Laura G Owens ~ Writer. Raw. Real.

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do, you apologize for the truth. – Benjamin Disrael

Tag: reproductive rights

When people ask, but aren’t you glad your birth mother didn’t abort you?

Of course the answer is yes.

And no.

Let me be clear. I love my birth mother. I’m deeply grateful she gave me
life. I found her in 2016 after years of looking. Because I was finally ready.

My mother is seriously gush-worthy. A remarkable woman filled with love and
grace and indomitable strength. Smart, funny, one of the most thoughtful people
I’ve ever meant. I couldn’t ask for a better mother-child reunion.

And with my spectacular mother came three half-siblings, two aunts, an
uncle, cousins, nieces, nephews and family friends. A close-knit tribe
who embraced me from day one. No questions asked.

I’m not overstating. These reunions can go south pretty fast. People don’t
trust intentions, someone gets jealous, drama ensues, who they hell are you
after all these years?
Ugliness. But these are some really nice people who
I’m proud to share DNA.

I’m lucky to carry my mother’s genes. I see myself in her. Passionate,
chatty, curious, always up for a laugh, animal and nature lover, enthusiastic
and straightforward.

She was only 17 when she had me. A thriving senior in high school headed to a
top-ranked college. Her whole life ahead of her. The time was 1964, long before
abortion was an option. Even if it were an option, my mother was too far along.

I won’t get into the grit of her story because the details are hers. I will
say that before we met, before I even knew my mother’s name, I requested information
about her and my father (apparently longtime friends) from my adoption agency.
And to my surprise, three detailed pages, without names, showed up in my mailbox.

But even before I knew anything about my mother, I was vehemently
pro-choice simply because my adopted father told me I’d been given up for
adoption.

When I was old enough to understand what being an unwed mother meant, I
pictured a young woman (I guessed) and all that she had to endure in 1964.

My adopted family was socially liberal. My father a Republican and agnostic,
my mother a Democrat and Methodist (later Presbyterian). I had zero hell fire
conservative brimstone growing up. Nare a story about the sanctity of the fetus
or the non-sanctity. My brothers and sisters all just knew: don’t get knocked
up. College awaits you or else.

The adoption agency paperwork revealed that my mother took care of me in a maternity
home for ten days before I went to a foster, then adopted family. I can’t
imagine caring for my daughter for 10 days then handing her over. Until the pain
softened I’d probably wish I were dead. I’d never recover.  

For as long as I can remember, a woman’s right to choose has felt
monumentally important to respecting women as half the population.  

The issue makes me stomping mad because of the absolute gall of men
(and women) to decide a woman’s body and her livelihood. The patriarchy of the
whole thing infuriates me into near madness.

It launched me into my first bumper sticker in my late 20’s, “My body, my
choice” that my fiancé begged me to remove. “Oh you’re definitely getting
keyed,” he’d warn.

The right to choose speaks through me as if I’m speaking through my
mother. Fortuntely I’ve never had to make the choice. 

It’s an issue that speaks to me through all the unwed mother whose peers and
teachers and parents branded them with a scarlet slut in 1964.

This happened to my mother. Teachers gave her dirty looks.  No one
“knew” because my mother was sent away, but they whispered and
pointed in the high school hallway when she returned.

My father (an amazing man who I met in 2016) was also a senior with his
whole life ahead of him. The report made it clear that my paternal and
maternal grandparents were of course, horrified.

But for men it was different back then. A stupid mistake, but you
know boys. Wink, wink, hush hush.  
 

But for women, they allowed it to happen. Ladies don’t do such
things. And God knows, they don’t get pregnant.

So yes, I wished my mother had the choice to abort me without anyone knowing. If that’s what she wanted. I never felt abandoned by her. She was 17. But I wouldn’t feel abandoned by a mother of any age who was ill-equipped to care for me. That’s love, that’s not abandonment.  

I still mourn what my mother went through. Pregnancy. Banishment. Missed
high school. The hell of labor and delivery. The ghosts of her child haunting her over
the span of fifty years. Shame thrown at her like a village stoning.

There’s been a few times when a loved one realized I was pro-choice and said to me genuinely perplexed, “But if your mother had an abortion we wouldn’t know you.”

Of course I thanked them. I know they meant well. They were telling me, listen
you nimrod, it’s good that you were born so we can know you and love you.
Otherwise we wouldn’t know you.

