I said yesterday that I would be writing more about all that we have experienced since Friday today – once I had time to collect my thoughts. Well, they are still in about 43 different places – I’m sure I’m not alone in this – and also pretty sure we’ll be revisiting many things about this in the coming weeks and months and who knows how long.
Still, for now, I have a few initial things I’d like to share and – oddly, but maybe not oddly for me? – an Adrienne Rich poem that is just really on my heart.
So bear with me, y’all.
First, I’m just going to simply share this, which I believe with all my bleeding liberal heart:
Prior to this ruling, abortion rates were lower than they were pre-Roe – and, historically, they are always lower with Democratic administrations and the social programs they make available.
Help women in tangible ways.
That said, we all know with the division and the vitriol we are seeing that approach right now is unicorns and rainbows.
So what I’m also going to say, as I’ve seen on Twitter – AKA The Thunderdome – many NASTY debates breaking out, a priest pointed out that, when those who are delighted by the new ruling are celebrating and saying many things about those who are devastated, they need to keep in mind that a number that has held up consistently is that 1 in 4 women under 45 have had an abortion – so if you have four female friends, you might well be acting needlessly hurtful and cruel towards one of them.
I would point to this article about the last time this conversation came up and encourage everyone to read through the #youknowme tweets.
I would ESPECIALLY argue that if you take an antiabortion stance for faith based reasons, it’s only appropriate to take a breath and have some damn compassion.
While the topic of compassion is on my mind, this article on NPR.org REALLY struck a chord with me as a disabled person who has – at times – been unable to ambulate. I can’t explain what that feels like, the anxiety, the panic, the feelings of overwhelm and vulnerability – and I HAVE a husband who looks after and protects me and a daughter who is with me and makes sure I am taken care of. I cannot begin to imagine not having a solid support system AND being faced with a pregnancy while also having mobility issues or other disabilities. Oh my word. Furthermore, some of these stories involve sexual assault – because, as the article mentions, a disabled person is over three times more likely than an able bodied person to experience sexual assault.
*As I’ve typed this, I feel my whole body tensing up. So I’m going to stop here and say something. I am writing about the sexual assault of disabled women and I will also be discussing domestic violence victims and abortion. Generally, I welcome all points of view here – but when it comes to ANYTHING related to victims of violence, I will absolutely go to the mat. I’m not open to discussion. *
Finally, please understand, as the article I am going to link below states (PLEASE read it) – and as I have written numerous times before this – that women who are pregnant or immediately postpartum are twice as likely to die by homicide at the hands of an intimate partner as any other cause.
Homicide causes TWICE as many maternal deaths. And women live in circumstances that many who are reading this cannot begin to imagine. And become pregnant under circumstances that are unimaginable as well. And their lives – and often the lives of their children who are already here – must come first.
I’m sick and saddened and overwhelmed with the heaviness of this all.
Finally, I want to share a poem that has been on my heart these past few days.
What Kinds of Times are These
There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light –
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.
— Adrienne Rich
Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.
Grace and Blessings.
Shelter – Sarah Mclachlan ❤
Amended to add this link to a NY Times article that I saw later on 6.26.22 by the director of the West Alabama Women’s Center with links to many helpful resources: