Human Issues, Random Thoughts, Spiritual

Pro-Life, Roe vs. Wade, and… Joe Biden?

I am a Christian, a 30-year registered Republican Pro-Lifer. I believe life begins at conception.

At 16, still in high school, I had an unplanned pregnancy – the results of which continues to be one of my greatest joys.

I wasn’t promiscuous, just uneducated, madly “in love,” and convinced I would marry this person right after high school. Contraceptives weren’t easy for everyone to come by in the 80s, especially if you were teenagers as clueless as we. Should we have waited for marriage? Sure. But practicing abstinence is hardly in the front of most teenagers’ minds in the heat of the moment.

When I first suspected a pregnancy, I needed to know for sure before I upset and disappointed my mom. I went to the only place I could find to get a real pregnancy test for free without parental consent – Planned Parenthood. I’m sure most people equate Planned Parenthood with abortion or pushing abortion, but my personal experience was completely opposite. I saw a doctor, had my first ever female exam (gasp!!), and sat down in a cozy living room-like space to discuss options over a cup of tea with a sweet lady counselor.

We talked a lot about me, my goals for college and career, my home life, school, my boyfriend. She said I had a couple of options, and I do remember her saying “terminate the pregnancy” was one of them. Most of the time, however, she talked about resources that were available to me should I decide to keep the baby or give him up for adoption. I was relieved she didn’t push me in any direction or the other. She gave me some pre-natal vitamins, a folder full of literature, and some phone numbers. She also told me I could come to Planned Parenthood for contraceptives and female exams and gave me a few cards in case I wanted to share with any of my not-yet-pregnant friends.

Obviously, I chose to keep the baby, and his sister who came along 2 ½ years later. I also finished high school, went to college and graduate school, and have had a long successful career. I have to give credit, in part, to that Planned Parenthood counselor. She helped me feel the weighty importance of my decision without making me more terrified than when I walked in the door. I felt like no matter which option I chose, even had it been abortion, I would have one person on this planet who wouldn’t judge me badly either way.

I feel terrible for women who don’t believe they have viable options. I don’t judge them, though. It’s not my place to judge anyone else. Everyone sins. If we spent half the energy on empathy and understanding that we spend on judging people, we’d all have enough energy to run marathons. I think, though, that empathy and understanding is a learned behavior that, unfortunately, isn’t taught much anymore.

When I taught composition at the University of Tennessee, my favorite assignment I gave my students involved writing an argument essay on whichever topic interested them the most – no matter how controversial – including gun control, abortion, gay rights, whatever – they simply had to be passionate about it. This assignment came immediately after a series of assignments on appropriate sources to help prove their arguments. Unlike most of my teacher collogues, I allowed my students to cite the Bible (and any other religious text), but they could not use more than one of any type of resource. Part of winning arguments is providing evidence that resonates with your audience.

Once they chose their topics, I told them the actual writing assignment was to write a paper arguing the other side. I remember an upset girl in one class who threatened to withdraw saying writing about pro-choice would be against her religion. This same girl, at the end of the semester, wrote me the sweetest card about how well a pro-life conversation had gone with a friend, simply because she better understood why her friend thought the way she did in the first place.

So now, when I’m asked how a pro-life Republican Christian could possibly vote for Biden instead of Trump, I can also give a solid, well-rounded, educated answer. Biden, a practicing Catholic, is pro-life, and his support in upholding Roe vs. Wade proves it.

Stick with me, here – I can hear the Right and the Left both freaking out.

One of the most common misconceptions about abortion is Roe vs. Wade. Most people believe that overturning that decision would make abortion illegal, but that’s simply not the case. The decision has more to do with rights to privacy and due process.

Abortion has never been illegal nationally. In fact, abortion was not banned in 17 of the 37 states when the 14th Amendment of the constitution was ratified. By the 1950s, most, but not all, states banned abortion. This lasted only a decade or so, however, and by the 1960s and early 1970s, 13 states allowed abortions, and many had few or no restrictions. In the 31 states where abortion was allowed only to save a woman’s life, unscrupulous doctors wildly stretched that criteria. Across the nation, dangerous and deadly back room and self-induced abortions killed and maimed without regard to trimesters. And even in states where abortion was illegal, they were routinely conducted on military bases because the states do not have jurisdiction on military (federal) property.

So what, then, did Roe vs Wade actually do? Literalists will shoot me for over simplifying it, but I’ll take the risk. Take the emotionally charged word “abortion” away and consider this:

If you lived in a state where something is illegal, and you travel to a state where that something is not illegal, prosecuting you for it requires a complete invasion of your privacy.

