January 06, 2005

The only time I will ever ask you to actually forward something to the women who matter to you, including your readers.

It's funny to me how sometimes I will sit here with the intention of beginning a post, pretty much knowing what I'm going to write about, and not one word of what I'd thought about makes it onto the screen.

Tonight is one of those nights because I decided to hop over to a few of my favorite blogs first to kind of "settle in." The post about my experience with my new XM radio? Out the proverbial window.

In a country where we see people get up in arms over the most trivial of things (e.g., a breast being flashed on "family time" TV) and the most serious of things (e.g., a Presidential election) in the same year, sometimes it's hard to know where to pin the line of "Here is where I care." Cross that line and you will be on the bad side of a bitch on fire.

Where do you place that line and how much does it move based on what you see, hear and read on the latest big story from the evening news, Larry King, the now-defunct "Crossfire" or the Drudge Report and its ilk? Or from your friends, family, church, co-workers, drinking buddies and gym cohorts? We all have things that are important to us, but what makes you take a stand and say, "No, that you cannot do. I...we...will not stand for it," to the world and to the person or persons crossing that line?

For many people, that line may be abortion. Not all women share the same view and many, if not most, have strong, deep, and oftentimes personal reasons for deciding which side of the issue she stands on. It's a line that, as a country we have seen shift a little back and forth from the middle over the decades, but for the most part I believe it's fairly steady and the people on either side stand pretty firmly entrenched in their opinions. It's a hot-button issue because it's not just about being a woman (or a man who might become a father, for that matter), it now has its roots deep into our culture as a religious matter and a personal privacy matter and a medical matter, all tangled up into one mix of incompatible beliefs. You pull on one thread and the other two howl in opposition. Throw it into the crucible of the government and politics and it just gets messier and more intractable.

I have no intention of debating the issue here one way or the other for those very reasons; it's merely an example. But consider how you immediately thought about where you stand on the matter, and how you would have been prepared to react if what I had to put forth on it was an abomination to your most personal, closely held belief or sense of self?

Tonight I went over to Chez Miscarriage to assure myself that NBHHY, and found this post from the amazing and resilient getupgrrl. I did a double-take at seeing my own first name unexpectedly, because it's not one you see around a whole lot, but forgot all about it once I really started reading.

Her post drew me to this post from Maura of VA that is a comprehensive explanation and examination of a bill that is "The Most Odious Infringement on the Privacy of [Virginia] women...ever." (I put "Virginia" in brackets because it truly goes beyond just the women of Virginia and is an affront to every woman of childbearing age in this country.) I highly suggest going over to read it to get the full scope of what is involved and at stake here. But in short, as she explains:
"It sounds preposterous to talk about criminalizing women who suffer miscarriages, but one Virginia legislator is proposing just that. HB1677, “Report of Fetal Death by mother, penalty” is a bill introduced by John A. Cosgrove (R) of Chesapeake. Cosgrove’s bill requires any woman who experiences “fetal death” without a doctor’s assistance to report this to the local law-enforcement agency within twelve hours of the miscarriage. Failure to do so is punishable as a Class 1 Misdemeanor."
"I believe that most women, regardless of position on the issue of reproductive freedom, will be offended by this bill. I know many avowedly pro-life women who have experienced miscarriages and who would be horrified by the intrusion of the state in the first 12 hours following this tragedy."
This is not about religion. This is not about medicine. This is not about harm to another person.

This is where I draw a line a mile deep and a mile wide and say that you do not, cannot, will not and shall not have the right to impose this barbaric and malicious attack against the dignity, privacy, and innate worth of the women of your state and your country.

No, Delegate Cosgrove, that you cannot do. We will not stand for it.