Tag Archives: women’s rights

Its Not a Right if the Doors are Barred

Locked Gates

I got a bit of a reality check this week.  I needed to make an appointment with an OB/Gyn for a procedure my regular physician couldn’t do.  I was annoyed with an unprofessional behavior by the receptionist at this doctor’s office and wanted to look into other doctors that might be an option.  So, I looked through the directory on my insurance company’s page.  What I discovered in this search was quite a bit beyond disturbing.  Shy of driving all the way into either Seattle or Kirkland (both over 60 miles from where I live), the office my doctor referred me to is one of only two OB/Gyn clinic/hospital that is not owned by the Catholic church.   Even Swedish has recently been bought into by the church, though they are stating that the church is allowing them to remain secular in their treatment (though I am sure that will change rapidly).  They are also attempting to buy into UW medicine.

Now granted, I am past my childbearing period of life, so I don’t personally have need of birth control or abortion services.  But, I am a woman and that makes this a vital issue to me.  I do not believe that my medical care should be governed by a religious doctrine I don’t believe in and has absolutely no merit in science or human rights for that matter.  And I also understand that there are far more issues than just birth control and abortion and many fertility treatments, though those two would be enough for me to want to take up the sword and do battle over.

We are in a time when many efforts are underway across the country to curtail and block women’s access to reproductive health options.  One of the more common attempts being waged right now is the demand that an abortion clinic have admitting rights to a hospital within a specified radius.  Even if such a demand had a merit based in medical science or evidence of a need, which there isn’t, such an admitting right would be denied by any religious owned hospital.  I am lucky that there is ONE, count them ONE hospital in a 50 mile radius that is not owned by the Catholic Church.  Most of these hospitals have been purchased by this church in the last handful of years.  Funny how that works out, doesn’t it?

The Catholic church has made a particular focus on buying up hospitals and clinics in areas that have a tolerant and diverse population that is not about to pass legislation limiting a woman’s access to reproductive services nor a gay’s right to marriage and the rights that go with that.  The solution?  Buy the clinics where you can impose the Bishop’s Directives on the staff and the treatment.  Its a fun little read.  Guaranteed to even set the hair on many Christians, nay, even the Catholics on end when they realize how little control they have over their bodies when in the hands of these people (estimated 99% of married Catholic women have used birth control).  You can read it here.

lcopl_005a (300).tif Children's dining room at Sean Ross Abbey
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Children’s dining room at Sean Ross Abbey

And somehow, in allowing these buy ups to happen, we have once again fallen into the pit of forgetting history.  There was a time when medicine (such as it was then) was under the jurisdiction and iron thumb of the church.  The orphanages as well.  So long as you were born of “legitimate” parents.

British workhouses“And in general, the only provision for illegitimate babies was the parish poorhouses or, from 1722, the workhouses where they frequently died of neglect. Mortality rates were extremely high: over 74% of children born in London died before they were five. In workhouses the death rate increased to over 90%.”

Oh, but that was ancient history, you say. (actually not all that ancient, but the really ancient history is far more violent).  But the church has changed and is now a source of goodness and charity and compassion you say?  Remember Mother Teresa, you say?  Alas, she has been shown to be as much of a sham as the rest of the church’s doings.  Seems she collected millions motherteresaand millions in charitable donations to allow the patients in her charge to die in suffering and squalor.  But, she lived as they did, you say.  No, she did not.  When she needed medical care, she got the best there

Then we have the church’s white slavery of young girls.  The Magdalene Laundries.  Again, not so ancient history.  Maybe this is what they have in mind when they are taking over the women’s clinics, hospitals and other medical establishments.  They are getting tired of doing their own dirty laundry.Catholic Magdalene

“The Good Shepherd Sisters, a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, is one of the orders being charged with the enslavement and abuse of thousands of women in what are called “Magdalene Laundries.”  Last one closing in 1996”

Now, I don’t care what a person believes.  But, I do care when they bully their way into my access to proper medical care and impose their archaic and ignorant beliefs on what treatments I may or may not be allowed to receive.  I take huge issue with their buying up hospitals for what I believe to be the sole purpose of barring me and other women and men for that matter from accessing the care we have a right to.  Care our insurance gives us the coverage for.
No, I am not of child bearing years and that part does not affect me personally.  But, it does affect my daughter, my friends and their children.  Not only does their doctrine prohibit abortion and contraception, it also prohibits IVF and any fertility treatment that doesn’t include sexual intercourse.  Which really baffles me coming from a church whose priests and nuns take a vow of celibacy.  Not that the priests actually hold to that, unless you disallow it as sex if it involves raping young children.

