Tag Archives: health

Pro-Life and Pro-Death Penalty Don’t Compare


Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash

 

Trigger warning and offense disclaimer: The title should be sufficient, but in case it’s not, consider yourself  warned that this post discusses abortion. I present facts, statistics, my own experiences and opinions, none of which are meant to offend or trigger. That being said, I’ve no doubt that some people WILL be triggered and/or offended. You continue reading at your own risk.

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Although I’m writing this post in response to a Facebook post authored by one of my cousins, it’s long been on my mind and in my heart, so I decided to make it a blog post.

 

My Personal Stance

I am both pro-choice and pro-life. The two do not necessarily cancel out each other. Life is just as much of a choice as abortion. I just happen to believe that abortion is the wrong choice. I don’t condemn women who make this choice (it’s not my jurisdiction), but it does fill me with sorrow for the innocent life taken and with sadness for the woman who made that choice, because, unless she’s severely lacking on the emotional quotient scale, that choice will affect her mental health for the rest of her life.

I don’t believe there’s any difference between aborting an unborn child and murdering a five-year-old child. Both are living human beings. The survival of one should be just as important as the other.

The Bible supports the sanctity of human life (yes, I have to bring “religion” into it, because it influences my beliefs). Just a few scripture references: Genesis 9:5-6, Exodus 23:7, Psalm 22:9-10.

 

Death Penalty Versus Abortion

I am also pro-death penalty and don’t believe this to be hypocritical, as there’s really no comparison between the two. Abortion takes an innocent life before she or he has had a chance to live and exercise his or her God-given free will. The death penalty takes the life of someone who has used his or her free will to hurt others and deny them of their free will. In this case, the laws of our country and the balance of justice have weighed the evidence and testimony and judged them, as is their God-given right to do. (Romans 13:1-4, I Peter 2:13-17)

I’ve found that most people who are against the death penalty are also against murder and blood-shed in general.

Have you ever seen photos or videos of abortions? I have. (I won’t include any of those here. You’re welcome.) It’s one of the bloodiest acts I’ve ever seen. Make no mistake, abortion is VIOLENT and that unborn baby (by 6 weeks gestation, the unborn is FULLY FORMED) FEELS EVERY MINUTE OF THEIR DISMEMBERMENT.

At least in most states, the death penalty is carried out by lethal injection. How about we hack them to death while they’re awake and aware instead?

That would be cruel and unusual punishment, you say? You are correct.

 

My Argument

I present to you an argument against abortion that I have rarely seen or heard: abortion is NOT the woman exercising free will over her own body. Abortion is the murder of an innocent human life that resides WITHIN the woman’s body. A woman’s freedom to do as she likes with her body ends when that freedom endangers the life of another human being. In this case, the unborn child living within her.

This is NOT a choice of what to do with your own body; this is the decision of what to do with the body, life, soul and future of another human being. And according to the laws of this country, in any other situation, that is a crime punishable by death in some states or life in prison without the possibility of parole in others.

 

Legality vs Illegality

Prior to Roe v Wade, abortion was prohibited (illegal) in the USA. EVERY state had a statute against abortion, some more lenient than others, but most made abortion (except for fetal abnormality or rape or incest) a felony, and the 14th Amendment supported those statutes. (You remember this one: “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”)

It was the height of irony then, when in 1973, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun used this same Amendment to support his (majority) opinion in Roe v Wade that abortion is protected based upon the woman’s fundamental “right to privacy.” And one of the most controversial precedents to ever be set by the U.S. Supreme Court was born.

That is the ONLY thing it stands on. Abortion isn’t covered in the Constitution (like so many proponents claim), yet a judge set a precedent for it, in violation of states’ statutes against it. That’s all legal abortion is; a precedent.

The reason it’s such a hot topic in this country is because it was never put to a vote. It was never presented as a bill, it was never listed on a federal ballot. Instead, one man made the decision that said “it’s okay,” and his fellows voted either with or against.

