Abortion in America

W.J. Astore

I truly believe that if men got pregnant, abortion would be free, legal, and readily available across the United States.

But men don’t get pregnant, so the idea of carrying an unwanted baby to term is mainly theoretical for them. How easy it is, then, to outlaw abortion while claiming to be pro-life.

Having been raised Catholic, I was taught abortion is murder. It’s that blunt. As the Church was teaching me that, it was allowing predatory priests to molest children. There was even a predatory priest assigned to my parish when I was young. So I’m not too keen on the moral authority and teachings of the Church here. Again, if priests got pregnant, I truly believe abortion would be accepted within the Church. Perhaps it would be justified by arguing that priests, first and foremost, have to serve God and the Church and therefore shouldn’t be encumbered by children.

The U.S. Supreme Court seems ready to overturn Roe v Wade by next summer, which is not surprising. So much for respecting judicial precedent. Even as it does so, we’ll hear arguments about how the Court isn’t partisan or political or influenced by religious beliefs, which is absurd. So-called pro-life Republicans have won the battle of placing partisan justices on the Court, and soon they’ll reap their reward.

Establishment Democrats are not as unhappy as you might think. I’ve already received urgent requests to donate money in the cause of abortion rights. Abortion is a “hot-button” issue and a real money-maker for partisans on both sides. Sorry, Democrats, this is your mess too, and you won’t see a penny from me.

Why do I claim Democrats are responsible too? President Obama could have appointed a justice to the Supreme Court when Mitch McConnell refused to do his job. It may have touched off a Constitutional crisis, but it was a fight worth having. But Obama figured Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose to Trump, so he did nothing. Meanwhile, Hillary ran a horrible campaign and lost to a failed casino owner and C-list celebrity apprentice. Because of that, we got three new justices who were all picked in large part because of their opposition to Roe v Wade. (That, and the fact they’re all pro-business.)

We will soon take a giant step backwards in America. Roughly half of American states will outlaw abortion; the other half will likely allow it under various conditions. Of course, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted, rich women, no matter where they live, will be able to get abortions. Women of lesser means will struggle and suffer. The pro-life movement will applaud that there are fewer abortions even as they cut benefits to the mothers who are forced to have these babies. They will do this with no pangs of conscience and in the name of loving the unborn — until they’re born to the “wrong” kind of mother.

And so it goes in America.

Being “pro-life” shouldn’t end when the baby is born. Jesus helped the poor, the lame, and the sick. He didn’t tell them to get a job while cutting their benefits. Image from a prayer card sent to me by my local bishop.

A Coda (12/5/21)

I welcome all comments on this difficult issue.

Instead of Cui bono, or who benefits, I think of who suffers if Roe v Wade is overturned. Not men. Not women of means, who will find a way to secure a safe abortion irrespective of the law in their particular state. It will be poor and desperate women who suffer, especially those who’ve been raped or who’ve been the victims of incest. Imagine being raped and then being forced to carry the fetus to term — it’s unimaginable to me.

I should note as well the burden placed on women — always women. What about the man who got her pregnant? Why may a woman be forced to give birth to an unwanted child while the father walks away freely in virtually all cases? People often discuss abortion as if women got pregnant by immaculate conception. As if men hold no responsibility whatsoever. Believe me, if men got pregnant too, abortion would be freely available.

So it’s likely that next summer, five men and one very conservative woman aligned with a fringe group in the Catholic Church will rule to compromise the bodily autonomy of women across the country; they’ll be opposed by two women and one man who seek to uphold a less-than-perfect precedent but one that has served to reduce state and patriarchal domination in the US of A for half a century.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will obviously be revealed for what it is: a partisan hack shop in which the law is for sale or otherwise open to manipulation by the well-connected for unsavory purposes.

Tell me how this is a good thing.

Coda 2 (12/6/21)

As a (lapsed) Catholic, I realize people have religious reasons why they oppose abortion.

To these people I say: If you’re opposed to abortion, don’t have one. But don’t seek to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.

A decision on abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. It’s a private decision. You have no say. Your religious beliefs don’t matter.

Against abortion? Don’t have one — simple as that. And MYOB.

73 thoughts on “Abortion in America

  1. As a former altar boy, I recall hearing the same thing in my parish’s elementary school. I also heard it said that if men could get pregnant, contraceptives would be handed out on every street corner.

    The Republicans have played the long game on the judiciary for decades; as you noted, the Democrats seem to be more interested in fund-raising than focusing on the specter of takeover of the judiciary.

    Beyond Obama conceding to Mitch McConnell on the Garland appointment, I think Saint Ruth’s (Ginsberg) refusal to retire when urged has led us to this point. Trump’s appointment of Amy Coney Barrett made this a 6-3 court, making compromise much more difficult if Roberts chose to try to so. Now, if Breyer tries to hang on, this could wind up being a 7-2 court with most of the justices in their 50s to early 60’s. I fear for where they would take the country.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For a perspective on this, I saw a shared Twitter post on Facebook today, via a woman (Amy Westervelt) whose husband is “non-American,” her words, not mine:

    “Just thinking of something my non-American husband said to me recently: it’s really weird how all over the world people think American women are really free and independent and then you get here and realize woahhh this country hates women, like really fucking deeply hates them”

    Or is it that it really just fears them? Unless they are religious and basically under their husbands’ proverbial thumbs. Fear seems to be the overarching motivator in so many cases. As a 60s child, I had high hopes (sometimes literally); now, I fear for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just read an article that suggested abortion was outlawed in the Middle Ages because fewer babies meant fewer serfs to work the land. My guess is that the Catholic Church’s prohibition follows the same kind of rationale. The Church is nothing if not pragmatic.

    I’ve been told in several forums that abortion is THE issue for the GOP, and as you point out, Bill, they’ve worked for years to overturn Roe. How irrational of them to make a centerpiece of an issue that, however hotly debated, is so minor in the scheme of things (with all sympathy for the women in crisis). The legality of abortion won’t matter in the face of ongoing climate catastrophe, increasingly widespread poverty and lack of overall healthcare, or nuclear holocaust. Aside from the fact that the anti-abortion stance is an extreme minority one, of course. But minority rule is what the GOP is all about.

    Agree that Obama should have gone ahead with his appointment, but we’ve already seen that he never missed an opportunity to back down. And if the Dems had had the sense (read: been willing to risk losing some corporate $$$) to nominate Bernie, TFG would never have gotten a chance to pack the Supreme Court and many lower courts.