But, I also live in a state that should I become terminally ill, I have the legal right to have a doctor issue me a lethal dose of medication if I want to end my suffering.  Their “doctrine” will not allow that doctor to grant me my legal rights that were voted in.  Plus, they have the right to decide if the plug is pulled.  Their doctrine does not allow for research with stem cells, fetal tissues.  Their doctrine does not allow for science.  Their doctrine does not allow for progress.  Their doctrine will take us back to leeches and bloodletting (and yes, I know there are some instances where those are used in modern medicine now).

All this coming from a church who claims a “moral high ground” and says their concern is to save lives.  A church who when they held the hospitals and orphanages in their control, threw out orphans into the street if their parents weren’t married.  Imprisoned young women in sweatshop slavery if they got pregnant.  Ran hospitals for the dying where they didn’t even offer them pain relieving medicine or any comforts.  Why?????  Because they believe suffering brings one closer to “God”.  Ya know?  I really don’t want to be close to something that wants me to suffer like that first and I really don’t understand why anyone would.

I am the mother of a  gay son.   A son who is one of the most amazing blessings I have had in my life.  A son who deserves to be treated with the same respect, the same dignity, the same relevance as anyone else.   There is no doubt in my mind that it is only a matter of time until they refuse him and his friends to be at their partner’s dying bedside because it is against their beliefs.  Sooner if one of the Rabid Republicans takes office this election.  Add to that their refusing to offer medical aid to the LGBT community.  If they will turn away children born out of wedlock, they will turn away gays.  They have already begun to petition for this “right”.

Women fought for the right to vote, the right to have control over our bodies, the right to make choices.  Gays have also fought for such rights.  People of color, of different religions, no religion have fought for the right to live free and independent lives.  To have reasonable choices available.It-Votes

When a hospital enters the private sector, accepts patients of different faiths, accepts their insurance payments, the government grants and monies allotted by the government, they are obligated to set aside their religious beliefs.  They must serve the people according to their patient’s beliefs.  Or they must withdraw from the hospitals that serve us.

We have the right to be treated within the law, within our wishes and understanding of our bodies.  We have the right to be treated with science, not superstition.  We have fought for those rights and earned them.  Alas, the rights aren’t worth the paper they are written on when there are those that can bar the doors.

Sephi PiderWitch
SPW Logo

How can these religious/secular hospital mergers affect patients?

When secular (non-religious) community hospitals merge with religiously-sponsored hospitals and agree to adopt religious restrictions, patients can suddenly discover they have lost access to vital reproductive health care services and may encounter interference with the ability to make decisions about end-of-life care.

Under the directives, the reality for women who find themselves at a Catholic hospital means they have:

  • No access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest (Directive 45)
  • No access to in-vitro fertilization (Directives 37, 38, 39)
  • No access to contraception (Directive 52)
  • No treatment for ectopic pregnancy (Directive 48)
  • None of the benefits of embryonic stem-cell research (Directive 51)
  • No respect for their advance medical directives (Directive 24)

The sole exception to the ban on contraception falls under Directive 36, which only allows the provision of emergency contraception (EC) in cases of sexual assault when it can be proven that pregnancy has not occurred. This creates an unnecessary restriction, as EC does not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Evidence also suggests that many Catholic hospitals rarely provide EC even under the circumstances approved by the directives. A 2006 study found that 35 percent of Catholic hospitals did not provide EC under any circumstances, while 47 percent refused to provide referrals to hospitals that did. Of those that provided referrals, only 47 percent of these led to a hospital that actually provided EC.



Gender Blindness

blindersI was listening to a podcast on the way in to work this morning with a panel of trans-gender women.  I found it quite interesting and enlightening and I enjoyed listening to each of them telling of their experiences, viewpoints and the complexities of issues being addressed and needing to be addressed.

There was one of the speakers that brought my thoughts to the subject of this post, which both does and does not have to do with the trans-gender issue.  She was talking about the differences she had noticed in the way that men speak to her since she began to identify as a woman.  Many of these are blatantly obvious to most of us women, but she had the advantage of having identified as a man for much of her life and that gave her the ability to see subtleties that I think often pass our notice.  Many of the things she spoke of, I had never thought of in regards to associating with gender bias, at least not unless they were overtly blatant or said in an inflammatory way.

She spoke of how as a woman she began to notice that she was criticized at a substantially higher rate in forums and on blogs than she was as a man for everything from grammar, spelling, content and tone.  She also made sure to comment to the fact that often the criticism was incorrect.  But, the same content, when posted under her male identity received almost no negative criticism.  She also cited this type of difference in face to face encounters.  She noted that there were times when it was another woman doing the criticizing, but the overwhelming number were men.

The interesting thing about this is that most of what she cited goes unnoticed by most women because it has fallen into a category where it is spoken more politely and does not seem to carry the blatant gender bias of earlier times.  Her gender identity shift gave her a unique perspective on the issue that makes it apparent that though we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.

