Things That Make Me Twitchy

There are things that make me twitchy, which sounds better than “listen to me complain”.

In general, I’m twitchy about a lot of stuff– pick one: the environment, the war, money-hungry corporations that get to steal whenever, Monsanto, both political parties, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, health insurance companies, racists, sexists… I mean, seriously– I twitch a lot.

And I can rile up some righteous indignation with the best of ’em, though I admit that I have decreased the amount of time devoted to Soap-Box-esque anger since that first kid expelled himself from my uterus.

But this Gosnell guy in PA? And the accompanying Grand Jury testimony (which is just 281 pages full of what the fuck) makes me want to hit things. My first thought is that his (preferably virgin) ass will likely go to prison, where he will certainly enjoy the hell that is the US penal system’s prisoner-delivered justice. That makes me a little happy.

As a pro-choice woman with children–yes, I absolutely am–I read this with disgust, horror, and fear. The disgust and horror need no explanations. The fear is because of the undertones of, “see what happens when the Democratic, baby-killers are in charge” peppering those 281 pages.

Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be putting a barrier up to women “seeking abortions”.

Seriously? Instead of the detestable situation standing alone, this is going to morph into a political pandering and/or the example by which all of the pro-choice will be judged? Of course it will.

Let’s be clear– this was a business, run for profit, with apparently no government agency intervention, despite repeated complaints. Since y’all had to get political about it, that sho’ nuff sounds like a conservative Republican-type scenario. Viva la Capitalism and small government, right?

Hence why I’m twitchy, all of my Republican friends. You can’t have both small government involvement and proper government oversight. You cannot shout your moral outrage about the miscarriage of justice from the responsible agencies, while your wee hands are busy cutting the funding from those same agency’s operating budget. Well, I mean, you CAN, but it’s really hypocritical and totally counter-productive.

Should one of those big ol’ state government agencies caught on and stopped this misogynistic serial killer a decade ago? Um, yeah. Is the lack of funding for these agencies–you know the ones that are “in charge” of the poor, uninsured folk (at least that’s what the phrase Health Department symbolizing in my head)–a regularly reoccurring theme in the Republican rhetoric? Um, yeah. So, while you’re getting all politically indignant and making subtle hints about the ineptitude of government agency oversight, make sure Mr Republican Governor, that you note how your own Party’s tendency to slash social service programs is also largely to blame. Which, of course, you won’t.

For the rest of us, tired of watching the never-ending, political circle jerk to which we’ve become so accustomed– let’s just remember that this clinic has been operating in a country where abortion is legal. Yet, there it was, a time capsule straight from the 1950s, and a reminder for every American woman born after 1973 that all of the horror we feel right now was, in our not-too-distant past, the norm. Legality will not change the availability of abortion services, because the law cannot regulate a woman’s desperation. But instead of facilities that are safe, sanitary and compassionate our country will be full of buildings like those run by Gosnell and his ilk. Again.

Ladies, we should all remember– regardless of our individual beliefs about abortion and/or birth control–that without the availability of reproductive choice, none of the vagina’d would enjoy the freedoms we don’t even remember not having. The feminist movement wasn’t just about being allowed to work: it was that women, as a unit, have the right to control when and how we carry children. Without things like abortion and birth control pills that simply would not exist. In countries where women are not given the same reproductive control, they do not enjoy economic and social freedom. It’s Just That Simple. Consider that while you sit in front of your computer with your college-education, maybe a working mom, maybe a stay at home mom–or perhaps not a mom at all.

I wish everyone would focus their time and energy on the children that are living and breathing, cognizant that they are unwanted and abused, hungry and cold. As heartless as it may seem to some, a fetus cannot–and does not–consciously feel the loss of its life, because it doesn’t yet have the ability for conscious thought. But that 5 year old girl that is being raped by her father every night, after falling through the cracks of an underfunded, understaffed Child Protective Services department? Yeah, she not only has the capacity of conscious thought, but the ability to quantify her worth by those that aren’t helping her. If all of the moral outrage (and thus money and effort) funneled into anti-choice movements was redirected into domestic and child abuse programs, imagine the children–alive and miserable right now–who could be warm and safe tonight.

But social programs for the poor are too expensive. Right.