 

Current Politics

What states are doing now with their abortion ban bills – Alabama, Georgia, others – is forcing this issue. It will eventually have to be brought to a vote to avoid a potential political civil war.

(Oh. Wait. We already have one of those.)

THIS – voting on issues that affect the nation – is how our system is supposed to work. We are a democratic republic, not an oligarchy.

 

Abortion Rate Facts: Florida

Since I live in Florida, those are the abortion rate facts I will share. For statistics in your own state, have a quick conversation with Mr. Google.

Florida records a reason for every abortion that occurs within the state. The most recent data available from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and Guttmacher Institute (research arm of Planned Parenthood) are from 2015. That year, there were 71,740 abortions performed in Florida:

  • Pregnancy resulted from an incestuous relationship: .001%
  • Pregnancy that endangered the woman’s life: .065%
  • Pregnancy resulted from rape: .085%
  • Pregnancy threatened the woman’s physical health: .288%
  • Pregnancy threatened the woman’s psychological health: .294%
  • Serious fetal abnormality: .666%
  • Pregnancy aborted for social or economic reasons: 6.268%
  • Elective abortion (no reason): 92.330%

According to the state-level data (CDC data and Guttmacher Institute data typically have a 2-3 years reporting lag), so the more recent than 2015 details aren’t yet available, but overall in Florida:

  • Total abortions (2018): 70,083
  • Total abortions (2017): 69,064
  • Total abortions (2016): 69,770

 

What About Rape or Incest?

Do I believe that abortion is wrong in the cases of rape or incest? As a woman and a survivor of child sexual abuse, I’m still conflicted about that, and probably always will be.

As I said before, I won’t judge other women for it, but since you’re asking my opinion (thank you), I think it should be a case-by-case situation, just like the death penalty and any other legal consequence.

By the way, pregnancy resulting from rape or incest make up LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF ALL ABORTIONS, NATIONWIDE.

You want to know what accounts for the highest percentage of abortions in this country? I’ll tell you anyway. INCONVENIENT & UNWANTED. If only there was a way to see into the future and have those women sterilized upon birth. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about a small human – INCONVENIENT & UNWANTED –taking up temporary residence in their wombs.

Something to remember: rape and incest themselves leave the victim traumatized. Aborting a pregnancy resulting from either of these will cause the woman even MORE physical and psychological trauma. When the woman is physically capable of carrying the pregnancy to term, I believe it’s best to do so, and then if she doesn’t want to keep the child, give him or her up for adoption.

 

Mental Health Issues

Which brings me to the mental health issues side of things. As I live with depression and anxiety and suffered post-partum depression, the mental health issues involved in abortion are always on the front burner of my mind.

Among other validating research, a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011 found that “women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10 percent of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be directly attributable to abortion.”

Other documented mental health issues directly relatable to abortion are:

  • A suicide rate that is 3 times higher than the general suicide rate, and 6 times that associated with giving birth
  • Women who end their first pregnancy in abortion are 5 times more likely to report subsequent substance abuse than women who carried to term
  • Mood disorders substantial enough to provoke attempts of self-harm

 

The Case for Abstinence and Contraceptives

The best case scenario is abstinence. No sex until you are ready to live with any resulting pregnancy. Even the CDC advises that “the only sure way to prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs is not to have sex.”

  • If you cannot afford a child, don’t have sex; if you’re in a committed relationship, use contraceptive.
  • If you aren’t mentally prepared to carry, birth and raise a child, don’t have sex; if you’re in a committed relationship, use contraceptive.
  • If you have a medical condition that would cause problems with you or the child during or after pregnancy, don’t have sex; if you’re in a committed relationship, use contraceptive.

Of course, if you’re LGBTQ, this argument doesn’t really apply to you. Most lesbians of my acquaintance who are or have been pregnant did so because they WANTED a bio-child. Otherwise, I suppose a happy side-effect of being LGBTQ is knowing that you don’t have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

 

The Case for Adoption

There’s also the option of carrying the child to term and giving him or her up for adoption. There are plenty of people in the USA unable to have a child who would be happy to adopt. This has the added benefit of financially supporting the pregnant woman and ensuring the child has a loving home with parents who want him or her. Ever see the movie Juno? Like that.