Problem #1 solved. You can’t prosecute someone for something done in another state if it isn’t illegal in that state.

But wait! Roe didn’t go to another state. She couldn’t afford to go to another state and tried to get one in Texas.

The case argued that the Texas anti-abortion laws denied women due process given in the 14th Amendment and violated a woman’s rights to personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy. This was built on similar Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment arguments were made almost 10 years prior to regarding contraceptives. The Supreme Court decided it was no one’s business if a couple chose to use contraceptives. I won’t go into the details about the laws prior, but oh my goodness, take the time and read about it sometime. The ban on contraceptives was purely religious, (not a clear separation of church and state) and was an invasion of privacy for the state to poke its nose in your bedroom.

Back to abortion. What a woman and her doctor discuss about her health, including if a pregnancy is a risk to a woman’s life is private. It is also widely open to interpretation, since no pregnancy is risk-free. The court wants to protect everyone’s right to privacy and equal rights under the law, but they sure don’t want to make all abortion legal. Here’s the tricky part. Late term abortions were rampant. Some states tried to restrict, other states didn’t. The Court made a constitutionally appropriate decision to protect privacy and due process, but leaving it there alone would allow unrestricted, late term, or dangerous abortions to continue.

Without a constitutional amendment ratified by the states (the people) giving a fetus full rights, the Court can only work within the existing constitution and established precedents. This means that the government does not have a compelling interest in being involved in a decision between a woman and her doctor while the fetus is not viable for surviving outside of the womb. It’s between her and her doctor, privately. The youngest surviving baby was 21 weeks gestation, which is why states can restrict abortion after 20 weeks. Even the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would only allow a nationwide-ban on abortions after 20 weeks, not before.

Do I personally believe that a person isn’t a person until 20 weeks? Of course not. But unless we invent some type of incubator to replicate the uterus, or we amend the constitution, that unborn baby does not have the rights granted by the constitution. Overturning Roe vs. Wade does not change this fact. All that overturning Roe vs. Wade does is give the power back to the states to return to an abortion free-for-all. Plus a whole lot of other implications regarding due process and privacy. Overturning Roe vs. Wade also removes the foundation for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which seeks to punish people who perform disallowed abortions, not women who receive them. Before Roe vs. Wade, women were criminals in some states, even if the abortion was forced by a boyfriend/spouse.

So why don’t we see an actual effort to amend the constitution? To my pro-life ear, that sounds great on the surface, but I can see why people would be wary of the inevitable laws and punishments for things like spontaneous miscarriages. Neglect for not taking prenatal vitamins. Lawsuits for birth defects. Despite the risks, I believe a well-crafted amendment would get my vote, if it ever comes to fruition.

See, basically people are barking up the wrong tree. The Supreme Court does not have the power to change the constitution – this must be proposed in Congress, passed by 2/3 majority in both the Senate and the House, and then ratified by 3/4 of the states.

Pushing to overturn Roe vs. Wade will not do what people think. The ruling allows states to restrict abortions after 20 weeks, implicitly forcing states to restrict abortions. Biden’s voting record and statements made over the years show he understands this. He does not support abortion after 20 weeks. His platform is actually to codify Roe vs. Wade so that it cannot be overturned based on the whims of a president or the religious and political leanings of the Court. While we all wait for people to realize a fetus is a human being, It is better to have some restrictions in all states than no restrictions in some states.

Being a practicing Catholic, Biden also supports the “consistent life ethic,” which includes things like opposing capital punishment, humane treatment of immigrants, and doing things to protect others from COVID (like wearing a mask).

Trump, on the other hand, is not pro-life, or at minimum, he doesn’t understand what “pro-life” means. I’m thrilled he has, as he states “evolved” his position on abortion – in 1999 he stated he is “very, very pro-choice in every respect,” but in 2011 said he changed to pro-life after a friend and his wife did not have a planned abortion and the baby became the apple of his friends eye. While that may make him anti-abortion, it does not make him pro-life.