I thought about what she had said and translated it to interactions I have seen on social media forums and can see the validity of her claims.  It is quite common to see a male correct a female’s comment and if she challenges it, she often finds herself being called touchy or some other such word.  Yet, on the rare occasion that a female corrects a male, she is often met with derogatory comments about nit picking, being a “grammar nazi” or missing the intent of the post.

The same holds true in face to face encounters.  I can personally count innumerable instances where I have been verbally dismissed or challenged on comments I have made, often in retort to a blatantly incorrect “statement of fact” from another.  Oft times, they are spouting off something they heard or read from a knowingly disreputable source such as some TV show or Facebook and have no understanding of the true mechanisms or reality of a situation or thing.  Yet, when you counter them with actual facts, stated in a way that shows you have a firm understanding of the subject, you are either dismissed or challenged.  Yet, a man can offer an alternative that is as or more outlandish than the original comment, it is accepted as truth.

Granted, it is not as common or as blatant in every situation or with every group that you engage in.  But, it seems that even when dealing with more educated and open minded groups, it is still there.  All that needs be done to confirm this is to ask women working in the sciences or halls of higher learning.  Women are still to this day advised that their papers will carry more weight in the scientific community if there is also a man’s name attached to it.  Not always, but enough to add credence to the point.

At any rate, listening to this transgender woman was fascinating.  Because, through “her” eyes, she could offer what neither man nor woman could possibly offer.  And that was the truly dual perspective.  It isn’t often that someone can say they have walked a mile in your footsteps, but this seems to be an interesting and unexpected knowledge base coming out of this unusual segment of our population.  To see the world from both sides now.  Of course, we must first learn to listen.  That, could present a problem.


The Inquisition of Cecile

720x405-GettyImages-490528966It was very hard to watch and listen to the Congressional Hearing with Cecile Richards.  The whole thing was reminiscent of the videos I have seen of the McCarthy Hollywood communist trials.  Ms. Richards was badgered, derided, accused and verbally assaulted for five hours.  Granted, there were many who came to her defense, to the defense of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose their health provider.  I am glad for that as I felt that did help in giving her strength.

One of the things that resonated strongly in my mind as I listened to these people grilling and commenting was the complete lack of understanding of women’s needs and healthcare they seemed to possess.  She was accused of lying because the Planned Parenthood site says mammograms is an offered service and they send women who need them to an imaging center.  I was stunned over this one.  Every clinic that I know of sends you out to an imaging center.  Same for ultrasound and CAT scans.  Its not financially feasible for them to have those expensive units.  They won’t pay for themselves.  The ignorance of this fact was just mind boggling.

Then there was the diatribe from Mia Love of Utah where she said she didn’t see any reason the dollars sent to Planned Parenthood couldn’t be sent somewhere else instead.  I guess she doesn’t think it matters that women trust Planned Parenthood, trust their work, their history, their care.  That many doctors and clinics will turn patients away that are on Medicaid because they don’t want to deal with it.  That many don’t even trust those establishments.  It really and truly pains me to see women also stepping up on this bandwagon.  I suppose the flaw is in me in that I expect a woman to understand such matters better.

One of the larger contentions many had with Ms. Richards was the salary she receives.  There are many instances when I have an issue with the massive salaries a CEO receives.  Cecile is one of a handful of exceptions.  She has fought tirelessly for the rights of people to free or low cost reproductive care.  She has fought the media, the legal system.  I am sure that there are few places where she can go and not fear for her life.  I can’t imagine there are very many people who would have hung in with such a position given the climate she is forced to work in.  She is worth every . . . . single . . . . penny of that salary.

And I must make note of one of the most shining, though highly under-reported aspect of this hearing/witchhunt.  During all the badgering, all the verbal assaults, all the irrelevant questions and interrogations, Cecile remained calm.  She remained polite.  She remained well spoken.  And she remained honest.  There were times when you could see the wear it was having on her.  But, she drew from an inner strength that I would lay money few, if any, of her accusers possessed.  She didn’t waver, she didn’t cower, she didn’t wave the white flag.  She was a champion.  She was our champion.

I do understand that there are people that have moral and personal issues with abortion, with birth control, with reproductive freedom and sexuality choices.  I also understand and know first hand that there are at least as many that will have moral and personal issues with many of those people’s choices and beliefs.  Its called personal freedom.  Yes, as voters you should have a say in how your tax dollars are spent.  However, and somewhere this seems to be getting lost from the discussion, YOU are NOT the only ones that pay taxes.  There are at least as many that pay taxes that stand in support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.  Your choices do not cancel their’s.  And even if your taxes have a greater total, I am sure that their’s are sufficient to pay the 500 million that PP gets in Medicaid reimbursement.  Not for abortions, but for Medicaid approved procedures.

The major claim of fury in these so called investigations is due to the fact that a small percentage of facilities allowed the women to donate the fetal tissue.  For this, Planned Parenthood received a minimal payment ranging from $30 to $100 that barely covered the cost of obtaining, preserving, transporting and providing the proper paperwork.  I don’t even need to understand the full work involved in the transport of these tissues to realize there was no money made off of these transactions at these prices.  I am willing to bet that there was actually a loss.

