Thursday, November 15, 2012


I suspect you've heard this horrible story:

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she miscarried and died last month. Ireland's government confirmed Wednesday that Halappanavar suffered from blood poisoning and died after being denied an abortion, reigniting the debate over legalizing abortion in the predominantly Catholic country.

My time to worry about my own body like this has passed.  But I have a daughter.  Can you imagine how Savita Halappanavar's mother must  be feeling?  She went home from a visit the day before the miscarriage happened.  She probably left Ireland thrilled by the prospect of a grandchild and then three days later her own daughter was dead.  Just try to imagine the depth of despair and the height of rage Savita Halappanavar's mother must feel, knowing her daughter died senselessly, after agonizing pain. 

But that's what illegal abortion does. It doesn't result in fewer abortions.  It results in more abortions.  And it results in dead women and girls. 

Access to contraception lowers the rate of abortion.  A lot.  Access to sex education, absent that toxic abstinence only bullshit, lowers the rate of abortion even more.  But in countries where abortion is illegal, they have more abortions and more dead women and girls:

Unsafe clandestine abortion is responsible for an estimated 100-200,000 deaths among women in developing countries each year and accounts for 25-50% of all maternal deaths in some regions, especially Latin America. A third of the population of the Third World lives in countries where abortion is illegal or permitted only in extreme cases. Mortality from clandestine abortions in developing countries may be as high as 400/100,000 procedures compared with 6/200,000 in situations where abortion is legal. 

Of course, Savita Halappanavar didn't die of an unsafe abortion.  She died from being denied a safe abortion.  

And can you imagine how her mother feels?

I can't.  All I know is that I I hope I never do.   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Let's All Remember Nice Things

All day I'd planned to blog tonight on this idea I had about an amicable divorce between the two Americas.  I had a whole thing worked out in my head and I thought it would be trenchant, poignant and possible hilarious.  But, you guys, I'm not just sick of politics.  I'm heartsick of politics.  I want to crawl up under my bed with a bottle of bourbon and stay there until Wednesday.  All I'd need is the bourbon, a comfy blanket and maybe Netflix so I could finally catch up on Dr. Who (I'm just BARELY into the skinny 26 year old doctor and still sorta missing David Tennant). Politics, you guys.  How can anyone stand it and was it always like this?

Fuck it.  Let's talk about something COMPLETELY different.

Laney and I are reading The High King, which is the last book in the Circle of Prydain which is a series of YA books by Lloyd Alexander written in the 60s that you have most likely never heard of.  But I can recall, with a stunning clarity, the library shelf where I first spotted The Book of Three (which is the first book).  It was on the lower shelf of a two shelf bookcase that was sort of outside the main bookshelves, on the way to where you'd check out.  And, fellow nerds, I read the SHIT out of those books.  It is not an exaggeration to say I've read each of the five books in the series at least 50 times.  Quite likely more.  I was probably eight or so when I discovered them and have never stopped reading them and, you know, I am WAY older than eight now.

I think Laney likes them OK.  I think she likes them like my brother liked them (he read them too).  He thought they were pretty good. You know, they were a good read but once read, no need to go back. Or maybe she likes them because she likes me and I loooooooove them.  She has a similar passion for Rick Riordan books (which are pretty great, you guys).  Those are the books that I suspect will shape and form her childhood the way the Circle of Prydain shaped and formed mine.  They may provide the pathway back to her childhood the way the Circle of Prydain keeps me tethered, in the loveliest way, to my own.

I was talking to Don about it and asking him if he had anything like that from his childhood and he thought and then said, "sports."  And you know what?  That's fair.  I loved nerdy fantasy novels rooted in Welsh mythology and Don loved football.  And baseball. And he started talking to me about the way he loved those things and called up images from his own childhood with the stunning clarity that I have for that library shelf.

Our lives can't be just about adult fascinations, like politics (and she brings it right back around).  We have to keep these childhood passions engaged.  What were yours?  Do you share them with your kids?  Shit, you guys, I don't know what I'm going to do when Laney and I get to the part where....


... Coll dies.  Y'all should read those books.