  • He continually repeats the misconception regarding overturning Roe vs. Wade – a far-right justice overturning this ruling would not only result in a much worse situation regarding abortions (see essay above), but also places other rulings at risk, such as privacy for contraceptives and the ability for women to have their own money and property without a man’s signature
  • In 2016, Trump stated “there has to be some form of punishment should be in place for women who have abortions”
  • He barred family planning dollars from going to places that even refer patients to abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood – which only serves to restrict certain populations from contraceptives, early pregnancy care, cervical cancer prevention, and information about adoption and low-income parenting resources
  • As recently as the first 2020 presidential debate he repeated his ardent support of the death penalty
  • Trump’s antibody treatment he received for COVID-19 was tested using cells from an abortion
  • Trump has yet to provide a documented plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that, despite its many many flaws (in my opinion), gives people access to basic health care – even the well-meaning but defective Medicaid expansion for the most at-risk uninsured adults is better than unhealthy people left untreated while treatable, then massive uninsured major medical expenses with costs passed on to the rest of us, then early death
  • His continued stance that COVID only affects older people with health problems (even if this were true, the lives of older people matter)   

I could make more bullet points, but it risks straying from the topic at hand. I don’t approve of a lot of things Trump as done so far, and even though I can point out a few good things, there aren’t enough to outweigh the bad for me. I’ve heard many people say they hate everything about Trump but have to vote for him because they are pro-life, but I just don’t see how he is pro-life. If Trump were running against a true Liberal Democrat, I could see arguments for voting Trump. However, most of the people in this country are not radical left. Most of the people in this country aren’t radical right, either. I must vote my religion and my conscience and vote pro-life.

Addendum – a couple of thoughts on some other major issues. My husband calls me an “extreme moderate,” but I lean Reagan and Bush Sr. conservative.

Racism and Nationalism – Systemic racism is well documented in this country, but I don’t believe Trump is racist. He support far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy – which is completely against my Christian views, let alone my political ones. It feeds systemic racism, albeit somewhat indirectly, and survives only through creating fear of “the other.” Fear of people from other countries, fear of people with different political views, fear of other cultures, fear that only power can create peace. Us against them is ugly and dangerous, and it’s tearing our country to pieces. It is also more of a direct threat to our beloved capitalism than the fledgling and largely misunderstood moderate Democratic Socialism movement. I repeat. Most of the people in this country are not radical left. Most of the people in this country aren’t radical right, either.

Gun Control – No the “Dems” aren’t going to take your guns. It’s a pretty big part of the Constitution. I own guns. I support the right to bear arms. I also think if you have to have a license to drive a car and a permit to hunt a deer, you can have an application process to buy a gun, you can wait a few days, and you shouldn’t get a gun if you’re a felon or you’re mentally ill.

Police Brutality – “Defund the police” is one of the dumbest names I’ve ever heard. It’s too easy to think it means abolish the police. It doesn’t. Those mentally ill people who shouldn’t have guns? They need someone who can help them because the police can’t. Police aren’t trained to be social workers! Nurses and social workers and counselors go to school for years, must pass hard tests to be licensed, and must complete continuing education to maintain their licenses. There is no consistent bar for police officers. In a world suffering from systemic racism, that lack of consistency causes real problems. If a nurse walks into the wrong hospital room and gives someone medicine that kills them, there’s no protests. That nurse loses her job and license, and is sued, jailed, or both. There is a certain standard and expectation already established for that nurse, but not for cops. Most police are brave, amazing people (including several close, dear friends), some are really bad apples, and many are undertrained and overworked.

Random Thoughts

Want real reform? This is how.

Police are not the problem. The people making the laws are the problem. They choose where your money goes. For decades money has been channeled for political gain. Step over a dollar to pick up a dime.

I was a 911 operator for years. I heard call after call after call that never should have gone to the police. OF COURSE the police have had to weaponize and militarize – they have to protect themselves. OF COURSE they have had to hire more and more officers – they have to spend more time doing things that have ZERO to do with enforcing laws. Important things—things that have to be done by SOMEbody. Why does a sheriff’s deputy have to serve papers for civil court? Why does a police officer have to arrest that homeless man or take that drug addict to the hospital yet again, knowing that person has no real way out of their situation. Why does it take 3-4 hours a day to file paperwork on non-crime items like traffic accidents (AND, if they miss crossing a T, actual criminals walk… if they can afford a lawyer?).

If it doesn’t involve enforcing a criminal (not civil) law, why are we making our police do it?

What would happen in hospitals if we fired all the nurses and told the doctors to do all of the work themselves? Nurses are certainly not lesser jobs. They’re clearly needed. All of the important things they do keep the machine running and everybody knows it. But what if some politician said, we don’t need nurses. Doctors can do all the monitoring of their patients, and all the paperwork. They can respond every time that little button gets pushed. How easy would it be for the doctor to specialize? How could he focus on the most serious cases? Well, just hire more doctors, right? Instead of having the top 40% of each medical class become doctors, let the top 80% in. What harm could possibly come from that? So what if they didn’t do as well on their training? So what if that guy is a jerk to patients? We need more bodies! Let’s make our entry criteria even easier so we can take the top 90%.

