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Is it possible to be ProWomen, ProLife, ProChoice, AntiAbortion, and Anti-Planned Parenthood simultaneously? My pragmatic thoughts on the issue.

Is it possible to be ProWomen, ProLife, AntiAbortion, ProChoice and Pro-Defund Planned Parenthood simultaneously? 
In a more perfect world, or at least America in 2017, is it possible to move the polarized sides of the abortion issue to pragmatic solutions that are healthier for all women and the unborn?

This past weekend while visiting downtown Chicago, I found myself  right in the middle of one of the #WomensMarch parades orchestrated to protest the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States.  For those of us women who are Trump supporters, it was clear this was #NotMyWomensMarch.  Next week another Womens March (strongly supported by men as well) will take place in the #MarchForLife http://marchforlife.org/mfl-2017/

As a Pro All Women woman, instead of marching in opposite directions, wouldn’t we all be better if could find common ground and walked together?

If you recall, during the primaries, candidate Donald J. Trump was put on the hot seat over the issue. Knowing his consistency in his positions for “law and order”, the interviewer posed a hypothetical “gotcha” question: “If abortion were made illegal, do you think a woman should be punished if she has one?” Trump’s answer followed, “If it were illegal, yes, I suppose there should be some sort of punishment.” Editing out the conditional part of the Q&A, the #MSM pro-Hillary or anti-Trump media pushed out the edited sound bite to slam Trump as an appalling anti-women, anti-choice flip flopped. 

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is on the record as supporting unrestricted abortion and is closely tied, financially and politically, with Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Federation, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.    

 Proposals on Women’s Health and Abortion

A Pragmatic Approach to Pregnancy, ProLife, ProChoice, and Planned Parenthood.  

Prevention and women’s health should be supported. I support ProChoice wholeheartedly in having birth control and women’s health available to women. As women, our health does directly impact the life of another person and we should care about that in 2017. Morality and judgments aside, a practical approach will be better for all women.

  • Insurance covered clinics for birth control/healthcare – a better version of what Planned Parenthood is supposed to be but is not.
  • Plan B
  • Healthcare/exams (gynecological) – pro-preventative services
  • Defund Planned Parenthood – Planned Parenthood is a corrupt FOR PROFIT, government institutionalized “pay to play” business that betrays women for their own financial gain and existence. The Center for Medical Progress video exposes reveal just how sick, greedy, and corrupt Planned Parenthood is. It is anti-women’s best health interest and must be shut down.  
  • With an earlier approximate 10 week abortion cut-off with allowed exceptions within the context of Doctor-patient privilege, the whole Planned Parenthood sells baby parts can be eliminated (although the use of embryonic tissue could still an issue).  Planned Parenthood must be destroyed as a corrupt/crony political entity. It doesn’t get another chance. 
  • Instead, I would propose healthcare teams whereby the outcomes are not incentivized by a monetary gain, i.e. Planned Parenthood was in the business of providing abortions and if a women walks from having an abortion, they don’t get paid. Their primary interest (for profit) is in direct conflict with what may be the women’s best interest. Early health care teams, provided to young women should include education/counseling on diet/health/prenatal care and development, abortion counseling (like informed consent and ultrasound of Wisconsin’s legislation), adoption information, services and support, and/or resources/support should the woman decide to keep her baby.
  • Abortion should not be illegal. There must be restrictions and parameters that govern it, but I propose that after 10 weeks, that option must be allowed only within the context of a doctor-patient relationship where it is a matter of life, death, or health of the mother or unborn baby.  With advancements in today’s neonatal technologically and medical care, this “baby OR mother” scenario is rarely, if ever, the case.  Decades away from the limited medical knowledge of the time of Roe v. Wade, we need to bring Roe v. Wade into 2017 reality. 
    • I applaud state’s like my Wisconsin where Governor Walker signed pro-life legislation with information requirements and a 20week abortion ban, but I believe 20 weeks is too late. I would like to see a 10 week cut-off for non-PP clinic or doctor provided abortions. Ideally even earlier would be better, and in a perfect world not at all, but ProLife loses when it becomes an all or nothing position. 
    • No woman, save the Virgin Mary, ever became pregnancy without intercourse, therefore any woman finding herself facing an unwanted pregnancy, even in the case of rape and incest, has to know or have some clue that a pregnancy is possible if there’s been intercourse.
    • When Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, ultrasounds, home pregnancy tests, the morning after pill, etc were not readily available. Now because of the technology and over-the-counter pregnancy tests, it is entirely possible to know as early as 2 weeks if a woman is pregnant.
    • Men’s reproductive health on the chopping block as well. There’s no reason in 2017 that men’s reproductive responsibility isn’t considered. Providing for vasectomies through a healthcare incentive is reasonable and long overdue. If a man wants to reverse the decision at a later time or freeze sperm, those are viable options. Some men know they don’t want be fathers or know they shouldn’t be procreating, so incentivizing or at least providing a cost-effective and readily available means for that to happen is needed. The physical toll and healing for men is drastically less than for women.

