The Probable End to Nationwide Abortion Rights, Book Review — The Missed Kiss by Nicola Lowe, Short Story — Invasive Hitchhiker

The Probable End to Nationwide Abortion Rights

Let me say upfront, I am not pro-abortion.  I pray that every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy will choose to bear the child. 

I am, however, very much in favor of a woman having the right to choose what to do with her body in the weeks before a fertilized egg becomes a viable baby.  I also believe that a woman has the right to also make a tough decision in later stages of pregnancy when continuing the pregnancy endangers her life. 

I firmly believe that many anti-choice proponents truly are coming from a place of caring in their views.  Most of those caring anti-choice advocates are women.  Unfortunately, most of the political white men pushing to regulate women are not coming from a place of caring.  They come in with the goal of controlling women.   If that weren’t the case, why would these politicians push to create laws that punish women for getting abortions OUTSIDE of their states?  Why else would Marco Rubio go after Tesla and other companies whose insurance programs pay for out-of-state procedures not allowed in their employees’ state of residence? It’s one thing to say, “We will not allow abortions in our state.”  It’s a whole other level of authoritarian overstepping to say, “We will find out about your medical information and where you’ve been, and we will punish you for being pregnant, going to another state, and coming back not pregnant.”

I am particularly appalled by states that do not allow exceptions for babies conceived of rape, particularly rape of underage girls by men abusing positions of trust.  The girl/woman is already unforgivably traumatized by the rape, and then she has to endure nine months bearing the child of a rapist.  Don’t get me wrong – there are some strong women who gladly bear and raise the child.  And that’s a remarkable and commendable choice.  Other women do not have that fortitude, and to force them through a pregnancy resulting from the most traumatic event of their lives is beyond cruel.

I see this invigorated attack on abortion rights to be part of the white male backlash for no longer being the unquestioned dominators of American life.  No longer are people fettered with their rules on what a family is, what love is or who can marry.  No longer can they sexually harass women with guaranteed immunity.  No longer can they attempt to intimidate women, people of different sexual orientations, or people of color with guaranteed immunity.  They’re frustrated and angry over their diminished power over everyone.  What was the seminal event that changed their station in American life?  Well, I’d say probably the civil rights movement; however, they can’t rail against that directly because out and out saying you want a return to the days when you could openly deny the rights of a person based on race or gender doesn’t play well in the court of public opinion.  But baby killing?  Baby killing is BAD, and so abolishing the decision that made undeniable women’s right to make decisions for themselves – regardless of where they live in the U.S.— became the target.  

Yes, yes, I know that Alito’s draft decision states the reason for overturning Roe is that it overstepped states’ rights and so was unconstitutional.  And maybe, just maybe, Alito truly is looking at the topic purely through a jurisprudence lens.  I cannot extend the same open-mindedness to some of the other justices because I question their ethics.  The recent conservative additions went through intense questioning on Roe v. Wade and not one of them said “I believe it is unconstitutional.”  They couldn’t do that and end up appointed to that most lofty of judicial benches. They cared more about being immortalized in history as one of the few Supreme Court Justices than they cared about truth.  Someone needs to go back through their confirmation testimony with a fine-tooth comb to determine if they out and out lied.  If any did, they should be removed from the bench and prosecuted for lying to Congress and by extension, the American people.  If they didn’t out and out lie, well congratulations to them on their careful deceit; let them go down in history as people of low honor and high moral turpitude.  And let us learn from their deceit: the confirmation process needs to be less about political grandstanding and more about forcing absolute answers.

I’ve heard numerous uneducated and backward people say on television, “She made her choice when she had sex.”  There are different judgmental flavors to this refrain.  Sometimes it’s “pre-marital sex.”  Sometimes it’s “promiscuous sex.”  Beyond the obvious question of what choice did she have when raped, these judgments are at their heart misogynistic.  The man chose to have sex, too.  He can’t be made to suffer all the physical changes and symptoms that accompany pregnancy.  But, he can be made to suffer the same financial changes and lifestyle changes. 

Do not give me any crap about child support.  I’ve worked with the child support program for most of my adult life.  For every father truly wronged by the system, there are 500 women and thousands of children wronged by the father. That said, I’m talking beyond child support.   For instance:

  • Fathers should have to pay half of the pre-birth medical costs, and if the mother cannot work due to the pregnancy, for the mother’s living costs.
  • If the mother’s body is irreparably harmed by the pregnancy, the father should have to pay for half of the resulting medical costs, including whatever it takes to put her back to having her pre-pregnancy body.
  • If the mother loses a scholarship or otherwise cannot attend college because of the pregnancy, the father’s life plans should also be put on hold.
  • Fathers whose children receive state assistance should be labeled as “Welfare Dads” and have that stigma show up in background checks the same way that mothers endure it.
  • If mothers get arrested for leaving their children unattended in order to go to work, the father should be arrested, too.