This is how we get so many “bad apples” folks. And I don’t mean “bad people” – I mean there are people who were hired to do a job who were not suited for it or qualified for it who are in over their heads. I was a good 911 operator… for a while. Thank God I was self-aware enough to realize I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I simply wasn’t cut out for that line of work. I’m pretty smart and educated and capable – but there are some jobs I just shouldn’t do. I should not be a singer. I should/could not be a nurse (God Bless all y’all). But if I had to feed my family, and all the desk jobs were gone, but the hospital was hiring a thousand singing nurses and all I had to do was show up to the interview wearing pants… well, I think we can all imagine how THAT would be.

This is a lot longer than I set out to post. I think it’s important though. I get why people freak out about it. It’s hard to really understand because it’s a long game, not a short game. Politicians need quick wins so they’ll get re-elected next time, so they’ll always choose the option that will make them look good today – let tomorrow figure itself out.

You want real change? Defund the politicians. Better yet, defund the political parties. We’re at war with each other and most of us don’t know why. I don’t like abortion and I don’t like capital punishment, but I’m asked to choose between them. Having only two strong parties turns every single issue into black or white. Only the “far left” and the “far right” really believe in every single issue their party sides on—especially since so many are contradictions.

Changing the political landscape is a long game. Money will still be given hand over fist to the parties at a National level with the current regimes (and I mean BOTH of them). Change happens locally. Why does it freaking matter if a coroner is a Democrat or a Republican? Like any other doctor, I would like someone neutral doing autopsies, thank you! Why do we have parties listed on school board elections and for the local sheriff? We have ALLOWED this narrowness into our communities. We don’t listen to the candidates without their party labels—the labels that come with stereotypes and expectations.

Do you know what I want from a sheriff or a judge or a coroner? Impartiality. I want them to make decisions based on context and facts, not on maintaining an image that aligns with a party. I want a school board and local government who makes decisions that make sense for MY community, not basing it on needs for some big city 600 miles away.

You want real reform? Start with your local elections. Find out who the candidates are – don’t just flip a lever to red or blue. Get rid of the party structure locally and you’ll see change at the state and national levels in the future.

Random Thoughts

What’s next?

I’m back!! W00t! My husband, Wayne and I are both back on social media after a crazy long hiatus. Truthfully, we have endured the most difficult couple of years in our entire lives. I’ve been silent for various reasons, but I think we’ve processed enough to be able to share and, hopefully, use our experiences to help others. I’ll get into all that eventually.

Living Proof Live 2015

But first, something positive. No period of time is all bad, just like none is all good, so I have a lot of various tidbits and interesting things I’m looking forward to blogging about. Today I’m super excited about two different Beth Moore events coming up this fall. If you have never heard of Beth, I highly recommend looking into her work. Her bible studies have made a tremendous impact on my life over the years. I don’t have a clue how just yet, but I am certain Beth will have some kind of influence in shaping my path on a project or event or “thing” I’m feeling led to do. That still small voice says the time is near and I’m excited to find out what it is!

So this fall, the first bit of awesomeness is Lifeway Women Live – a conference happening in Greenville, SC in August. While I’m looking forward to hearing Beth Moore, one of my other favorite and most influential writers, Priscilla Shirer, will also be there — as will Jen Wilkin, Jackie Hill Perry, Kelly Minter, and Jennifer Rothschild.

The second :::squee!!::: is a Living Proof Live New England Adventure. What a great new way to see Boston, Portland, and Bar Harbor, plus I’ll be seeing Saint John, New Brunswick (Bay of Fundy) and Halifax, Nova Scotia for the first time. And while Royal Caribbean is probably my least favorite cruise line (one of these days I’m going to get around to writing that post comparing various cruise lines), my time on the boat will be extraordinary, if not life changing.

Girlfriends’ NYC Trip – Erika, Grace, Donna, and Morgan

Sharing in both of these adventures is my sister-in-Christ, Grace, one of my dearest friends. We have been traveling together for more than 10 years now and we ALWAYS have a good time. This is going to be amazing!!

Just for Fun, Random Thoughts

The Penna Keyboard is GREAT for writers

My husband knows me so very well. One of my favorite presents for Christmas this year is my Penna Keyboard. There is something deliciously satisfying about the tactile experience of a good, old-fashioned keyboard. Years ago, I got the Hanx Writer app by Tom Hanks (yes, THAT Tom Hanks) that at least allowed the sound of a typewriter on my iPad; however, I still pined for an old school word processor just so I can have keys that depress. Since I prefer writing in the fantastic Scriviner app, I never pursued the word processor desire and lose the ability to work and type right in the app.Penna Bluetooth Keyboard with White Chrome Keycap(US Language) (Switch-Cherry Mx Brown, Baby Pink)

The Penna Keyboard is the best of all worlds. The keys (round Retro Chrome Keycaps on my version) have a pleasing click-clack and are very responsive. The keyboard can pair with up to five devices and, since it is not OS-specific, so I can use it on any device as I float between my Mac, iPad, and PC… and even my iPhone.

