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Written Reflection from October 20th, 2015 @ Age 34


WRITTEN TESTIMONY—Submitted to the Ohio Senate:

Government Oversight & Reform Committee.


Moving into the meat of the abortion debate, I’d first like to point out that we have an extremely relevant, false assumption at play—notably, the belief that banning abortions by law, will stop abortions from happening.  This is false; the truth to the matter is that banning abortion by law will merely force women who legitimately perceive abortion as a need (i.e. not, a “want”) into the black market to obtain the procedure.  In other words, supposed “pro-lifers” will succeed in causing more suffering for those who have already been placed in peril of harm.  Instead, I’d like to propose that we examine this false presumption in detail—by examining the circumstances and psychological thought processes which lead women to perceive abortion as need.

To begin, then, I’ve taken the liberty of examining the proponent testimony for Ohio’s currently pending House Bill 69—which to the best of my understanding, has come to be known, as the heart beat, legislation.  Guiding you to the document attached and hereinafter referred to as Exhibit *X* — you can see that upon reviewing the entirety of said testimony, I pulled from those documents the passages presenting social commentary relating to religion and gender.  With regard to the female American’s perspective as it relates to the issue of abortion, we have the following notations:

[A]  “On September 26, 2008 at the age of 17 years old I was forced into a closet and raped by my boyfriend…” [Lauran Bunting, 3/10/2015]

[B]  “My birth mother suffers from schizophrenia…She was raped on her way home from work one evening, which resulted in her conceiving me.”  [Mary Rathke, 3/10/2015]

[C]  “I was conceived when my birthmother was abducted at knifepoint by a serial rapist…” [Rebecca Kiessling, 3/10/2015]

[D]  “My personal story starts 18 [years] ago, when I was drugged and raped.  I woke up in shock, confused, in a fog, barely able to walk.  As a divorced, single mother struggling alone, I had 30 minutes to arrive at work to keep my job.  I did not go to a hospital for treatment, I went to work…” [Rachelle Heidlebaugh, 3/17/2015]

[E]  “I was conceived during a rape by an acquaintance of my mother when she was 19 years old…” [Travon Clifton, 3/17/2015]

[F]  “I found myself pregnant and not sure what to think of it.  In the back of my mind I thought this would bring back my ex-fiancé and my mother would be supportive.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.”  [Gretchen Doerfler, 3/17/2015]

Now, keeping in mind that this is only an examination of the pro-life side of our H.B. 69 abortion testimony (i.e. it does not even break into the barrier of pro-choice testimony)—I’d like to suggest that these anti-abortion laws which some American politicians believe to be the “answer”, do not in fact, solve anything, at all.  To the contrary, they are more so the opt-out-of-caring, cover-it-up-with-a-bandaid so I can tell my “moral” conscience I did everything I could think of to do, which will then enable me to forget-about-it, kind of remedy.  I do not know how many times I will have to come down to this Statehouse to tell you this, but—force is not the answer; support, is the answer.

In truth, these anti-abortion laws are merely an unjustifiable outlet for the anger and rage that “religious” people harbor, against those of us who are not capable to sustain life within their suffocating black box of moral “perfection”.  Nobody has an abortion because it is fun, or because it is glamorous.  The girls and young women we speak about today with regard to this issue somehow wound up, wrapped within toxic circumstantial situations wherein they were taken advantage of by men—as a result of their own psychological and emotional vulnerabilities, combined with and oftentimes actually, as a consequence of, a lacking psychological and emotional support-system.  More abuse will not change our minds; kindness, compassion, forgiveness, love—will change our minds.  Finding some way in which we can sociologically makeup for parental failure in terms of instilling psychological and emotional wellbeing in our children—is our answer.  Creating a sociological support-system for the development of mental-health and emotional wellbeing in our young female population is our answer.  More force—is not, our answer.

So, speaking to what we might be able to do as a society in terms of protecting our American girls and young American women from the above-noted harm—it would be super helpful, if American politicians could get behind these efforts to put an end to sexual assault on college campuses.  Another thought to ponder would be revamping the sexual education programs we provide our children in our public school systems—this time, with a concrete push towards **responsibility** as opposed to abstinence.  In other words, I do think it would be beneficial to collectively teach all of our children the basics—so that they understand and know how to defend themselves and their peers when they encounter unsafe situations; rather than just hoping there is no wolf in the pack within which your own children are running.  But then here, you will find once again—religion’s ugly head rearing.

I think what I find most fascinating about religion, is that if you look deeply into the eye of the abortion situation—we have on the one hand, a sector of religious peoples pressuring women to have abortions—oftentimes parents, seeking to hide the truth, fearing the moral judgment their peers may cast upon them; whilst at the same time—we have the remainder of religious peoples, demonizing girls and young women for having abortions.  Referring you again to Exhibit X:

[A]  “Abortion has been a part of my life since 1978 when my own mother, someone I trusted more than anyone in the world, forced me to abort my unborn child when I was just 17 years old.”  [Reverend Katherine Marple, 3/10/2015]

[B]  “…legally it would have been considered statutory rape.  When my grandmother found out that my mother was pregnant with me, she gave her an ultimatum.  She could either have an abortion and stay at home until she was 18, or she would be kicked out and be forced to take care of me on her own.  My mother pleaded with her…we were homeless and forced to sleep in shelters all over Detroit…”  [Leyandria Murray, 3/10/2015]