What’s the long-term answer?  Legislation, of course.  How will legislation happen?  By electing people who will get the job done.  That doesn’t mean electing polarizing, extremist people.  If we continue down this “our crazies against your crazies” path, nothing meaningful is going to get done.   Another part of the answer is creativity – a little out-of-the-box thinking.  Maybe we don’t keep trying to introduce legislation to codify Roe.  Maybe, instead, we first target striking down state laws that involve the State tracking its citizens’ movements across state lines and prying into their medical records.  Maybe we initiate laws that say if a State denies a raped child an abortion, and that raped child dies as a result of the pregnancy, the State is on the hook for billions in penalties for a preventable death.  Pro-life, yes?

In other news: 

Well, Elon’s backpedaling on buying Twitter.  He says it’s because the percentage of users who are bots is out of control  However, he knew this before – it was one of the problems he wanted to fix.  It’s more likely the dip in Tesla’s stock price, which changed the terms of his financing/reduced his ability to finance, that has him rethinking the purchase.  After a week of looking at the results of Twitter’s bizarre feed algorithms, I’m a little disappointed.  I was hoping he’d fix some of that. 

Book Review: The Missed Kiss by Nicola Lowe

If you like the romance trope of a love triangle where all the main characters are flawlessly beautiful and the sexual tension seesaws until there’s finally a sweet explosion, you should give this book a try.  It’s a bit like the old Harlequin romances, where the beautiful female protagonist is a secretary, and the love interest is a beautiful, successful professional who’s going to whisk her away to a better life filled with passionate love.  It’s a formula that works.  The kicker in this story is that the main character, Lily, sets up situations where there’s extreme sexual tension with two different men, even though she claims she would never cheat because of having been cheated on in a previous relationship. 

The other kicker:  although the story ends with Lily being with one guy (the incredibly gorgeous dark-haired guy with brown eyes so like her own), at the end she’s still pining for the other guy (the incredibly gorgeous lighter-haired guy with bright blue eyes that amaze her), too.  Oh, and there’s a sequel, so, yes, the ending turns out to be a cliffhanger. 

The story is well written, and the author knows how to write sex scenes for readers looking for romance with heat rather than graphic descriptions of body parts.  The story moves quickly and it makes you hang on to see how the triangle is finally resolved.  If you’re looking for a light read in the romance genre, pick up this book!

Short Story:  Invasive Hitchhiker

I was tooling down Route 1 earlier, the needle somewhere north of the speed limit, when the Black Keys’ “Wild Child” came on Alt Nation.  I cranked it as high as I could stand it in the tiny space of my car, and I’m jammin’, when my right eye’s peripheral vision catches a glimpse of something hovering beside me.  I mean literally beside me, as in the car with me.

Quietly, I growl, “Shit, shit, SHIT!!”   I’m sure it’s a spider because I’ve lived that particular nightmare before.  Luckily, I learned a few things from my previous spider hitchhiker experience.  Top of that Lessons Learned list is to make no sudden moves.  See, what happened last time is that I turned to see exactly what was riding with me and where exactly it was, and, in turning, I disturbed his thread, and he instantly dropped on me.

I screamed like a banshee and immediately started beating myself with my right hand, looking down to see where he was.  He ducked inside the neckline of my shirt, and then I really came unglued, trying to beat my chest and simultaneously remove my clothes at 40 miles per hour (I had taken my foot off the gas when I began beating myself).  As people passed me blaring their horns, they saw a deranged woman behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer that had seen better days.  They really should’ve realized something was wrong when I swerved and hit a guard rail, but nobody stopped to check on me.  They had all passed me when I jumped from the vehicle, shed my shirt and attempted to shake out my bra.  The spider dropped a thread from my bra, and I’m not proud to say, I smashed him against the backdoor of my Explorer.  I went on my way with another small dent in the Explorer, and nobody but the spider worse off for the experience. 

