Anti-choice and Republican Officials are Trying to Take Advantage of the COVID-19 Crisis to Restrict Abortion Access

As many of you probably have already heard, people who are against a woman’s right to chose whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term are trying to restrict abortion access during to COVID-19 outbreak. State officials in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky and Oklahoma are trying to claim abortion is not an “essential service.” As NPR reported on March 27th, 2020,

“State officials in Kentucky and Oklahoma are among a growing number of Republican officials who say abortion is a nonessential procedure that should be put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Nonessential service.” Are you kidding me? According to NPR, hundreds of patients in Texas, and elsewhere seeking abortions have been turned away. This is disturbing. Abortion is absolutely an essential procedure. Whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term is not a decision to take lightly and preventing a woman from accessing this basic right over her own body is appalling.

How is the decision to prevent abortion access even legal? Let’s not forget that the supreme court case of Roe v Wade is the law of the land. It says the Constitution protects a woman’s right whether or not to have an abortion. It states that a woman has a right to do so without excessive government restriction.  THIS IS THE LAW of United States of America. Anti-choice politicians as usual are trying to bend the law to their own personal will. But it is particularly infuriating and wrong now because they are trying to use a crisis, this pandemic, to their personal advantage.

Politicians cannot quietly and stealthily chip away at women’s rights. COVID-19 should not be an excuse to deny women the basic right to make decisions over their own bodies, especially such a profoundly life altering medical situation. Abortion absolutely is an essential service.

As TIME reports,

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical groups also urged hospitals and clinics not to cancel or delay abortion procedures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care,” they said in a joint statement. “It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible. The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person’s life, health, and well-being.”

Women have the human right to control their own body. The overwhelming majority of Americans agree: A study from 2019 found that 77% of Americans (over three-quarters of Americans) believe abortion should be legal and accessible. This is a basic right and it has been for thousands of years. I cannot believe we are still having to fight this fight!

What can we do?

  1. Make your voice heard. Talk to your friends about whats going on. Google Hangout or Zoom and bring it up with your friends and family. Bring it up over a phone call with your friends.
  2. Research more about the problem.
  3. Post info about it on social media.
  4. Contact your representatives.
  5. Click HERE if you would like to add your name and send a letter to contact Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and tell him he needs provide guidance to states declaring that abortion IS indeed an essential service. The form is through Naral Pro-Choice America. It only took me a minute and a half to add my name. 

Lynsey Bourke (below) works to make abortion accessible in West Africa and she is someone I knew from when I lived in Montana. She is a regional operations director for DKT International, the world’s largest providers of family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and safe abortion services. She lives in West Africa, registering medical abortion pills in a many French-speaking countries. She cares about this issue, not just for women in West Africa, but for women in the United States as well.

Here is what she has to say:

 

 

 

In Need of Some Amazing Women-Fronted Music to Listen to?

In need of some amazing women-fronted music to listen to? Here are nine songs from a variety of genres by female musicians that I absolutely love and that you might like too.

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1.) “Little Girl Blue and the Battle Envy” by Skating Polly. I have been looooooooving this song. Listen for the harmonies and, of course, the grungy self-ascribed “ugly-pop” unique style. Click HERE to listen. (WordPress now requires users to upgrade one’s blog plan to premium to include videos within blogs annnnnnnd..I’m declining to pay more at the moment…So you’ll just need to click the link. But that’s easy!) 

 

 

Image result for courtney barnett2.) “Hopefulessness” by Courtney Barnett. This song is mellow, beautiful indie-folk at it’s best. My buddy Andy goes to all her shows when she is in town and he swoons, for good reason. Her guitar is so clear and crisp and her lyrics and vocal style resonate with the heart. Listen for how she tunes her guitar a half note or two down and makes it part of the song. Also, listen for the feeling and vibe she creates with the sound of the tea kettle at the end. Love it! Check it out HERE to listen!

