seriously injured and maimed for life. Is that “pro-life?” Not in my book.
In addition, every minute, night and day, no holidays or weekends off, around the world one woman dies of complications of pregnancy and childbirth, ten teenage girls undergo dangerous illegal abortions, thirteen infants under twelve months old die, fifty seven people contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD), eleven people are infected with HIV, and the already-burgeoned-beyond-the-planet's-capacity-to-sustain human population increases by one hundred fifty more people, all sanctioned, encouraged, and even required by our government through international interference with and withholding of funding from worldwide reproductive health programs, all with the vigorous support and reinforcement of the Roman Catholic Church.
There are 525,600 minutes in a year. You do the arithmetic. The numbers are so huge as to be virtually impossible to contemplate, but these are the kinds of numbers we deal with when describing events in a world population of over 7 billion individuals that is increasing exponentially and gobbling up and poisoning the only planet we have, toward the point of severe degradation and even destruction of the biosphere upon which all life depends. (If you do not believe such a dire prediction, open your mind and sample the porridge!)
Let's not forget the women brutalized and incarcerated by law enforcement in those countries in which the powerful Roman Catholic Church has pushed for, won, and maintained the criminalization of abortion and achieved that terribly cruel piece of their version of “God's will on Earth be done." In countries such as Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and El Salvador women having not only induced abortions, but spontaneous abortions (“miscarriages”), are routinely subjected to police investigation and interrogation, arrested, and incarcerated. Many women having natural spontaneous miscarriages are so afraid of such persecution and prosecution that they avoid seeking medical care in such situations, even prenatal pregnancy care, and some (a great many I would think) die as the result. These terrible atrocities are completely preventable and treatable by modern medical methodology. However, the implementation of safe, life-saving medical care is blocked by the zealous extremists of the so-called “pro-life” movement, predominantly in the western world “in the name of God and Jesus.”
From a recent news report:
Because of El Salvador’s absolute ban on all abortions, seventeen Salvadoran women who arrived at public healthcare facilities after suffering a miscarriage, stillbirth or other obstetric complication, often hemorrhaging and unconscious, were accused of provoking an abortion and turned over to police. They were prosecuted for aggravated homicide based on a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception and now sit in prison, serving sentences of up to 40 years.
That’s only a minor example of what so-called “pro-life” citizens and politicians stand for. Criminalization of abortion care comes with a guarantee of serious injuries, suffering, and DEATHS of tens upon tens of thousands of women and teenage girls. If the mind-abducted believers of the so-called “pro-life” movement have an ounce of humanity and a milligram of compassion even they will eventually regret what they have done.
In the United States we have been vastly more fortunate thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, in the case of Roe vs. Wade. Almost 4,000 women (or that was the count before Republican-dominated state governments began throwing irrational and insurmountable barriers in the paths of women’s access to safe legal abortion) every day obtain professional abortion care in the United States that is legal, professionally provided, and therefore extremely safe. It is reliably estimated that approximately 35% of all adult women in the country have had an abortion. 35%. Maybe your sister - the teenage girl next door or down the street (yes, no matter how perfect her Sunday school attendance or how diligently and sincerely she reads her Bible and prays) - your daughter - your best friend's daughter - your wife - your mother - your teenage son's girlfriend – your nurse - your doctor – etc., etc., etc. You just aren't likely to hear about it because these victims of so-called “pro-life” stigmatization fearfully keep it secret to protect themselves from social and occupational blacklisting. It’s one of those taboo subjects most people understandably don't feel free to discuss. Nor do many people want to hear about it, preferring to bolster their soothing false beliefs that it just couldn't be so by ignoring and denying factual knowledge of it.]
Even so, tragically, there are today droves of willfully ignorant and misguided persons and their narrow and uncompromising political, legal, and religious organizations in this country who are zealously struggling to throw history into reverse and turn back the clock to those hideous times of criminalized abortion, and they are winning. They strive to recreate the blood bath and the derailed and wrecked lives that existed prior to Roe vs. Wade as one especially pernicious and merciless plank in their ardent campaign to transform our free society into a religious tyranny motivated by much the same sort of fervent and uncompromising beliefs that moved other crazed religious fanatics of a different religious persuasion to guide large airliners full of innocent people into large buildings full of innocent people on September 11, 2001. (I'm merely connecting the dots.)
These belief-driven, thoroughly propagandized religious extremists who call themselves “pro-life,” possessing little more compassion for real living, breathing, feeling women and teenage girls consciously living their real lives than was expressed by the Roman Catholic inquisitors of not so long ago who regularly, proudly, piously, and publicly tortured and hanged or burned alive real living, breathing, feeling women and teenage girls (and men and boys) living their real lives for their alleged beliefs and practice of such “sins” or “crimes against God” as “witchcraft” and “heresy,” are succeeding in their zealous efforts to recriminalize abortion care. They have far from given up on their efforts to get Roe vs. Wade overturned, but their major successes thus far have been through their massive propaganda campaign to deceive the public and influence ultraconservative, fascistic Republican-dominated state governments to institute state laws against abortion care and women’s rights to access it. They have produced and widely disseminated a colossal deluge of blatantly false and misleading claims about abortion care purveyed by books, brochures, videos, films, internet sites, billboards, etc., and through tens of thousands of churches around the land, and this withering propaganda barrage has paid off for them as more and more gullible, closed-minded, and apathetic Americans have been wrongly convinced by their lies, misconceptions, and misrepresentations, more and more pandering politicians have set into law unreasonable and unwarranted restrictions and barriers to abortion care, and more and more of the coffers of churches and so-called “pro-life” organizations have been swollen by emotionalized exploitation of misinformation about abortion care into a cash bonanza.
In my state of Texas (where, by the way, Roe vs. Wade began) safe legal abortion has been virtually abolished by the ultra-draconian Republican TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law,HB2.
I have titled the book REQUIEM FOR ABORTION RIGHTS IN AMERICA? and subtitled it DEAR LORD, PLEASE FLY ME TO THE MOON IN YOUR OXCART, which is a metaphor for the disastrous folly of our expecting to survive in the 21st century and beyond while clinging to thought disorders set in antiquity and continually reinforced through the ages of history by extreme religious belief. I have used the photo of Rosie’s grave as the cover illustration. There might be hope in countering the destruction of our world from trying to navigate it with oxcart mentalities if extreme religion can somehow receive the disrespect it so richly deserves quickly enough to matter.
The irony referred to in the introduction to this diary is that Rosie’s remains are lying forever in the shadow of the graven gravestone image of the crucified Jesus whose misguided followers created the conditions that led to her agonizing death.