Tag Archives: survivor

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: How to Conquer Life with These Five Self-Defense Lessons by Kelly Wilson


My friend and colleague, Kelly Wilson, shares how the current political climate has prompted her to build her self-defense skills.


Building my self-defense skills was not a priority to me until Donald Trump was elected president. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and related trauma, my pattern was to choose the “Flight” part of the Fight or Flight response.

I decided that from now on, I wanted to choose when to run, and when to stay and fight.

The combination of Trump normalizing rape culture even more and millions of women marching around the world lit a fire deep in my gut. I wanted to feel strong. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to know that I had options should I find myself in danger. Because now I would be in the Resistance.

I signed up for my first self defense class for women in late January. Even though it was an hour-long introduction to self defense, my life and outlook were fundamentally changed. Here are five important self defense lessons I learned that continue to help me conquer life.

 

Be a Problem

Women are taught to be quiet. To smile. To be nice. In self-defense, these skills don’t work well.  Being a “nice, quiet woman” means that you are an easy mark.

One of the first statements my self-defense instructor made was, “Be a problem.” Nobody wants to try and take down a woman who knows how to handle herself. In life, being a problem could simply mean showing confidence and asking for what you need from others. Or drawing boundaries so that you can take care of yourself. Saying that one magic word – “No” – as a complete sentence, and meaning it.

These new behaviors might be a problem for other people. You know what? Their problems are not your problems.

wendy-g-shrink-yourself

Draw Attention to Yourself

Women especially are taught to “be polite.” Having good manners means to avoid calling attention to yourself or showing assertiveness or strength. We should be quiet and wait to be recognized.

Self-defense teaches us that in order to stay safe, we need to draw attention to ourselves. Make ourselves bigger. Make eye contact with everyone. Be loud. It seems counter-intuitive, but refusing to shrink keeps us safer.

 

Decide If You Will Fight

One of the advantages of taking self-defense is feeling more in control of yourself in uncertain surroundings. This includes whether or not to fight or to run. Some people take self-defense classes because they want to be able to incapacitate someone if attacked or in danger. Others take classes because they want to know how to get out of dangerous situations safely.

Both reasons are good. During my class, the instructor encouraged us to take some time and decide on our primary reasons for learning these skills. Do you want to be able to run? Great. Do you want to be able to fight? Great.

Safety is the ultimate goal.

 

Run Away If You Can

When I first began going to counseling, I discovered that I thought I was weak when choosing “Flight” instead of “Fight” when I was abused. I was ashamed of it, as if running was wrong or weak. It took me a long time to accept that running is not weak, it’s a way to protect myself.

It wasn’t until self-defense class that I fully realized this truth. Our instructor was a big, burly guy with meaty fists and a crew cut. He said, “Always run if you can. You don’t have to stay and fight, even if you decided that you wanted to. Run to people, because most people are good.”

Something about this big guy telling stories of how he ran from danger cemented it for me. Running is good. Running is strength.

 

Most People are Good

Building self-defense skills is like going over the emergency card before an airplane takes off. There’s a good chance that you won’t need to use the information at all. And just like – logically – most planes don’t crash, when it comes right down to it, most people are good.

Most people are not scoping us out and deciding if we’re easy marks. As we make eye contact and say hello to others as a protection, we begin to realize that most people do not mean us harm.

The irony is that building self-defense skills can help us see more humanity than we would if we were shrinking and afraid. That is where we can find our strength – in each other.


kelly-wilson-headshotKelly 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 and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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Filed under Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Politics, PTSD, Real Life, Self-Defense, sexual assault, Survivors, Writing

Guest Post: New Poetry from Rachel Thompson


Today my friend, the multi-talented Rachel Thompson, shares with us some of her new poetry.


fc-love-notes-from-humanity-cover

New poetry from Rachel Thompson, featured in the new Feminine Collective Love Notes From Humanity: The Lust, Love & Loss Collection on Amazon now.

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The Day Is Worried

 

The day is worried about me.

Reaching out in fingered waves to hold me steady

But it’s no use

I’ll not be walking through her garden of green tendrils today

I don’t know the way.

Feet slipping on rust and golden leaves

My hand slow dances for purchase

Finding only air.

 

The day is worried about me.broken-people-day-is-worried

Enveloping me in her cloudy blanket

One I toss away

White wool too heavy today when

I can’t find my breath

Searching for the pull of his light

To bring me home.

 

The day is worried about me.

She can’t find me in my usual places

Hiding away

From myself today

Flashing green eyes hiding locked-door secrets

Even I can’t understand…

Maybe I’ll find my key

As the day morphs into night.

 

The night is worried about me.

He can’t hold me in his arms

I am transparent, slipping away in the quiet way I do

Weightless, floating

Further and further from his grasp

Until my night-man throws out his anchor

Catching this desolate girl, pulling her close;

Safe in his strong, capable arms.

Watching worries chase stars across the sky.

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Just Fine

 

I’m not who you want me to be and that’s fine.

No, it’s not fine.just-fine-2
Fine is fucked. Fuck you, fine.
Fine means cool, copacetic, mellow.
You think that’s what it means to be me.

I am hot,
I am not in excellent order,
I am tired
Of you telling me what to do
How to feel
What to think
How to be.
I am not your mother’s daughter.
I am me.

I brazenly sashay my swinging hips
Up to your delicious mouth
Dripping with their coarse demands…
Chewing your thick, cherry lips,
Tearing your lost mumblings
As red drips from my gnashing teeth
Who owns your wants now?

This tough girl who used to quietly shrink at your words
My heart shoves hard at my chest, wanting out.
Tears form and fall as I wipe them away with a furious fist.
Hating to admit how much it hurts
When you shred me.

Why do you think what you say matters?
Stunning, how the breeze flows without your say
Pebbles may move in your wake,
But never trees.

This is my life and you have no access key.
I don’t want to be fine in your eyes, whatever that is.
Talk to yourself with your bloody mouth full of ire
Go be fine in your own life.

I want more.

I want free.


Rachel-Thompson1Rachel Thompson is represented by literary agent Lisa Hagan, and is published by ShadowTeamsNYC.

She is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in both the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Book Festivals), and the bestselling, multi award-winning Broken Pieces (as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed).

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), Feminine Collective, IndieReader.com, 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly,

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live weekly Twitter chats, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST), and #BookMarketingChat, co-hosted with author assistant Melissa Flickinger (Wednesdays, 6pm PST/9pm EST).

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Author Contact Information:

Author Site: rachelintheoc.com
BadRedhead Media Site: badredheadmedia.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Twitter (Business): @BadRedheadMedia
SexAbuseChat: @SexAbuseChat
BookMarketingChat: @BkMarketingChat
MondayBlogs: @MondayBlogs 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Facebook (Business): https://www.facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: 
http://eepurl.com/koN8r
Full-size Author Photo Link: http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o158/Froze8/RachelThompson_

Rachel’s new book, Broken People (the continuation of Broken Pieces and Broken Places) will be published by Shadowteams NYC, later this year.

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Filed under Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Poetry, Real Life, Relationships, Survivors, Writing