Just this weekend a male friend, very pro-life, told me after we briefly
discussed the Roe overturn, “But aren’t you glad you were born?”

Well yes, but that’s never been the point.

The truth is if I wasn’t born I wouldn’t know I wasn’t born. Loved ones
wouldn’t know I wasn’t born.

You’re not missed when you’re not known.

And if you believe in this sort of thing, I think I’d be born eventually. I mean no disrespect to my mother. My lip quivers and I tread carefully here. But I think eventually, I’d enter the realm of existence.  

Much of what I write about explores accepting two opposite feelings, that if
you allow them, can co-exist peacefully.

I love my mother for giving me life and I wish she’d had the option to abort me. This doesn’t feel remotely at odds or weird.

I promise I don’t hate myself. I’m not grappling nor have I ever, with an
existential crisis.

My half-sister is this beautiful, open, spirited warm soul. She calls it
like she sees it with humor but no meanness. She joked with me a few
months ago at a wedding that “You know, it’s because of you that my mom is so
pro-life.” I laughed and said, “Well, it’s because of her that I’m so
pro-choice.”

That’s all we needed to say. I still don’t know where my sister stands on
the issue. I don’t need to.

For obvious reasons I don’t talk to my mother about abortion. I knew from
day one how she felt. I know her heart and her religion call her to stand
firmly behind her position and are foundational to who she is. As my heart and
my religion call me to stand behind my position.

So yes of course I’m grateful my mother had me. I also wish she’d had the
option to abort me. Then. And now, for the future of all girls and
women.

 

God is also inside Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood

 

Excerpted from “God Is Also Inside Planned Parenthood”

They were last night as I walked in to a Planned Parenthood discussion on “A Celebration of Faith and Reproductive Health.”

They’re always there, the voices to protect the unborn.

A few protesters waved graphic images of bloody broken babies and held “Planned Parenthood = Murder” signs. A man on a megaphone shouted Scripture from the curb.

For a moment I wondered about all the good these protesters could do if they combined their passion and turned it into everyone’s cause. Because everyone wants to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

As I walked into the meeting room I was struck by the number of men who showed up, men who don’t own a womb but must understand why they must never own mine.

I grabbed a chair in the front row and listened to a panel of faith leaders and one secular humanist share why they support reproductive rights in the context of their beliefs.

Rev Davis, former Chair of Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advisory Board, spoke frankly about his years as chaplain at Skidmore College during the late 60’s.

When he first started he told his wife, “How hard could it be to counsel 1400 girls?”

“‘You’re an idiot,’ she said, ‘It’ll be hard.’” Read full post

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Pregnancy ‘warm and fuzzy,’ birth control ‘immoral?’ Mr. Potter, snap out of it.

bcClick here to sign petition against Eden Foods

I’m curious if Eden Food’s CEO Mr. Michael Potter ever had the “immoral and unnatural practices” he says birth control promotes, before he got married?

“Michael Potter, Eden’s CEO, claims, among other things, that contraception ‘almost always involve[s] immoral and unnatural practices.’ That’s one of the reasons why he filed suit in 2013 against the mandate of the Affordable Care Act that classifies birth control as preventative healthcare for women.” “Shocking: Eden Foods vs. Birth Control.”

Or is it just women who have immoral and unnatural pre-marital practices? The unmarried men of superior morality aren’t anywhere near the bedroom of such women. It is a person of undetermined gender who lays with and impregnates the hussy.

I’m a bit confused, but I’m a little slow.

“After filing the suit, he went even further, saying that the government has ‘no right’ to extend coverage for birth control, comparing birth control to Jack Daniels, and saying that pregnancy should be covered but birth control should not because pregnancy has ‘more warmth and fuzziness.’ When the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was announced, Potter said he was “grateful” for the court’s decision while calling President Obama a “dictator” who wants to take away Americans’ rights.”  “Shocking: Eden Foods vs. Birth Control.”

Gosh golly, had we known birth control leads to the uncontrollable loosening of the chaste just as drops of whiskey inevitably part the lips of the committed teetotaler and transforms them into guzzling alcoholics, I would have banned this Devil’s lure called birth control myself.

“Pregnancy has more warmth and fuzziness?” than birth control?

