Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vow of Abstinence

I have made a promise to myself that I won't sit bedside in birth with another woman. After witnessing my grandson's birth, during which Murphy's Law was in full effect, I decided that I just would no longer put myself through it. I'm at peace with this decision- for now. I ran into a former doula last night, who told me she's putting off having a baby because there's no-one to deliver it. It's true, I hear it again and again. We don't have enough midwives willing or able to do home births in our area (heck in our state). I refuse to lend witness to another hospital birth. I somewhat jokingly told her, I know what she means, if I got pregnant again, I'd just do it myself.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Loving Decision

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the "Loving Decision." As someone who has enjoyed a long and happy marraige that happens to be interracial, I wanted to acknowledge the occassion. Below is the story that was heard on NPR radio earlier this week to mark the anniversary. Also, if you get a chance, a movie was made about this historical event called "Mr. and Mrs. Loving" starring Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon. Enjoy.

Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions

All Things Considered, June 11, 2007 · This week marks the 40th anniversary of a seminal moment in the civil rights movement: the legalization of interracial marriage. But the couple at the heart of the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia never intended to be in the spotlight.
On June 12, 1967, the nation's highest court voted unanimously to overturn the conviction of Richard and Mildred Loving, a young interracial couple from rural Caroline County, Va.
That decision struck down the anti-miscegenation laws — written to prevent the mixing of the races — that were on the books at the time in more than a dozen states, including Virginia.
'They Just Were in Love'
Richard Loving was white; his wife, Mildred, was black. In 1958, they went to Washington, D.C. — where interracial marriage was legal — to get married. But when they returned home, they were arrested, jailed and banished from the state for 25 years for violating the state's Racial Integrity Act.
To avoid jail, the Lovings agreed to leave Virginia and relocate to Washington.
For five years, the Lovings lived in Washington, where Richard worked as a bricklayer. The couple had three children. Yet they longed to return home to their family and friends in Caroline County.
That's when the couple contacted Bernard Cohen, a young attorney who was volunteering at the ACLU. They requested that Cohen ask the Caroline County judge to reconsider his decision.
"They were very simple people, who were not interested in winning any civil rights principle," Cohen, now retired, tells Michele Norris.
"They just were in love with one another and wanted the right to live together as husband and wife in Virginia, without any interference from officialdom. When I told Richard that this case was, in all likelihood, going to go to the Supreme Court of the United States, he became wide-eyed and his jaw dropped," Cohen recalls.
Road to the High Court
Cohen and another lawyer challenged the Lovings' conviction, but the original judge in the case upheld his decision. Judge Leon Bazile wrote: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. ... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
As Cohen predicted, the case moved all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the young ACLU attorney made a vivid and personal argument:
"The Lovings have the right to go to sleep at night knowing that if should they not wake in the morning, their children would have the right to inherit from them. They have the right to be secure in knowing that, if they go to sleep and do not wake in the morning, that one of them, a survivor of them, has the right to Social Security benefits. All of these are denied to them, and they will not be denied to them if the whole anti-miscegenistic scheme of Virginia... [is] found unconstitutional."
After the ruling — now known as the "Loving Decision" — the family, which had already quietly moved back to Virginia, finally returned home to Caroline County.
But their time together was cut short: Richard Loving died in a car crash in 1975. Mildred Loving, who never remarried, still lives in Caroline County in the house that Richard built. She politely refuses to give interviews.
Interracial Couples Today
Since that ruling 40 years ago, interracial marriage has become more common, but remains relatively rare. Sociologists estimate that 7 percent of the nation's 59 million marriages are mixed-race couplings.
And even now, interracial marriage remains a source of quiet debate over questions of identity, assimilation and acceptance.
Take Anna Blazer and Bryan Walker, for instance. The white woman and her black husband, with their two young children, live just miles from the Caroline County courthouse. Donald Loving, a grandson of Richard and Mildred Loving, introduced the couple when they were teenagers.
Blazer, now 23, says her family was initially wary of her then-boyfriend because of his race.
"My mom was a little weird with it, because he used to wear this really long — they call it bling-bling — he used to wear a bling-bling cross around his neck and baggy pants. And I don't know, she just kind of looked at him kind of funny when she first met him," Blazer remembers.
But over the years her mother has warmed to Walker, 21.
Blazer says that although many things have changed since the days of anti-miscegenation laws, life is still difficult for them in Caroline County. The couple endures sneers, sideways glances and more from strangers.
"Just a couple of months ago... Bryan got beat up in the Wal-Mart parking lot because he was with me and my sister, and these white men came up to him and they were yelling. The guy ripped off his shirt. He had racial slurs all over him...and they just started going at it," Blazer says.
"I think my life would be a whole lot easier if I was with a white man. And Bryan feels the same way, but he loves me. He really does. And we are meant to be together," Blazer says.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Josiah's Got Game