Well, that’s not true.  I have nightmares about spiders landing on me – specifically, I have nightmares where one, evilly intelligent spider lands on me.  I’m never sure exactly what his nefarious plan is, but in the dream I know he has one, and he outsmarts me at every turn until I wake up sitting straight up in bed with my hands in my hair.  Damn spider.  I’d smash him again if given the chance.

So, anyway, I was not going to end up with a spider in my bra again, so I was cutting my eyes to the right to try to see how close the evil eight-legged bastard was when he started floating forward.  Not a spider – it was either a dirt dobber or a wasp.  My first thought was, “Do not be one of those crazy people who wreck their car because there’s a ‘bee’ in it.”  My next thought came straight out of my mouth, “Please God, please God, please God, let it be a dirt dobber!”  (I was told as a child that wasps sting and dobbers do not.)

No such luck.  He landed in the middle of the dashboard.  Definitely a wasp.  A small, speckled wasp.

I started to quickly consider my options when I noticed the wasp was acting weird.  He was doing some kind of dance where he rubbed each of his furthest back legs against his butt and then wiggled it.  There was something about his movements that made me think the wasp was a she instead of a he.  I drove on darting my eyes between the road and the wasp because Route 1 was too busy to risk getting hit trying to exit my vehicle on the shoulder.

I rolled down the window, hoping she’d be blown out.  She kept dancing on the dashboard.  So, I rolled down the passenger side window, too.  Immediately, my long brown hair started whipping in front of my face.  This is what went through my head at that moment:

OMG, I’m gonna get stopped for erratic driving, and then Imma try to explain to the cops that there was a wasp dancing to the Black Keys on my dashboard and I tried to blow her out of the car not realizing my hair was loose and so then I was trying to control my hair while watching the wasp to make sure she doesn’t decide to do her little butt wiggle dance on me and of course the wasp is not going to be anywhere in sight when the cops look and so the cops are going to give me a roadside sobriety test and I’ll be one of those people who fails those when they haven’t been drinking and my car will be on the side of the road while I go to jail and the wasp is going to hatch out a bunch of babies and I will have to douse it in gasoline and burn it.

When it comes to worrying about events that have yet to happen, I can go from 0 to 250 in the space of three seconds. 

When I calmed my mind enough to take a good look at the wasp, she’d hunkered down on the dashboard to avoid the wind tunnel.  I closed the passenger window so that I could quit pointlessly fighting my hair.  My winged companion stood up straight and resumed her little dance.

“Fuckity, fuck, fuck!’ I yelled out loud, then cringed for fear that the noise, or perhaps the vulgarity (just because she’s a rocker doesn’t mean she appreciates creative F-bomb accents) would send her flying at me.  But, with the Black Keys so loud and the open driver side window, she probably didn’t even hear me.  That’s when it hit me:  turn down the freaking music.  Using the steering wheel control, so as not to startle her, I lowered the volume. 

Immediately, she took off in that floaty way wasps have with her legs hanging like streamers.  Before I could even summon a scream, she floated toward my face and then ran into a strand of my hair flying from the left side of my head. I unleashed the screams I’d been holding in as she tried to navigate around my flying hair. She headed for the windshield and then turned back toward me.  Still screaming, with my left hand, I swatted her out the open window.

That would’ve been the end of my ordeal, except that I had the misfortune to be in the driver side backseat as a teenager when my brother, who was driving, hocked a loogie and spit it out his open window.  Yep, I got a snot ball right between the eyes.  There was a lot of screaming in the car that day, too. So, I knew there was a better than average chance my stinger-bearing hitchhiker was behind me. 

I took the next exit, all my skin tingling, anticipating the angry sting of my Black Keys loving nemesis.  I pulled into the nearest parking lot, got out and opened every door and the back hatch.  I looked for her for about five minutes.  Finally satisfied that she was gone, I got on my way again.

An hour later. I cranked up Jackson Brown’s “Doctor My Eyes” and was singing along when I thought I saw something to my right again. I turned my head (totally an acceptable move with wasps – just not with spiders).  Nothing was there.  I laughed at myself and sang at the top of my lungs. 

Thirty minutes later, I make the final turn before reaching my destination.  Maneskin’s “Supermodel” comes on, and I crank it up.  From out of nowhere that freaking wasp floats up to the dashboard and starts her weird little dance.  I just kept the music cranked and let her get her groove on until I parked in the driveway, turned off the car and bolted out the door. 

As I looked around wild-eyed for something with which to kill her, she floated out the door I’d left open, and flew away, ninety miles south of where she started.  

And, that my friends, is how invasive insects spread so quickly across the continent.

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