I’m feeling much better today than yesterday, by which I mean that when I sneeze I don’t leap around like Baryshnikov, moaning, “…ow ow ow ow fuck.” Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, expressed a desire to see me knock off the acrobatics and quit falling asleep when I could be scratching him. What the pussycat wants, the pussycat gets. There’s one downside to my renewed vigor: I smell everything again, my apartment needs a thorough scouring and Mr. Cat is – pardon me! – stinky.
Here, hold this for a second while I consider my problem –
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
– and my options.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
See, as Siobhan blurts at every drunken opportunity, “Cats aren’t clean. They’re covered with cat spit.” Our friends with feline leukemia develop oral infections that rot their teeth and prevent them from eating. Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, must be watched as addicts watch spinning roulette wheels. He must eat, and as to what he must eat, all bets are off. I put out anything and everything in little bowls all the time, and pray I find him rubbing his belly and making AlkaSeltzer commercials. The kitty in question is about a 13 lb. roaster when he’s eating well, which he is at the moment. Even so, if you think following, overstuffing and sniffing your cat feels like normal behavior even when you’ve been doing it for years, then you, sir or madam, are really, really mistaken.
In a way, all things boil down to compassion and empathy. Do we chose to experience the discomforts of others or do we not? Some situations cause us to reconsider our black and white worldviews, when our impulse is to clutch that unforgiving knot below our ribs. Providing such a stretch is AbortionClinicDays.
this past saturday included a nearly homeless 15 year old who had to be rescheduled so that we could seek funding for her to have sedation since she was too scared to have the procedure awake. one of her parents died when she was 7, the other a year later. four years after that, the relative who took her in died so this young woman has not had a lot of stability and parental protection in her life. the support person accompanying her was also 15. in another situation, we had been working with the police to collect the tissue for DNA testing since the pregnancy was a result of rape and the police were determined to prosecute even though the young woman did not want the stress of having to testify. two other young women, both under 21, each with three children, had tried to get their tubes tied but were refused because they were underage. so, rather than have a fourth child, each chose abortion.
outside on the sidewalk were nearly 150 protesters, mostly silent in prayer; still, in a crowd that large there are always the pushy, obnoxious, arrogant demonstators. luckily the police came to keep them in line. as you can imagine, we are too busy inside the clinic to pay any attention to the picketers.
Reading this, it is as if I awoke from a long, crazy dream where everyone was screaming and you, and you, and you were there. Every story is different and human and the reasons to honor each decision come to the reader only through a strenuous walk in another woman’s shoes.
a 41 year old woman with 5 kids said that she was done, no matter what, that she was tired, could not start over. she stated that when she was younger, she would never imagined herself feeling that way because she was strongly prolife. but, she said, when you are older, you come to realize that you do have limits, that you can’t punish the kids you already have. when there is not enough time, energy, money to go around, all of them suffer.
increasingly an emerging factor that leads to abortion is that the cost of birth control pills has jumped up so high, women who do not have either medical assistance from the government or else private insurance, are having difficulty paying for their birth control pills every month. some pills cost as much as $75 per month. not many women without insurance can afford that much so have stopped taking the pill. they revert to more affordable, but perhaps less effective methods.
while we allow room for the sadness some women and men feel with abortion, we also feel the sense of togetherness that many women develop while they are here. the media leads women who choose abortion to feel that they are a tiny minority, that they should feel terrible about their choice. but knowing that many many others also conclude that abortion is best for their families, for their futures, women can walk out of here with their heads held high. they are ready to deal with whatever emotional or spiritual issues that come up, but can move on with their lives knowing that their abortion was safe, that they did the right thing regardless of what anti abortion protesters might say or think. we value women; we trust them make the wisest decision for their own lives.
Cool heads can prevail, if we let them, but compassion doesn’t come cheap: we have to actually listen to the people affected by our actions – 1.3 million women every year since 1973. Our assumptions about who they are and why they choose this course of action help no one. We fail everyone when we refuse to humble ourselves before the difficult truths that lead women to the clinic. Most women my age have had some experience standing at that crossroads, but there’s always another, and another.
As for Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul: he has an infection, and the vet prescribed the same antibiotic as last month. I will feed it to him or dose him, if he won’t eat it disguised in cat food. Someday, he will be too sick to save, and I accept that in love and humility I will have to decide when to give him an easier end. In the meantime, he is snoring, and dreaming of delicious drumsticks, I hope and believe.