My young driver, Supreme Court, and a simple thought about abortion

The Supreme Court’s decisions last month were simply bad: allowing anti-abortion clinics to mislead women, upholding a truly rigged system of gerrymandering, ignoring unconstitutional racist context and motivation of Trump’s travel ban, and twisting the first amendment to harm workers in their ability to organize for collective bargaining. Added to that, we were shocked to learn that Justice Kennedy, a sometime swing voter, is retiring, leaving a vacancy for Trump to fill with a radical conservative.

So many bad decisions in such a short time reminds us of the fragility of our rights. Now more than ever we need to heed the ACLU and “vote like our rights depend in it” because they do! And as we come closer to losing a woman’s right to choose her own health outcomes, it seems like time to talk about it.

Here is a simple thought about abortion. Tell me I’m wrong:

My oldest son recently got his driver’s license! Despite long anticipation of this event (my very first blog considered this moment), he and I were not prepared for the question of whether or not he wanted to be an organ donor. He was hesitant, and who am I to tell him what to do on such a personal question? That is when it struck me…

Our society does not require people to donate parts of their dead body to save a life. It is optional, left to personal preference, religion or belief. Yet many would force a woman to compromise her living body and risk her health and possibly her life for the possibility of giving birth to life. We don’t require each other to donate blood even though that saves lives and has no negative health outcomes for us. We don’t even require people to save someone from dying right in front of us even though we could easily stop it. In Florida two teens were given a pass for filming a drowning man instead of lifting a finger to save him. Yet women endure a multitude of negative health outcomes when bringing a baby to term and giving birth.

While U.S. leadership is doing more to restrict women’s access to abortion, Ireland is in the process of ending its strict abortion ban, despite its Catholic majority. Now our U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of being packed with staunch conservatives for decades to come. The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch (whose mother was a militant anti-abortionist under the Reagan administration) combined with Justice Kennedy’s impending vacancy while Republicans control the Senate bodes ill for preserving women’s rights.  While some states have laws protecting a woman’s right to choose (like Illinois who recently enacted legislation because of our proactive legislators and our active citizenry), if Roe v. Wade is overturned it will negatively impact women in 17 states.

Let’s be honest, pregnancy is a serious medical condition. Even in the modern world women still lose their lives due to pregnancy. On balance, it is safer for a woman’s life and long-term health to undergo an abortion procedure than to carry a baby to term.  Before you cringe at this statement, consider that our awareness of that is not causing abortion rates to increase, abortion rates are going down in the U.S. Indeed, women who intend to be moms (for the first time or many times over) still carry babies to term, bravely facing the wonderful and awful possibilities that await them.

Why are women held to a higher standard of care toward others than dead people are? Certainly our laws often impose a higher standard on people with a duty of care, like parents of a child. But while women’s organs get shifted and compromised, and some body functions get permanently affected, we don’t require a father to donate spare parts (like a kidney or portion of his lungs, liver, intestines, or pancreas) to save a daughter. We don’t even require police, who are sworn to “protect and defend“, to save anyone in particular unless perhaps when they created the hazardous situation for that person. Heck, we often don’t even discipline officers for injuring or killing people, but we will heckle and deride football players who kneel in support of life.  That’s pretty ironic. In fact, does anyone appreciate the vomit-inducing irony of having a president who has a history of molesting women, including having extramarital unprotected sex with women, and then has the gall to reduce women’s access to reproductive health care including abortions?

If you want to force women by law to bring a fetus to full term, then you must force all people to donate blood, and all parents to donate skin and body parts to their children, and all dead bodies to offer up their organs. While you are at it, you must punish sexually aggressive men (like our president) and give rapists a lifetime sentence (after all, being a mom is a lifetime commitment). You must create, and enforce by law, a culture that fully empowers women in controlling all sexual encounters, without power plays, abuse, and manipulation. If you want the laws of our government to govern so much of our personal lives, for the sake of life, then so be it.

If, instead, you feel that governmental laws should not invade your privacy nor dictate your personal  decisions, then defend a woman’s right to choose. Advocate to support Planned Parenthood.

My son opted out of the donor program at this time. And even though I know this program prevents deaths, collectively across America that could mean the equivalent of 22 jumbo jets crashing every year with no survivors, and even though my best friend died in her twenties while she was in need of an organ transplant, I support his sovereignty over his own body, his personal privacy from governmental inquiry requiring him to defend that intimate decision, and ultimately, I support his right to choose.

