:: The S.I.C.L.E. Cell ::

my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 ::

I got this note from a friend on Easter. I understood completely, and thought it was a perfect example of life in the SICLE Cell. It very much illustrates that while the actual abortion procedure may be over, the abortion-related loss never ends. Here's the note:

"One of my little girls pulled a big gold basket with a little bow out of my closet the other day. She played with it and left it in the family room. This morning while all 3 kids were sitting in the middle of the floor looting through their candy baskets, the empty gold basket stood out amidst the chaos, lonely and abandoned. It looked as though its owner had just ran out of the room for a moment, to go to the potty perhaps, and would be right back to join the others. But that child never came back. I pointed to it and nudged my husband. 'That one,' I said, 'belongs to the dead 7 year old.'

I had to get a cat... we 'needed' one, I thought. But after getting it, something was still missing. I started shopping for a dog, but it doesn't seem to matter how many bodies I put in this house. I still can't fill it."


:: ashli 7:59 PM # ::
:: Monday, April 21, 2003 ::

Yesterday I noticed that there were over 8,000 pages of online condolences for Laci Peterson's mother. I wonder what it's like to have your child murdered and then to receive sympathy and condolences. I wonder what it's like to be a furious, wounded mom whose own country is also collectively infuriated by the killer.

At the time of my child's death there were no condolences. In fact, large factions of society view my child's killer as something of a hero BECAUSE he kills children like mine.

Laci's mom's mourning is considered appropriate while mine is somehow "political".

I wonder what it's like to have your sorrow so easily validated... to not have to fight tooth and nail for the right to be angry and the right to grieve your murdered child.


:: ashli 11:15 AM # ::
:: Saturday, April 19, 2003 ::

Several women involved in the WHSA affair have SICLEs. Their stories are heartbreaking:

AFTER aborting her child, "Cindy" was accidentally confronted with the sonogram the abortionist performed prior to the abortion. She was horrified to make out the shapes of two perfectly formed little bodies; she had been pregnant with twins. She attempted suicide, and the loss of her twins still haunts her years later.

"Beth" had five children and a new boyfriend who seemed to be a dream. He begged her for a baby because he didn't have any children of his own. A baby she gave him, but nearly 5 months into the pregnancy, he left her for another woman. Distraught, Beth sought to end the pregnancy. At the abortion business they gave her some type of pharmaceutical that would cause her to "miscarry". Like the Baez woman, she was supposed to come in the next morning where the baby would be born still. Instead, she describes cramping at the hotel and the warm, wet "gush" she felt before looking down and seeing her dead child "all balled up between [her] legs". It is incredibly new for her; she is still counting the weeks of her ghost pregnancy. She would be 40 weeks along this week. The full term, yet she is empty. One moment, under the microscope, she amazes all by seemingly being unaffected. The next moment, when she's not being ogled, she falls apart while eating dinner and weeps uncontrollably in a restaurant. Her deep, sorrowful moaning cuts through the clinking of dishes and mindless chatter as it searches for a child who cannot be found. We find we have something in common: abortionist James Scott Pendergraft. It becomes our immediate bond; we both feel raped and destroyed by this man. Privately we make fun of his physical appearance because we hate him and it's the only "ammunition" we have.

After aborting her child, "Philomena" was shocked to discover that her child's body had not been removed. She miscarried the baby three days later. Again she became pregnant, again she aborted, again the physician, a new physician (the OB who delivered her when she was born), missed the baby's body. She hemorrhaged and had to have an emergency hysterectomy. She will never have living children of her own.

All of us in one room. So much pain concentrated in one space. It is suffocating.


:: ashli 10:13 AM # ::
:: Friday, April 18, 2003 ::

Senate President Jim King pulled a fast one on us. The Women's Health and Safety Act passed twice in the House and looked like it might just make it into law. However, Thursday, when everyone was leaving the Capitol for the three-day Easter weekend (and no one was around to protest) Senator Jim King withdrew the bill from the Senate subcommittee hearings, so it may be a done deal.

Those of us who agonized emotionally and spent time, effort and money to come and testify feel thoroughly violated.