    I do take issue with the avalanche of pundits’ predictions that it’s a 100% certainty that the 6-3 Court will overturn Roe, because that gives Coney-Barrett and Co. complete license to do exactly that. If everyone is already expecting such a decision, the way has been prepared, so to speak—it’s been normalized. And the Dems conveniently have their outrage machines revved up and ready to go. It all seems rather calculated and fabricated. As you said, just another way to raise money.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Obama should have gone ahead with his appointment, but we’ve already seen that he never missed an opportunity to back down.”

      The defining summation of Barack Obama vis-a-vis the Republican Party (and right-wing policy generally), especially when it came to doing their dirtiest work for them by bashing the so-called “left wing” of his own Democratic Party. How quickly he went from “Hope” and “Change” to despair and the status quo. And with a Nobel Peace Prize for Endless War, too. The quintessential American example of:

      Congenital Stockholm Syndrome

      He started by giving up quickly,
      Surrendering early his case.
      He offered to kiss their asses.
      Replying, they pissed in his face.

      Their urine, he thought, tasted strangely;
      Yet not at all bad to his taste.
      He’d gotten so used to it, plainly.
      Why let such a drink go to waste?

      The people who voted in favor
      Of him and his promise of “change”
      Now see in his many betrayals
      A poodle afflicted with mange.

      Each time that the surly and crazy
      Republicans out for his skin
      Condemn him for living and breathing,
      He graciously helps them to win.

      He’ll turn on his base in an instant
      With threats and disdain and neglect
      While bombing some Muslims so Cheney
      Might thrill to the lives that he’s wrecked.

      A black man in love with apartheid
      He offers his stalwart support
      To Zionists and their extortion
      With “More, please!” his only retort.

      A masochist begging for beatings
      Obama takes joy in abuse
      Receiving just what he has asked for
      Which makes him of no earthly use

      The little brown men that he’s murdered
      In homes far away from our land
      Bring profits obscene to his backers
      Who give him the back of their hand.

      Obama seeks praise from the vicious
      Republicans, no matter what.
      He suffers, apparently, nothing
      So much as his need to kiss butt.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2011

      Liked by 4 people

      1. how do you compose such clever phrases w/ such facility, ‘sur’-mur? you are a titan among the pantheon of mnemosyne’s muses. i had paroxysms over your penultimate stanza… as peerless and puissant as wja’s polemics.

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      2. how do you compose such clever phrases w/ such facility, ‘sur’-mur? you are a titan among the pantheon of mnemosyne’s muses. i had paroxysms over your penultimate stanza… as peerless and puissant as wja’s polemics.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Re Obama: I wrote to this to the Nobel Committee

        From: rayray
        To: postmaster@nobel.no, library@nobel.no

        October 15, 2011

        Honourable Members of the Nobel Committee,

        Considering the speeches candidate Obama gave before the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour-Tsunami of September 2008 under the watch of his predecessor, I was happy when your august Committee awarded the new President the Nobel Peace Prize.

        I supposed at that Time, you awarded it to him knowing the mess he inherited would leave him holding the bag, and at a great disadvantage with the American people to start with, and you hoped awarding him such a prestigious award at the outset of his Presidency might ameliorate the disadvantage of inheriting a failed economy and in those circumstances, help keep him focused on the Prize of Peace.

        I am positive I am not the only resident of earth to see the difference between the words of Candidate Obama and the inexperienced new President Obama you awarded the Peace Prize to, and his actions since then. Since being given the Prize, his actions on the world stage show he resorts to military action 1st and not as a last resort. He is showing by his actions to be undeserving of The Nobel Peace Prize.

        I may not be the 1st person to write to you about this, but I see justifiable reasons to recall the Peace Prize awarded to President Obama prematurely in wishful thinking. He is showing himself by his policies to be unworthy of it. If you can’t take it back, at least make a Public Statement saying in retrospect, The Committee made a hasty decision.

        What moved me Today to write to you was reading the latest article in the Blog of Professor Richard Falk, International Law Scholar titled ‘

        Missing the Point Twice: International Law as Empire’s Sunday Suit

        http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/missing-the-point-twice-international-law-as-empire%e2%80%99s-sunday-suit/#comment-4783

        Peace
        Ray Joseph Cormier

        I didn’t get a reply until the Secretary of the Nobel Committee Retired in 2014 and wrote a book saying it was a mistake to give Obama the Peace Prize.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. We the people keep getting played by the billionaire class. Social issues are the psychological tools in the elites chest of devices that have kept the population well distracted since WWII. This everlasting debate will be the saws-all that continues to separate the men from the boys and keeps the females in the back of the bus. This particular psy-ops mechanism is like the pocket knife with 1,000 gadgets; and they keep unfolding a different aspect of it to apply to their dreams of dominance. When the momentum swings in the direction of one particular persuasion; it’s just as effective to the big business man who puts on the other suit and begins the process of swinging the momentum in the opposite direction. We spend our days calling each other out over that quirky social spec in our neighbors eye. Never once realizing that the only eyes we are blackening in this fight are the very people we need to help regulate and break apart the 1% that keep us squabbling in this CAFFO Farmed GMO hen house they have constructed for us. Hanging the sword of eternal damnation over the heads of us chickens sure keeps our minds well managed and you must admit that the psychological management that they have applied is done with great skill.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. Especially regarding Utejack’s concluding sentence. Or, the same concept expressed somewhat differently:

        Managing the Mushrooms

        The mushroom school of management
        Has two rules, brief and stark:
        You feed them only excrement.
        You keep them in the dark.

        For if they’ve only dined on shit
        And never seen the light,
        They’ll take whatever you see fit
        And thank you for their plight.

        Oh, keep us safe from knowing, please
        The things you’ve done and do.
        And let no one disturb the ease
        With which you lie on cue.

        Imagine if we only knew
        Of all our rights you’ve taken?
        Much better we admit what’s true:
        Our rights we have forsaken.

        Oh, Corporate Power on your throne
        We beg you: Keep us quiet.
        Divide us so that each alone
        Can never start a riot.

        Don’t tell us. We don’t want to know.
        From our own minds protect us.
        And if we ever should inquire,
        Of treason please suspect us.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2012

        Liked by 2 people

    1. not you, utejack; it is noble of you to humbly include yourself in that CAFO-farmed henhouse, but you and most of wja’s readers are clear-eyed mavericks who recuse the 1%’s subreptitions, refuse to be duped, and struggle mightily to neutralize the deleterious impact of the 1%’s psy-ops on the vulgate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. tnx for the tom mann quote, rjc. it is as condign to wja’s blog as it is to international socialist eidolons that should be regnant in every political purlieu. US govt myrmidons and their CMIC sugardaddies, as well as those in other capitalist nation states, have perverted mann’s socialist ideals. socialism is not an ideology; it is a path toward a compassionate, encompassing and selfless life well-lived.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. it is a path toward a compassionate, encompassing and selfless life well-lived.
          Now that’s a beautiful way of being
          May we all see the potential for freedom and equality in this sentiment!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Being the cynic I am, I’ve gotta ask how you and Jeanie would see socialism play out. That is, how would this compassionate, selfless ideal be achieved?