The reality is that all of our lives are what they are today as a result of fetal tissue research.  “This tissue has helped to develop vaccines for a wide range of diseases, including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B,shingles and rabies.” (http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20150929/fetal-tissue-research)    We have been using them since the 1930’s.  Its only an issue now because Planned Parenthood’s name has been attached to it in an illegal effort to discredit them and put them out of business.  The interesting thing is that many Republicans, these same people interrogating Cecile, passed, by large majorities bills allowing embryonic stem cell research.  But then, those cells did not come from Planned Parenthood, they came from fertility centers and surplus fetuses.

Oh, do read that again.  Surplus fetuses.  Those are okay to destroy and use for research.  Because they were created for the purpose of making more babies.  Mostly for the wealthy.  War veterans who come home injured in ways that prevent them from reproducing are denied fertility benefits from their military medical insurance.  There’s an awful lot of hypocrisy going on here, don’t you think?

They scream about life being “sacred”, all lives matter, etc.  They show this by not mandating paid maternity leave (We are the ONLY industrialized nation that does not, and the other two that do not are Papua New Guinea and Suriname).  We deny women equal pay for equal work.  We cut early childhood education, free lunches, etc.  We deride “welfare moms”, yet will allow her employer to deny her the right to be covered for birth control on her insurance.  61% of women who have an abortion already have 1 or 2 children.  They understand the cost, the responsibility, the burden that comes with bringing a child into the world.  They understand that once that child is born, they will be the ONLY one looking out for it.  Many understand that they will be the only source of support for that child.  They know these same people who are fighting so hard to take their reproductive freedoms away will do nothing to help them shoulder this responsibility.

RapeWe live in a world where 1 in 4 women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime,  and estimated 20% of women were molested as a child, a country where 31 states in which a rapist can sue for visitation and custody.  Women are fed drugs in their drinks at parties, dinners, restaurants to make them compliant or unable to resist.  A world where, even with all the strides that have been made, we still only make 77 cents on the dollar a man makes.

Behind BarsWithout the basic ability to control our reproductive freedom, we become trapped.  The few doors of opportunity open to us begin to close.  The inability to receive health care within our means  endangers our lives, our health.  And it should never be up to the lawmakers to decide whom we confide in for our healthcare decisions.  No man has his choices made by the lawmakers.

istock_000012424539_full_3The lawmakers say that there are alternative places to get our health care.  True.  And many will not take Medicaid.  And then there is the change in the ownership of our hospitals and clinics.  It is estimated that 1 in 9 hospitals and clinics are now owned by the Catholic Church.  They are allowed to refuse medical options that are our constitutional right to have because they are a “religious organization”.  Which mean, we cannot have a tubal ligation when we have a C-section.  Men cannot get a vasectomy.  We cannot get the morning after pill if we have been raped.  We cannot get an abortion.  We can’t even get a prescription for birth control.  If we have cancer and are pregnant, they can refuse to terminate the pregnancy to save our life.  Yes, we can take them to court over this, but by the time it is heard, the cancer would have done its job.  Our family can’t even pull the plug if we are terminally ill.  And those numbers are growing.  And it is only a matter of time if the tide doesn’t shift till they carry those rules to also include their homophobic beliefs.  Suddenly, our choices are reduced.  Unless we give up our rights.  Unless we allow others to control our bodies.

1327518210_b72f2ccd1cCecile Richards is one of the best warriors we have defending our rights as women.  Our rights over our bodies.  She does not bend to the establishment.  She fights at every turn to protect the rights we have.  To keep open the doors of an establishment that promises, has always promised to believe in women to be able to make their own choices.

The reality is that there is no biblical standing to back this anti choice stance.  Even if there was, we have that separation of church and state.  They have no more right to impose the dictates of their imaginary friends or gods on me than I have to impose the dictates of my imaginary friends and gods on them.  And I can promise, mine can be pretty scary!  At any rate, there is nothing to back up their claims other than the desire to control over half the population.  For it is a fact that that controlling women’s sexuality is the biggest key factor to the subjugation of those women.  There really is no high moral ground involved here.  Its a base attempt to put women in their place.  Its a witch hunt against one of our greatest champions.

I think I shall end this post at this time.  Though I am sure this will be far from the end of what I have to say on this subject.  That said, I shall finish with this.  I will and have always stood with Planned Parenthood.  As we all should.


Rape – Thy True Name Be Seduction

Yes, we really do seem to be trying to find our way back to the “Good Ole Days”.  Or maybe things just really haven’t changed as much as many of us thought that they had.