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3.) “Block List” by Rico Nasty. Yaaas, this song is so good. Rico Nasty, rapper, songwriter and record producer, has an upbeat, anthemic-style rap for the ladies out there who are blocking those bros that you just don’t need. “He want to smoke but I think I want to rob him.” Haha. Have a listen HERE. 

Image result for ana tijoux 19774.) “1977” by Ana Tijoux. I’ve been listening to Ana Tijoux, particularly this song, for over a decade and it never gets old. This song, in Spanish, is talking about her life growing up in Chile during the 70s. At one point it alludes to the emerging dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet when it says, “La parada militar de paso monótono/The monotonous passing military stop.” This song has so many poetic layers! My students in Rwanda back in 2013 who wanted to learn Spanish loved this song. Check it out HERE! (If that’s not enough to make you want to check it out, it was also featured on an episode of Breaking Bad.) 

5.) “Before There was Fear by Future Scars” This song is by a friend of mine and a band from my home town Santa Fe. (What’s up y’all!) Eliza Lutz’s powerful vocals and incredible guitar wrenches at my heart and I love it. Other friends, who I have showed this song to, have described the style as “heavy rock.” Click HERE to have a listen. At 3:33 minutes into the song is where my favorite part begins. Check it out, I daaaaare you. It’s beautiful. Or click HERE to see the live version which showcases Lutz’s guitar skills. She alternates between finger tapping on strings (badass) and chords (powerful.) You can also read more about Future Scars from the Santa Fe Reporter here. Eliza Lutz is an inspiration to me: Not only is she in other bands too, like GryGrdns, but she also runs her own badass record company called Matron Records.

Image result for angel olsen heart shaped face6.) “Heart Shaped Face” by Angel Olsen. Ohhhhhh this song is so beautiful, I listen to it way too much. Slow, mellow, gorgeous. Just check it out. Listen HERE.

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-03-20 at 6.05.34 PM.png7.) “Soft Stud” by Black Belt Eagle Scout. Y’all: This song is so good. Katherine Paul’s clear, melodic vocals juxtaposed with the gritty guitar are phenomenal. Her passion for music is clear. “I grew up on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in NW Washington state, learning to play piano, guitar and drums in my adolescent years. The very first form of music that I can remember experiencing was the sound of my dad singing native chants to coo me to sleep as a baby. I grew up around powwows and the songs my grandfather and grandmother sang with my family in their drum group. This is what shapes how I create music: with passion and from the heart.” (Quote from her website.) Check out her song “Soft Stud” HERE.

Image result for class actress8.) “Let Me Take You Out” by Class Actress. If you want to dance around in your house, you’ve got to listen to this jam. It’s pretty damn near impossible not to dance to this one. Click HERE

 

 

 

 

Image result for age of consent cayetana9.) Age of Consent by Cayetana. Another dancing one, this cover song is, I would argue, better than the original. (If/when my band gets back together, this is a cover of a cover we would want to cover!) I have a fond memory jamming to this song rollerblading around a DIY roller derby track in a barn in the outskirts of Colorado while a roller derby star skated around me, gliding past with words of coaching and encouragement during my brief (very brief) stint at giving roller derby a go. Ha! (My body was like, noooope. Ouch. Also, shout out to the amazing Boulder County Bombers!) Check out this song HERE. 

Enjoyed this list?! Feel free to share and pass along and tag with #juliaviewsongs

Enjoy listening and feel free to reach out to tell me which song was your fave! 

 

 

 

The Change We Need

[Author’s note: Since free time is short for me as a full time history teacher these days, with a stack of papers to grade and endless lessons to plan, this is a piece I wrote very quickly with minimal corrections, so there may be spelling errors etc.. But I nonetheless wanted to get my thoughts out, candidly, so here they are.] 

With people’s fears about the potential for another war on the horizon due to American actions in Iran recently, I have been thinking again of the importance of elevating the matriarchy. What do I mean by this? 

