Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

1. Um, did someone mention packing? Perhaps my husband? Or my mom? Or my realtor? We're moving in just 2-1/2 short weeks, and we haven't packed a thing. I am, of course, in total denial about this. I'm dreading not only the packing itself, which stinks but is totally do-able, but also the being-surrounded-by-boxes-all-day portion of the program, because I like my house neat. And I'm home all day. And did I mention there will be many, many boxes? Ugh.

2. Both closings last week went fairly smoothly (except for the part where our buyer's chosen title company almost DIDN'T GET US OUR MONEY IN TIME FOR OUR PURCHASE CLOSING), but we learned something interesting and kind of weird at the purchase closing. The family that sold us our new house has bought another house in town, and they're undertaking a massive renovation on their new house. In the meantime, they're renting a house. We found out at closing that it's the house RIGHT NEXT DOOR to their old house/our new house. They are extremely nice and all, but I the only one who thinks this is a little awkward? I'm worried that we, like, won't keep the yard up properly and they'll be disappointed in us or something.

3. We're cooking so much more since Miriel moved in, and you know what? I think we might actually be spending less on food for the three of us than we'd been spending on just David and me, because we'd been getting so much takeout for just the two of us. I haven't run the numbers, but it seems like the grocery bills aren't all that much bigger, and I know our restaurant costs are WAY down.

4. Speaking of spending less on food, I'm sort of keen to get myself better organized once we're in the new house and start meal planning based on sales, using coupons, and so forth. We're very fortunate that grocery budgeting isn't a big issue for us, so I've always just planned what I wanted for dinners all week and then bought the ingredients, regardless of price. But if I CAN save money why not? Any tips on where to find useful coupons, how to plan around sales, etc.?

5. I saw a vanity plate last week that said "H8 LWRZ." I thought it was funny (why do lawyers themselves always enjoy the anti-lawyer jokes?), but I have to wonder what happened to that guy to make hating lawyers the message he wanted to place semi-permanently on his car.

6. I was at Target earlier this week, with Nate strapped into the Ergo, and they have, like, all these adorable dresses that I want to try on! Of course, I couldn't do any trying-on with the little guy, and I don't like buying a bunch of stuff with plans to return much of it, but this weekend I will be all over it. I want to try this one, and this one, and maybe this one. Whee!

7. Can anyone give me ideas for fun things to do with a baby in the summertime? I took Nate to a park and playground today, but it was just so hot. He gets sick of walking around in his stroller pretty quickly, and it's too hot lately to walk with him in the Ergo for very long. He likes the baby swings, but they don't take up much time. I think I'm going to get him a baby pool when we get into the new house, but what else do you do with an 8-11 month old in the 90-degree heat?

More quick takes at Conversion Diary, here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Use Your Words

I don't consider myself to be a particularly good writer or blogger, as far as creativity or humor are concerned. I blame it, in part, on my legal training, and on my insistence on a certain level of precision in the language I use.

So it's with much eye-rolling and fist pounding and general frustration that I watch those people and groups who support legal abortion try to label themselves. In a piece on Salon.com today, Lynn Harris asks whether "pro-freedom" should replace the long-(mis)used "pro-choice" in the abortion debates. She theorizes that legalized abortion proponents are losing ground largely because those of us who oppose abortion have long described our position as "pro-life," and she laments her side's inability to come up with a way to be pro-some term that will trump "life."

I'm disgusted on two levels. First, I think it's condescending to assert that the American public is becoming increasingly pro-life because our side chose the better label. It reminds me of Barack Obama's claim that Americans would support his health care reform proposal if only he explained it better, not if he changed it to address their legitimate concerns. It presumes that people are stupid and just need better convincing.

More Americans are opposing abortion, perhaps, because babies born at 24 weeks gestation are surviving, pushing earlier and earlier the time when legal abortion advocates can claim that a baby isn't really a baby. (Earlier this year David, Nate, and I attended a fourth birthday party for a little girl born at 23 weeks, 6 days.) Perhaps the views that early and 3-D ultrasounds are giving us of the tiniest humans are proving to more people that an unborn child truly is a child, and not just some collection of cells. Perhaps it's that more and more of us were born after 1973's Roe v. Wade decision, and we realize it's only by the grace of God and our mothers' "choices" that we were even born at all. (Thanks, Mom!) Who knows? But I don't think it's because people like the word "life" more than they like the word "choice."

Second, though, if we're going to make this about language, I think it's completely disingenuous to try to make the abortion debate about anything other than abortion. Abortion is an ugly word and an ugly procedure, and its proponents know that as long as we're talking about what's really at issue, they'll come out on the bottom.

This isn't a discussion about "choice." I make a hundred little choices every day, and I make huge, life-changing choices now and then, and you know what? Not one single choice I've ever made has been about whether or not to have an abortion.

This isn't about "freedom" or "liberty." A liberal acquaintance once asked me how it is that in so many cases, conservatives are advocating limited government, less interference with personal freedom, but when it comes to abortion, we want the government to step in with restrictions and prohibitions. The fact that he even had to ask demonstrates how completely those who support and oppose legal abortion are talking past one another. The simple fact is that my freedom, my liberty stops where another person's begins. Those of us who oppose abortion recognize that there are two people involved in a pregnancy, and my freedom can't come at the cost of killing another innocent person. My acquaintance simply didn't see the second person, or didn't value him enough to offer him any measure of protection.

This isn't even about "reproductive rights." As a Catholic, I oppose the use of contraception, but I'm not asking the government to step in and ban its sale or use. I oppose the use of reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, donor egg and sperm, and surrogacy, but I'm not calling for their prohibition. (Although because IVF leads, in many instances, to the destruction of "excess" embryos, I'd love to see some limitations imposed on the number of embryos that clinics can create in a given cycle, and I'd like parents who undergo IVF to transfer back, over time, all of their embryos.) I oppose sterilization, but I'm not asking Congress to ban vasectomies and tubal ligations.

This is about one thing, and one thing only: Whether the government can ban killing an unborn human being where the killing isn't necessary to save the life of or legitimately protect the physical health of the mother. It's about elective abortion, that word the "pro-choicers" or "pro-freedomers" or whatever other nonsensical moniker they come up with next-ers don't want to use.

I won't insist on being called pro-life; I'll proudly embrace the term anti-abortion. Because you know what? I'm opposed to abortion. (The term "anti-choice," however, is both inaccurate and just plain stupid.) Can those who want abortion on demand to remain legal--for any reason or no reason at all--be as intellectually honest in their terminology? Can they call themselves "pro-legal abortion"? "Pro-abortion on demand"? I won't even insist that they call themselves simply "pro-abortion," in deference to those folks who claim that they are "personally opposed" to abortion, but don't want to see it outlawed. (A claim that makes me roll my eyes; how can someone truly oppose killing innocent people and not want the government to step in to protect those innocent people?)

Heck, I'd even take "pro-abortion rights" at this point. I know the term makes some people's skin crawl, because it seems to concede that there actually is a constitutional right to an abortion. I'd consider it a victory, though, just to get abortion advocates to use a term that was on point.

What's it going to be, friends? I'm pro-life. I'm anti-abortion. What are you?