:: ashli 9:45 AM # ::
:: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 ::

Just a quick update re: the Women's Health and Safety Act here in Florida. It barely passed yesterday (7-6), and there's another round next week on Monday.

There's so much I want to blog about regarding this whole process, but I have very little time presently. It's frustrating.

I plan to blog about these things in the near future:

*the other women who came to testify in round one: their stories
*what it is like to testify before the committee: the sins of the parent
*my impressions of the system: the genesis of law

It has been interesting, perplexing, infuriating, exhilerating, difficult, oppressive, liberating and worth it. Win or lose, it is always worth it.

I don't know what will happen on Monday. If it doesn't pass, that's it for the bill for this year I think. It's never fun to publicly appeal to people who don't care about you or your dead child, but I'm ready to get up, tell my bloody story to a majority of people who don't care, who mockingly view me as the "crybaby card" that "pro-lifers" are playing, and who will kill the bill. HOWEVER, I hope that the majority of the committee on that day, at that particular time, will be people who care to do the right thing. I hope the bill will pass, and that I will not feel too defeated if it doesn't. I hope that I will find comfort in doing what I am supposed to do no matter what the outcome is. I think that's a good summary prayer for the rest of my life.

Thank you for keeping all this in your hearts, minds and prayers.


:: ashli 11:51 AM # ::
:: Friday, April 11, 2003 ::

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support re: the situation at the Florida House. We won the first round. It was quite an intriguing/amazing experience, one that I'm not really ready to talk about today. Maybe tomorrow.

Thank you for your patience.


:: ashli 12:15 PM # ::
:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::

This morning I was reading a book to my child called Joseph Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. It's a wonderful little story about making the most of what you have... even if you have nothing.

The book starts with Joseph and his long overcoat. It is tattered and old and so he tailors it into a shorter jacket. When that is worn he makes a vest. When the vest is worn he makes a scarf. When the scarf is worn he makes a tie. When the tie is worn he makes a handkerchief. When the handkerchief is worn he makes a button. Eventually, the button pops off and is lost forever. So Joseph sits down and writes a book about his overcoat proving that even nothing is something to work with.

I had never read this story before and started weeping at the last line. It caught me off guard. "Why is this making me cry?" I puzzled. And then I thought about my own book.

I'm making what I can of my life after losing someone I tried to hold onto for so long. Nothing is left of my first child. And so much can come from that.


:: ashli 2:30 PM # ::
:: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 ::

I spent the weekend at med school in the bowels of the library trudging through scads of medical journal articles and doling out wads of cash on Medline abstract copies and article lists. (Forget Pubmed; Medline is God's gift to med students and obsessed, grieving moms.) After roughly 8 hours of a very amusing scavenger hunt, I began to realize that the project (a book I am writing on HG) is swiftly coming to completion. This book is a bond I have with my lost child. It is fluid and alive. It is griefwork like the blessing of perpetually tending a grave. I don't have a grave to weed-only this book, and it's almost over. I should be happy at the potential for helping others, and I am. But right before I left the library, I very nearly cried. The completion of this work is one more thing about my child that I have to say goodbye to. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye... it is misery.

My modem is out, and the book is coming to a close, so I am going to be very distracted for the next couple of weeks. My posts may suffer, but I will eventually return full force. Hopefully.

This Thursday I am going before the Florida House testifying for the Women's Health and Safety Act (basically says second trimester abortion facilities should have at least as many safety requirements as a veterinary hospital and should go one better and be as safe as human surgical/ambulatory clinics). Please keep me (and the other woman who is testifying) in your thoughts and prayers. Thank God it's the House and not the Senate, but there will be a Q&A session, and as soon as the blood hits the water a few carnivores will be eyeing us hungrily for dessert. You know how it is.


:: ashli 1:30 PM # ::
:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::

This is the last in the series of personal journal entries during the immediate months following my abortion-related child loss. I thought this was going to be an easy way to get through a week's worth of blogging, but it actually turned out to be kind of painful and embarrassing. Baring this much of my personal experience has been like showing up to the grocery store in my underwear.

I never believed in the term "nervous breakdown" but if I had to describe what I initially went through (after the abortion-related loss), I'd say I definately broke down.