 

The Father’s Right

I know this is argument is at least as controversial as the topic of abortion itself. Maybe more so. (I feel thousands of hostile glances as I write this.)

Unless the case is rape or incest (in which case the male in question should be denied ALL basic human rights), I believe that the father (if known) has the right to consent (or not) to the abortion. It took two to create the pregnancy (as long as it results from legally consensual sex); it should take two to decide to terminate the pregnancy.

If the woman wants an abortion and the man doesn’t, then the man should make it worth the woman’s efforts – financial support, mental health support, etc. If the two are married, I hope they would agree on the pregnancy anyway. But if not, and the woman is healthy enough to carry the child to term, but doesn’t want the pregnancy, then the father needs to step up and be supportive enough to weigh the scales of decision in his favor.

 

My Story

I was born with a congenital heart condition, commonly known at that time (1970s) as a heart murmur. The diagnosis has changed several times in the past 45 years, but the one that’s stuck is bi-cuspid valve stenosis (of the aorta). This used to mean that at some point in my forties or fifties I would need open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve with either a metal, pig or human valve. But medicine has advanced – and my condition has stabilized – to the point that I may NEVER need a valve replacement. I give God all the glory.

Hayden, 2019.
Photo credit: @kcaphoto (https://www.kaleenacarolannphoto.com/)

What all of this meant when I became pregnant at 26, was that I was high risk, and therefore under careful scrutiny by a team of doctors. Even more so as I lived in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the time, and two women with my condition – one previously diagnosed, one not – had died on the delivery table.

Things like that have a tendency to make the doctors fussy. Hence, not only was my cardiologist nervous, and I ended up being sent to Fort Worth for an induced, early delivery, but one of my doctors wanted me to have an abortion. I refused. I saw it – and still see it – as God’s jurisdiction.

This situation is what is referred to as “medically necessary.” And yet. I survived. My child survived. We both thrived. In fact, my son is handsome (see above photo evidence) and brilliant. He will graduate high school later this month, and plans to go into the field of cyber security. I’m a proud mama.

There was NO medical necessity as far as I’m concerned.

I have a friend who was also high risk. For her, it was breast cancer. She refused to have an abortion and refused chemo until after her daughter was born. Like me, she trusted God. Her delivery was successful, as was the chemo. Today, both mother and daughter are healthy and thriving, and the mother is cancer-free.

 

Friends and Acquaintances

I have friends who have had abortions. Some of them, multiple abortions. As already stated earlier, there are life-long consequences to abortion. All of these women have suffered varying degrees of depression, anxiety and PTSD:

  • One woman, when she decided she WANTED a child, was not able to get pregnant; abortion had destroyed her womb
  • One woman hadn’t told her living children (although she may have by now; I haven’t inquired) about her abortions, for fear of their disgust
  • One woman had an abortion as a young teen – her parent’s choice – and still struggles with depression, many years later
  • One woman had an abortion because she was unwed. Though she had several children later, she has never stopped mourning the one she aborted

 

In Conclusion

Happily, statistics show significant drops in abortions over the last 25+ years. Total abortions have dropped more than 27 percent since 1998. According to Guttmacher, the first time abortions fell below 1 million since Roe v Wade was in 2013. They have continued to decline since then.

Yes. By all means, allow the woman to make the choice over her own body. The life she carries IS NOT HER OWN BODY.

I will always treat women who choose to have abortions with love and compassion. But I will never stop trying to convince them to choose LIFE over death.

 

Comments are welcome, but please be rational and respectful.

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Filed under Anxiety, Depression, Emotion, Family, Law, Legal, Life, Mental Health, Morality, Motherhood, Parenting, Politics, Real Life, Relationships, sexual assault, Survivors, Thankful, Writing

Guest Post: What Exercises Should You Do in Your Forties? by Kelly Wilson


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Dominik Wycislo

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Dominik Wycislo

Exercising becomes increasingly important as we age, especially when reaching 40-years-old and beyond. However, it is really easy to feel discouraged, especially when models in major magazines and actresses in our favorite TV shows and movies are about a size 0.