            I ask because, from where I’m sitting, selfishness has become almost the norm, and it has nothing to do with income or status. I know one or two well-off people who’d never consider charitable giving, and several people who don’t have much but who gladly share, at least their time, or even food. Others in reduced circumstances are all about keeping everything they have. In other words, resource equality (i.e., socialism) wouldn’t change innate tendencies. How could today’s society achieve enlightenment, if leveling the playing field won’t do it?

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          2. we have different perspectives, denise. here in the philippines, and throughout most of our planets’s 3rd-/4th-world domains, people behave differently from your compatriots in the entitled, esurient, egregiously mall-addicted 1st-world of unapologetic consumers controlled by the obscenely affluent 1%. socialism as a modus vivendi is regnant here, and it is carried out w/ smiles and hugs. even the depauperate share whatever they can w/ those who have less. it is a given w/ impoverished villages throughout the middle east, southeast asia, south asia, africa, the arctic, and the caribbean where we have lived and worked. for socialism to be injected into the bloodstreams of the US’ affluent citizenry, the US has to go down in flames. from its ashes will rise the hearts and minds of voluntary eleemosynaries [emphasis on ‘voluntary’], which is perhaps the only transudation wherein socialist eidolons can become an intercurrent way of life.

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          3. So, in terms of the U.S., burn it all down? Even if the “burn” wasn’t literal, aside from the harm to those who try to do good—in other words, immense collateral damage—imagine the effects on world supply chains, just as one example. And who would do the rebuilding, once the cataclysm subsided? And what about all the innocent creatures who would inevitably suffer? Any attempt to completely tear down U.S.society would have a worldwide domino effect, with a tsunami of unintended consequences.

            Also, I don’t think that being an inhabitant of a third- or fourth-world country automatically confers selflessness. Perhaps that quality appears more often in those places, but as Orwell pointed out, inevitably, some people will want to be more equal than others.

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          4. it was a figure of speech, denise, a concomitant reflection of my hyperbolic, histrionic personality. i do take issue, however, w/ your quondam exhortation that ‘selfishness’ seems the norm. as you just inferred, america is chock-a-block full of highly productive, sensible, kind-hearted, well-meaning, compassionate, and charitable citizens. i know a multitude of them. as previously noted, diversity should be embraced. who has the answers to the reasonable q’s you have delineated???? i certainly don’t. one can only try to live by setting an example of what seems honourable, fair, selfless, and w/ an exquisite sensitivity to others’ needs. it is a challenge for me to consistently do so in my daily inosculations and personal concatenations, whether friends or strangers.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence.

            As for the epidemic of selfishness in this country, let’s just say that the selfish minority (giving the benefit of the doubt here) continually gets over, gets heard, and gets its way. How many UNselfish leaders do we read about? On the contrary, the greedy ones seem to prevail, always.

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  5. When I worked in the Engineering Division of the Hughes Aircraft Company, Ground Systems Group, I once saw a cartoon that someone had posted on a department bulletin board. It featured a man and woman at the altar getting ready to take their marriage vows. Little bubbles above their heads showed their thoughts as the ceremony progressed:

    Groom: “Oh, boy! All I have to do is say ‘I do,’ and I get to have sex whenever I want.”
    Bride: “Oh, boy! All I have to do is say ‘I do,’ and I never have to have sex again.”

    Along similar lines, as the late great comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to joke: “Every time I want to have sex with my wife she just points to a picture of our son.”

    After my divorce in 1989, I had a vasectomy. I still had two sons in high school to finish raising and I didn’t ever want to get into a situation where a woman would tell me I had to marry her because I had gotten her pregnant. The doctor told me: “I’ll gladly perform the procedure, but the law requires me to try and talk you out of it first.” When I asked him why, he said: “Men like you tend to get hooked up with younger women later on and they usually want to use their apparatus at least once.” I kid you not. He actually used the term “their apparatus” instead of “uterus.” My reply: “That’s why we have sperm banks, doc. Any woman who really wants a baby doesn’t need me. She can just go make a withdrawal.” He laughed and then performed the procedure, which I have never had cause to regret.

    And now, once again, we have the Church and State in America conspiring to dictate the procreative (or recreational) affairs of men and women who have very different, and sometimes conflicting, attitudes towards nature’s strongest evolutionary drive. As I put it in the first stanza of my poem Immortality:

    Eat.
    Excrete.
    Then procreate.
    Your part in Mankind’s fate.

    America. What a silly and needless “nation.” If anything needs aborting . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hilarity abounds on this site, particularly from you, michael; your injections of levity conjoined w/ perspicacity are requisite appetizers that accompany my morning café. your final exhortation is a classy ‘en découdre’ [clarion battlecry].

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The religious right is blatantly hypocritical in its “pro-life” stance and my best response is to paraphrase the first letter of John, in the New Testament by saying “You hypocrites! How can you claim to love the unborn child you cannot see when you do not love the women and children you can see?”

    However I don’t think that the “religious right” cares about being hypocrites. These people are the American Taliban. Look at the photos of these people parading in public, the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, etc with their beards and their guns and their perverted religious views and tell me you can’t see the Taliban. They want to take over the country and institute “God’s law” which is what “Sharia Law” is for the Islamists.

    Poking fun at people who think they are going to heaven by killing you is not the way to protect yourself. While the American Taliban has been working hard infiltrating local, state and federal government, progressives and liberals have been basking in some delusional world where they think liking and forwarding Facebook posts or putting LGBTQ bumperstickers on their cars are effective political actions. Or they get their knickers in a bunch about “microagressions” ignoring the people who are advocating lethal force against them.

