Tuesday 27 March 2007

The Advantages of Abortion

There are many benefits to remaining unpregnant. Now there is solid research proving that having an abortion improves a young woman's educational outcome.

Sunday 25 March 2007

The Incarnating Game

(voice-over) Heeeere’s Gabriel Angel, the host of this popular R.E.A.L.ity television show!!!

Gabriel: Today’s heavenly bachelor is God, and he is looking for a virgin who wants to get pregnant and give birth to his son. Let’s meet our three virgins right now.

(voice-over) Virgin #1 is the daughter of a movie producer who’s kept her in a secure fortress under lock and key on a remote island to preserve her innocence and of course, her virginity. Virgin #2 recently left the cloistered order of the Sisters of Perpetual Misery because she was the last nun left in the convent and it was more work to run the building than she could handle at the age of 93. Virgin #3 is a virtuoso pianist, an Olympian gold medalist in judo, a video game designer, an award-winning Cordon Bleu chef and, in her spare time, she knits hats for orphaned baby bald eaglets.

Gabriel: Now God, go ahead and ask these little ladies questions that will help you decide which virgin to pick to help you with your plan.
GOD: Virgin #1, Is your father Jewish?
Virgin #1: Duh, is the Pope Catholic? My dad’s name is like, Reuben. That’s totally not gentile.
GOD: Virgin #3, What does your father think of your work with the orphans?
Virgin #3: He says they’re cute when they’re babies but to dump them if they grow up to be doves. He says that predaTory birds are more like our own kind.
GOD: Virgin #2, Who’s your Daddy?
Virgin #2: You are, Dear God (her quaking voice rising to a crescendo) as you are also my blessed bridegroom since I took my vows 80 years ago.
GOD: Is it that long ago? Gosh, time sure flies when you’re having fun.
Gabriel Angel: While God is preparing another round of questions for the virgins, we’ll go to a commercial break for
this fine product.
Gabriel Angel: We’re back and God has some more questions for the virgins.
GOD: Virgin #3, your voice seems very familiar. Do you have a part-time job staffing the phone line at 1-900-PATMYBUM while working on your PhD in Anthropology, on “The Post-Economic Puzzle of Polish Pole-Dancers in the Pre-Soviet Collapse of the Zloty”?
Virgin #3: God, that’s amazing. How did you know that?
GOD: (modestly) Well, I am God. I see you when you’re sleeping. I know when you’re awake. I know if you’ve been bad or good ….
Virgin #3: oh. Oh! uh-oh.
GOD: Virgin #2, I don’t actually have any more questions for you because you have been sharing all your thoughts with me for the last eight decades and, Theresa, I have to tell you: the mystery is gone. And as you know, religious belief is all about the mystery. So, moving on to Virgin #1, do you think that your dad would get me a role in one of his television shows, being that the critics say that his sitcoms are “godless pieces of garbage” and “wallowing in the third circle of Hell”?
Virgin #1: Like, God, my dad would be SO bummed if somebody in the business begat his grandson. But it would be totally awesome if you gave him the franchise rights after the Holy Birth.
GOD: Done deal. Forty-nine percent of the net retail sales, after taxes. Oh and another thing, he has to convert to Christianity.
Virgin #1: Christianity …. what’s that?
GOD: Ooops, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Never mind, you’ll find out in thirty years from now.
Soaring harp music, a chorus of angels singing as the camera turns to and zooms in on ….
Gabriel Angel: Another match made in Heaven …. Thanks for watching folks. And remember to tune in again, this time next week for the best hook-up show on television, The Incarnating Game. We’ll have Rosemary, a bachelorette burning with unholy desire for a son spawned by a Prince of Darkness.

For the faint-hearted who feel that this spoof of the vintage TV show, ‘The Dating Game’ is sacrilegious, tasteless or irreverent, please consider this: Anyone can play God. The anti-choice criminalizers and fetus-fetishizers do it all the time. Why should they have a monopoly on putting words in God’s mouth?
Originally posted at Birth Pangs.

Friday 23 March 2007

Mandatory Obstetric Photography (MOP)

Birth Pangs announces today that it is embarking on a new campaign, Mandatory Obstetric Photography (MOP).

To help pre-pregnant women understand fully the long-term, serious consequences of pregnancy, we propose a law that requires pre-pregnant women to have Mandatory Obstetric Photography. The women would strip naked for a series of full-body, harshly lit photographs. Special attention would be paid to perky breasts, tidy hips, and taut skin. Then the women must look at the photos. Before becoming pregnant, all women would be required to sign an affidavit that they had seen the photos and understand that they will never look like that again.