About 8 months later I remember (quite vividly) staring out the window of my room and thinking I might like to plant something in the yard. And then I realized, that such a thought indicated that I cared about planting something. It was the first earthly thing that concerned me since the loss. Slowly the color bled back into a black and white world. It was exactly like that scene in "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" (70's movie) where the girl sneaks off to the bathroom to burn herself with cigarettes for the umpteenth time. She presses a glowing ember into her flesh and for the first time in a long time she flinches. It is a celebratory moment, because she realizes she is starting to feel again.

Before I got to that moment of feeling again, I had to weather those 8 months. It was a terrible period during which I thought about suicide constantly. At one point, I could feel myself drawing to a close and I wrote a letter in case I didn't have time or interest when the actual moment came:

Dear all,
This is one of those cliche suicide notes. If you are reading it, then I have made my exit. I have tried to go on without my child and with the terrible irony of killing the one I love. Each day is an unbearable hell. Grief eats me alive. Life means nothing to me without my child. I tried to stay alive for you, but I only exhausted everyone and reminded you of your pain. I don't feel my husband can go on with his life with me around. He is in agony over the loss and it's all I can talk about. I truly WANT to be with our baby. What I have become can not be changed. I am the mother of a murdered child; my child was murdered by me. Where do you go from there? I don't want to continue. The pain is too much.
April 1997

:: ashli 10:04 AM # ::

Sorry I missed Monday's blog. Technical difficulties. This should have been Monday's entry:

(Before the suicide note, I had taken to writing the baby. It was my way of praying my love up to him/her.)

Dearest Tennessee,
     It's morning.  Always the hardest time.  Faced with another day without you.  Gotta think of things to do to stay alive...
     I keep thinking about being in the clinic with you and how simple it would have been to avoid the tragedy of your death.  You know I woke up.  For just a minute... I woke up.  I remember them taking you from me.  I wish I didn't remember, but I do.  If I hit a telephone pole and lived would I at least have brain damage?  Could I forget who I am or that I had you disemboweled?  If I broke my brain that would fix me.  But then I wouldn't remember you or the music of your heartbeat when we were hospitalized that time.  I was sick, but you were safe.  I could have died for all they cared.  You or me or us for all they cared. 
     It would have been better to go where you are, to be with you.  That's what mothers do.  They don't give up.  Love never leaves anyone behind.  I left you.  I left you...

:: ashli 8:56 AM # ::
:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::

i'll never see your tiny hands
or the card
they would have colored
on mother's day
i'll never kiss you
or even touch
or miss you
as you run next door
to play
i'll never worry
about how to feed you
or clothe you
or teach you
the right things to say
but oh how i love you
how i want you and need you
and how
i threw your life away.

:: ashli 8:24 AM # ::
:: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 ::

we came home
without you
kept your picture
in a drawer
took you off the mirror
and the roster
of life
others said we had the right
but since you've been gone
everything's wrong...
before you even
took a breath
i took your life
and gave you death
and "health"
this way
is nothing good.

:: ashli 7:16 PM # ::
:: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 ::

This week I'm going to sneak into an old diary I kept for a few weeks after I aborted my child. The entries range from poems, letters and even a suicide note just in case I exited in haste. I thought it might help to write things down, but it didn't, so it wasn't something I maintained for very long. Today we'll start with a poem that was written less than two months after the death of my child. At this point I should have still been pregnant. (I would have been around 22 weeks.) Like so many, I kept count. Like so many, I was in utter despair.

child of mine

I want to join you
see you safely here
take it back
and since I can't
I want to join you.
Pills on the nightstand
I could put them in my hand
wield that Awful sword again
and throw my starving arms around you
tiny child
life I spent.


:: ashli 9:18 AM # ::
:: Friday, March 28, 2003 ::

This from the latest issue of "Habitat World" (a Habitat for Humanity publication): More children live in poverty today than did 30 years ago.

Thirty years ago... Hmmmm.... Now, lessee... What could have happened 30 years ago to affect the poverty level today? Hmmm... 1973... Anything come to mind?