    Maybe if Roe vs. Wade gets overturned the center and left will wake up and realize that they need to ignore their minor differences and get involved at every level of government instead of hoping that they just need to vote in the right king every four years. Because if they don’t we are going to rapidly end up living in a theocracy where the religious fanatics watch every action and every statement and any variation from “orthodoxy” is punished.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. An excellent exposition of American Talibangelism. And while I agree that poking fun at them does not protect one from the physical danger they pose to normal people, yet they deserve no special freedom from criticism up to and including scathing satire. Nothing special at all about them, just another tedious iteration of time-dishonored:

      Boobie Theology
      (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

      The Christians, Jews, and Muslims found
      A way to test their wits
      These Boobies hung themselves on poles
      Or threw themselves in pits
      To slash and stab and stone themselves
      In atavistic fits

      Domestic quarrels such as these
      Have seldom led to peace
      But only to more arguments
      Which somehow never cease
      Until divorce brings happiness
      Or martyrdom’s release

      The concept of the single “gawd”
      Leaves little more to mock
      Yet charlatans consider it
      Their tawdry trade and stock:
      No worse idea ever crept
      From underneath a rock

      The dabbler in theology
      Ties thinking up in knots
      And ends up “proving” theories with
      Those Rorschach ink-stain blots
      A schizophrenic exercise
      In complicating plots

      Mistaking recrudescence for
      “Awakening” sublime
      The Boobie brain has failed so let’s
      Just stumble back in time
      And live two thousand years ago
      In darkness, plague, and grime

      The priests and kings would love it, though.
      They always have and will.
      If science hadn’t come along,
      We’d live in darkness still
      Enslaved to kings and priests intent
      On feeding us their swill

      The frightened ones need pity but
      That doesn’t make them king
      With autocratic power to
      Dictate the tune we sing
      The choir has many voices and
      Each one deserves to ring

      So let us hear no more of “spooks”
      Somewhere “up in the sky”
      Not singular, not plural, not
      A girl and not a guy;
      And certainly not “sacred” which
      Means only: Don’t ask “why?”

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006-2017

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      1. supernal poetry and insuperable insights, mich. tnx.

        the tartuffism of these putative xian ‘monotheists’ is as duplicitous as their anti-abortion nescience. both evangelicals and catholics have at least 4 gods/goddesses: god the papa; jesus the baby son; the ‘holy spirit’ poltergeist; the virginal mama mary… do know that they pray to the entire motley lot. when i ask my filipino/-a friends [this is an entrenched catholic country] why they persist in referring to their god as a ‘he’ instead of a ‘she’, or why they believe the biblical declarative that his entire flock is ‘made in HIS image when more than half the human population sport femme-genitalia, their eyes glaze over, or they peer at me from under their droopy lids utterly dumbfounded.

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    2. your remarks, jpa, provide a template for the direction in which the left should aim their pounding boots. will they do so? i’m dubious; too many luxuriate in comfort levels that are as yet too high to organize the revolutionary ambit advocated by chris hedges. take away their guns, TVs, monday-nite football, fast food, and favourite beers… perhaps the pendulum will swing toward revolution.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, certainly, neither the Dems nor the GOP will ever take away any of those entertainments or drugs or alcohol. Except for a few outliers, everyone in government wants the citizenry distracted and benumbed.

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    3. JPA, there are several Biblical records confirming your opening paraphrase of Scripture.

      Self-proclaimed Most Christian America is the BIGGEST Arms Merchant this World ever produced supplying the Weapons of Death and Destruction as one of it’s major Businesses. The Pro-Life passion stops once a child is born, especially not pleading for the living children and adults killed by American Weapons overseas.

      It’s only 1 line, but it’s one of the most important high priority lines in the Book of Books for our Times,
      ‘Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts. Zechariah 4:6
      If the Churches believed that line, for all the claims made The Christ lives in them, at least they would start by talking about it and prepare the way for The Christ to ‘judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’ Isaiah 2:4.

      You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
      This people draws close to me with their mouth, and honours me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
      But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
      Matthew 15:7-9

      Those words of The Christ are not addressed to Atheist unbelievers, but to those who claim to believe.
      Judgment must start with those who claim to be of the House of God.

      Not every one that say to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
      Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in YOUR name? and in YOUR name have cast out devils? and in YOUR name done many wonderful works?
      And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
      Matthew 7:21-23

      For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
      And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
      Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
      2Corinthians11:13-15

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  8. I am going to bypass the political area of abortion in the United States and focus on the biological and metaphysical.

    First the biological. The pro-life people claim that abortion is murder. How does one respond to this accusation? It depends if one is claiming that life as a human being with a soul ( personhood ) starts at conception or when the embryo becomes a fetus. If one claims personhood starts at conception then there is no way to argue for abortion. If one’s definition of personhood is when the embryo becomes a fetus then there is room for discussion.
    When does an embryo become a fetus? There is no accepted definition. It is sometime between 3 and 8 weeks with 8 weeks being the most common time.
    Here is a representation of the development of the human embryo:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com%2FEmbryo&psig=AOvVaw2utOFaAHaEoFXLHpcuz00S&ust=1638800672132000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwjd1tCw7sz0AhURiZ4KHcNfB8YQr4kDegUIARDRAQ

    As one can see, the embryo begins to look like a small fetus at week 7. Before that time it looks like many other mammalian embryos.

    Some people say that when the heart is beating the embryo is an alive person but this does not make sense. What they seem to be implying is that the embryo is not really alive until the heart is beating. This is obviously not true since the tissues of the embryo are alive. In cardiac surgery the surgeon will stop the patient’s heart while he ( she ) sews the tissue. This can last for an hour or more. The patient is not dead because they revive when the heart is re-started.
    The embryonic heart tissue starts contracting at about 3 weeks post-conception:
    https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/health-and-safety/when-can-i-hear-my-babys-heartbeat_10349811
    Note that I said heart tissue and not heart. The tissue that forms the heart is only a strip of tissue at 3 weeks post-conception.

    Perhaps the embryo becomes a person when the brain is formed. This would be about week 6 to 7 but it is not functioning, because there is no neural activity. The spinal cord begins neural activity at this time which allows for movement of the limbs.
    https://www.healthline.com/health/when-does-a-fetus-develop-a-brain
    It is not until the second trimester, 3 months or 13 weeks, that actual brain activity begins.

    Some say that a fetus is not a person until it is viable outside of the uterus. This is not sound reasoning. When I began my medical career, viability was about 26 weeks conceptual age. Now it is 24 weeks. With advanced technology in the near future, there will be extra-uterine environments that will sustain a fetus even as early as 13 weeks, maybe even from the fertilized ovum stage.

    This brings up the topic of metaphysics. Metaphysics, that which is next to physics. This is now the domain of philosophy and a good way to think of metaphysics is speculation; speculation done in a logical way. Given all the facts, what can one decide? One part of the puzzle is given by the Tibetan Buddhists. They claim that the soul enters the fetus at week 7. Here is an explanation as to why this is believed:
    https://menafn.com/1100051375/The-Mysterious-Relationship-Between-Pineal-Glandula-DMT-and-49-Days-of-the-Reincarnation-of-the-Soul
    This is essentially my opinion as it based on both scientific and religious reasoning. By my opinion I mean when an embryo becomes a fetus which is a person ( with a soul ). Am I against abortion after 7 weeks? I am still wrestling with that question.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good to see you addressing this, Mr. Astore. I would welcome more attention to civil liberty-related issues on Bracing Views.

