Archive for November 22nd, 2009

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Guest Essay: America Before Roe v. Wade

November 22, 2009


The following essay was written by my good friend Eddy Collins of Norman OK:

Few women now of childbearing age will remember the time when abortion in America was illegal. As much as some might want you to think otherwise, it was hardly a glorious time of sexual abstinence. Women, whether married or unmarried, had unwanted pregnancies and sometimes resorted to folk or even quack “remedies”. Unknown and untraceable abortionists operated from back-alleys, kitchen tables, and rented rooms—with few guarantees of medical knowledge, professional conduct, or even basic hygiene, and with no threat of a medical malpractice lawsuit if (or when) things went horribly wrong.

The men of that era who fathered an unwanted pregnancy often responded to such news with, “How do you know it’s mine?” Fortunately, if abortion is recriminalized, with modern DNA techniques such questions will be easily answered, particularly when the issue of child support arises.

Since abortion (and, in many states, contraception) was illegal, women whose procedures were botched were at great pains to hide what had happened. A trip to the hospital to treat symptoms like massive bleeding or infection could have been tantamount to an admission of guilt. Thus, official statistics of deaths resulting from illegal abortion would undoubtedly be vastly understated and unreliable.

As another holiday season approaches, families will gather together and retell each other their stories. What about that aunt or sister or cousin (or the dear friend from high school or college) who died suddenly, or is the “black sheep” of the family—the one who’s only spoken of in hushed tones? Was she one of “the girls who went away”: to an out-of-state abortionist or a home for unwed mothers? Did she put a “love child” up for adoption, willingly or otherwise? Has she felt the shame and guilt of her family and society ever since? (On this topic, I give great thanks to Ann Fessler, author of the powerful book, The Girls Who Went Away, and those who shared their stories with her.) What about the men of that generation? Did they ever “get a girl in trouble”, sweat bullets waiting anxiously for a girlfriend to “get her period”—or leave her before finding out? After all, it takes two to tango.

These were far more common occurrences than realized today—and they never found their way into the dinner table discussions on “Leave it to Beaver”, “Ozzie and Harriett”, or “Father Knows Best”. Ask your older relatives while you still can (the National Day of Listening is the Friday after Thanksgiving). You might be surprised at what you learn about your own family history and you might help release a dear relative from a private, personal prison.

No, Americans didn’t wake up one day and decide it would be fun to destroy fetuses. After decades of painful, bloody experience, we decided to stop forcing women with unwanted pregnancies to put themselves at risk of infection, infertility, and death.

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2012 as per SNL

November 22, 2009
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‘The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination’ takes viewers back to 1963

November 22, 2009

John F. Kennedy was only 46 when he died, and today marks 46 years that have passed since his murder in Dallas. The images of the crime and its aftermath may be seared into the nation’s psyche, but on Monday, the National Geographic Channel will premiere a spare and revelatory documentary assembled from digitized and restored TV news footage and personal film that virtually no one has seen.

Most haunting of these is Robert Hughes’ home movie of President Kennedy’s limousine approaching the Texas School Book Depository a few seconds before the shooting. The open sixth-floor window with the stacked boxes of the sniper’s perch is plainly visible.

(Read the rest of the article here.)

If you are old enough, you are sure to remember where you were on this day 46 years ago. It was a crime that changed history in ways that can never be known. Some call it a successful coup d’etat directed at American democracy. Questions linger about who was really responsibility for the assassination – and what their real motives were.

A school classroom in Dallas broke into cheers when it was announced that the President was dead. That couldn’t happen in today’s America.

Could it?