Every Thanksgiving I’m reminded of the fairy tales taught in school about pilgrims and Native Americans. All the little hands who make quaint pilgrim hats and “Indian” headbands made of construction paper in November celebrations belie the tragedies foisted upon Native Americans. It’s our shameful heritage that never makes the elementary history books. Contemporary celebrations have long forgotten the Native American genocide in favor of a gluttonous affair that’s packed into one day. It’s the consumerist approach to all things American. And speaking of consumerism, despite the underhanded attempts to buy the 2012 election, the GOP, drunk on a weird brew of American virtue and Christian Armageddon, refuse to understand the American majority. So, they got a whopping spanking. And I’m thankful for that.
To those in the GOP who blamed the decline of America on homosexuals, abortion, gay marriage, non-believers, separation of church and state, evolution, science, you should know that you are what is wrong with this country. I’m thankful that your draconian ideology didn’t work. I’m very thankful that President Obama won a second term, despite his many foibles.
On a more regional note, I’m thankful to all those who have donated time and money to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Especially, to all the thousands of utility workers from across the nation who left the comfort of their homes, thanks for working such long hours and laboring so diligently to restore power to those without.
And for all things reproductive, to those clinics that endured difficulties to ensure access to women seeking abortions during and following the hurricane, you are heroes to those of us who respect and trust women. Similarly, I’m thankful to technology that can diagnose pregnancy and fetal anomalies earlier than ever. It’s making the battle against later abortions a shrinking target for protesters. I’m also thankful for the contraceptive revolution causing a steep drop in abortion rates through better prevention. And along those lines, I’m thankful for the open conversations about contraception costs and economic justice. All too often economic and class issues are smothered to death by the onslaught of GOP debris.
And speaking of debris, let’s talk about the rubbish over abortion laws. Let us pause for a moment to remember 31 year old Savita Halappanavar, a 17 week pregnant woman/dentist/daughter/neighbor/wife/citizen/friend, who tragically lost her life because she had the unfortunate circumstance to land in an Irish Catholic hospital. The University Hospital Galway demonstrated utter disregard for this young woman’s life by refusing to provide an abortion, a refusal of treatment that is typical of the global culture war on women. Despite the shameful and horrendous circumstances of her death, women and men from around the world have spoken out and stood up against institutions that allow a woman to die because of their bad faith. It’s ironic that for all their propaganda about prolife, the sanctity of life, it’s the Catholic Church that essentially killed Savita. For their solidarity on behalf of Savita and other women here in America and beyond, I am thankful.
I’m thankful, as well, for the women who are using social media to tell their abortion stories. They poignantly reveal the emotional and physical as well as the pragmatic elements of an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. Their stories reject other people’s limited perceptions of them and, thus, counter ignorance as a point of view.
And, last, on a local level, I’m thankful to Harrisburg PA city council for recognizing how the seams of respect have been ripped loose by antiabortion activists and for creating a buffer zone for women entering and leaving abortion clinics. While it is well documented that escorts provide a buffer against the protesters’ shameful departure from civilized norms of society, it’s often not enough to facilitate women’s perceptions of a safe passage. I can only hope that the rest of the state will follow.
And to all those progressive, philanthropic individuals contributing to abortion funds, reproductive health care associations such as the Abortion Care Network and to the building of a new abortion clinic in the Lehigh Valley, thank you, thank you, thank you.