    I disagree with your view that abortion would be free, legal, and widely available if men got pregnant. Men would be just as emotionally compromised as women are with the situation. I do think, however, that they might be more pragmatic about it. Example:

    A quick online check of the youngest child ever born shows 21 weeks. Concept: After 20 weeks, you can only give your baby up via C-Section birth (vs. death by abortion). The child would be raised by our medical/governmental complex until ready for adoption. If no adoption occurs, care would continue, honoring (as you mention) the pro-life approach after birth. Honoring and preserving lives…lives that would no doubt help make our society a better place. This model puts the right “choice” in pro-Choice: life with me, or life without me, but in either case: Life. This brings up a question which may be core to this issue: Given the choice to give your child life, would you choose life? Or would you rather just abort and be done with it?

    I also disagree that this is a giant step backward. It is actually a step forward, to help fix a 50-year old mistake. Very similar to what we did (thankfully) with Plessy v. Ferguson, after ~50 years of “separate but equal”.

    As a historian, I hope you are paying close attention in these times. A moral “Battle of the Bulge” is occurring as we speak, on multiple fronts. America is saying “Nuts” to bad ideas, naivete, hate, and divisiveness. To again paraphrase HST: “With the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high watermark – that place where the ugly wave finally broke, and rolled back.”

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  10. “America is saying “Nuts” to bad ideas, naivete, hate, and divisiveness.”

    Really? I missed it somehow, because I see many of those very concepts all over the news everyday, especially in this corner of the world in central PA. Of course, good news is seldom newsworthy so maybe that is the explanation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Miscellany. A quick skim of headline news on any given day will give the lie to the claim that Americans have in any way moved away from hate, divisiveness, or bad ideas. Alternately, a trip to any public place or a drive through any town will quickly disabuse one of the notion that we’ve abandoned the nastiness.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I welcome all comments on this difficult issue.

    Instead of Cui bono, or who benefits, I think of who suffers if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Not men. Not women of means, who will find a way to secure a safe abortion irrespective of the law in their particular state. It will be poor and desperate women who suffer, especially those who’ve been raped or who’ve been the victims of incest. Imagine being raped and then being forced to carry the fetus to term — it’s unimaginable to me.

    I should note as well the burden placed on women — always women. What about the man who got her pregnant? Why may a woman be forced to give birth to an unwanted child while the father walks away freely in virtually all cases? People often discuss abortion as if women got pregnant by immaculate conception. As if men hold no responsibility whatsoever. Believe me, if men got pregnant too, abortion would be freely available.

    So it’s likely that next summer, five men and one very conservative woman aligned with a fringe group in the Catholic Church will rule to compromise the bodily autonomy of women across the country; they’ll be opposed by two women and one man who seek to uphold a less-than-perfect precedent but one that has served to reduce state and patriarchal domination in the US of A for half a century.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will obviously be revealed for what it is: a partisan hack shop in which the law is for sale or otherwise open to manipulation by the well-connected for unsavory purposes.

    Tell me how this is a good thing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Your point about every unborn child having two parents is one that the pro-life group consistently ignores. If the man involved were to be forced to contribute financially during the pregnancy and to support the child after it was born (or have his reproductive organs removed) many of these people would be singing a different tune. With the genetic testing we have available we could identify the male parent with certainty so no worries about punishing the innocent. I have single mothers as patients who struggle desperately to support their children without a dime of child support. And child-support orders are so unenforced they are laughable.

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  12. I find the idea of abortion horrifying (not from any received wisdom from a religious authority though as I wasn’t raised in any religion) and I also believe it should be available, free of charge for any woman that wants it.

    I would find the “pro-life” (really anti-choice) advocates more convincing in their claimed moral integrity if they also strongly supported measures which would prevent unwanted pregnancies and make raising a child easier: sex education, ready availability of contraception, maternity leave and support, financial support for those who need it to raise children, making it easier for those who are not in a position to raise a child but who may not want an abortion either to bring a healthy child to birth and then give it up for adoption of they decide to, and of course good health care available to everyone regardless of their wealth.

    But I’ve noticed those groups seem to be adamantly opposed to all those things and any policies like them. Kind of makes me think their noise isn’t really about a moral issue with abortion at all….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, RMO. Pro-life means control over women’s bodies so that they must have babies. Even in cases of rape, incest, or danger to a mother’s life. Doesn’t sound “pro-life” to me.

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  13. as w/ most readers of wja’s elenchi, it is assumed positions and ideations will divaricate [‘sans’ the contumelious acrimony of parliamentary debates]. nonetheless, there is a verisimilitude of our political and personal ambits, such that subsequent commentary are often subtle simulacra of each other, tho’ dressed in different hues and guises.

    abortion is such a contentious issue, however, that consensus is a chimera that will never be realized among our species, not until conceptions, embryos, foetuses, and birth-viabilities are routinely carried out in labs and become the purview of state-mandated structures. however, i vaticinate that contention will prevail even in that case, perhaps over what structures will be organized and updated, what labs receive the most funding, who controls those labs [the inveterate power-elite, of course], arguments over how the post-natal birthlings are cared for and nourished, whose DNA and other genetic ‘provender’ will be allowed to unite into a zygote, etc, etc… our species is a fundamentally disputatious one.

    to offer a personal perspective from an octogenarian mother of 7 in this, a pre-progenitive lab milieu: i have submitted to an abortion [pre-roe/wade], as have my 2 daughters, 2 sisters, 3 sisters-in-law, cousins, and multiple acquaintances. for most of us, it was like being able to breathe again after near-suffocation, or being deterged by an elutriating wave of the clearest, most pellucid water. for a scintilla of others, despite ‘nascent’ waves of relief, it was demoralizing, a proactive choice they made that deluged them w/ guilt from which they could not exculpate themselves [primarily due to brainwashing religiosity or judgemental families]. for most of us, our abortions were prerequisites for carrying on a normal, successful, sane, and fulfilling life, which would not have been possible had we been forced to carry a bairn to term and/or care for her/him over the subsequent 2 decades.

    when the foetus w/in is rejected, not wanted, it ‘feels’ that rejection during its 9-month gestation; the rejection is detected in the biochemical signatures of molecules floating about in its amniotic fluids, as well as other molecular constituents of its intrauterine environment. in effect, the bairn is birthed already impaired, so there are 2 casualties, not just one. both must pay a lifelong price for a vulnerable and naive girl’s abandonment of reason and rationality, who only wanted to please her boyfriend-of-the-moment, and allowed herself to be seduced in a fleeting fugue of mindlessness and a soaring flight of passion. she falls pregnant, the boys flees, her future flees, but she cannot flee her inalterable predicament w/out access to abortion.

    my father was a veterinarian, and i grew up in his animal hospital. i concluded that in the realm of motherhood, human femmes are no different from other animal femmes, wherein there is a broad range of diversity; some are tendentiously philoprogenitive, maternal, and nurturing; others are not. i witnessed over the years in my dad’s veterinary hospital, canine, feline, bovine, and equine mothers who simply stood up post-parturition, walked away from their newborns, refused to breastfeed their bairns, and settled themselves elsewhere, permanently! needless to convey, those bairns did not flourish. nor do unwanted and rejected human bairns.