To give credit where credit is due, we stole this idea from our fetus-fetishizing friends in South Carolina, who this week pressed forward a bill that would require all women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds and then swear they had seen said ultrasounds. From an AP story:

Tuesday 20 March 2007

Pregnancy and femicide

The compulsory pregnancy crowd, also known as the fetus-fetishizers and anti-choice criminalizers, rarely if ever consider that this condition can be a factor in precipitating femicide.

Stephen Hart, a psychology professor at Simon Fraser University and an expert in psychopathic behaviour, has worked with the B.C. Institute Against Family Violence to look into spousal homicides in the province. Hart said that only about one-third to one-half of the relationships he studied showed a “pattern of escalating violence”. Another subsection of men showed a pattern of violence “across relationships”, while another one-third of cases showed no prior warning of violent intent. But here, men may have been triggered by a stress factor, which can include pregnancy.

Rosemary Gartner is a University of Toronto sociology professor has done extensive research and authored many studies and reports about femicide. There are a couple of issues around pregnancy,” Gartner said. “One is that some men respond to pregnancy with fear and trepidation—it means both a financial and emotional commitment to both the woman and the child. Another part has to do with the man [falsely] believing she is leaving him or that she has been unfaithful to him. Sometimes men question the paternity of the pregnancy.”

Hart agreed with Gartner that pregnancy is a “real risk factor”. “In the United States, the homicide of the mother is one of the major causes of prenatal mortality,” Hart said.

Information available here indicates that homicide is a leading cause of traumatic death for pregnant and postpartum women in the United States, accounting for 31 percent of maternal injury deaths. Also, women with unplanned pregnancies have a two to four times greater risk of suffering violence from their husbands or partners than women whose pregnancies were planned.

Although funding has been returned to Status of Women Canada, with the anti-feminist bias of “Canada’s New Government” visibly on display, what’s the possibility that any ongoing research into the prevention of femicide will be supported? Certainly not, if it challenges the half-truths and disinformation provided by groups such as the REAL-ly fundamentalist women.

(This particular entry is not meant as parody. There are times when it’s difficult to find humour in the unconscionable cruelty of those who claim to champion the pre-born (their terminology) as though their cause were exempt from the realities that women experience, pregnant or not.)
First posted at Birth Pangs.

Thursday 15 March 2007

The virgin, the angel and choice

A childhood and early adolescence spent under the vigilant eyes of teachers of the order of Grey Nuns has been my cross to bear. Pun intended. Nonetheless, it has given me the advantage of knowing that the art of creative exegesis should not be confined within the dusty walls of the Vatican. This riff is inspired by everything the nuns taught me about what happened between Mary, Gabriel and the Holy Spirit.

The angel Gabriel had been sent to earth to find a virgin willing to become the mother of God’s son. (Yes, yes, the Royal House of Windsor borrowed the idea and went looking for Diana or someone like her.)

It seemed like a good plan at the time but Gabriel was amazed at the number of young women who did not share his enthusiasm for the project. He decided to try once more before flying home to heaven.

He appeared before Mary and said to her: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Mary was surprised and a bit suspicious about this greeting and asked for an explanation. So the angel gave her an elaborate and grandiose description of what awaited her, should she accept this holy mission.

Mary however saw a glitch in the plan. “How can this happen? I’m a virgin, you know.” Gabriel countered: “The Holy Spirit will take care of it, therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Then he added: “By the way, God helped your cousin Elizabeth get pregnant and she’s six months along.”

Mary cried out: “Elizabeth? She must be at least 148 years old. She has wanted a baby for so long. That’s pretty amazing. Alright, I’ll play on God’s team, I’ll do it.”

This is the part that the nuns impressed upon our teenage minds. The Angel was sent to ask Mary if she would become pregnant and give birth to the Son of God. Mary said yes. She could have refused. She consented. She accepted the offer.

Now if you believe in the absolute power of God, who according to the Bible created the Universe in six days, you’d wonder why he didn’t simply wait for Mary’s wedding day, then seed her through the Holy Spirit without the bother of asking. Nine months later, it would have been revealed to her that, by the way, this bundle of joy was also the Son of God.

But God sent the angel to ask her. Mary said yes to her pregnancy.

Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, knows something that the anti-choice criminalizers do not acknowledge. Women do have the power to give life … or not. From the fusion of two cells, something develops that a woman’s spirit, mind, heart and body can choose to grow. Or refuse. God awaited Mary’s decision. He did not impregnate her and force her to carry a pregnancy to term. She was not an empty vessel for him to use. He respected her will, her choice. And that is what I learned at Catholic school.

First posted at Birth Pangs.

Update, March 2014: It seems that inspired exegesis of the gospel of St Luke is not that unusual. Here's a recent interpretation of Mary's conscious, affirmative acquiescence.