Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Quiver Full of Children

I am fairly clucky, in that I have a very strong urge to have children in the very near future. I think about being a mother a lot of the time. At this point, if I got pregnant (even if it were not specifically "planned") I would have the baby. I very much want kids - got it?

That being said, I am still a strong supporter of birth control and abortion rights. So I want kids - so what? That doesn't mean everyone does, or that everyone would be able to care for any children they gave birth to, even if they wanted them (due to any number of factors - illness, injury, economic status, etc.). I was ecstatic to learn of the FDA approval of Plan-B Emergency Contraception for purchase without a prescription for women age 18+. I think that will be an immeasurable help in cutting down the number of unintended, unwanted pregnancies - and by extension the number of abortions required.

I would be very happy if abortions were never needed. That would mean that there were safe, reliable, accessible methods of birth control to prevent pregnancy and that all pregnancies that happened were planned, or at least wanted/accepted if not actively planned. Abortions are very hard on women, physically and psychologically, and if they did not need to have them, so much the better - but if they need them, then I damn sure want them to have access to getting them.

We're clear on my stance on birth control and abortion rights now, correct?

With all of that tumbling around in my head, I'm not quite sure what to think of this Newsweek article: Making Babies the 'Quiverfull' Way

The basic concept, for those that do not want to click the link, is this is a conservative Protestant movement that deems all birth control of any kind - even tracking fertility cycles as the Catholic Church allows - anathema and that every couple should be willing and ready accept as many children as God gives them. The following quotes are the ones I have seen repeated most often in reading about the 'Quiverfull' movement:

"God is the only opener and closer of the womb"
"Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the Fruit of the Womb is His reward. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them..." (Psalms 127:3-5)

I am of two minds about this idea, I believe. On one hand, the couples that decide to follow this and that truly want the family with 10+ kids are following their faith and doing what they feel is right. Their family and home life have nothing to do with me, and do not impact me in any way, right? I should not concern myself with what they are doing any more than they should worry about what goes on in my home.

On the other hand, the whole concept just seems wrong to me. An article on the Quiverfull website about reasons to have another child includes reason #9: Have another child to counter global depopulation. It suggests that everyone should have large families of this kind to "offset the coming population implosion." (article here) I read several articles (mostly linked from the Quiverfull website or the Blessed Arrows website) that repeatedly referenced erroneous reports of "the myth of overpopulation" or that birth control pills "cause abortions in 5% of cases." That kind of blatant misinformation scares me in several ways, for several reasons. Not the least of which is how many people are living this kind of life based on these kinds of misinformation?

To me, the scariest part of the original MSNBC article is in the last paragraph:

Though Ken admits life isn’t always easy—last spring, all eight kids came down with chicken pox at once—he says the family became “exponentially happier” after relinquishing control of Devon’s womb to God. He’s counting on his eldest daughter, Peyton, 12, to carry on the tradition. She “will stay under my covering until I turn her over in marriage to a God-honoring young man,” he says. Hopefully, he adds, they too will reap a full quiver.
The reasons that quote is as frightening to me as it is, I think, has to do with other articles I read on the above sites (and others links on them) on parenting, dating/courting/betrothing, and marriage. That is another discussion, however - if you are bored and curious, feel free to peruse the linked sites, and read some of the articles posted. They are an interesting, if somewhat frightening, read.

crossposted to my personal journal.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

To Show my Support

I am leaving in about 5 hours, and driving to St. Louis for the funeral of a woman I never met. Her name is Amanda Pinson, she was 21 - killed a few days ago.

Why am I driving 10 hours to her funeral, when I never met her in my life?

She was a U.S. Army soldier, killed in a mortar attack in Tikrit, Iraq on March 16, 2006. Her commanding officer is a dear friend of mine, and is (naturally) still in Iraq with the rest of his soldiers. If you are on my video games filter, on my personal journal, you've seen me talk about a man I know from playing FFXI, M. - how happy I was when he was home on R&R, how much I worry about him. M. was Amanda's commanding officer.

Especially because M. cannot be there, his wife S. (another dear friend of mine) wants to show all the support she can for Amanda's family - as do I. I want to make sure they know that someone cares about the fact their 21-year-old daughter was killed.

She had been recently promoted to E5, gotten engaged, and was due to come home on R&R herself soon. Her fiance was wounded in the same attack that took her life - I saw a photo of him, standing with the aid of a cane due to the shrapnel still in his leg, saluting the military memorial to his "baby girl" and I cried for the next 20 minutes. The look on his face will haunt me for the rest of my life, I think. That is why I am driving 10 hours to attend her funeral - to make sure that her family knows that there is someone out there who cares.

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am not generally pro-military, and that I absolutely don't support this war. But these soldiers - men and women who, many of them, are younger than me - I do support them. And dammit, I want to make sure that they know that.

Since I learned of Amanda's death, I have been bouncing between very sad and very angry about it. Life is sacred to me, and any premature loss of life hurts. Amanda certainly knew what she was signing up for when she joined the Army in 2003 - and she knew the risk to her life was real - but she believed in what she was doing. I may not agree with most military action - but I want to honor the fact that she knew her own convictions and followed them. She knew what she believed in, accepted the risks of that, and did it anyway. That is most worthy of honor.

If you would like to read the article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the day after Amanda's death, it is available online. Danger Could Not Deter Local Soldier

If I receive permission to repost the photo of her fiance, I may post that at a later time, as well. For now, look at that article, at her picture - and know that she will never come home, never get married, never finish her dreams for her life. But also know that she died following her own convictions. I don't support the reason she had to be there - but I do support her, and all those like her, that truly believe in what they are doing.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A new experiment

I have been online journaling for about 5 years now - but I have decided I want to try something a bit different, and actually write a blog, instead. Something not quite as personal as my journals, but someplace that I can still express my ideas for others to read.

I have several things that I want to blog about - some rants, some analyses, and some random musings - I will subject you to those at a later time, however.