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  14. an addendum to my operose and lengthy tautology above: when children are unwanted, they are unfailingly neglected, the outcome of which is more rittenhouse and crumbley boys in crisis.

    PS: i failed to mention the other consociate mammalians, the negligent porcine and ovine mothers, of which there were plenitudes. more than likely, it is in part due to their being penned-in and depressed. depression clobbers most locked-down animals if they are locked down for extended periods.

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  15. JPA [December 4, 2021 at 11:23 PM] properly makes two key observations:

    (1) “The religious right is blatantly hypocritical in its ‘pro-life’ stance … ”

    and

    (2) “Maybe if Roe vs. Wade gets overturned the center and left will wake up and realize that they need to ignore their minor differences and get involved at every level of government instead of hoping that they just need to vote in the right king every four years. Because if they don’t we are going to rapidly end up living in a theocracy where the religious fanatics watch every action and every statement and any variation from “orthodoxy” is punished.” [my emphasis added]

    First, the hypocrisy on display extends not only to the Bible-thumping base of the Republican Party, but to the Democrats, as well. Jimmy Dore (December 6, 2021) has an interesting video discussion with Max Blumenthal concerning this bi-partisan (or bi-factional), thoroughly contrived, “culture war”/”Identity Politics” diversionary political gambit. See: Dems Could End Abortion Crisis — But WON’T.

    Additionally, Max Blumenthal schools Jimmy on a little dystopian history in connection with JPA’s second observation about religious “Christian” fanatics and their implacable lust to establish a Corporate Theocratic Oligarchy [my choice of words] in the United States, stamping out those assumed-but-hated Jeffersonian Enlightenment ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. To wit:

    [6:50] Jimmy Dore reads from The Daily Poster: “They [the Democrats] have the power to enact a law protecting a woman’s right to choose – and if they still refuse to do that in the face of Texas insanity, then they are complicit in the Gilead-ifcation of America.”

    “Do you know what that means, Max?”

    Max Blumenthal: “It’s the Republic of Gilead which is Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, [which] conjurs up a science fiction future dystopia where the country is run along the lines of Christian Dominionism, or Christian Reconstructionism where the Biblical Law is implemented. It’s sort of like if the Christian right were in charge in the future and a corrupt elite meanwhile behind the walls of their compounds practices bizarre sex acts. It’s kind of like what we have today in so many respects.” [emphasis added]

    More on this hypocritical theocratic dystopia business and its foundational oath: “First, Do Great Harm,” later . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A little supplementary history about the “Gilead-ifcation” of the United States. From Wikipedia:

      The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a strongly patriarchal, totalitarian theonomic state, known as Republic of Gilead, that has overthrown the United States government. The central character and narrator is a woman named Offred, one of the group known as “handmaids”, who are forcibly assigned to produce children for the “commanders” – the ruling class of men in Gilead.”

      “The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and the various means by which they resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence. The novel’s title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories (such as “The Merchant’s Tale” and “The Parson’s Tale”). It is also an allusion to the tradition of fairy tales where the central character tells their story.”

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    2. Naturally, I have a verse treatment of this subject as part of my ever-unfolding episodic narrative epic, Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave). Due to its length, I’ll just put a link to it here: Boobie Reactionary Religious Recrudescence for those who wonder what a retired expatriate ex-patriot might make of a thought once he gave it a little focused attention.

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      1. epic, mich! your arresting stanza….

        “So chase Darwin out of the schools
        Replacing him with what?
        Two-thousand-year-old Christian crap?
        Or “feelings” in the “gut”?
        Who wants to live in such a world
        Commanded by the nut?”

        …is so scalpel-sharp and comical in its enlightening satire that it’s more entertaining than burlesque!

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      2. no ‘REcrudescence’ about it mich… nor revivification, revitalization, or rising from phoenix’s ashes; corporate theocracy and fascism have beleaguered the hoi polloi and ‘first nations’ people since the pilgrims and spanish priests washed up on america’s shores.

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    3. Thanks for sharing the link to Dore’s commentary, Michael. While I agree with his points in general, making the blanket statement that the Dems could codify abortion rights, ” but they won’t,” is misleading. Dore does mention the filibuster, but he doesn’t explain the situation. That is, as we know, the filibuster would have to be eliminated first. Only then could abortion rights be written into law by simple majority vote. Therefore, the blame needs to be placed squarely on Manchin and Sinema, along with any other recalcitrant Dems, PLUS Biden, for not pressuring Manchin and Sinema.

      In other words, the roadblock is a combination of two [GOP-bought] DINOs and a spineless [donor-bought] President.

      Dysfunctional Dem thinking over the years got us to this point, sure, but the current situation is what it is because of a small cadre of greedy obstructionists that happens to be denoted as Democrats. Is that putting too fine a point on it? Disclaimer: these comments definitely shouldn’t be construed as support for the Democratic party.

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      1. Even when the Democrats had a “super-majority” under Obama, they didn’t bother to codify Roe v Wade.

        Sure, they keep promising stuff like Medicare for All. Or a higher minimum wage. But something or someone always seems to get in the way. Curious how that happens. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agree entirely, Bill. I should have prefaced my response with your point. Dems have had multiple opportunities to “make it right” when it comes to abortion, healthcare, and every other benefit for We the People, but haven’t done so. Now, they’ve got a razor-thin majority that won’t all vote together, so here we are. At this very specific juncture, unless all are brow-beaten into party-line votes, there will be no progress. Decades of [deliberately] wasted majorities have led to this precarious situation, but if the few holdouts at this moment could be corralled, all might not be lost.

          Instead, Manchin, Sinema, and Biden will prevail, and the response will then be, “Elect more Dems!”