Subject of this piece has to do with the Cosby story.  American icon of feel good family life.  We all grew up with him, we all laughed with him.  We all thought he was the embodiment of good common sense and the kind of man you could always feel safe around.  And so when the first story surfaced accusing him, the initial reaction was, oh no!  Not Bill Cosby!  And I must admit that I need to hang my head a bit in shame on it as well.  I questioned the legitimacy of it.  I wondered if it was just someone trying to make some money or get her 15 minutes of fame.  I watched her on some news station and didn’t think she looked or sounded believable.  For her, to her, I am sorry.  For all of the victims, I am sorry.

And no, I am not going to state that Cosby is absolutely guilty.  For one, it is not my place to do so.  That should be up to the courts, the victims.  I am sure there is this chance that he could be innocent.  Though I think that the chance is about equal to Christopher Hitchens being a closeted Christian.  However, I don’t have all the evidence.  But, I have enough to convince my mind.  And the latest released transcripts of the previous accusations.

At any rate, I leave to the courts to take that one on.  My grievance is at the media handling of this whole thing.  And yes, I understand in the beginning, they can claim misgivings and uncertainty at the claims.  I can even grant that they must use the words accused of, reported, etc.  What I cannot accept is the fact that not one of them that I have seen has had the guts to actually spit out that “R” word.

Our Bodies Are No Longer Our’s To Own

uterusI actually had quite a few other things that I had planned on working on today.   And then I saw the news of the latest Supreme Court decision.  To be honest, I can’t say that I am surprised at the decision.  I rather expected it.  The many decisions leading up to this one, each one chipping away at our basic human rights, voices and liberties.  And this one, even in the face of the sheer hypocrisy of the company that took the suit all the way to the justices.

We, the women of this country, can be refused coverage for contraception based on the professed beliefs of our bosses, even if the organization is not a religious institution.  Because the “rights” of a company trump the rights of an individual. However, a great deal of the responsibility for this decision I believe falls on the heads of the citizens of this country.

The outcry wasn’t loud enough, it held far too few voices and wasn’t backed by the outcome at the polls.  It takes a protest on a far grander scale than any we have seen in some decades here.  It was protests of such a scale that garnered us those rights that were lost today.  Rights that have been slowly stripped away from us for the past number of years.  The women seem to have lost focus on the true impact of what these decisions mean to the freedoms women have come to enjoy.  As the old adage goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

You know?  This isn’t an issue of whether or not you use birth control.  This isn’t about whether you would ever choose to have an abortion or not.  This isn’t about whether you want to be a career woman or a stay at home mother.  This is about basic human rights, basic respect given to an intelligent, conscious human capable of making decisions about your health, your choices and the right to keep those choices private.  As such they should be.  Your employer should have no more right to dictate something out of your health insurance any more than they should have the right to dictate how you my spend the paycheck they give you.  It is part of your compensation package that you should be able to use as you see fit.

It truly is humiliating to realize that we are now, as women, faced with having to obtain permission to be granted a medical prescription.  We must shut ourselves in with them and tell them of the private, possibly embarrassing details of our bodies to get their permission to obtain medication to alleviate painful and debilitating conditions.  To tell them that our menstruations are irregular and we need this medication to bring them under control.  And those that just want the simple ability to decide when to, or if to, become a mother, well, you are on your own for that one.

Not to fear though! Those same restrictions do not apply to the medications to aid men suffering from ED.  They will still be covered for their Viagra, Cialis, etc.  They will even be covered for their vasectomies.  So, a man’s choice of sexual and reproductive freedom is not, has never been and never will be under question.  They don’t even need to have a sit down heart to heart with their boss to explain why they need it.

I remember an incident a couple of years ago before the presidential election a response I got on something I said on Facebook.  I don’t remember what the specific topic was, though I am sure it had to do with my either expressing my support of the Democratic candidates if for no other reason than their support of women’s and LGBT rights.  A man who was a friend of the friend that made the initial post told me that, and I quote, “You women need to quit voting with your uteruses and not be so afraid to take a step in the kitchen once in a while.” Well, you know?  Women comprise 50.8% of the population. Control of our uterus is critical to our ability to succeed in the world.  It is critical to our ability to have the freedom to choose the life and education and chance at a decent income.  Things that men take for granted.  All they need is have the desire and initiative.  A woman can have all the desire and initiative in the world, but if she doesn’t have the right to control her reproductive capabilities, she could lack the means to act on those dreams.

The actual truth is that abortion is at its lowest point in decades.  Teenage pregnancy is also at its lowest levels.  That is, with the exception of a handful of Southern States where it has been made difficult to obtain access and education to reproductive choices.  Young women are entering Colleges and Universities in record numbers.  And they are also graduating in record numbers.  They are breaking barriers and changing the landscape in virtually every area.  Granted, they are still somewhat held back in certain fields.  The old boy’s club doesn’t give up easily.  But, one of the critical things that has made possible for the numbers that are breaking through these walls and barriers is this ability to control and regulate our reproductive health.

