Monday, September 26, 2005

An insight

You know what are really the most accurate terms to replace "pro-life" and "pro-choice"?

It's "abortion control" vs. "abortion freedom". Sort of like "gun control" vs. "gun freedom" (although I guess it's usually called "anti gun control").

I happen to support certain types of "abortion control" laws. I happen to know lots of people who are very strongly "abortion freedom". I also know a few people who are much more "pro abortion control" than I am.

These terms actually resonate with my experience! And allow moderates to label themselves on this issues (for a change).

I can't imagine that I'm the only one who as thought of this, so it seems they aren't particularly "catchy" terms. Well, I don't care. I'm using them from now on.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Starting OWL

Tonight was the "Parent Orientation" for the OWL class and I have to say that I'm SO proud of myself! I don't know how the parents actually saw me, but *I* felt confident, assertive, etc. in a way that I've never felt before in that type of situation.

And at one point, I handled an awkward situation extremely diplomatically (in a way that I've never done before). Again, possibly imperceptibly to others, but to me *A BIG DEAL*. Perhaps I will discuss it more at length some other time, but for now, I just want to get it down.

Yay for me!

Goofus and Gallant do Bioethics

I used to love reading Highlights when I was a kid. OK... I still do!

Well, there's a "comic" in there called "Goofus and Gallant" where Gallant is the example of a mannerly, kind and moral person and Goofus is, well... not.

Recently, Bill joked about explaining Bioethics using Goofus and Gallant and I decided to run with it. I'm happy to hear any other suggestions people might have! I may add others as I get further into my "intro to bioethics" course.

Gallant: promotes organ donation awareness, seeing it's great benefit in saving lives
Goofus: sells organs on eBay

Gallant: makes sure that every family member is comfortable with removing Sally's feeding tube before approving the withdrawal of treatment.
Goofus: pretends like he "accidentally" tripped over the ventillator plug, since the family should see that it's really time for grandma to go...

Gallant: struggles with the complex question of whether to save lives using genetic materials from potential human beings
Goofus: has great fun combinging all sorts of DNA into fun "mutants" and sometimes forgets to kill them when they get "really dangerous".

Gallant: decides to keep his baby after he's raped, since it *is* an innocent life.
(You might need to use "re-gender" to understand this!)
Goofus: stands outside the abortion clinic looking for someone who's hot, since he knows he'd never have to worry about her keeping some brat

Gallant: respects the patient's choice of treatment, even if he himself wouldn't make that choice
Goofus: decides that the best procedure for the patient is the one that fits in with his massage appointment

Gallant: carefully goes over all the details of the research project with his patients to make sure they understand what they are getting into.
Goofus: forgets which patients are "control" half-way through his experiment and decides to just give them all some experimental drug he's developing. Hey, he could be famous!

* highly peripheral side note:

I have to say that while I still enjoy Highlights in general, I enjoyed "Goofus and Gallant" much more as a kid. What they really need is a version of the "gray spy" (from Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy) which will always skewer both of them. I always liked the gray spy the best, and similarly, I identify with the (as of yet unnamed) character "Graciella" who understands that life is not so simple and obvious as Goofus and Gallant make it appear. And in case I didn't make enough pop-culture type references, I think that Goofus represents the "shadows" while Gallant represents the "vorlons" from Babylon 5... Something to think about...or not.

* additional update:
Speaking of MAD Magazine, there's a feature called "Melvin and Jenkins" which makes fun of Goofus and Gallant like I did here. Now I'm feeling paranoid that I actually copied some of the ideas from things I read in MAD Magazine. Well, consider this update as an official disclaimer: some of these ideas may not be 100% mine. I'd still like to see the ideas that others have.

Last night's event

(sigh) As usual, it's been a very long time since I posted. Well, I thought I'd mention an event I went to last night:

I'm very glad that I went, though the benefit of it to me was more peripheral than direct. If I had read the stated words on paper (as opposed to being there in person) it would have been worthless to me as a learning experience. But luckily, it was not worthless because there's a lot of communication that falls in between words.

I'm also sitting here in a slight state of distress over the fact that asked a question that was apparently upsetting to the audience. I had already felt a severe sense of being an outsider, and it didn't help when people *audibly gasped* at my question!

Luckily, it was an anonymous written note that I sent up. And in my defense, the guy who read it changed the wording slightly and (I think) made it sound a lot different.

OK - what was the question?

Well, the rabbi mentioned the Bible passage from Exodus 21:22-23:

"If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life."

i.e. a guy who causes a miscarriage has to pay a fine to the woman's husband. If he kills the woman, though, that's considered murder. This, apparently, is God's extremely obscure way of telling us that abortion is A-OK.

Luckily, I'm not beholden to the Bible, so I can call "bullshit". The passage itself has misogynistic overtones. And if you read all of Exodus and Leviticus (which I DID, a long time ago in 4th grade), there are some unbelievably nasty anti-woman "laws" in there along with the apparent "abortion OK".

ANYWAY... he also mentioned that babies who die before their first 30 days after birth are not given the traditional mourning ritual, because they are not considered really a life yet.

My question was something quite similar to this:

"In the laws about fines for miscarriages, did anyone consider for a second how the *woman* felt about the miscarriage? Also, are Jewish women allowed to mourn their miscarriages?"

Now, of course, I didn't assume that anyone can really be "allowed" or "disallowed" to mourn something. And the way the guy phrased it when he read my question was something like "Do Jews mourn their miscarriages?", and I would not have chosen that wording myself.

My second "lucky" thing is that I told everyone I talked to that I was UU, so there's a good chance they don't suspect it was me who asked that question! Although, who WOULD it be - I was the only non-member there, other than the panelists themselves, one "support" person for the pro-life panelist and a reporter. Maybe they'll think it was the "support" person...yeah...

By the way, one of the worst mistakes my very nice Presbyterian church made was to give me my very own Bible in 3rd grade, at least if you assume their goal was for me to stay a nice unquestioning Christian (FTR, it probably wasn't). Why? Because I actually read the thing, that's why. Every single "begat" and miserable law. It played an important role in my questioning of religion, that's for sure... :o)