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    4. Another thought on the Dore segment, specifically concerning Blumenthal’s comments on Amy Coney-Barrett’s refusal to hear a case based on vaccine mandates. Blumenthal predicts that, by declining to uphold bodily autonomy in that case, ACB is teeing up to likewise assert that such autonomy doesn’t apply in abortion cases, either. And she did make a statement to that effect at last week’s oral hearings.

      My point is that Blumenthal slams Dems for applauding ACB’s reasoning about vaccine mandates while objecting to the same reasoning being applied to abortion, making the Dems hypocrites. Except that, as many others have pointed out, refusal to be vaccinated could endanger a whole community, while refusal to carry a child does not. Pregnancy is not contagious.

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      1. …and in that same furrow of seed-planting is the flip-side of being forced to carry an unwanted child to term which affects more than just a community where a non-vaccinated person lives, breathes and provides housing for virulent virions. an unwanted, neglected, ill-treated, angry, embittered, abused child has deleterious impacts on the whole of a civilized society which must find a way to cope w/ those impacts from the moment the disdained child begins school, picks up a gun, and learns how to use it in all its lethal permutations.

        mother theresa was the antithesis of a saint; she was satan’s handmaiden for her proscription against abortion and draconian insistence that millions of unwanted, uncared for babies be brought to term, then summarily dumped onto filthy cots and mats in her befouled, cockroach-ridden, rat-saturated orphanages in india w/ ‘care’takers who were so overwhelmed they could barely feed these discarded children, never mind change their feculent diapers. the arrogance, tartuffism, and cruelty of this misguided woman on behalf of ‘saving souls’ in order to please ‘saint’ theresa’s beloved and benevolent [HAH!] god, defies credulity. such manifestations of her everso beatific religiosity actually defines hypocrisy and perverts the meaning of compassion and misericordia.

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        1. Respectfully, I’m not sure that every child who was involuntarily carried to term inevitably starts and goes through life completely unwanted. Neither do I think s/he will inevitably be a danger to society. I’m very much pro-choice, but I just don’t think such generalizations about involuntary motherhood can be applied.

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          1. tnx for offering the obverse perspective; w/ cedrtitude, denise, many young girls find a way to grow into nurturing, committed, responsible mothers, particularly if they have not been subjected to a severely judgemental zeitgeist and have the loving support of both their families and others in the community. whether such a purlieu is the norm or the exception, i have no idea.

            here on mindoro island in the philippines [a catholic country], abortion is illegal. the families welcome out-of-wedlock babies into their extended-family homes and take care of them as if they had birthed these bairns themselves. even the girls working in metropolitan manila who inadvertently fall pregnant, whether married or not, send their bairns back to their family villages to be cared for so they can continue working to support those families.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Obviously, the type of community child raising you describe is much to be preferred. That kind of environment is rarely found in the States, except perhaps among First Nations peoples.

            On the other hand, a quick look-up of stats shows that there are more than 75,000 non-step-parent adoptions in the U.S. in the average year, so at least a significant number of “unwanted” babies become “wanted” ones at some point.

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          3. at the risk of overwhelming and monopolizing wja’s site w/ our logorrhea, denise, and commandeering the lion’s share of his comments section, i will post one more response:

            i have been privileged to meet multifarious families who have adopted children [my own aunt and uncle adopted 2, both of whom became drug-addled disasters], as well as the young mothers who released their bairns to adoption agencies. none escaped scarifications. yes, they healed, but noticeable scars remained. the guilt and despair of so many who relinquished their bairns, upon a re-think in adulthood, have been heart-shattering when bearing witness to their woeful stories.

            as you would agree, sweeping generalizations are falsifications of reality. such is even the case w/ stats-replete socio-psychological studies. we can only rely on the anecdotal narratives that infect, impact, transform or transmogrify our own lives. the rest is hearsay. admittedly, our interpretations of those narratives are subject to transmutations as well, depending on our individual experiences, family backgrounds, and cognitive perspicuities. everyone of us is garbed in preferential raiment and disports noticeably tendentious predispositions.

            enough of my banausic pontificating!

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  16. Coming back again to FPA’s warning/observation above, namely: “… we are going to rapidly end up living in a theocracy where the religious fanatics watch every action and every statement and any variation from ‘orthodoxy’ is punished.”

    These words should remind us all of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. Specifically, in relation to the self-appointed, fanatical Political Morality Monitors constantly on the lookout for “deviant” individuals showing the slightest sign of “unorthodox” political or economic thinking:

    “In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.”

    I mention this again because of an incident that took place back in 2004 involving Congressional Representative Jim McDermott (D) who fell afoul of theocratic political orthodoxy in the United States by failing to utter three syllables while performing a government function. See just one of the blaring headlines of the day excoriating him for his blasphemous facecrime: Washington congressman omits ‘under God’ from Pledge, Matthew Daly, mrt (April 27, 2004).

    I’d say the theocratic dystopia — duly privatized and outsourced to the corporate oligarchy (like the military) — has already arrived and only continues metastasizing today.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As a (lapsed) Catholic, I realize people have religious reasons why they oppose abortion.

    To these people I say: If you’re opposed to abortion, don’t have one. But don’t seek to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.

    A decision on abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. It’s a private decision. You have no say. Your religious beliefs don’t matter.

    Against abortion? Don’t have one — simple as that. And MYOB.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. the dilemma arising from your declarative, wja, is that the clamorous gaggle of feverish evangelical and catholic adherents consider abortion murder. as such, abortion is an affront to societal norms that the abortionist, in collusion w/ the pregnant femme, should be indicted, tried for murder, found guilty, and either be executed or imprisoned for life [depending on individual state laws]… in precisely the same manner that all convicted murderers are treated. biblical promulgations aside [or not], in their deranged brains, murder is murder, and no exceptions should be tolerated in a ‘civilized society’ [good goofus, puh-leeeeze!]. their interpretation of ‘civilized society’ bears scant resemblance to mine. and ‘aye, that is the rub’. oh well, at least we have diversity amongst us, eh? monocultures’ immune systems are eventually compromised, become etiolated, and die-out.

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      1. Concerning the cynical hypocrisy of Big Corporate Media flogging “scandalous moral failures” — at least according to official Church doctrine — because “sex sells,” I once wondered what an unapologetic Biblical sex worker (at least in some traditions) would say to her customer/detractors if given some network time to present her own point of view. Then this happened:

        Unfair and Unbalanced

        Maligned Madam Does Fox News
        (An ahistorical, speculative interview)

        “And now we have, for our next guest,
        A lady of the night,
        Who has, for reasons none too clear,
        Agreed to speak what we shall hear:
        Some ‘answers’ meant to bring a leer
        To lips that freely grin or sneer
        When overhearing questions queer,
        Profound, or simply trite.”