As a history teacher, it becomes very clear to me just how much of a pattern there has been about the type of person who has been in power and who has been making the decisions that lead to war and devastation. Over centuries, there has been one common thread throughout our connected, global human history. The people in power starting wars has been the same. It has been men in power. Although there is nothing wrong with men in power, men do tend to air on the side of violent action at times. By mere observation (and countless data) the people that commit violence, mass shootings, domestic violence and start wars have been men. I want you to know right off that bat, this is not a “venting session” against the male persuasion, this is just fact about the demographic of people who have been in power over the majority of our written history, and who statistically speaking, commit certain crimes and warfare. So what if we changed it? What if we changed the demographic of people in power? What if we avoided the pattern that Einstein so famously pointed out: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” What if, instead of repeating the trend of only men being in power making the global decisions over and over, what if we elevated the matriarchy? What if we balanced the scales more? We need more women in power. 

Research has shown that women tend to vote more on the side of social well being and gear their lives towards taking care of one another. We have also seen that women are more likely to believe the climate crisis is an important focus and to actually make steps towards alleviating the climate crisis. We need more women in power and steering us clear away from devastation and war. Have you heard the radical phrase “Smash the Patriarchy?” Well that is all fine except I don’t think that would necessarily solve things either: Because then the pendulum would just swing back and forth. I think the real change will happen when we truly elevate the matriarchy: Put women in their rightful place which is right alongside men making history and men being in power. With that type of balance, women alongside men in power, I would be surprised if we didn’t get closer towards creating a better world. 

I went on a date with a guy who I was very attracted to because of how feminist he was. Without knowing my background at all, as we were talking about world events he said candidly “I’m all about the matriarchy. And I’m not saying that to be popular or something, I’m saying that because I really am. I mean, I’m in a profession that is dominated by women (the teaching profession) and I see amazing women leaders everyday.” He then mentioned he believes women will have more power and sway in the world very soon and then he added something I’ve been talking about for years which is this: He stated, “and then once women become in power, that is when the climate crisis will truly hit and you all will get blamed for it, even though it wasn’t your fault!” And we laughed about how messed up that is but very likely could become the case. It’s like a previous president puts a nation into debt or into a recession, and the residual effects carry onto the next president who gets blamed for it. Regardless, having more women in power could be just the thing we need to change this world. It would be a long overdue switcheroo. And it might just be the recipe we need for change.

Lizzo!! Launching Music and Feminism to Greater Heights

(Don’t miss her Tiny Desk Concert where she performs Cuz I Love You, Truth Hurts and her last song where she also plays the flute in her song Juice! ) 

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Lizzo at 2019 BET Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Lizzo, phenomenal singer, rapper and flute player is transforming music and launching feminism to greater heights with her body positivity, black lives matter energy and her message of self love. SHE. IS. PHENOMENAL. Her presence is captivating and her engagement with the audience draws you in, in this absolutely fun way. And she conveys understanding of her self and of society in a profound and to the point manner. Plus, she is a powerful singer and incredible musician. Duh.

In a music interview with NPR’s Terry Gross she talks about her early pursuits in music performance and music theory:

 “I am classically trained in music theory and music performance, so I have an innate ear and actually a highly skilled ear when it comes to frequency and harmony and dissonance and melody. So for me, it’s this thing that I can feel in my body. I’m almost like a tuning fork where if I hear the beat and I vibrate at the level that I’m supposed to, I know that that’s what I want to get on. And from being trained, I think it’s easier for me to speak a language to producers, and I can speak engineer to the engineers.”

She also unapologetically chats about feminism and body positivity: “”About 10 years ago, I made the decision that I just wanted to be happy with my body and I just wanted to be happy with who I am. That was the beginning of my journey with learning how to love my body. … You have to find that love for yourself deep down inside, underneath all of that questioning and ickiness.” Hell yeah, the importance of self love.

She is just incredible on so many levels.

Check out the full NPR music interview with her here, I highly recommend it.