Achieving a size 0 is just not realistic for me, a 41-year-old suburban mom who drives a minivan and has a weakness for gin every Friday evening. I had to make my own personal exercise goals to ensure that I could still drink gin, stay healthy, and continue to be kind and loving to my body. Let’s face it, my body has done a ton of good for me, it deserves to be treated well. Here are my personal and realistic body goals for women over 40.

Do Not Reduce Wine or Gin Intake

This is very important to me. I feel like it’s self-explanatory. Once someone suggests that maybe once-a-week alcohol consumption may have something to do with my spreading girth, he or she is dead to me. Well, “he” is dead to me, because no woman would ever suggest it. Especially if she has a spouse, a job, and/or kids. Or simply lives life.

Make Side Boobs Fit into My Bra

Side boobs hang out underneath the armpit, and basically do nothing. They aren’t sexy like regular boobs. They don’t make clothes fit better. They don’t solve mysteries or relieve social anxiety by suggesting topics for small talk.

One way to deal with abundant side boob is to eat less and exercise that area to tone it up. Exercises incorporated into yoga or weight lifting routines can help reduce side boob.

Or you can just bend over, settle the ladies into the cups, and squish that side boob up into your bra, like I do. Believe me, you will work up a sweat.

Sun’s Out, Guns Out

My biceps are impressive, and one of my goals is to show them off without feeling self-conscious. I mean, yeah, my arm workout includes lifting weights, but it also involves lifting a heavy margarita glass back and forth from the tabletop to my mouth. If it’s a strawberry margarita, I count it as a serving of fruit.

Don’t Injure Myself

Because I deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are times that I find myself filled with rage. Trump has a lot to do with it lately, and his face precipitated the purchase of a punching bag. Because I wanted to punch it – his face, that is.

The punching bag hangs in my garage. I can slip on my boxing gloves and go a few rounds whenever I feel the need. However, I am also very interested in not injuring myself. I spent several hours on YouTube, reviewing how best to punch and kick my bag. I found myself fascinated by footwork and the new vocabulary and ways that I could spend my PTSD rage without injuring myself.

I told my best friend about my YouTube punching bag adventures, and she laughed. Hard.

“Only you would research the ‘best way’ to punch a bag,” she gasped. “I mean, it’s literally a bag to punch on.”

Well, I am a little sore from punching and kicking. But I’m not injured. So there.

Literally Do Anything

This Huffington Post article details the best exercises for individuals based on their ages. For those in their 20s, running and yoga are great choices. In the 30s, exercises need to include intervals and lift heavy weights. In the 50s, activities like hiking, dancing, and tennis are great. Those in their 60s need to focus on consistent weight training.

What happened to the 40s, you ask? Take a gander:

exercises-in-your-40s

Apparently we need to get off our butts when we’re in our 40s and literally do any exercise at all.

If you’re in your 40s, apparently the best exercises are anything. Anything at all.

I suppose it’s time to get back to lifting those margaritas.

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kelly-wilson-famKelly Wilson is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is the author of Live Cheap and Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, and Kelly Wilson’s The Art of Seduction: Nine Easy Ways to Get Sex From Your Mate. Her latest book, Caskets From Costco, has been chosen as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, the 10th annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. Kelly Wilson currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, cat, and stereotypical minivan in Portland, Oregon. Read more about her at www.wilsonwrites.com.

 

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Guest Post: From Size 0 to Size Mom. And Proud of it. By C. Streetlights


I won’t ever be size 0 again, and that’s probably okay. Maybe.

I will be turning 40 at the end of this year and I am slowly accepting the changes in my body that age does to a woman. It’s the age when our bodies turn against us and we come a sort of featured special on the Nature Channel entitled: “When Host Systems Attack.”

