A Real Protest! (Or, On More Ways To Scare People Away From Your Blog)

It should show how liberal the part of the world I live in is when I say that I saw my first ever anti-abortion rally yesterday. I was so excited, I wanted to go and talk to them and find out what they had to say! I could hardly contain myself! But I was in a hurry, so I couldn’t stop.

What confused me was that one of the signs said “Abortion Exploits Women,” and I couldn’t quite understand that. How does one exploit a woman with abortion? The only true *gain* a man could get with an abortion would be to sneak in at night, abort a baby, and take the fetus away for study. Other than that, I couldn’t think of a reason.

Now, this may be putting words in her mouth, but I would guess her reasoning for abortion being an exploitation of women would have something to do with women being used for sex. If a baby is aborted, I guess that means more sex?

You know what? There may be some logic in there, but only in the absolute worst case scenario for human dregs. Any man who would do that to a woman for sexual gratification only needs to be taken to task; that is the worst behaviour I could possibly imagine… But here’s the thing; in that case, it is the man who is at fault, not the abortion.

Do you think a man like that wouldn’t go to extreme lengths to get the abortion? Having a safe, clean, inspected, certified abortion clinic could save this woman’s life; so-called back alley abortions have any number of side effects, including infections that could end up being fatal. In countries where abortion is completely illegal, any woman showing up at a hospital with a perforated uterus can be sentenced to life imprisonment or death, regardless of the reason for the abortion (or, regardless of whether the abortion really happened). In a place like that, if a man forces you to get an abortion, if he drags you kicking and screaming to a back alley clinic, if he ties your arms and legs down while the procedure is performed, the woman shoulders the blame for it. Is that what it means to be pro-life?

If abortion exploits women, so does birth control, and so do condoms. These are not meant to be exploitations, these are meant to be safety measures. Have you ever wondered about what it takes to have a child? It takes nothing but one poor decision on the part of two people.

What does it take to adopt a child? It takes months to years of screening, tests, inspections, and that will get you placed on a list if you are lucky. It takes years of reasoned thought, decisions, proving you have what it takes.

I am not saying abortions should be used willy-nilly. I am not saying you should be able to just have sex completely indiscriminately, and then go to the doctor for a morning after pill. But I am saying abortion, if used in a way that is compassionate and understanding, rather than painted as some form of demonic ritual, provides a valuable service. Children of rape can cause long lasting mental issues. That isn’t to say an abortion is consequence free, as far as mental issues go, but if you are an unfortunate woman whose child shares many features with the rapist, there is a chance you will never find the ability to love the child.

A common solution provided by Pro-Life lobbyists is to give the child up for adoption. The problem is, there are far more children than there are “fit” parents. If adoption were similar to having children, you could just give it out to the first drug addled person who walked by, and that metaphor should worry you beyond the capacity for thought. Not only that, but (in the States specifically, among first world nations) giving birth can be so financially destructive that the parents have no choice but to perform the birth unassisted. Not only that, but they will not be in a good position to give the child up for adoption, especially if they are parents who have drug addictions, prior convictions under the law, or any number of other issues that would prevent them from seeking public means of help.

Children born to drug addicted parents have other issues to deal with, too. Developmental issues, and I don’t just mean in their brains. They can be born with major physical defects, as well, depending on the issues facing the mother. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is another one that is very common, and you don’t have to be out on the streets for that one. Respectable middle class homes can still lead to FAS children, despite lack of issues.

Am I saying every child that could have defects be aborted? No, I am not saying that. I am saying having the option (and I will repeat this part) in a clean, safe, inspected, accredited setting could SAVE LIVES.

Did you know that a large percentage (by some estimates 25%) of pregnancies end in what is called spontaneous termination? I don’t mean stillborn or miscarriage, those are other issues altogether, though they do feed into my point. Spontaneous termination basically means the pregnancy ends in failure before the mother even knows she is pregnant.

If you are religious, and decide to go Pro-Life, you are left with the uncomfortable truth that the person who performs the most abortions in the world, the person who kills the most babies in the womb, the person who destroys the most life, is God.

The other problem with Pro-Life people is that being pro-life is INCREDIBLY socialist. While I do agree with socialism, and believe it to be the best way to run a country (see “You can’t win at politics”, an earlier post on this blog), many of the people who are pro-life are, confusingly, also anti-socialist. That’s weird to me, because that ignores the fact that offering children for adoption requires a MASSIVE amount of money from the government and other firms. Adoption is not a for-profit industry, and would certainly not function under free-market capitalism, in any way. If there was not a socialist policy to provide for adoption clinics and housing, adopting a child would itself cost likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The other thing is the fact that it seems a fetus (most specifically, in the Southern States, which are the most densely pro-life States in the Union) loses its rights shortly after its birth. Without a social safety net, a child born into poverty will grow up in poverty. The per-capita crime rate SOARS below certain income levels, but that is largely because they have to resort to drastic measures before they survive.

If you want to be PURELY pro-life without exception, you need to provide a solution for poverty. It’s ok, take your time, I will wait.

Until such time as I can reasonably assume a baby will have an equal chance for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I will stand staunchly Pro-Choice.

The American Dream in action is to force someone in poverty to have a child they do not want and do not have the means to care for, when they do not understand how to leverage those around them for help, so that the poverty deepens and the child doesn’t have a chance.

On How to Scare Everyone Away From Your Blog

Circumcision, now there’s a funny topic. The short version is “why?”