After the abortion of my child I lost my teaching job. Parents were calling me encouraging me to sue. Some parents wanted to argue abortion rights with the school (apparently it had been an issue at somewhat clandestine meetings). I didn't want to argue at all. Truth be told, I was relieved. In the school's defense, I had been terribly ill with HG for more than six weeks. Because of the disease I was unable to adequately perform my duties (or eat or drink or anything else). They had to call subs in left and right. After I lost my child in an abortion I was an emotional wreck debating on whether or not I would kill myself. I could barely pretend everything was OK around the children, but whenever they would leave for special area I would dissolve into tears. I didn't care about life anymore much less blending or borrowing. And I was driven to despair over their tiny hands and lovely ways. A month of this and I informed my principal that I needed a leave of absence. He granted my request but secretly fired me and sent out letters to parents. It was shady, but I didn't care.

My kids hated the new teacher and a few parents wanted to fight to get me back, but I was suffering so much trauma from the abortion-related loss that I really couldn't do anything but lay on the couch and cry for literal days - and that's if I even made it to the couch. There were days I didn't get out of bed until 6 PM.

When my body had been sick with HG at least I was working towards something; the suffering had purpose. This new suffering, this heart sickness... it had no purpose; there was absolutely nothing to work for. This suffering was completely meaningless and would never come to any real end. Oh my shock at experiencing something worse than HG when I thought there could be nothing worse! Work? I didn't care.

When the HG was gone and I had the actual ability to get out of bed to bathe and eat and work, I didn't care to do any of those things. I just wanted my baby back, and my sorrow was all I could handle. People were really worried for me. My husband hid the gun. I saw mental health professionals several times a week and was "this close" to being forcibly admitted, but the HMO was finally working in my favor. As usual they wouldn't pay for treatment, and I didn't have a job, so I could go home and blow my brains out for all they (and I) cared.

A few months later I was still in the thick of it. I didn't move from the bed or the couch even to eat or bathe or go outside. There was nothing to say or do to remedy anything. It was over. People got sick of it. My mother-in-law suspected my emotional state was for the benefit of the family. One day when I was crying she turned to me and said, "You know, you don't have to do this to prove to us you're sorry. We believe you already." I had paid a high price to be better and according to them, by God, I needed to be better. It was, they felt, my duty. Plus, they just couldn't take it anymore.

I was needled (by my husband) into taking antidepressants, which was something I didn't want to do as I still had shellshock from all the medication trials in the pregnancy. I relented though, and when antidepressants didn't "cure" my grief, they switched meds. And when that didn't work they switched meds. And when that didn't work they switched meds. Finally I told them all what to do with their meds.

I tried several "post-abortion" counseling programs, but they didn't work. I tried envisioning my child as a radiant spirit, but that didn't work. Others prayed for me, but that didn't work. I tried symbolism and ceremony, but that didn't work. I tried going to the PASS site and talking to others, but that certainly didn't work. Nothing upon nothing patched me up. Where was my quick fix?

Everyone told me to get a job. That was the key. Get back into the normal swing of things. Act my way into thinking. So some fool hired me and I started life in a cubical. After all my hopes, dreams and aspirations as a hardworking (nearly 4.0) Elementary Ed. student at FSU, after years of student-teaching and subbing in the school system, after landing my first professional career and teaching for a year and a half, there I sat answering phones for plumbing and sewage for the state. Talk about taking your booger ice cream cone and rolling it in turd sprinkles. I planned my demise. The job lasted a month. I quit and went back to crying on the sofa (instead of gulping down the sobs in a cubical).

I haven't worked since. I have thought about it, but I'm terrified. I will never teach again, that much I know. That dream, that world, that girl is gone. Before, I could do anything but was inclined to teach. Now, I'm limited. I have thought about getting a life ethics degree and counseling or getting a nursing degree and running the sonogram machine for young women considering abortion. Those things I could do, those things would be satisfying and worthwhile. I could also finish my funeral director's license and work in that field. At least I wouldn't have to pretend to be cheery. My somber approach to death would even be deemed sensitive and appropriate. But honestly, I don't know if I'll ever go back to work. And luckily I have that option.