We, as women, spend our entire lives with a stacked deck against us.  We are judged by our looks, how we dress, how we carry ourselves.  There is a different vocabulary of words used toward us, about us; negative words to the positive counterpart to the same behaviors in men.  Everywhere we turn, society, and corporations in particular, are looking for a way to excuse not letting us take any further steps forward.  Or demonizing us for the ones we have.  We slept our way to the top, its a good thing we have our looks to rely on. Even Hillary Clinton was challenged in the media lately when it came out that she was about to be a Grandmother.  How can she expect to be considered a candidate with a grandchild?  It doesn’t matter if you like Hillary or not, its about the fact that no such questioning would arise if she was a man about to become a Grandfather.  In fact, it has NEVER been a question in that situation.

Take all of that into consideration as you determine how critical you now think it to be for a woman to control her reproductive health? Then we have the issue of religion.  Should an employer have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees?  That is a terrifying can of worms for anyone to open.  Because, if you allow that for one, you must allow it for all.  Because you cannot ONLY give this right to one belief of one religion;  correction, demonination of that religion (the misspell began as legit and decided it should stay).

Add to this equation the fact that roughly 12% of the hospitals in this country are owned by the Catholic Church.  So, you now have a Supreme Court ruling that says an organization’s religious/moral belief can dictate what you can and can’t have.  You currently have 12% and growing of the hospitals in the country that are owned by a church that is anti-birth control, abortion, gay, and any belief other than their own.  As it is, if you go to a Catholic hospital, you are subject to the Bishops laws, regardless of your beliefs or instructions.  Some of those are:

The Bishops’ Directives forbid: •    Contraception •    Vasectomies and tubal ligation •    Abortion under any circumstances, including an ectopic pregnancy, which is a life-threatening condition •    Most fertility treatments •    IVF •    New treatments (e.g., for Parkinsons or Juvenile Diabetes) that make use of embryonic stem cells •    Any participation or referrals for patients who want to exercise their legal rights under Death with Dignity laws   The Bishops’ Directives require: •    tube feeding in the case of a persistent, vegetative coma (similar to Terri Schiavo) regardless of any Advance Directive to the contrary •    Employees to override patients’ Advanced Directives if they conflict with the Bishops’ Moral code – See more at: http://states.secular.org/states/washington/post/impact-catholic-hospitals-acquiring-secular-ones#sthash.aVVpJm5k.dpuf

Getting a bit nervous yet?  We’ll save my rant about how it won’t matter if you have legalized gay marriage in your state.  They won’t allow you at the deathbed of your spouse because their moral rights trump your legal rights.  Good grief!  They burned at least tens of thousands of people for their beliefs.

Right now, I want to scream, I want to pound my fists violently on a table top.  More than anything else, I want to shake the living shit out of all the women who have not been taking this seriously, who have been too busy to be bothered by it, who didn’t believe they could get away with it.  I want to scream at them, “Do you have any idea what we went through to get you those rights?  Did you think they came without sweat and blood?  Women died for the rights you are taking for granted.  They have been humiliated, abused, degraded, beaten, ostracized.  Did you think just because you had them, they couldn’t be taken away?  Well, wake up time little girls!  If you don’t hold tight onto those rights, they will grab them away in a heartbeat.  They just did.  And they are doing so every . . . . . single . . . . day!  It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in abortion.  It doesn’t matter if you want a family and don’t need contraception . . . . now.  It doesn’t even matter if you call yourself a Christian.  What matters is that you have had the right to make a decision for yourself taken from you.  You have allowed a hypocritical company take away decisions that are personal, your’s and that only belong being discussed with your doctor.  Its a damned pain to have to keep such a tight hold on the rights when you get them.  But, its a whole lot harder to get them back once you lose them.  And they ain’t done yet.   Its your body ladies.  We used to be owned.  Is that what you want again? No?  So then its about time you young ladies get off your asses and start fighting. ”

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SephiPiderWitch 06/30/2014

In God We Hate


I shouldn’t be surprised with the news these last months, weeks.  I was a child of the 60’s.  I lived through the time of desegregation.  I spent two of my father’s stations in rural Georgia.  And I was raised by a woman who followed the crazy fundamentalist hate mongers of which many are still spewing their vitriol while holding out their hands for your meager dollars, threatening damnation if you don’t take it out of the mouths of your children to give to them.  I’ve been to many a Bother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.  I’ve heard it, read it, had it beat upside my head, and screamed into my ears through all of my formative years.  I’ve seen racism up front, looking at the bloodied face of the neighbor caught walking down the street with his white girlfriend.  Have felt rejection and hatred of being found unworthy for not believing as I was expected, as those around me did.  And yet . . . .

