One marker away: June 27, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

Thirteen years and a few months ago, I was at the March for Women’s Lives. I happened to be there as part of contingent led by Marlene Fried, founding president of the National Network of Abortion Funds, co-author of the 2005 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves chapter on abortion, and really spectacular professor. I say this to make note that she knows her stuff.

I remember a bunch of us standing in a group in a square, when Marlene looked over and said to someone, “That’s Randall Terry.” It didn’t mean all that much to me at that point in my life, as I hadn’t yet developed my slight obsession with anthropological study of the far right. Now I know who she meant — Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, a group that blockaded entrances to abortion clinics. He’s one of those guys who likes to stand outside abortion clinics with giant signs:

randall terry
Though in this case he’s at Notre Dame, protesting Obama.

And drove an anti-Hillary RV around:

terryrv
And Jesus wept.

Anyway, he was one of many people with giant signs counter-protesting at the March for Women’s Lives. Along with some nuns and priests who prayed at us.

Today, I can’t help but wondering where the fuck Randall Terry is and why he’s not out in front of Mitch McConnell’s office with a giant sign. The AHCA will have devastating effects on health care for children in this country. Some kids will be born with pre-existing conditions and their families won’t be able to afford health insurance. Some kids will reach their lifetime limits on coverage and be totally screwed. Some parents will have to make a choice between affording a necessary prescription drug for their child and paying rent that month. Why is it so important to Randall Terry that we assure all people carry their fetuses to term, but then once they’re born it’s okay to throw them to the wolves? Why does he think all fetuses in a womb deserve a shot at life, but actual kids outside the womb don’t get the same treatment?

I’m not getting myself back to Mass anytime soon, but at least the Catholics who were praying at me that day might be against the AHCA. The Catholic Health Association has come out against Trumpcare, and Pope Francis isn’t exactly keeping his mouth shut either: the lack of health care “among the poorest segments of the population, due to lack of access to care, must leave no one indifferent.” The Pope is still Catholic but at least there’s something to be said for consistency.

In this situation you’re certainly the Randall Terry, and not the Pope Francis. One Sharpie marker away from standing outside a clinic with a giant sign that says “THIS CLINIC KILLS BABIES” and screaming menacingly at people trying to access healthcare, but one gavel away from breaking a tie and moving Trumpcare, which could actually kill babies, forward to the President’s desk.

I can’t help but think: if you’re willing to make it harder for children to access life-saving healthcare, is it actually the life of a fetus that you’re worried about? I don’t think you’re stupid and that’s just too much cognitive dissonance for me to believe you have. Which leaves me here: you don’t care about fetuses or babies. What you care about is a) controlling the bodies of people with uteri and b) giving tax breaks to rich people.

Which is, I repeat again, not very pro-life.

D

 

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