Welcome - My name is Ellen, and I am passionate about life, equality, women's rights, freedom, privacy and spiritual growth. I love photography and writing. I am the PR/Media Director for the Florida chapter of UniteWomen.org. A big thank you to The Rude Pundit allowing me to be here today. You can follow me on Twitter @Victrisselle
Choosing Abortion Over Child Abuse
My blood is boiling. I barely sleep anymore. Who the hell do these legislators and governors think they are that they can put so many women's lives and mental well-being at risk by their pernicious legislation? Who are these self-designated arbiters of decisions that should only be decided by a woman and her doctor? The new laws in Florida, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and many other states are cruel and inhuman. I believe some are also unconstitutional because they take away my civil rights and my sovereignty over my body.
Worse yet, the new laws are based on one group's desires to hold on to the patriarch at ALL costs, and on another group's RELIGIOUS beliefs. Beliefs that do not coincide with my religious or moral beliefs. So who's religious beliefs take priority, mine or theirs? Separation of religion and government was foremost in the minds of our founding fathers when crafting our Constitution. It was structured this way to avoid the long, bloody history of religious wars in Europe and elsewhere. Yet, here we are 230 plus years later, at great risk from a small fanatical, religious, ignorant minority. I say "ignorant" because, when you lack education and knowledge....you ARE ignorant - as opposed to stupid. These changes in our laws are fueled and financed by religious groups, the Patriarchy, ALEC, the Koch Brothers and others. They will go to any lengths to further their agenda and enact legislation. And in the process of forcing their beliefs on others, they are putting many lives at great risk. I will not obey laws based on another person's religion. EVER.
When people put more stock in a Bible written eons ago by a group of misogynistic Arab men than in science and facts, they are ignorant. When people put more stock in religious beliefs than in citizen's civil rights, you are also dangerous. I respect all individual choices - even if I do not agree with them. Just like I support freedom of speech - even if I do not agree with the opinions being expressed. I believe there are many paths to God. This planet has room for all views and paths, including the path of not believing in God. Some of the most caring, compassionate, moral people I know do not believe in God.
If I had gone through with any of my pregnancies, I think it is very likely I would have ended up in jail for child abuse, or worse. I did not grow up in ideal circumstances. My childhood included incest, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, divorce and abandonment. My mother and step-father sold our house and moved to Florida at the beginning of my senior year of high school. They left me with a car so I could get to school. I ended up living in a coed house on Youngstown State University's campus. I feel robbed of my childhood. I lost the ability to trust or to be truly intimate with people. It also left me with intense, uncontrollable rage. When deep hurt remains unresolved, it turns to rage. My father terrified me so much that, in spite of no physiological causes, I did not get my first period until 9 hours after leaving the funeral home for the first time the day after my father died. I was 29 years old. I did not want to be a woman while my father was still alive. That is deep fear.
When I got married, I wanted to have children. I always assumed I would in spite of having a career. After long and painful consideration, I realized that I could not allow myself to have children as long as I had uncontrollable rage. I did not want to take the slightest risk I might harm a child in any way. I could not live with having harmed a young soul. I did not have abortions because I did not want children. I had them because I love and respect children. I had them because I was fairly certain I would physically hurt them in a blind rage. I will never know for certain, but I can live with not knowing more than I could live with the horror of hurting a child, physically or emotionally.
Had I been forced to have a child when I got pregnant, due to laws or lack of affordability, it would have put myself and the child at great risk. I doubt the courts or public would show leniency to me if a child was badly hurt or dead. The pro-life people could care less what happens to either of us after the child is born. They are not for life, only the birth. If they did care, our social services would be strengthened, not cut. The Food Stamp program would not be at risk. If they were truly pro-life, they would not be taking away women's access to affordable contraception or reproductive health care, which will result in deaths. In their smugness, they claim they are preserving life. Whose? Theirs?
Florida only passed one abortion-related law in the 2013 that addressed the birth of a live birth during an abortion attempt. Florida women got lucky in 2012. No abortion laws were enacted - though not for lack of trying. Republicans introduced 11 bills to restrict abortions, but all failed to pass.
Women's abortion rights in Florida took its biggest hit in 2011. Gov. Rick Scott decided that hurting women and restricting their civil rights is something worthy of celebrating. He threw a big party at the governor's mansion on August 1st to celebrate the four tough new abortion bills that went into effect on July 1, 2011. I found it painful watching dickhead Scott celebrating with his cohorts in a mansion paid for by all of Florida's citizens when I knew the newly enacted laws would actually hurt women and could result in bad outcomes or deaths. I guess it could have been worse. Republicans introduced 18 bills to restrict abortions in 2011.
After seeing some of the new laws in other states, I am starting to think that Florida fared just a bit better than other states -- like Texas. The only way we can fight these draconian laws is to get out of our homes and into our communities to educate and register voters. Grassroots organizing does work and is very effective. If we do not take action to create change, we will get what we deserve. I urge everyone to volunteer and drag along a friend or ten. It is a dire situation and women are at great risk in many states - not just Florida. Take action. Volunteer. Please. Lives depend on it.