They tell us that God is love.  That only God can judge.  That one should love one’s neighbor.  Jesus taught that we teach by living our lives by our belief.  We are taught that he died for our sins and all the laws of the old testament were no longer necessary because of his sacrifice.

So, that means we can now eat pork.  We can wear fabric from mixed fibers.  All those hundreds of laws no longer need to be memorized, adhered to, punishments noted, applied, held out for all to witness.  We can now concentrate on what we were told to be Jesus’ message.  To love.  To care for each other.  To treat all as our brothers, sisters.  To know that unless we have lived without blemish, we have no right to judge another.

Now, I am not a Christian.  That got beat out of me, screamed out of me, hypocrisied (don’t care if its not a real word, it should be) out of me far too many years ago.  But, I can respect the honorable teachings of the religion.  And it amazes me how I, heretic, non-believer, borderline atheist can understand the messages of Jesus and his followers can not.

I am also a firm believer in the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech, including freedom of thought.  I believe that everybody has the right to fill their minds and their hearts with as much hatred as they wish to.  I believe they have the right to look at their neighbors and their family that don’t meet the mold they set before them and decide they are less than human, a monster, a pariah.  They have the right to wish them ill in their hearts.  We all have that right.  But, some of us realize there are much better places to invest our energy than in hating family that doesn’t meet our standards, hating our neighbors, hating strangers.  That life is much more enjoyable when you spend it doing things that make you happy than in doing things to make others feel pain.

However, what is different, what is so very frightening right now is the flood of hate speech, hate law attempts, hate politics that are in the air waves, on our news feeds and moving through our legislatures.  There are currently at least half a dozen states attempting to pass laws that allow for legal discrimination, claiming it is an issue of religious rights.  There are even more that have either passed or in constant submission on women’s reproductive rights, again citing the religious rights of a company.

Now, I am aware of the absurd ruling on Citizen’s United.  That really, really needs to be overturned.  A company is NOT, has never been and will never be a person.  It is populated with people, run by people and owned by people.  And each of those persons have a right, a vote, a voice.  And there is a very obscure chance that the entire population of a corporation could vote unanimously on an issue, but I would guess even that would be unlikely at astronomical odds. A corporation is not a citizen, it is not a living breathing entity with individual thought. One of the great absurdities of this is that it is communism at its most perverted state, the hive mentality, the Borg. Not to mention hypocrisy at the extreme. For as it screams that social programs for the individual is socialism and should be opposed, it is attempting to say that it has the right to make the decisions for the people. The right to decide which people are worthy to be allowed into the hive. The rest will be left out to starve and die.

The politicians are quoting ancient and even by biblical standards, irrelevant passages to defend their claims, to rally their forces. But, if they were to truly abiding the rules of their “holy book”, the passages no longer apply. They were negated when their son of God was executed on the cross and all sins forgiven. And if they are to resurrect the old testament, they must do so wholly. They cannot eat pork and wear their designer blended fabrics and condemn homosexuality. They cannot elect women to power. There are hundreds of things they cannot do if they wish to bring back the old.

Hate is admittedly one of the most powerful unifying forces. One has only to look at history to know this to be fact. Create an enemy, dress it in the costume of “different”, give it a victim that you must protect from its evil intents and the people will flock to the cause in hordes. Draw that line of separation, darken it, deepen it, build on it. Stoke the fire till it becomes an inferno and turn it loose. Don’t worry about the deaths, the horrors that follow from it. Use them to feed the cause of hate. There is no need to worry about logic. Fevered hate will burn away any trace of logic or reason.

And the hate machine is now out of control. I have lived through seeing what this kind of hate can do when it becomes law. Sadly, it appears I may have to live through seeing that happen again.

Free Will


Free Will It seems to me that one of the things that the bible teaches, that many preachers have preached in sermons I have heard when I was growing up is that one of the things that sets us apart from other animals and even the angels themselves, is free will.
Free Will
It seems to me that one of the things that the bible teaches, that many preachers have preached in sermons I have heard when I was growing up is that one of the things that sets us apart from other animals and even the angels themselves, is free will.

It seems to me that one of the things that the bible teaches, that many preachers have preached in sermons I have heard when I was growing up is that one of the things that sets us apart from other animals and even the angels themselves, is free will. We are gifted with the ability for rational thought, intelligence and that crowning glory of free will. The Christian’s highest prophet told his followers, “Judge not lest ye be judged”. Jesus himself walked with a prostitute at his side after having saved her from being stoned and telling the crowd, “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.” These are the teachings that were passed to his followers to filter down through the chronicles of time. He taught gentle love, tolerance, being a brother to his fellow man, charity and compassion. Yet, somehow, these things, the things he instructed his followers as the guide to live their lives by are so very rarely followed by many of his modern followers. He taught that one should live their lives as a testament to their beliefs. To set an example. Not to judge.