Saturday, June 30, Unite to Help Families Unite

MARCH: Please join together with like-minded people on Saturday, June 30, to support the unification of families torn apart at our border by cowardly US policy. Weaklings and bullies hurt vulnerable people, not real threats. Stand up in a show of strength and togetherness for what is right and good. Click here to find a march near you. I will be at a March out of town, but send me pics from your location!

BACKGROUND: Trump falsely blamed others for a crisis he manufactured by deciding to criminally prosecute asylum seekers at the border, which caused the issue with separating children from jailed parents. Public outrage from CEOs and former First Ladies, and people like us, changed his mind. He is now following Obama’s policy to only prosecute the tiny few who are actual criminals or who might harm their own children. But what about reuniting the families already affected? What about what happens when we all turn our backs on this administration for one second, or the administration distracts us with another manufactured crisis? Speak out now and seal the deal.

ADVOCACY: Write to your elected representatives seeking more compassion, and more permanent and humane policies with regard to immigrants, asylum seekers, and families.

 

Robo calls are Real Genius. But let’s vote for real people and a real deal

Biss-Wallace

Quick Reminders:  Vote March 20 in Illinois Primary. Go to the nonpartisan BallotReady.org to learn about candidates up and down the ballot and find your polling place. Write-in candidate Cameron “Cam” Davis for vacancy in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Cook County who needs 8,075  write-in votes. Highly recommended by knowledge good people, so spread the word! Also, please consider Daniel Biss for Governor; high integrity, real lawmaking experience, clear vision for Illinois turnaround!

….Today, as I made calls to get out the vote for Daniel Biss, I was ready to have a real conversation with folks (and I had some), but mostly they were not answering their phones. People are busy, out and about, on Saturdays.  I left messages, which became fairly routine, and after a while I realized that a robocall would have saved my time. But those calls are expensive and less responsive to questions (though I have received auto-dials in the past that allow you to press 1 to reach a real person and ask questions, which is a nice compromise).

My favorite auto-response was Verizon ring time service which played cool music while I waited for the person to pick up his phone. We could really get this robo world figured out to our advantage. Remember Real Genius where the students audio taped the professor and eventually the professor had an audio tape giving the lecture? Hmmm. But we cannot lose our personal touch either.

I support Daniel Biss because he knows public policy IS personal.  And though I felt akin to the newspaper boys pulling wagons in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, being drowned out by big press beholden to the state’s power-brokers, I hope that the personal touch and tiny exchanges will add up to make a difference. After all, every vote counts, especially yours! Go make your voice heard and maybe somebody will listen to you!

 

Wow! Daniel Biss for Governor!

Daniel Biss just keeps growing, and so does his support base. He has a real chance of winning the Democratic primary and if he does, polls show he will beat Bruce Rauner. See the latest  gubernatorial debate on March 2, 2018.

Tonight Daniel Biss addressed questions from a crowded house full of people asking him about how to solve Illinois’ financial and economic woes, creating efficiencies in government, supporting teacher’s pensions, fixing our judicial system, prison reform, redistricting, and even how he intends to work with legislative heavy weight Mike Madigan. The depth and thoughtfulness of Daniel’s answers were fantastic and forthright.

Daniel is leading us into “what is possible”, not settling for what is business as usual in Illinois politics. The lasting impressions were that he is a leader who knows how government works. He listens and he learns. Not only has he contributed to many advancements already, he also admits to mistakes and grows because of them.

His leading democratic opponent seems to have peaked in support despite spending over $60 million in personal funding and blanketing the airwaves and stuffing mailboxes with ads. Meanwhile Biss keeps attracting more endorsements and followers.

This guy is for real. I saw him speak in a home setting almost a year ago, impressive then, but unstoppable now. He not only articulates a clear vision for solving our problems– by restructuring our tax base, school funding, and fiscal accountability–he also has the gall to suggest that we need to be a part of the solution, and I found myself leaning in!

This is the moment,  in this primary, that we get the candidates we deserve. We can simply elect someone better than Bruce Rauner, a low bar, or we can elect Daniel Biss, a leader who knows how to use the levers of government to restore our competitive edge, our integrity, and our faith in self-government.

Please join me in supporting Daniel Biss. Donate, Volunteer, Vote.

 

 

Time is marching along, and so should we…SAVE THE DATES

Do you feel like 2018 is moving fast? Let’s Mark Our Calendars for cool and important dates…

February 28PeristList.org has a bunch of events scheduled tomorrow in Illinois/Chicago. The Attorney General forum is tempting.

