Warning: women speaking up
Friday February 17th 2012, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

A certain subject in the news seems to me to show that certain people need a wider perspective. Rep. Joe Walsh says, “This is about religious freedom.” But there is also freedom from someone else’s religion that pertains, especially re an employer that accepts government money.

And so I share this memory:

Thirty years ago, we were living in a married grad student apartment complex, a set of four buildings facing each other with playground equipment for small children in the middle. There were several of these.

And quite a few of the women in our courtyard started getting hang up phone calls that summer. So many that it began to become a subject mentioned and oh yeah me too and talked about around our little playground.

What we did not know is that he apparently wanted to know who was home when: the one single mom who lived there (just one; doesn’t that sound quaint?) was being stalked. Till the day he broke into her ground-floor apartment through her window and threatened to kill her young daughter sleeping in the other bedroom if she didn’t cooperate. She was raped by a man she had never seen before.

She called the police after he was gone and was transported to the local hospital, where they examined her–

–and then refused to do anything to make sure she hadn’t gotten pregnant in the last half hour or so. The ambulance had taken her to the local Catholic hospital.

She had to find her own transport from there in the middle of the night to the other one in town to clean off that man’s filth.

That could have been any one of us at any time and we women knew it.

There was no way she wanted a child of hers to have to accept how it had been conceived. Or to be from that man’s gene pool, and on into the generations to come. No way she wanted to have to tell her small daughter why she was going to be a big sister now–can you imagine trying to explain that one to a four-year-old?! And no way she was going to let a violent rapist dictate the rest of her life and her child’s and possible future children’s.

“A bad man hurt my mommy” –I have never forgotten that phrase–and in their own home is a heavy enough burden for a young girl to grow up with.

Now. I am not a Catholic, granted, and my own church calls abortion not murder but rather “like unto it,” to be avoided if at all possible. There are times when that is not possible–you cannot grow and produce a living baby from a mother who has died of the pregnancy.  But in a situation like this one, when there isn’t even a single cell dividing into two yet, to me there is no question she did what she had to do.

But whatever choice a woman may make or may have to make, that woman is to be loved and supported unconditionally, as are we all.

I understand where people like Rick Santorum are coming from, believing that all life is sacred. I feel that yes; yes, it is. But it is also messy, and I feel that must be taken into account.

I guess I am still incensed that a half hour later, when conception probably hadn’t even taken place yet… (And yes, the ambulance driver totally blew that one.) She had to find her own way across town alone in the middle of the night while knowing that man was out there somewhere to get to the other hospital. Thank goodness there was one.

I want to tell all those men who testified in Congress on the subject of contraception–this wasn’t even about abortion but contraception!–allowing no woman to give any opposing viewpoint, that I will do everything I can to vote them out of power and out of office.

The other part of my neighbor’s story? Her bike was stolen, too. Another neighbor reassured her that some men are good and kind by giving her his, a good one, even though we were all grad students living on nearly nothing and that was his main transportation. It was what he could do.

Earlier, someone had given us their window air conditioning unit when they’d moved away; our baby had had heat rash, it being 108 humid degrees in our upstairs apartment, and they wanted to make our lives easier, since theirs were immediately about to be so with their graduation and new job to go to. Here. Take this.

About a week after that event that devastated us all, and just before we ourselves moved away, we gave that AC unit to that single mom. Not only were she and her daughter going to be far more physically comfortable with it: nobody was going to be able to break through that window again without first making enough noise for her to be able to call for help.

It was what we could do.

14 Comments so far
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Thank you for sharing a real story, when so much of the furor seems removed from real life. Robin

Comment by Robin 02.17.12 @ 11:52 pm

What a tragic story, but I’m so glad that city has more than one hospital. Hem. Washington panel-makers? Are you listening?

Comment by Channon 02.18.12 @ 5:40 am

I *so* agree with what you said! On both counts–contraception & abortion–life is sacred, but how & when it starts is relevant to the way it continues. That needs to be considered!!

Comment by Kathy Nystrom 02.18.12 @ 6:39 am

amen sister! I had a dear friend (she’s gone on now) that was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive cervical cancer just after she found that she was pregnant — she had to make that most horrible of decisions — her life and being there to nurture and raise 3 other small children or bringing that child into the world and leaving 4 little children with no mother — she made what I believe was the right choice for her, and survived

any man that thinks these choices are made lightly by any woman is nuts, and the politicians need to stay out of our bedrooms and our doctor’s offices

Comment by Bev 02.18.12 @ 8:58 am

you spoke this well.
thank you.

Comment by kmom 02.18.12 @ 8:59 am

We knew a young woman with a rapist’s child. She had a difficult time being a loving mother. I have prayed for her healing ever since.

Comment by Mary 02.18.12 @ 10:13 am

I agree with Channon — such a tragic story. I certainly do NOT agree that life begins when legislators say it does. Frankly, it is none of their business. They can believe what they want, but may NOT palm it off on the rest of the nation! Pardon me — I get infuriated with their garbage!

Comment by Don Meyer 02.18.12 @ 10:37 am

Thank you for sharing the story. When a man can get pregnant and give birth, then he can choose contraception, abortion, and any of those personal decisions. Until then, a man has no business deciding what any woman can choose, nor to limit those choices.

Comment by DebbieR 02.18.12 @ 11:04 am

But whatever choice a woman may make or may have to make, that woman is to be loved and supported unconditionally, as are we all.

This says it all.

Comment by melanie 02.18.12 @ 1:59 pm

my husband had to make the “keep the wife or the fetus alive” decision in his first marriage. as much as i dislike his ex-wife, he still made the right decision. i will add that he is a former Catholic.

Comment by Tola 02.18.12 @ 4:39 pm

How out of touch are these guys, y’know? I’d imagine most if not all of the commenters here are religious (I am, and I know Alison is), and yet they claim to stand before Congress and speak for us. Hmmmm.

Comment by Lanafactrix 02.18.12 @ 8:33 pm

Until men carry babies, I don’t believe they should be the ones making this very person decision. I also fully believe that regardless of what I believe, it is every woman’s very personal decision and none of us are living in her body at that time to be able to make the decision for her – male or female.

Thank you for sharing what was a horrible story and for sharing how you and the male neighbor helped to make it better.


Comment by gMarie 02.18.12 @ 10:48 pm

If we all did what we could, things would be better

Comment by alison 02.19.12 @ 5:41 pm

Thank you, Alison. It is really frightening that some of these men are trying to dictate what a woman wants in a situation such as you described. Have they forgotten the back ally abortion clinics of old where a coat hanger was used to abort a child! It’s time for these men to come out of the Dark Ages.

BTW who selected all these men to be on this review committee that excluded women. Shame on them!

Comment by Joan 02.22.12 @ 11:51 am

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