She's dead now. But I'd be telling my Aunt Rosie's story, even if she were still alive.
I'd be telling it because it is another side of the abortion issue that
the tunnel-visioned pro-life Republicans are constantly eager to shove
in everyone's face and down everyone's throat. As with nearly everything
in life, nothing is starkly black or white. There's mostly gray.
What prompts me is that in the very wee hours of this Saturday morning,
House Republicans didn't merely slash funding for Planned Parenthood,
they cut it out completely. I'm unconcerned about who you are or what
your religious orientation may be or how you feel about abortion, all
those opposed to any funding for the organization are: brain-dead
And at that, they are not simply brain-dead stupid, they are dangerously
brain-dead stupid; women will die as a consequence of that brain-dead
stupidity. Coarsely put: They murder living, breathing women of
child-bearing age, but mostly the young whose entire lives lay ahead of
them! It may be second-degree murder, or third, but it is murder.
Defunding Planned Parenthood will not eliminate from the face of the
national geography either unwanted pregnancies or abortions. What it
will most assuredly produce are 1.) more unwanted pregnancies that will result in 2.) a wholly avoidable increase in the bloodiest and most excruciatingly painful deaths from back-alley abortionists.
As to "unwanted pregnancies," let me impose one historical fact for all
who believe there was a Jesus who was born to Mary. She was by every
account between 12 and 14 years old, was unmarried when she became
pregnant, and, save for an older man's good graces, most certainly she
would have been shamed and shunned, likely even kicked into the harsh
desert, to fare however she might, by the tiny Jewish community. These
were not liberated folks, folks. They were overwhelmingly illiterate,
clannish, and they had very strict rules that everyone was expected to
follow . . . or else. Stoning of the trespassers of those rules --
reread Leviticus and Deuteronomy -- was an all-too-frequent, Biblically
The point is that, just because grown adults may not like it, young
people are nevertheless going to have sex. As it has for at least the
1.2 to 1.5 million years we know about our specie's existence, nature
demands they do. And, save for the last less than one-tenth of one
percent of our existence, marriage wasn't even a human concept. Then,
when it became so, it was more an economic or political bargain that was
struck between the fathers of the young man and young woman, frequently
made while the couple were yet in the toddler stages. Furthermore, to
that I ask the religious among us, how many wives did Solomon have, and
do you really think every one of them became his wife as a product of
romantic love and the woman's own volition?
Get real . . . at least for one brief second, please. The only path out
of the La Brea tar pit like drowning goo that most often is teen
unwanted pregnancy is awareness of the fact sex among young adults will
occur and genuine EDUCATION that will help prevent the sexual behavior
from turning into that unwanted pregnancy. In addition to abortion
counseling, Planned Parenthood serves that educating function. Parents
generally do an abysmal job of it, regardless how conservatives are wont
to claim the job as solely their exclusive jurisdiction.
Now I'll tell you about my late Aunt Rosie.
As my comments could suppose otherwise, however, before I set upon that
road, it's important that I confess that the first real love of my life
was my paternal grandmother. At no moment that I recall was I ever
blessed with less than unqualified absolute love and kindness from her; a
swaddling tapestry that sadly, even tragically, did not, never did,
extend to any of her four children. Ever.
Rose Tubbs Ingram was born and raised in Williamston, a small farming
community ten miles southeast of Lansing. Her mother, my grandmother,
had but a 3d-grade education, and more important was an extremely devout
Roman Catholic. Assiduous attention to the church doctrine was the
environment in the home. No matter, at 16 Rosie became quite pregnant.
Given the harshness of her home environment, the very last thing Rosie
could do was to approach her mother with news that would prove an
unutterable humiliation for her mother in Williamston. There was, as was
so for hundreds of thousands of young women at the time, no out except
to have an abortion. And there was no such thing as a medically licensed
clinic. The back alley wasn't just the court of last resort, it was the
The health hazard was then what today's so-called pro-life conservatives
fail completely to accept when they first close down the chance for
young folks to receive some education on what's really going on with
their bodies, the easily and readily available means for preventing
pregnancies, and for the medically safe option to carrying to term what
may become a most unloved and unwanted child. The issue becomes even
darker when that pregnancy is the product of incest or other rape, and,
for whatever reasons, the impregnated adolescent is unable to bring the
matter to a parent or other caring, responsible adult. The back alley
butcher becomes the only avenue available. The only avenue available.
That's not just opinion, it's a psychological fact. Another fact is that
reference to these "resources" very often results in the death or
horrible mutilation of the pregnant young lady. Death . . . and lots of
it: that's the highly predictable product of cutting out education
resources and for shutting down abortion clinics. Not Life, Death.
My aunt was a victim twice by taking the only out she had. The first was
that she nearly bled to death, and had to be rushed to a hospital. Not
by chance or choice, she never had any children after that. Second and
equally as devastating was the fact that her mother disowned her 16-year
old daughter. I cannot imagine which is worse: being a child that never
knew the love of a mother, or one who suffered the loss of that love.
As soon as Rosie graduated from high school she set her course for
Florida, leaving behind every emotional attachment to everyone in her
family. Not my dad nor either of her other two sisters ever knew, other
than somewhere in Florida, where Rosie was. As it turned out, she
married, then divorced someone with the last name of Ingram. That, and
that she was a most remarkable woman. She was the state's first
commercially licensed female pilot and one of only a handful at the time
female electrical and mechanical engineers.
What I've wondered since the news of her passing somehow made its way to
my two sisters and to me is . . . so what, about her manifest
accomplishments . . . did she ever really know love?
You give the first damn about life, call yourself pro-life, what about
the only thing in it that has any value at all: love. I cannot grasp it
that Republicans in general, conservatives in either major party in
particular, and every pro-lifer can know anything at all it; what it is,
what it is supposed to be, what it can be, and what kills any
possibility of it. All they seem to know about is contempt for life, and
contempt for real love; not love of punishing persecution, but
forgiving, and for respect for what makes an individual an individual.
Loving a child is not that they become some caricature mirror of the
parent, but what that person can and ought to be as a genuine
There were many loathsome cutbacks in the $61 billion-reduced budget
that Republicans passed this morning, before any of us were awake. None,
however, is meaner or more blindly stupid than defunding Planned
Parenthood. Harry Reid had better not permit that atrocity to stand.
An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."