Check out these cute pics of Josiah and Iris at a recent social outing. Josiah was able to recconnect with his baby-mate Iris and engage her in a drool duel! Even though Iris is a month younger, she was crawling circles around Josiah, who can only manage to scoot backwards. But his lack of forward mobility didn't stop him from planting a big sloppy one on his baby love!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Whats done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops

This little excerpt written by Steve Kraske for the Kansas City Star and published on May 19th underscores my previous concerns. Senator Loudon was subsequently stripped of his committee chairmanship for what he did. On the other hand, 48 years of midwifery criminalization was ended-maybe. The opposition will surely have a response as they openly plan ways to nullify the newly minted law.

"Last week’s little flareup in the Missouri Capitol involving Sen. John Loudon dropped that dark little coprolite of legislative reality into the sunshine. Loudon is a longtime advocate of a law that would allow midwives who are not medically licensed to deliver babies at home.
But he’d been stymied — until about 10 days ago when he slipped language to legalize midwifery into an insurance bill. Loudon camouflaged his intent further by using a fancy word, “tocological,” which refers to delivering babies.
No one caught it, at least at first. The bill passed.
When Loudon’s stunt came to light, a lot of senators were embarrassed, if only because they were caught red-handed. They hadn’t read the bill. How can that be? Two points:
1. What Loudon did was Mickey Mouse. Senate protocol demands that members be upfront about their legislation. Loudon has managed to undermine his integrity for the rest of his days in the Senate."

Unintended Consequences

Oops. I'm sure the good Senator did not intend this. Here is an article from a local newspaper concerning the recent signing of HB 818 into law:

Midwifery bill raises concern
Anti-abortion groups fear measure would allow non-physicians to perform procedure.
The Kansas City Star
JEFFERSON CITY Some anti-abortion groups say Gov. Matt Blunt has signed a law that would authorize more people to perform abortions in Missouri.
HB 818, a measure dealing with health insurance that Blunt signed Friday, also contained language intended to legalize the practice of midwifery. However, several anti-abortion groups complained the legislation also would allow medical providers other than physicians to perform abortions.
The issue boils down to one sentence in the new law, say anti-abortion groups like Missouri Right to Life.
The bill says “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any person who holds current ministerial or tocological certification” may provide health services as defined in a section of federal law. The word “tocological” refers to the entire range of obstetrics.
The federal law in question covers “services related to pregnancy,” including prenatal care, delivery and post-partum services.
“Abortion is obviously ‘related to pregnancy,’ ” James Cole, legal counsel for Missouri Right to Life said in an analysis of the bill. Pam Fichter, director of development for Missouri Right to Life, said the organization considers the problem “very real.” The measure could expand access to abortions, she said.
“We are hoping the governor will find a pro-life solution to this,” Fichter said. “One solution would be to call a special session” to revise the language.
The Missouri Catholic Conference and Campaign Life Missouri also have expressed similar concerns about the bill.
But Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for the governor, indicated Blunt did not consider the language to present a serious concern.
“I think that Gov. Blunt signing the bill into law with the (midwifery) provision really speaks for itself,” Robinson said when asked about the anti-abortion groups’ concerns.
She also said it was too early to consider any special session requests.
Robinson pointed to other anti-abortion groups, including Alliance for Life Missouri, which backed the governor’s position.
John McCastle, president and chief executive officer of Alliance for Life Missouri, said his group had reviewed the measure and was comfortable with it.
“I think it’d be a far stretch for anybody to conclude that prenatal care would also include an abortion,” he said.
The irony of the legislation is that it was sponsored by one of the staunchest abortion foes in the legislature, Sen. John Loudon, a St. Louis County Republican. Loudon slipped in the “tocological” language late in the session without telling other senators it was about midwifery. The move so angered Republican leaders they stripped him of his committee chairmanship.
Loudon said there probably would be an effort to clarify the law in the future, but he dismissed the notion that his legislation could allow non-physicians to perform abortions.
“It is a legal theory that I don’t think amounts to anything,” he said. “I’ve got a legal opinion that says it’s baloney.”
In any case, he said, organizations that provide abortions are not likely to start using non-physicians to perform them. Abortion rights supporters want the procedure to be as safe as possible, he said.
Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said his organization would not do anything differently as a result of the law.
“Certainly, our reading of that language indicates it makes it possible for non-physicians to perform abortions,” Brownlie said. “We have no plans to do that.”
Brownlie said some states allow certified nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to perform surgical abortions in the first trimester or to prescribe mifepristone, the “abortion pill.”

Senator John Loudon

The Gentleman from Missouri speaks! I found this video interview on You Tube, done prior to the passage of his legislation.