If it wasn't for my loyal, diligent husband, I can tell you with 100% certainty, I would have been out on the street and not even cared. I would have slept at the shelter or one of the shanties pictured in "Habitat World", and eventually I would have become one of these beyond-wounded people who walk around pushing shopping carts and talking to Elvis all day. They would have found me dead under an overpass like the body donations we used to get for embalming lab in funeral college. Abortion screwed me that much. It wasn't the HG, it wasn't my childhood, it wasn't even the cruel and lingering deaths of my parents.


What happened 30 years ago to add to the poverty (and emotional pathology) level today? The same thing that happened 6 years ago: horrible, terrible, legal abortion.


:: ashli 9:25 AM # ::
:: Thursday, March 27, 2003 ::

"Are you ready?" he asked. I couldn't answer. I had already caused enough trouble by being unable to do it when he initially came in the room. So he broke his own "no partner" policy and let my husband come in to talk to me. There were no answers; Reenter the abortionist. I argued my hesitancy and caused even more of a delay. It didn't solve anything. I was still beyond sick.

What to do, what to do?

"Are you ready?" Of course not. My mouth said I didn't want it, but my arm stretched outward towards the needle, the last needle I would need for this horrible, out-of-control, abnormal pregnancy. The needle went in; I felt its sting. The lights went out.

For six years I've had trouble sleeping. I have nightmares and a broken sense of peace in general, but an awareness of my arms (particularly the right one) keeps me half awake. I am on guard, protecting myself from unseen needles coming for my child in the night.

A few years ago I started restraining my right arm in a bent-closed position at bedtime. Nuts, yes, but I thought it might help me sleep, and I needed sleep what with a young child to raise. It gave me security, but it hurt my arm, so it didn't really help. Still, I'd sometimes do it anyway. Just because.

There's nothing unusual about last night's dysfunctional slumber. I was exhausted and even took skullcap (herbal sedative) like a good hippy, hoping to sleep the night through. But I had a terrible nightmare. In this dream I was preoccupied with an intruder bent on stealing my child from the bed as he slept. After successfully fighting off the intruder, I went to check on my son. On the way to the bedroom I noticed the back door was ajar. Terrified, I ran to the bed where the leftover pieces of my son lay. I had been tricked.

I woke up with my heart pounding in my ears. I felt for my son's tiny form. He was in one piece. I wanted to cry, but I don't cry anymore. I just... don't. Instead I kissed him on the head and spent the next hour and a half just listening to him breathe in awe. I had a living child. One of my three children made it through HG alive. I still can't believe it. In the quiet black of night, I'm a beaming daughter, marveling to God that a baby of mine lived. "Listen to him breathe, Lord! He's alive! I did it! I HAD A BABY! ThankYouthankYouthankYou!"

I knew I should try and get some rest for the long day ahead, so I closed my eyes and prayed for sleep. It came but not without my nagging arms. This one fell outstretched and then that one. Each time I woke up. Each time I quickly tucked an appendage tightly inward, hiding the vulnerable, forfeiting crook. Part of me is stuck somewhere.

When I sleep I go back to the gurney. And there I know he is coming... coming to get me with his crude-looking dilators and white plastic bell jar. Like an ad for sorrow the tools of his trade are neatly displayed on a bi-level cart. I can hear its squeaking wheels as they approach.


:: ashli 10:14 AM # ::
:: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 ::

First, I would like to thank the SICLE moms who wrote me with positive comments about yesterday's blog. Here's my favorite:

"Great one....the cube stickers is an excellent illustration. I refuse to be a sticker picker. I thought I was the only one refusing to play the "healing" game, but you're the biggest ass-kicking, non-stickerpicker of all. We are in this together! "

Second, the fact that Emily blogged on the same subject at After abortion was total coincidence. Neither of us planned to double-team the PASS site; we simply showed up to the party wearing the same dress. Out of her genuine compassion for women she chose to remove yesterday's very insightful (and incite-ful) blog because some of the PASS moms had been hurt by it.

Third, the posts got people talking. While I stand by my perspective, my intent was not to hurt anyone. As the SICLE Cell description says, this is "my view". No one has to like it, but no one is allowed to take it away. That being said...