For those of you who are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, you may recall the tale of Abraham, and the foreskin being removed as part of a covenant with God. Is that not a little weird? “I will make you a father of nations. To prove it, cut off a portion of your penis.” -God
“Okay.” -Abraham

If that exchange were to happen today, I’d be like “Maybe we could do … Literally anything else? That’d be… You know… Nice?”

For as it says in Genesis Chapter 17: “10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

I don’t know what to say about that, it is oddly specific. Eight days old, and it is chopping time. You bought a slave? Chopping time. Your daughter married one not of your group? CHOPPING TIME! That is an odd way to enforce a contract. I don’t even know how to make that funnier, really. “Alright, looks like the mortgage paperwork is all in order. We’ve got your downpayment and… Oh, looks like you forgot to supply your foreskin. This contract will be voided if I don’t see a foreskin soon.”

I can’t even criticize the Bible, though; circumcision is much older than written record. There are anthropologists who believe that circumcision has been performed going back nearly 15,000 years (10,000BC is a common estimate), but we’ve lost the documentation as to *why* people did it back then. There are obvious advantages, I suppose, if you live in an arid wasteland wherein hygiene is a long-off afterthought to finding food. But there are tribes alive today that can give us some insight.

Circumcision in certain places in Africa is done as part of a ritual entry into manhood. Is it odd that you become a man by removing part of your manhood? That seems weird to me. Anyway! It is considered an act of bravery to chop-shop your own bits, and that part I certainly understand. It is indeed a brave man who does this.

Some tribes in Australia use seashells to chop (by my estimation, it would be more akin to “rip”) your bits, then staunch the bleeding by dangling your meat ‘n potatoes over a fire of eucalyptus leaves, because at this point WHY NOT?

So what’s the point of this post? Well, as nearly as I can tell, circumcision is a little silly. I don’t buy the “covenant with God” bit in Genesis, and I can’t see why I should have to prove my bravery by ripping skin off my rod n’ tackle. There are some concerns about hygiene, but in the modern world, with daily (or nearly daily) showers, the hygienic concerns are hardly worth being concerned about.

The W.H.O. estimates that there is a complication rate in circumcision of 1.5% to 6% in having circumcision done in infancy. This is actually higher than the chances that you will actually see a tangible benefit from circumcision, and some of the complications (though incredibly rare) can render your baby impotent for life.

Never mind the fact that the procedure is INCREDIBLY painful. Some children actually go straight into shock. You can’t anesthetize the child, either, they are too young and can’t tolerate that.

“But they won’t remember!” Thank you for pointing that out, hypothetical reader. That is the worst excuse. There are drugs that turn off your memory that can be administered to adults; what say you take enough of those to last ’bout an hour, and I beat the crap out of you for 30 minutes.

Is that cool? I mean, you won’t remember it! Never mind the fact that you are conscious the whole time, maybe screaming and crying. If you won’t remember, it is ok!

Hell, by the “you won’t remember” logic, roofies are a way to manufacture perfect consent. You won’t remember, therefore everything that happens in the intervening hours doesn’t even count!

I think I have preached my sermon, so time for a conclusion.

Don’t perform infant circumcision. If the child ends up getting an infection that requires it, do it then. If the child grows up and chooses circumcision for themselves, do it then. (I can’t think of a good reason that a person would look at their bits and decide “Yeah, I’d like to cut part of that off for fun,” but people have historically done things less intelligent than that.) If you are thinking of doing it for purely aesthetic reasons, I’d tell you to be less shallow.

Hey, did you know that circumcision, in the 1800’s, was considered a cure for paralysis? Guy comes into the hospital with a broken neck, and there were no small number of doctors that would, before checking anything else, go straight for the junk. ISN’T THAT WEIRD?!

That’s weird.

So yeah.

Things Tend to Get a Little Weird Around Me

I do not understand the odd betrayals that one tends to suffer at the hands of one’s own brain. Case in point, I was at a wedding this weekend. For those who know me, you know I don’t drink. For those who don’t know me, but read my blog anyway, you now know that I don’t drink.

So why did everyone there think I was the drunkest person at the whole party?


I am the one in purple, with the tie hanging off my head, and hanging silver tinsel dangling off of my tie.

Why did I do it? I don’t know. Hell, like my friends who DO drink sometimes tell me, I feel shame at some of the sillier things I did. That picture is an obvious example, and the video of me dancing that is slowly making its rounds right now. Mostly the video; I do not dance. To say I dance like a white person is insulting white people everywhere in the world. To say I look like an epileptic on the dance floor is insulting the sense of rhythm inherent in seizures.

In all honesty, I was just hopping around like a fool.

I wish there was a video of my dancing with an old friend of mine; he led the dance, and I am told it looked quite good. I know there are pictures and videos *out there*, cameras were going off the whole damn time we were on the dance floor, but as yet I’ve been tagged in none of them, and I am sure they were taken by people at that wedding I did not know. How unfortunate.

Long story short, we live and we learn, and when our brains betray us, we write excuses on the internet.

C’est la vie.

In any case, congratulations Corey and Tamara, on tying the knot! I hope you will find happiness. Justin ‘Bubz’ Vany, thanks for singing that wonderful first dance song! And for being generally awesome!

Paul, thanks for the dance, and Finny, thanks for being in the background of most of the photos of me, looking like Walter White closing in to take out a rival dealer.

I’d say thanks to the many phone-photographers who captured my drunkest moments, but I wasn’t drunk, and every moment was simultaneously my drunkest moment.