    In my high-risk pregnancy over two decades ago, if it had become life-threatening to me, we had to have a decision in place as to what the doctors should do. Back then in my 20s, my decision was to save the life of the baby over my own. My husband was adamant that it should be my life saved because we had two children already at home who needed their mother. Neither of us were wrong in our desires or reasons. Now as an older, wiser mother knowing what it takes to raise kids to adulthood, I would be more inclined to agree with my husband. Thankfully medical technology and prenatal care has drastically improved since then so that both mother and baby have better chances of survival. For more on my twin story: http://www.enableher.com/2011/12/tleigh/finding-joy-in-loss-the-story-of-my-stillbirth-baby


    One of the most refreshing themes of the Trump campaign expressed through Ivanka Trump (loved her speech at the RNC!) is a call to bring women together:
    Americans not Democrats or Republicans; Women Who Work and Stay at Home Moms (SAHMs) — all women mutually supportive of each other.

    What is possible, and it is my hope under a President Trump, that we just might be able to bring together Pro Life and Pro Choice Women with real solutions! (The men will follow where the women lead.) There are few more fervently argued issues than abortion. Middle ground seems to be a sliver of an island divided by two very wide chasms.
    But as Ivanka has often said in quoting her dad, Donald J. Trump, “If you’re going to think anyway, you might as well think big.” My Big Think is to stop the feuding and find the best policies and programs for all women and the unborn for reproductive health that is many decades overdue. 

    What Ivanka wrote in her Op Ed article in conjunction with the Trump campaign’s Family policy release resonates with many women: 
    “The real answer is actually the simplest: I am a loving daughter who was raised by my parents to hold strong convictions and to pursue solutions to problems. In my life, I’ve worked hard to do exactly that.

    We each have diverse political views and neither my site nor my company is, or ever will be, politically inclined. Over the course of the last year, my team has remained laser-focused on our mission of inspiring and empowering women who work—regardless of party affiliation.

    On a personal level, my father’s campaign has afforded me an unprecedented opportunity and a heightened platform to advocate for change relating to issues that are of critical importance to me—and to all women.
    It is important that we come together to advance the dialogue around the issues facing women and families. We need to begin to act differently; to advocate for change and to implement solutions, whether through the legislature or in the workplace.”  http://www.ivankatrump.com/ivanka-op-ed-maternity-leave-wall-street-journal/

    Because of the serious flaws of Hillary Clinton as a candidate and the even more troubling issues facing our country, many otherwise Democratic or Liberal voters find they don’t have the luxury as they did in the past of voting on the single issue of abortion. Trump as a candidate during the primaries was put on the hot seat by liberals for not taking a strong Pro-Choice stand and Conservatives criticized that he wasn’t unequivocally Pro-LIfe. I watched the debates and interviews where they tried to make this the “gotcha-Trump the women hater” question.  
    I for one was hopeful that in Trump (and with Ivanka and Melania’s influence) that we would finally have the Presidential support needed to come up with the pragmatic solutions for this tough, divisive issue. I believe, like Ivanka’s “regardless of party affiliation”, that individuals not Government should have a right to determine for themselves what is best. (Why I also support LGBT rights. I have always been a “Conservative” Republican voter and believe in a fiscal/limited humanitarian/secular Judeo-Christian government.)  
    Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood have been government’s solution. I adamantly believe in limiting government, especially when it comes to a woman’s right to choose every aspect of her life, but with abortion there is another life deserving of protection that must be considered. If Trump shuts down Planned Parenthood for corruption and fiscal cost-cutting alone, that’d be a ProLife win. The Center for Medical Progress videos exposing the blood money and evil in Planned Parenthood should shock even the most ardent ProChoice supporters. We can and must do better for woman than to allow their unfortunate pregnancy and unborn babies to be the profitable commodity of baby part sales brokers. ( #PPSellsBabyParts )

    The positions I support and would like to see implemented across the country at the national and state levels. I am not an ob/gyn, medical doctor, medical practitioner, psychologist, counselor, abortionist, politician, or person with any of the usual credentials held by those given authority to speak or influence policy on the subject. 
    What I am an expert on, however, is being a woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, leader, political activist (at times), stay at home mom, working mom, married, divorced, single-parent, returned-to-college graduate, homeless, at times over the years both financially comfortable and financially challenged, as well as a mother of mixed ethnicity kids (“Hapas”) and an avid traveler. I am also old (well not that old!), having lived enough life to experience the many seasons of womanhood. Past times and other cultures value the wisdom of elders. In America, youth is the revered age, but having 5 millennial children (ages 32, 30, 27, 24, 22: 4 daughters, 1 son), my years of experience are very much contextualized by where my own kids are currently in their young adult lives as Millennials.  