The brouhaha over this subject shows that people are thinking (which is what it's all about). I myself am newly interested in denial and the purpose it serves. It's a coping mechanism. It's there for a reason. It gets a negative rap, but can it ever be healthy? I wondered to a friend yesterday that perhaps some others NEED denial for awhile, because the reality of abortion can be too big to deal with all at once. Maybe for some, the benefits of denial may outweigh the risks of confrontation. In other words, if repressed grief can manifest as various dysfunction (alcohol abuse, promiscuity, etc.) that still may be better than a total self-confession that leads to suicide. It is documented that confronting abortion-related child loss literally kills some moms.

One woman who lost 7 children in abortions only admitted to three. For her anything over that number was too much. Finally, she confronted all seven and within a year successfully committed suicide. While abortion was primarily to blame, confronting what she had done didn't help her. For her it might have been better to deny as much of it as she could. It might not have made her a whole person, but it might have kept her alive and given her more time to deal with it incrementally. In certain doses at certain intervals, I concede that nonacceptance can serve a purpose.

Even I still catch myself practicing a sort of denial. Most of my waking day I try to convince myself that this isn't my life and that none of it happened. Of course I don't really believe it, but denial makes it easier to move normally throughout the day so that required tasks can be undertaken. However, I wouldn't suggest to another grieving mother that she didn't really abort her child. For me, denial is a novel pacifier- not the oxygen I breathe and not my personal crusade.

Although abortion kills a child and significantly raises maternal health risks, I don't demand that women feel bad about that. In the same way, no one should demand that they feel good. People should feel as they feel and be met right where they're at. People spend years and thousands of dollars in educational institutions learning how to offer healthy, appropriate therapy. Meanwhile virtual boards are full of self-appointed pseudo-shrinks whose only credentials are having "been there". But no one has ever really been in another's shoes, so the credential is flawed. And good support is not an easy gig.

Yesterday afternoon a cashier asked me, "How are you today?" I gave her my usual ignorable answer: "I'm getting along, and how are you?" She looked down at her feet and quietly replied, "I'm a loser." This unexpected answer threw me a little, and without thinking I followed my first instinct which was to say: "No you're not!" Of course she didn't believe me, and walking to my car I realized I hadn't met her where she was at. In three short words I demanded that she not disturb me with her "inappropriate" grief. I demanded that she feel better immediately. She was crying out and I shut her up. It's frustrating to realize that the response I used to try and help her in fact assured that she would find no help in me. I should have gone with her original assessment. I should have said, "If you feel like a loser, you must be very depressed." Then I could have given her my shrink's card or even my email address. If I had opted for the latter though, I would have had a responsibility to meet her where she was at, and that is a very difficult thing to do.

Meaningful support is hard to provide and even harder to come by. Instead of insisting that any ol' positive tape constitutes healthy support, we should really strive to honestly meet people where they are at. It may take more work, but that's the kind of sincere commitment a self-appointed helper should be willing to accept. There are no quick fixes, and that may be a difficult concept to convey to lay-supporters who feel positive about abortion.


:: ashli 9:17 AM # ::
:: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 ::

I've been online with my experience for the last 6 years. The SICLE is in a constant state of evolution and never ceases until it's time for the big dirt nap. Over the years I've received over a thousand related emails, and most of them have been very supportive and encouraging. Still, there have been a few folks who have sent vitriol-laden missives that would make an abortionist blush.

Part of the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is having gone through something that travels beyond the realm of usual human experience. Abortion-related PTSD exists because humans do not usually reach up into their wombs and yank out their own progeny. The species isn't wired for that. On an instinctual level, induced abortion doesn't make sense. But people strive to find order in everything, so we are constantly trying to make sense of what happened. If we can just order everything, figure it out, neatly compartmentalize every factor, maybe the Rubik's cube will finally solve, and we'll have a lock on healing or at least real, solid closure. Until then, we're like a clockwork mouse bumping into the wall over and over and over again as we repeatedly ask ourselves the same unsolvable questions ad nauseum. (The featured query being "How could I have done that?!")