Yet, what we see in the world now seems to be in direct contradiction to what he taught. The church leaders cry out in anger to instill hatred to homosexuals. They seek to control a woman’s freedom with her body. They condemn charity to any who do not share their beliefs. And they base their condemnations on a few small verses in the Old Testament. Yet, similar verses with different rules in those same books can be disregarded as unnecessary. It’s hypocrisy at its finest and something I am sure that, if the bible is correct on the kind of man Jesus was, he would be highly offended at.

Free will is the ability to use the gifts you have of your intellect, your reasoning, and listening to the voice of your heart to make the decisions of your life. Free will is the ability to make mistakes, to learn from them. Free will is the ability to choose a path that may be different from your neighbor, your brother, your associates. There are laws that cross most beliefs, and I find these to be the true laws. Don’t harm others. Do unto others, including your earth, as you would have it do unto you. Take no more than you need. Care for each other. Do not judge one when you have not walked in their shoes. They seem pretty simple and most people, most religions, hold these beliefs.

Is it wrong to love someone of the same gender? It exists in virtually every species of the animal kingdom. But, there are those that will say that it is unnatural. That means its against nature. My rational mind says that if it is indeed against nature, it would not happen so frequently in nature. I don’t have to be sexually attracted to my own gender to be able to understand that in some humans, it is part of their nature. Just as it is part of the nature of some humans to be attracted to those of the opposite gender. That also happens in nature. Is it wrong to love your own gender? From the Christian God viewpoint, I don’t know that there is an answer to that. We pull on ancient texts of laws written in a different time, a different culture. Just as we can’t apply all of the laws they held at that time, we can’t be sure on this one either. But, I don’t believe it is any of our places to make those decisions, those choices for others. Those that believe in that God cannot possibly know the mind of that God. They even say as much in their words. It says it in their book. It is not their place to judge. If there “truly” is a wrongness, then it will be out on the “judgement day”. Until that time, they must allow free will to guide each individual person’s actions and behaviors.

So, where is the line drawn between the rights of a religious person and one who chooses, lives a different way? Its entirely and solely with the individual. They have the right to choose who they love, they have the right to use birth control, they have the right to control their own body, even if it means their choice is the terminations of a pregnancy. Allowing one the free will to make a choice is not a violation of your rights, freedoms. Denying them that “is” a violation of their’s. They must be allowed, we must be allowed to make those choices. Homosexuals do not raise homosexual children. Homosexual teachers do not create homosexual students. Any more than heterosexual parents always produce heterosexual children. Teaching tolerance of same sex relationships does not make children want same sex relationships. It simply teaches them that love can be found in many packages. That families are created in love and nurture and support.

Girls and women should not have to pay a lifetime price for being a victim of rape, making a foolish mistake or being a victim of incest. They should have the right to control when they bring life into the world. If for no other reason than it is likely they will be, if not the sole support, the more substantial support for that life. That life deserves to have the best that can be offered it. The cost of allowing that woman to choose when, if, is in reality, insubstantial. She should not have to answer to any other than her doctor for the choices she makes in regards to her body. It allows her to wait till she is better equipped to take on such a responsibility. You may not like that she would choose to be sexually active out of marriage, or even wait within the bonds of marriage to do so. But, again, she should be allowed her free will. She should not have to answer to another, get permission from another or have her will forced by another. Her using her insurance to pay for those things does not infringe on your religious rights.  Because her body is none of your business.  Your business is “your” body.  “Your” free will is in either making or not making the same choices. Not in controlling her choices.

Many of the founding fathers of this country went out of their way to make provisions for personal freedom. Many of them held very strong beliefs about separation of church and state. Many of them acknowledged that we are a country of many religions, many beliefs. They were brilliant men who looked carefully at the failings of governments and countries in history and sought very hard to create documents that they hoped would prevent making the same mistakes in the country they were forming. They created a living set of documents that could be changed as the times changed. They, int their wisdom, realized that they might have overlooked things, that changes in times could necessitate alterations.  They realized that as brilliant as they were, they didn’t know everything, had not foreseen everything.  The administrators of the government were to be the “servants” of the people, not the rulers of the people. They were supposed to set their personal biases aside and listen to the voices of all of the people, not just a select few. The first amendment guarantees us the right to free speech, freedom to assemble, a free press. They believed in free will.

Laws are meant to punish those who would murder, rape, steal, harm the fabric of society. They are not meant to control who we love, how we love. They are not attachable to our very bodies. Freedom is not the ability to live by another’s standards, another’s religion, another’s path. Freedom is the ability to listen to the individual song of our soul and live to “that” song. Its not anyone else’s song, we have no right to change the words or tune of their song. And they have no right to change our’s. If we are off key, then maybe not so many will want to sing with us. But, we can still sing it our way. And the truth is that even locked up, tortured, or sentenced to death, our free will cannot be taken from us. We will only lose it if we give it away. And I, for one, will never give mine away.