On my way to a training in East Harlem yesterday morning, I passed a store called "Home and Baby Jam Thrift." My mind immediately went to a dark place, and I thought, "Jam made from babies? That's disgusting. Everyone knows that the bones of babies are too hard to grind into jam. Fetus jam is SO much better." I laughed in my head. Not long after that, I saw an article in Mother Jones about a woman arrested after delivering a stillborn infant. It seems that she was a drug addict who used drugs, and therefore was charged with manslaughter. Chills ran down my spine. If a woman who delivers a stillborn or has a miscarriage can be charged with manslaughter because someone decided that her behavior "killed" the fetus, what is next? If someone ate unpasteurized cheese or had a sip of wine while pregnant, could she be arrested for reckless endangerment? And is not the logical conclusion of such insanity that anyone who miscarries is arrested because clearly her body took another life?
A few years ago, I remember reading an article about some law officials who found a clump of miscarried matter in a sewer and launched a hunt for the woman who miscarried. They wanted to know why. (I can't find this article, but I am pretty sure that I blogged about it here or on BlogHer.) I don't think criminal penalties for miscarriages are so far-fetched in a world of "fetal personhood."
Anyway, I posted a link to the Mother Jones story on Facebook. One of my friends, who I have known for years and always enjoyed even though we did not see eye to eye on everything, posted a comment comparing the criminalization of miscarriages to NYC's Mayor Bloomberg passing legislation banning the sale of extra large (like 64 oz) sugary drinks in settings regulated by the Department of Health (i.e. - restaurants that could just refill a smaller cup however many times a patron wants until he/she drank 64 oz). I was shocked by how he trivialized this manner. It also reminded me that he had made a few other squirrelly comments on my FB in the last few months, so I decided to email him and see what was up.
Long story long, his response shocked me. The government, he explained to me, was trying to control every aspect of our lives. Abortion is just one of them. Next we will have kids taken away from us if they are overweight. If adults don't eat what we are told is good for us, and exercise 60 minutes a day, we will be sent to "internment fatty camps for re-education." He reminded me, after this tirade (which also included excoriating the press for giving Obama a free pass on his misdeeds because he's black), that he and I still share a lot of basic values.
It's kind of true. We both are pro-choice. I don't like this crazy obsession with obesity. I think it is overkill, and if there is a problem, throwing it on individuals is not going to solve what is a systemic failure of producing affordable healthy food. But from there we live on different planets. And this is not the first time this has happened to friends of mine. I think they are interesting, reasonable people who I share a common ground with, and then in the last few years, they began watching FoxNews and have become raving lunatics. Maybe people can say that the Bush admin made me into a raving lunatic, but I never went this far, believing that government agents would force families to raise their children in one way or take them away. And sadly I have learned from my AP Poli Sci journals that my basic opinions have not changed at all since I was 18 years old. So it isn't me.
The political scene in the US has shifted. Maybe there are no moderate Republicans any more because we've moved so dramatically to the right that the moderate Republicans are actually Democrats. Not even conservative Democrats, either. Just Democrats. I can imagine that I would become crazy too if I had my identity as a Democrat stolen from me by a dramatic shift to the left. If there are no moderate Republicans left these days, it's because their party aborted them. Sad.