September 22, 2009

The last day of summer

It was yesterday, technically. But the thermometer will, supposedly, reach 93 today. And 90 tomorrow. But it is quite windy. The nights are chilly. And it rains every few days. Such is Portland in the fall. I think Portlanders, or Pacific Northwesterners (i.e., those that live on the rainy, western side of these Northwest states of Oregon and Washington) generally, fear the coming of fall more than fall itself. Of course, fall means more rain. It means chillier weather. It means winter is coming. It means our short summer is over. And summer here is GLORIOUS. Fall used to be my favorite season, as a child and young adult on the East Coast. Deciduous trees turn glorious shades or gold, copper, and red. New England is, as fabled, especially glorious in the fall. But Maryland is not too shabby either. The air is crisp. It really does feel "clean." It feels like a J. Crew catalog cover. Oh how I used to love J. Crew. I don't know why I don't shop there anymore. Partly it's probably the prices, but mostly I think it's because it's very East Coast, and now I'm West Coast and it doesn't appeal to me as much anymore, even though I still like their clothes. Anyway, I digress... back to the weather. Fall is not that bad a season in Portland, but the trees in the Northwest are mostly evergreen trees, so they don't turn glorious colors. There are some oaks in the prairie areas that turn beautiful colors, but not entire hillsides like back East. In southwest Oregon, it turns drier, with more deciduous trees, and fewer evergreens. There, you will see a few hillsides with mostly evergreen trees, but a large smattering of oaks and maples that have turned gold. But rarely orange, and never red (at least not that I've seen). So, fall is not my favorite season in the Northwest. Summer is. Summer is glorious. It rarely gets too hot. It rarely rains. And the views of the mountains and ocean are stunning. I know you just were sitting on the edge of your seat, wanting to read my musings on the seasons.

This is off-topic, but I wanted to express solidarity with my sister, Kate, and her blog, which is mostly about her family (husband Howie and daughter Eliza), but sometimes she muses on other things that are important and central to her life, including her job, which is in the reproductive health field. She does research on the feelings women have about abortion, I think feelings of women who have had abortions. So sometimes she blogs about abortion. She did so recently here, and received a flurry of comments. It's her and her husband's blog, so they can and should write about whatever they feel like writing about, because it's all relevant to here experience as a mother. In everything we do now, we are mothers (which is CRAZY! When did I become a mother...?). Anyway, I keep wanting to post more comments on her blog about a recent post, but I need to stop. So, I thought I'd use my own blog. And I'm using it to say this: For me, the nugget of the pro-choice/anti-choice debate is that nearly all of the anti-choice rhetoric I hear conveys an underlying message, which is, anything in my womb is more important than me. A fertilized egg, whether it's attached itself to my uterine wall or not, whether it resembles a baby or not, whether it's viable outside my womb or not, at every stage, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ME. I am a grown woman, with an education, who contributes to society and our economy and our general livability and health of the planet. I help support my family. I take care of my dogs. I now take care of my baby. I am a good friend. And yet all of that is moot once an egg and a sperm meet in my womb.

And I think to myself, am I that expendable? Really? Do anti-choice people care so little for me and my accomplishments and my contributions to the world that they would much rather have the potential of that fetus inside me? If not, if I am inherently as valuable as that fetus inside me, and if you're against birth control and sex education, then why don't the anti-choice folks support pregnant women? Why don't you open clinics to help care for poor pregnant women? Why don't you open lots of places for young children to go if their mothers can't care for them? Why don't you spend your money on helping these children and families pay for daycare, since somebody has to work, probably both parents (if both are around), to pay to put a roof over these kids heads and food in their mouth? Why are anti-choice people nearly silent on offering this kind of support?

And then I walk in a circle... it's because they don't actually care about the people involved, the mother, the child, or the father in cases where he's actually around. They care about the principle. Black and white.


axeman said...

I'm a Buddhist... No I'm not. I believed it for a second, but it must have been a lie.

I just finished writing about one or two thousand words on why I am Pro-choice but would prefer to take the Anti-choice stance, but I decided that what enraged me and inspired me to post had nothing to do with any of that and I deleted it all to begin this:

Bradley, you pompous ass, what makes you think that your body of knowledge and life experience entitles you to pontificate regarding a subject you are so conveniently isolated from? In such an offensive manner. In such an inappropriate place.

You claim to dream of a world where violence and malicious intent are distant memories of the formative years of humanity, yet you condemn in a fashion which is distinctly malicious and insulting. You claim to be a sheep but the sounds you make are those of a dog. If you are truly an aspiring peacemaker, get thee hence and find an education in it. It is sorely needed.

Apologies to most for the above. I couldn't contain myself.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you, although I'd say Catholics are better than more anti-choicers. They do provide services and sactuaries for pregnant mothers and new mothers too. To provide charity with compassion is to be Catholic.

In general though, it is a black and white issue to most anti-choicers. The health and well-being of the mother and/or child are not part of the equation for them.


Natalie Henry Bennon said...

Michael (axeman), thank you for your comment. It rocks. Now I'm sorry I deleted Bradley's comments, but I just couldn't stop feeling mad about them, so I deleted them.

I have told myself in the past that I shouldn't engage with Brad on this subject, and I swore I wouldn't do it again, because he loves to argue. He doesn't love respectful debate, he loves to ARGUE. And you're right, he's malicious when he does it.