Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dear Pro-Lifers: You're Getting Played. Again.

Dear Pro-Lifers,

There's a reason pro-choicers are calling bullshit on our women's healthcare legislation that the Supreme Court just struck down 5-3

Let me ask: since when, in the history of Texas politics, have we ever cared about women's healthcare -- or anyone's healthcare?

Was it when we refused federal funding for Medicaid expansion contributing to the nation's highest uninsured rate? Or when we enacted "friendly" malpractice regulation to limit punitive damages for doctors who make mistakes? Or maybe it was before the Affordable Care Act when we spent decades overlooking a systemic health care problem in our state?*

All of a sudden, Texas lawmakers start proposing ambulatory surgery center standards on abortion providers in the name of health care, and we believe them?

No one's trying to help poor women with pneumonia, rotting teeth, false alarms, poor vision, PCOS, sprained ankles, kidney stones, asthma, arthritis, carpal tunnel, breast cancer, or brain tumors. But she wants an abortion, and all of a sudden, we only want the best for her?

Which is more likely: Texas legislators suddenly started caring about women's health and wrote a bill about it, or Texas legislators found another way to offend women by pretending to care about their health, with the ultimate goal of limiting abortion?

I don't know which is more a slap in the face: openly not doing anything about health care for years, or pretending to do something about healthcare, only to further your own agenda.

Look, we're right on this issue. A developing baby in utero, a fetus, is a human and deserves to live as much as any other human. Yes, we should protect these children.

But how dare we scream our truth and pray our prideful prayers and gossip about poor life choices and those poor babies while pretending to care about health care. We invite our "pro-life" politicians into our churches, smile for photos, and all the while they're skimming the offering. 

You know what would really change women's hearts about abortion?  

I don't, really. 

But I know it's not going to happen through sweeping legislation that makes women feel more manipulated, dismissed, and discarded.

Maybe a good place to start would be truly caring about quality, accessible, affordable health care in our state. 

*I reached out to my Texas legislators, multiple times, over several years, deploring that it was impossible to purchase a private health insurance plan in our state that covered maternity care. I never received more than a form letter in reply: thank you for sharing your concerns... we're not interested. This was before the Affordable Care Act, when my husband and I worked at or under 39 hours a week, so our employers weren't required to provide health insurance. At this time, the private market in Texas did not carry a single health insurance plan that would cover maternity care, even if purchased before a woman became pregnant. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Judgey McJudgerson Shuts Her Mouth. Kind Of.

Something interesting happened at Mass this morning. I quit complaining about having too many young children to attend Mass as a family, and enjoyed the solitude of just one sweet little baby and me. 

This is our new normal since Baby Number Five In Seven Years arrived three months ago. 

Before having kids, I would judge parents who went to separate Masses to avoid bringing their little ones to church. (I think my current life is one huge immersive lesson in empathy to make up for all the ridiculous judging I did for the first 30 years.) Anyone who knows me knows I still have a judge-y mouth, but believe it or not, this is me, censored! It used to be worse!

Anyway, back to irresponsible Catholic parents who had too many children and then couldn't control them at Mass, I think I'm learning to embrace it. 

I sat through an entire Mass without a songbook dropping to the floor, peed pants, shoes falling off, kneelers crashing, queries on whats-for-lunch, urgent incomprehensible whispers, or tears over a scratchy pew. And it was nice. I will look forward to doing it again next week! 

And judge not, lest the Lord give you three children in two years!

Next thing you know we'll be contributing to building campaigns, applauding announcements before the Concluding Rite, and letting our kids play video games during the liturgy. 

Anyway, until we have a community in our new town who will usher our children to sit with their better trained, holier, older families, we'll just keep tag teaming Mass with our older kids and enjoying the season.