Mr. Potter I’d suggest until you experience the warm and fuzzy of pregnancy and childbirth firsthand (the latter anything but and the former (while not in my case) 40 weeks of misery for some women) you might want to keep your Hallmark fantasy adjectives to yourself.

I’d appreciate it if people (those in the know and the clueless) would stop romanticizing baby-making.

A child when wanted and loved and cared for by responsible loving parents is still hell-hard but yes, all-out storybook romantic in parts, and worth every hair-pull.  Insuring birth control coverage gives babies and women (and men) a civil society, one that promotes reproductive choice and timing.

Babies are not merely the Will of God, they are a real life living breathing responsibility.

Also Mr. Potter, have you ever heard of a 17-year-old impoverished uneducated girl determined to keep her crack baby? Say for instance, she lives with her verbally and physically abusive drug-dealer boyfriend who when mom isn’t home has his way with her little one?

Yes, maybe mom knew better about birth control, about abstinence, about her adoption options, about the dirt bag she had sex with unprotected, but she said okay anyway and hell no, I’m keeping my baby. Maybe she was ignorant and knew none of the above, which is why we shouldn’t be focusing on banning company-provided birth control coverage, but on teaching our kids abstinence, self respect and  protected sex.   

Morality wish list crossed with reality. 

While I’m all for teaching abstinence as a desirable and viable option, it’s naive to insist everyone keep their legs closed until marriage. And like it or not, people in love (and people in pure unfettered lust) like to test the sexual compatibility waters before a lifetime of monogamy.  

But let’s look at folks you approve to copulate. Married couples. Take for example, the 50-year-old husband and wife who had their kids and now want to move on to their empty-nest phase. They want a hundred percent (okay 99.9%) guarantee that their baby-making days are over. 

Should they remain celibate? Okay Mr. Potter, you first. 

Oh yes. Condoms. While I’m not familiar with the growing list types and textures, my guess is condoms don’t rank high on every couple’s Top Ten Ways to Add Sexy Time Excitement. Add to the worry the chance the condom fails, which isn’t a high probability but is possible (and yes, the Pill isn’t 100% either). 

Next up, the self-control Pull Out Method where an “oops” might be to some merely “God’s will” to let a baby shine through. But perhaps the woman (and man) would like to invoke their own will for making a baby, seeing as they’re the one’s raising the baby, not God. 

Excerpted from: “Eden Foods CEO Doesn’t Know Why He’s Against Contraception, but He Is.”

“Ian Millhiser, a legal analyst for Think Progress, noted that Potter’s utter lack of religious conviction undermined his already-thin case. When Carmon called Potter back for comment, he seemed very confused by his lawyers’ claims about devout religious faith. Carmon asked him what particular religious belief led him to sue, and his answer is surely one beloved by his lawyers:

“Well, there isn’t any one particular religious belief, Irin,” he said, sounding irritated. “I find it hard to get my head around the question.”

He then went on to claim that his employees could get “free” contraception elsewhere, because of the HHS mandate. In reality, they cannot, because the HHS mandate doesn’t offer alternatives to employees whose employers have told them they can’t use their own insurance benefits.”

Mr. Potter, you find it hard to get your head around why you deny birth control coverage?

Is your free floating squeamishness that you feel sort of yukky, gross, dirty and wrong-ish about any tool that allows sex to occur without a baby the end result? I’m guessing that if you got pregnant every time you had sex you might feel less ambivalent about making sure you didn’t.   

You fell asleep Rip VanWinkle, woke up and forgot what era we live.  

Birth control doesn’t promote sex. Birth control gives reproductive choice and sexual freedom to half the populous who has it by default. This is not to suggest I promote willy-nilly free love. But men have always had sex without worry of getting pregnant. Women are entitled to the same freedoms.

I-thought-we-all-assumed-this, by now.

Mr. Potter, heavens to Betsy, women are having sex in and outside the marriage. Some of them (take a deep breathe) even like it.  Moreover, women who have sex (with men who are having sex with them) may not be ready (or ever) to have a baby.

Try to process that you’re not part of the immorality problem when you cover birth control.  You’re part of the problem of denial and judging women when you romanticize baby-making and insist “moral sex” is only between married couples. If a baby is conceived from a married couple who isn’t ready or wants to remain childless what do you say? Blessings abound?  

Babies deserve to be born to people who want them.

Women deserve the dignity and respect to decide if and when they get want to have a baby.

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