Some mothers want to solve it so badly (and quickly) that they cheat (and encourage others to do the same). They force the stickers off the cube and move them to their unassigned but apparently solved spots. The solution is an illusion. Some of these false moves often involve insincere mantras of:

"You did the best thing you could at the time."

"You weren't weak; just the fact that you got an abortion proves how strong you really are."

"It wasn't really a baby."

These post-abortion moms meet on "neutral" boards that are anything but. Many sit in sticker-swapping circles like children trading baseball cards at recess. They are more concerned with uniformity than they are with dealing with the genuine disarray of mismatched sides. The seemingly "finished" cube keeps them sane. Don't dare suggest that a woman has a right to determine that abortion was a mistake. When a mom suspects that she had a responsibility to her child, do not agree that such a feeling is at all rational. Instead give her a sticker: "Try and remember all the very good reasons you had for getting that abortion. They were very important or else you wouldn't have had the strength to make such a difficult decision." Don't allow anyone to get hold of a genuine cube; Give them a platitude or get out.

I think it explains why, of the small percentage of hate-mail I've received, the nastiest letters have come from other women who say their self-imposed child loss was a positive event. I have been accused of being mentally ill for hurting so badly over the loss of a 15-week-old know-nothing, feel-nothing, be-nothing fetus. I have been called a liar who never lost a child in the first place. I have been dismissed as a lackey for the "pro-life" movement and even my gender has been questioned. I have been hated, insulted, gagged, and verbally abused for grieving, questioning, evolving, confronting, speaking, and refusing to lift so much as a corner of a sticker. I'm not saying everyone has to react as I have or feel as I do, but it is wrong to silence the ones who do. I would not be shocked to discover that women's biggest contemporary oppressors are in fact women.

Leo Buscaglia once said, "Those who are hardest to love need the love the most." It encourages me to be gentle with the sticker-swappers who hate me for calling their game. They probably have the most to lose.


:: ashli 8:25 AM # ::
:: Monday, March 24, 2003 ::

I admire Jennifer O'Neill for taking a stand for women and children by opposing abortion. Jennifer lost a child of her own in a coerced abortion, and she knows the pain and suffering well. I am grateful to her for her voice and advocacy and want her to keep up the good work, but... she kind of reminds me of Rosie O'Donnell and Melissa Etheridge in that she advocates opposing causes thereby sending a conflicting message. While O'Neill opposes abortion, she also promotes it as a chairperson for various chapters of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the March of Dimes (MOD).

My grandparents, the parents who raised me for the better part of my life, both died of cancer. And they didn't just wake up dead one day; cancer lingers. It toils away reducing the sufferer to Shakespeare's "second childishness"; mewling and puking once again, the afflicted trudges off helpless towards the grave.

I have seen cancer's python slither in from a dark corner, wrap its black coils around the people I love, tighten it's grasp over a period of months until lungs were useless, air met no purpose, and I was painting dead fingernails casket pink. I know cancer; I take it personally and I loathe it with a greedy passion, but I would never attempt to fight a python epidemic by confining the constrictors to women's houses.

The ACS has a dirty little secret: they're sexist with a capital "S". They discriminate against women in particular when they lie that abortion does not increase a woman's risk of deadly breast cancer. So a group that fights cancer causes cancer. If you are fighting abortion in advocacy of the emotional and physical health of women, it isn't rational to support a group that misleads women unto death. Neither would it be sensible to promote the abortion of the differently-abled which is exactly what the MOD does.

When is good news bad news? When the MOD "prevents" birth defects (by preventing the special-needs child from being born). The "success" of the March of Dimes reminds me of the reports that occasionally come out celebrating lower teen birth rates. Sounds great, but they're only talking about birth rates, not pregnancy (and abortion) rates. When I know that one of the ways the MOD reduces birth defects is by aborting differently-abled children, there is no way I could ever aid their cause. I wonder why O'Neill does.

I wish Jennifer would disassociate herself from the ACS and the MOD, because components of those causes deeply conflict with her pro-woman efforts against abortion. It is my feeling that she will be much more effective at preventing abortion once she stops promoting it.


:: ashli 11:01 AM # ::

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