March 1 – Eleven Minutes of Silence for eleven million undocumented immigrants. As noted in a prior blog, I want to be in the kind of nation that people yearn to live in. Many cities, including Chicago, are hosting an event this day. Wear black. See details here.

Now in theaters: Black Panther. This (almost) all-black cast delivers stunning performances in this Marvel action movie that mixes moral dilemmas with hints of rebellious humor. This is a game changer, a cultural event. People came out in droves and waited in long lines (even after pre-purchasing their tickets), in order to get good seats. I plan to see it again. P.S. Alex Jones is wrong about parallels to Trumpism, he apparently did not stay for the end-credit scenes or capture the essence of a false and unworthy leader.

March 4 – Meet Daniel Biss, Illinois Gubernatorial candidate this Sunday in Oak Park.  Let me know if you are interested and I will send you the formal invite ($100 per guest, this is a fundraiser). He is our Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; high integrity and for the people. My husband loves this one-minute clip, Biss’s take on the Opioid crisis.

March 4 – Voter Registration deadline online in IllinoisLast day for voters to register to vote through the State Board of Elections website. Ask your friends, neighbors, mail carrier and sales clerks if they are registered to vote! Need help registering?

March 5 – Early Voting in Cook County, IL begins (ends March 19). Check out this nonpartisan resource BallotReady.org to read about every single candidate on the ballot! The CEO of this organization is committed to expanding this site across the country. If your location is not included yet, it will be eventually.

March 8 – International Women’s Day. Last year I invited a group of friends to join me for a tour at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago. It felt great honoring a woman of such import and positive impact. This year I suggest we play a game of “count the female statues in your town”…send your results to my comment box! Anyone with over 3 gets special mention. Also see Facts You Should Know about the state of women around the world.

March 20 – Primary Election Day in Illinois. Check out your state and county for details. Explore this cool new resource, BallotReady.org  which will help you find voting locations as well as information about all candidates on the ballot.

March 24 – March for our Lives – Support the youth-inspired movement for sensible gun laws that was born out of reaction to the Parkland, FL school shooting. In Chicago this starts at 11 am, location TBD. Marches are scheduled all over the United States, so search for your city. The primary march is in DC.

April 14 – March for Science – Our family enjoyed this march last year, clever signs, friendly people.

April 22 – Earth Day: End Plastic Pollution. Likely there will be local marches and activities. Stay tuned.

Pick one or many events from this list and let’s have fun as active citizens this month and beyond!

Women’s March Chicago: Big, Beautiful Historic, Sober, Determined

womensmarchchicago-vote-triumphant (2)

How was the Women’s March today? Depends on who you ask.

“Big!” Says my sixteen year old son. “Lots and lots of people.” Considering he is over six feet tall I suppose he had a good view of the crowd and the pink hats. He also was not at the Women’s March last year and so his biggest march was Earth Day with roughly 45,000 people. Today’s crowd was more like 300,000.

“Beautiful!” said the police commander when my friend asked him how it went. Peaceful and pleasant almost to a fault. Right before the march an organizer said, “Remember to be respectful of each other and public property.” And we were.

“Historic”, said our friend who also was impressed that it marks the anniversary of the birth of a Movement.

“Sober and mature” I thought, compared to last year’s marches which swelled beyond expectations. Last year in D.C. everything felt electric as people rushed with outrage and urgency to defend Americans and the nation’s ideals.  Now both their heads and their hearts are in the game. People know better how to proceed, how to pace themselves, how to win the long game to restore this country.

I saw ‘Dan Biss for Governor” signs. Meanwhile, JB Pritzker wound his way through the crowd near us , accessible to folks for chat and pics. Lisa Madigan gave one of the most inspiring and focused speeches. Basically she said,  “1. You can do anything (you already do, like build businesses, teach, volunteer), 2. You are powerful, 3. We are more powerful together. 4. Get out there to vote and run for office.” Powerful message we can think on, and act on!

My recommended 2018 To Do list:

  1. Register to vote
  2. Ask everyone you know to register to vote–friends, neighbors, sales clerks, the mailman, (I remind telemarketers who call my home)
  3. Stay alert for rallies, marches and other organized activity in your area. See PersistList.org for happenings in Chicago and/or sign up for your favorite causes who will send you alerts.
  4. Stay informed about candidates as we approach elections. Go to ballotready.org for information about candidates up and down the ballot, and triangulate news sources for good information.
  5. Let’s all get in formation and march to the polls for 2018!