        “We thank you, Madame Magdalene,
        For giving of your time
        To scandalize the girls and boys
        With lurid tales of wanton joys
        Supplied for rent to Jews and Goys
        Entrapped by your seductive ploys
        While honest men, your hapless toys,
        Must suffer from your crime.”

        “But au contraire! I say to you,
        My bogus blowhard host:
        I only serve your vain desire
        And offer up what you require,
        And, yes, I do it all for hire,
        While you ejaculate, retire,
        And afterwards feel only ire,
        Or else the urge to boast.”

        “I only see the truth too well,
        And live by what I do.
        I understand men’s vanity,
        And lives filled with inanity
        Till driven to insanity
        By Murdoch, Fox, and Hannity
        You use me like profanity
        And swear: ‘GAWD told me to!’”

        “But, Madam, what of Juliet,
        Whose virtue fiction tells?
        Does not her pure, Platonic love
        Deflect the need to rudely shove
        Some Romeo without a glove
        Into an orifice above,
        Below, or in the region of
        Some pulchritude that sells?”

        “Oh, no, dear sir! Such fantasies
        Just fan the flames of lust.
        As I have often told the priest,
        My holes are not for sale, just leased
        To poles whose sweaty palms have greased
        My own with cash, and not the least
        With ‘love’ for me, a meager feast
        For wretched lives gone bust.”

        “Then might I ask, Ms Magdalene,
        About Ophelia’s tale?
        You know, the Danish maid who pined
        For Hamlet’s love: the crazy kind,
        Both unrequited and resigned
        To ambiguity; designed
        By Shakespeare, meaning: ‘Never mind.
        Such tragic love must fail.’”

        “Ophelia, just like Juliet,
        My case could never plead.
        Because – as fiction, unlike me –
        She lives in books for men who flee
        From nature, like the urge to pee;
        Who make up tales that don’t agree
        (Except when offered on TV)
        With what they really need.”

        “So have you any final thoughts
        Here as we end the hour?
        Do you not have a heart of gold
        Despite the johns that you have rolled
        Together with your pimp who sold
        Your services to young and old
        Who wanted heat but got the cold
        Of sordid sex gone sour?”

        Mais oui, Monsieur! but let me say
        To males by us enthralled:
        That we who ply the oldest trade;
        Who make our living in the shade;
        Who walk our alley promenade
        Until our looks begin to fade
        Know men will call a heart a spade
        To get their ashes hauled.”

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

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        1. galactic, mich! your magdalene, the maven of meretricious delights, is just as i would have imagined her fanciful character, however contrived by biblical tale-tellers. as you must know, the word ‘meretricious’ derives from the latin root meme for merit which means ‘to earn’. this is an appropriate adjective for describing prostitution since, as your poem acknowledges, it is the earliest ‘profession’ in primate groups, wherein a femme would exchange a quickie in the bush for a loin of meat. unmarried folks maintain the prelapsarian tradition here in our mindoro island jungles.

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          1. Thanks for the educated and interesting commentary, Jeanie. I wrote “Maligned Madam” back in 2009 as an exercise in emulating the style of Lewis Carroll’s poem “A-sitting On a Gate” from Through the Looking-Glass. Try as I might, I couldn’t quite match the length of the author’s last stanza which featured twelve successive rhymed lines before the final, closing sentence. For some reason, I woke up at 3:30 am here in Kaoshiung with Lewis Carroll and George Orwell running around in my head demanding that I give the format another try. I finally finished about 5:30 pm after which the wife and I went shopping for discounted Danish pastries at some local bakeries. Anyway, perhaps the two munificent muses will let me get a decent night’s sleep now that I’ve attended to their demands with:

            Liquidated through Lexical Larceny
            (After the style of Lewis Carroll’s “A-sitting On A Gate” from Through the Looking-glass)

            I’ve grown to have a nagging doubt
            Or two or ten or twenty
            Concerning what to trust about
            The Ministry of Plenty
            Whose publications boast of stuff:
            Tobacco, gin, and mansions,
            In quantities more than enough
            To pass poetic scansions.
            Like “victory,” dactylic foot:
            One accent, two unstressed;
            Three syllables in which to put
            The feeling of “oppressed.”

            And so, I go about my toil –
            or work, if you prefer –
            attempting to extract and foil
            the use of curse and slur,
            two flavors of official swill
            fermented from no facts:
            semantic noises coined to kill
            unorthodoxy – ownlife – till
            no thought exists to fit the bill,
            so proles can’t figure out the drill,
            that they – meat placed upon the grill –
            exist to feed the ones who fill
            the air with proclamations shrill
            exhorting dupes some blood to spill
            “defending” Freedom’s deadly chill,
            a profiteering poison pill,
            some “medicine” to make us ill,
            that did and does and always will
            obscure The Party’s acts.

            Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2021

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          2. your muse is an insatiable and imperious taskmaster, mich. you must turn off the cranial taps, leave your taiwanese ecesis and eloign your enervated cortex, w/ wife in your wake, to our ecesis on mindoro island for an extended snooze. our flat is capacious, surrounded by sumptuous seas, jungles, and montane peaks. it is the apotheosis of tranquillitude; it will aid in becalming your fevered brain… muses be damned.

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    2. What troubles me most is that the final decision will come down to a vote among nine people, none of whom will be affected by the result of their decision. There are those who would argue that guarantees their impartiality, and in a pure and perfect world I suppose it would. But in this world’s legal & political landscape, “impartiality” is code for “It means nothing to me, but what’s it worth to you?” I wouldn’t trust this Supreme Court to vote on their favorite flavor of ice cream.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After their “Corporations United” verdict affirming the Oligarchical Collective’s ownership of America’s political, military, economic, and social (pardon the redundancies) bureaucracies, not to mention refusal to rule congressionally undeclared wars unconstitutional — for three-quarters-of-a-century — I can’t see what difference ANY of the Supine Court’s verdicts can matter much from here on out. The officially conducted persecution of Julian Assange and other whistleblowers using the “Espionage Act” of 1917 alone renders absurdly quaint any notion of “justice” in Oceania where, as Orwell said in 1984: “There is no law.” So now we’ve come back to another recurrent soap opera about the consequences of “sex” meant to “entertain” and distract the proles from their imploding economic circumstances. What an unmitigated farce.

        On my way to see the doctor yesterday, a Taiwanese taxi driver asked my wife and me about Donald Trump. My wife said that he represented only the tip of an iceberg of corruption. I added, simply, “The United States doesn’t have a government.” My limited command of Mandarin and Taiwanese would not allow me to elaborate.

        Liked by 1 person

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