    Back in the ‘90s, I began a Mom’s Club in Wisconsin to support young mothers that still celebrates an Annual Christmas Tea. I modeled the group after one I belonged to with author and speaker Nancy Ortberg in Los Angeles. I have been honored to be an informal influencer to many women, young and old, over the years. I taught English Language Learners for 10+ yrs k-12 in public education and had students from all over the world. I taught and lived in Germany. I built houses, developed real estate, built a company with my ex-husband only to lose it to corruption at the local level. I married at 20 yrs old and had to relearn dating in a different and grown-up world after my divorce. I’m a published author (including fashion articles), entrepreneur, host of podcasts & videos. *There’s a lot more to To the story, but I digress as it is. 
    I have also lost two babies. One was an early miscarriage. While an early miscarriage is heartbreaking and disappointing (or a relief depending on the circumstances), I believe the “bounce back” ability for women is much faster and less traumatic than a later term loss of a baby (“fetal demise” or stillbirth).

    I know this was true for me. My third pregnancy was with twin daughters. While multiple baby pregnancies are always higher risk, mine became even more so when one of the girls died at 26 weeks and the other twin, my middle daughter, survived. I carried both babies, one live, one dead, for another 10 weeks until delivering them at 36 weeks. My first two girls were 2 and 4 years old at the time. Faced with potential complications because of the higher risk pregnancy, we (myself, my husband, and my doctors) had to have the conversation about abortion if something would have gone terribly wrong during those 10 week. 

    That experience gave me a unique perspective on prenatal life and death and the emotional, physical, and psychological impact it has on the mother. I have never had an abortion, but I know and love unconditionally, without judgment, many women who have.
    In most cases, I’m inclined to believe (though I could be wrong) that an early miscarriage (or early abortion) is easier to recover from both physically and psychologically than later term abortions or baby loss. It’s a bit schizophrenic in our terminology when we have to de-humanize the unwanted baby when it’s in the context of abortion, to the actual facts and terms of mother and baby when it’s wanted. The linguistic gymnastics around the issue depending on the side, prevent an all pro-women conversation and solutions.

    There is a difference of viability of an embryo vs the “it’s a baby/fetus” and “it’s a life” argument. Medical science and technology shows irrefutably that it is a human life from conception and the only differentiator between a fetus and a newborn is time. Time is the only thing that changes the “glob of cells” that grow into an autonomous, separate from the mother, self-sustaining human being. 

    There is a difference of viability – meaning the baby’s anatomical development and realistic ability to survive outside the womb. With incredible advances in prenatal medicine and technology, that point in time of the gestation period is becoming earlier and earlier. As early as 20 week pre-born babies are surviving and thriving because of the high level of care available in neonatal hospitals.

    My first political activism was with Wisconsin Right to Life in the 1980s. Roe vs Wade was only a decade old and there was still much about prenatal development that was not known. I remember going to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago with the glass jar preserved human “fetuses” and going to CCD classes with Catholic friends who were given graphic (and true) information about abortion.  Technology today gives us so much more information and affirmation of life of the baby inside the womb.

    After the birth of my first daughter, I was so in love with my new baby, I couldn’t imagine the horror of abortion.

    I remember in the ‘80s going to hearings on ProLife legislation and being appalled at Congressmen and women who would not listen to the ProLife speakers. They would talk to each other or get up and leave the room or otherwise be unmoved and uninterested in the testimonies.

    My twin pregnancy occurred when we lived in Los Angeles, CA. We had our first 2 daughters by then and I remember trying to find a ProLife ob/gyn. I could not. The doctor I finally settled on (recommended by a friend) told me when I interviewed him about his abortion stance that he felt it was just one of the services that he provided in trying to be the best doctor he could for the well-being of his patients. It wasn’t the best answer I wanted to hear, but when he said because of the advancing technology of ultrasound, especially internal ultrasound (it was a relatively new technology back then), that he was moving up the weeks of the pregnancy that he would do them, I thought well there was room to perhaps influence his pro life stance for the better.

    As the pregnancy turned out to be first joyful with the twin girls, then heartbreaking having the one died, my doctor was incredible through it all. He sent me a dozen white roses after learning of the “fetal demise” from the specialist I had gone to for an ultrasound appointment with Dr. Tabsh, UCLA neonatal specialist. From 26 weeks to delivery of the twins at 36 weeks, I had blood drawn weekly to monitor for blood poisoning, and close monitoring to try to prevent premature labor so our surviving twin had the best chance possible to go full-term.

    I was able to prepare for the cremation of our twin daughter who died and affirm her life within our family. I made sure that there would be no chance during the commotion of delivery that her lifeless body would be whisked off and destroyed without the dignity I wanted her to have.  

    Even after 10 weeks of carrying her lifeless body, when she was delivered (although decomposed a bit), she had a full head of hair, perfectly formed fingers and toes… The hospital graciously gave me a set of her footprints too and had a bassinet with pink blankets to wrap her in. When I picked her up a week later from the mortuary, I held her box of ashes in one arm and our healthy surviving twin daughter in the other. It was a paradox of the greatest joy and deepest heartache. 
    I can’t help but feel (though other women have disagreed) that abortion, especially late term abortions, steal the grieving process from women.

    It is my hope that we can do better for both women and the unborn.