I was once one of the girls who other girls longed to be – the type who could eat an entire order of chili cheese fries from Volcano Burger and still want a chocolate shake, not even caring because she knew it would all burn off by dinner time. The horrible trade-off (in my teen-aged mind) was that I was all angles and knees with no boobs. Well, no boobs compared to some others. At that age, or even younger, it was the tale of what we didn’t have compared to what someone else did.

I took my weight for granted during those years. For that matter, I took the entire concept of a healthy lifestyle for granted. Exercise? Hell no; that means sweating. And effort. And probably planning. Eating healthily? Why would I eat fruit and vegetables when God created cheese and the burgers to put it on?

Once I was married, though, my body gave me hints of what was to come. It was like The Christmas Carol but completely different because I’m not Scrooge and this isn’t England. I never gained “The Freshman 15” in college but I definitely gained it as a newlywed thanks to cheap, starchy eating based on our budget and a little special something called the birth control pill. In my young 20-something mind, I thought this was close to the end of the world, bringing my weight from 100 pounds to 115. (I know, I know, don’t yell at me.) But while I was still weighing in at a healthy and normal weight, it still meant no longer fitting in my clothes and that always screws with your head.

exercise-machinesSeveral life events struck me all at once which only added more weight on my body: a busy teaching schedule, a full-time master’s degree, a new baby, and most importantly, my laziness. Sure, I could’ve done something about my weight during any one of these life events, but honestly I just wanted to drink my Dr. Peppers and eat chocolate cream pie. Who wouldn’t? It was bad enough that I had to walk all the way up and down a hill to my car just to get to and from my apartment; why add exercise to that mix? It was a small hill, but still.

However, deep down I knew it was time to drop the weight. My baby entered kindergarten so I couldn’t genuinely call it baby weight anymore. We bought a treadmill with the new house so I mostly enjoyed that. Soon I was running and when I didn’t have to get off of it in order to use the bathroom (all mothers understand this), I could run at pretty good clip.

I can’t run outside. I have sensitive ears. Long story.

When I met my goal weight, the only people excited for me were my family and doctor because the reality is everyone else is a member of a club called the We Hate Success Club. You discover who holds a membership card pretty quickly once you succeed in something you’ve worked hard at and these other people are dicks about it. Soon after, the club president cornered me in her office and accused me of going through a midlife crisis. Because you know, a woman in her early-30s who loses weight is obviously going through some sort of transcendental crisis. The vice president just plainly accused me of having an eating disorder while in the faculty room. Because you know, this is always The Best Tactic to use when exhibiting concern for someone who has an eating disorder.

Actually, it isn’t. Don’t do that. Ever.

In truth, I learned pretty quickly that when it comes to weight your goat is roasted if you gain weight and your goat is roasted if you lose it. No matter what, nobody will be happy with how you look so you might as well be happy for yourself. Overall health should always be the key factor, not the hope that others will be super thrilled for you. Because the dicks from The We Hate Success Club will be at your door, and they won’t bring you a plate of cookies. They only bring sour grapes.

Now that I’ve had my second child – almost 5 years ago – you can bet that I am back at the starting line again. Except this time, I’ve got my age and a bad hip against me. Again, my clothes don’t fit and I face the timeless battle women everywhere face in dressing rooms all over the world: Do I suck it up and go up a size, or do I just go get a Cinnabun and call it a day?

The one activity I did enjoy – running – is no longer an option to me and so now I have no choice but to just sit on my ass all day writing blogs like these and eat the chocolate chips I have hidden in my bedside table. Right? Right.

I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore. I’m mostly okay with that because for hell’s sake, why are we even producing clothes at that size anyway? But I’m also mostly okay that at my age it just takes more work to get this body to look how I want it to look. I have to fight for every damn pound I lose and be more creative in how I fool myself into exercise. But that’s all okay too because while I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore, I will always be a Size Mom and my kids need me to be healthy for them.

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CeeStreelightsAfter writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her new memoir, Tea and Madness is now available.

You can follow C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Filed under Anxiety, Family, Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Motherhood, Sarcasm, Writing