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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Get By... With a Little Help From My Friends

If the economy wasn't already bad enough, it now looks as if at least the individual mandate of Obamacare is going to be rammed down our throats in a matter of months. Despite heroic efforts from the likes of Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz (along with several others), the vast majority of Congress is either in favor of the atrocity or terrified of the repercussions of standing against it. Which means that households in America are having conversations that sound surprisingly similar to this exchange from the USA series Psych:
Burton Guster: What's your dental plan?
Shawn Spencer: Don't get cavities.
Burton Guster: Health plan?
Shawn Spencer: The same, but with hepatitis and shingles. 
Getting sick in this economy and this political climate is quite possibly the worst thing you could do. And it's even worse if you happen to have a family that relies on you for support. 

But unfortunately, sickness does not come when we are prepared for it. Sickness does not come when we can afford it. Sickness does not come only to those with the ability to recover on their own without outside help.

I am writing today because in the last week I have seen three crowdfunding efforts - one I started myself for a close friend of my own family - set up to help care for the families of people whose illnesses have rendered them unable to care for their own families either physically, financially, or both.

Here they are:

David Singleton, father of two, suffering from chronic pain due to Rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia. Read more and donate.

Heidi Surface, mother of three, about to undergo surgery and treatment for breast cancer. Read more and donate.

Caleb Howe, father of two, currently hospitalized with a failing liver. Read more and donate.

If you have the means and feel compelled to do so, please donate what you can. $1, $10, $100 - it all adds up quickly, and the families will surely appreciate the help. If you can't donate (and trust me, in this economy we all understand that), please take the time to share this post and help us reach more people who can.

Thanks, guys.   


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Lesson in Women's Health

If you live in the United States, you have probably learned more about women's health in the last year than you ever wanted to know - and even with the supersaturation of information, the take home lesson still leaves me perplexed.

If you listen to Sandra Fluke, the truly empowered woman should not be responsible for the cost of her own birth control lest it interfere with her freedom to engage in casual sex without consequence. 

If you listen to Nancy Pelosi (and let me add that if you can do this at all without your ears bleeding, you are a stronger woman than I), the truly empowered woman must have access to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy because if you only give her three or six months, your end goal is to watch her bleed to death on the floor of an unsanitary clinic (which she also tries to pretend does not exist).

If you listen to the women fighting HB 2 in Texas which passed last week and limited abortions to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, the truly empowered woman needs access to abortion for a full nine months of pregnancy because five months is not long enough for a woman of average intelligence to determine that she probably should have either paid $30 a month for birth control or insisted that her partner wear a condom.

The final assessment, according to these sources, is that women are generally too stupid or helpless to prevent pregnancy. With that as a given, they must therefore be granted unlimited access to a procedure that absolves them of responsibility for their chosen actions. If you deny them that access, #WarOnWomen!!!

So what happens when we put the shoe on the other foot? What about men who engage in sex without protection and get their partners pregnant? Barring the woman's subsequent choice, what procedure can a man opt for that absolves him of responsibility? What choice does he have other than either pay up or risk being labeled a "deadbeat" and facing legal action? 

Why do we accept - in fact encourage - a lack of responsibility from women when we demand responsibility from men for the exact same actions? What happened to equality for women? At what point do we admit that the call here is not for equality, but for the ability to impose our own sexist demands on men in order to shirk responsibility for our own choices?

The point they are all missing is very simple: freedom of action does not guarantee freedom from responsibility. If you do the crime, you must do the time. If you go to bed unprotected, why should a man automatically be held responsible for his choice while a woman gets another retroactive choice as to whether or not she will accept responsibility for the consequences of the *SAME CHOICE.*