Since I just opened my new toy this morning, I’m still getting to know all of the features. Despite looking like an old school typewriter, all of the key options you’d expect to see on a quality Bluetooth keyboard are included, and then some. Multi-media keys control things like volume and screen brightness, while the clever little faux return carriage lever allows you to record and automatically retype favorite keys or sentences.

Overall I’m super excited and suddenly inspired to write. Whether that’s from the keyboard, the vacation time, the wine, or some combination, we’ll never really know. I’m humoring my husband now by writing this blog post about the Penna Keyboard using the Penna Keyboard, but I think I’ll finish up the dozen or so posts sitting in draft and retro-publish them this week.

Merry Christmas!

Random Thoughts

An important perspective on Suicide Prevention by my friend @joethepeacock

How To Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

…And no, it’s not by posting the Suicide Prevention Hotline to your social media feed.

On May 30, 2011, I tried to take my own life.
The last thing I did before I committed to killing myself was throw my phone into the river behind my house… So, telling me to call the suicide prevention hotline wouldn’t have helped. Not right then.

Keep reading at

Random Thoughts

How Responsible Tourism Can Challenge Patriarchy in India.

I would love to go see what difference, if any, a year has made.

The Shooting Star

Over the course of my travels in India, I’ve found myself in some strange predicaments. Once, I was in the home of a middle class family in the mountains, ready to pounce on delicious local food after a long, back-breaking journey. But when I arrived in the dining area, I found myself joined only by the men of the family, as the women served, and then waited on us from a distance.

I sat in awkward silence, not sure if I should join the women in the kitchen and further the house’s patriarchal traditions, or eat with the men as the women waited. I could imagine the same scene playing out in hundreds of households across the country.

At the end of the awkward (though delicious) meal, the elderly male head of the household said to me with a disconcerting confidence: I think I’ve figured out why you ate so little, it was probably because…

View original post 1,660 more words

Just for Fun, Random Thoughts

Painting, Pinterest, and Procrastination #redecorating

We’re getting ready to redecorate. Well, I say redecorate, but we never really got around to finishing the decorating when we bought the house three years ago. Recently, my husband and I have started feeling artsy and inspired to take on the redecorating ourselves. I have a vision of a warm, inviting kitchen with a Tuscan color scheme and old world / southern country French accents and my husband is determined to master the Tuscan faux paint technique.

Innocently but inevitably, this drove me to Pinterest. The vortex. The black hole. The incessant time suck addiction which has, of course, taken over my every conscious free moment. A thousand pins on 20 boards later, we haven’t bought any paint brushes, but I’ve planned out my next 5K, 10K, and half marathon; created a reading list through 2023; and planned the next three vacations (India, Germany, and Budapest – I didn’t even know I wanted to visit Budapest).

Like most women, I pretty much planned my wedding on Pinterest. And our vow renewal ceremonies every five years until we die. You did it, too. Don’t lie.

Pin pin pin pin pin.pants

I mean, seriously. Look at these gold jamavaar cigarette trousers with diamanté embroidery that I now have to buy!! —————>

Even with all the distractions, I managed to find a lot of great decorating ideas. The husband has at least four different painting techniques he’s going to try out and we actually landed on a color for the kitchen (three shades of color, actually) that will complement the living and dining rooms nicely (if we ever get around to finishing them).

Thanks to Pinterest, I also located my two artful contributions – hand-painted ceiling medallions and stenciling for the archways. Right now, since it’s all in my head and no where near a reality, the project will be easy, not at all exhausting, and a wonderful fun bonding experience for me and my husband. Aren’t you excited for us? Wanna help?

Random Thoughts

9 signs he loves you for who you are #Blessed

My husband and I will celebrate our anniversary in a couple days and today this timely article popped up in my blog feed. All these years together and we still look forward to seeing each other every day after work. These are my sweetie to a tee, and I can definitely say I am one lucky lady. I wish all my readers this kind of love… if not now, then in the near future. Cheers!

1. They love the things about you that you don’t necessarily love about yourself. When you’re running around your apartment like a chicken with its head cut off because you forgot where you put your keys only to realize they’re in your hands, your SO isn’t annoyed, they’re one part amused, and two…

via 9 Signs Your Significant Other Loves You For Who You Really Are — Thought Catalog