[C]  “In all my years of practicing medicine…and in taking many, many gynecological histories, I can tell you that the vast majority of women I have interviewed and cared for, who had abortions, are either ashamed or sorry.  Several have asked it not be put in their records…some told me they were forced by a boyfriend or parent and have broken down crying about this…”  [Margarita Maria Lassaletta, MD, 3/17/2015]

[D]  “Terrified of the difficulties of raising another child alone…my fear, anxiety and denial overwhelmed me.  So I did the deed quickly…Little girls do NOT grow up hoping to have an abortion.  We grow up playing with dolls and wanting to be mommies!  Abortion is not a normal daily thought, until a woman is thrown into an unplanned ‘Crisis Pregnancy’…many women feel forced [to abort] by boyfriends or parents…”  [Rachelle Heidlebaugh, 3/17/2015]

[E]  “[W]hen I began working with women from central city Toledo, who had drug, alcohol and prostitution backgrounds, I never considered the abortion issue.  Until lady after lady began to confess their hidden secret, that many of them had an abortion.  Actually, many of them entered into their current lifestyle as an attempt to hide the pain of the abortion.”  [Corey Shankleton, 3/17/2015]

[F]  “I found myself pregnant and not sure what to think about it.  In the back of my mind I thought this would bring back my ex-fiancé and my mother would be supportive.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  My mother told me I had to get rid of the baby right away and the father of the baby said he would pay for me to abort it.  Feeling like I had no choice I obediently made an appointment at an abortion clinic and had the baby aborted…”  [Gretchen Doerfler, 3/17/2015]

The fact of the matter which we are gathered here to face today, has nothing to do with Planned Parenthood or any other abortion-providing facilities which pro-lifers seek to blame as an outlet for their own unjustified hatred.  Planned Parenthood did nothing illegal.  The hatred Ohio Right to Life and their followers offer against Planned Parenthood is misplaced—whether or not for cause, remains to be seen.  What is clear, however, is that their character would certainly not seem so, pristine—if they were to publicly admit that their hatred in fact, is for American girls and young American women who were never taught how to cultivate self-autonomy, self-confidence and self-respect for their own being.

In truth, of course also, the converse side to the matter is that, if pro-lifers—as they call themselves—had not been taught to hate themselves and anyone else who does not have the capacity to suppress all urge of desire—then we likely would not be sitting in the disastrous scenario within which we are seated today.  The good news though, is that we probably would just be sitting in some other disastrous situation—noting that this is not actually so much a disaster, if you consider how far we’ve come since the beginning of the human race.  Shifting focus then, what I would advise Ohio Right to Life and their followers to consider, is that there is a class of humankind which is not capable to live—within such hateful conditions; for us, such polarization causes us to become ill, and as the result of our society’s present-day, nightmare of a mental-health legislative-advocacy arena, the result is that we are literally, killing ourselves.

So while I am not a fan of abortion and I propose in all respects, that we begin to move forward as a society to work to eliminate the need; I simultaneously, do not believe that anti-abortion laws will solve the problem.  To the contrary, my concern would be, that if we eliminated the road-blocks Roe v. Wade and subsequent American jurisprudence have put into place—that all of our pro-lifers would abandon American girls and fellow American women, who will still very much so be trapped within toxic circumstance.  Lastly noting that one such toxic circumstance, would necessarily includeforcing psychologically vulnerable American girls and young American women to obtain healthcare from an organization which promulgates ignorant moral hatred and mean-spiritedness against them.


Written Testimony Submitted:

October 20th, 2015

OHIO SENATE/Government Oversight and Reform Committee

When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter.

The eagle alone, avoids the storm by flying above it.

So, in the storms of your life.  May your heart soar like an eagle.


SCENElights fade in:

[G]HOST OF GAMESHOWS’ PAST/hereinafter referred to, as GO[G]P:

Vin Scully, your **time** is UP—so, COME on **down** ‘cause, you’re the next player on the **price** is RIGHT ;oD

VIN SCULLY/hereinafter referred to as VS, a.k.a. Vi[k]toria’s SECRET:

Ohhh, Mr. Barker!  What an **honor** this IS, to be the **chosen** one ;oD

GO[G]P:  THAT it **is** Agent S[k]ully, that it is.  Now, **here** is your CLUE—“NFL” sponsors, who’re **missing** the POINT, that a gazillion more sponsors simply cannot WAIT, to take **their** slots

VS:  Ohhh, Mr. Barker—I **totally** GOT this!!  What is, VERY **basic** supply & demand economics ;oD

GO[G]P:  **That’s** RIGHT, Vinny—you are al(t)righty, indeed

VS:  Ohhh, Mr. Barker—this is **so** EXCITING!!  Nothing so exciting, has EVER **before** happened to…

GO[G]P:  *o*Kayyyyyy, VINNY—you’re the **winner** in[gr]eed ;oD  And, lastly, just a REMINDER for **all** to get your pets neutered—you **got** THAT, buckaroo?  LOL, my lit-tle Vin S[EE] ;oD

But the main point I wish to ask attention to is, that the question as to when they shall have reached a sufficient number to be formed into a regular organized community, is to be decided “by Congress.”  Judge Douglas says so.  Well, gentlemen, that is about all we want.  [Here some one in the crowd made a remark inaudible to the reporter, whereupon Mr. Lincoln continued.]  No; that is all the Southerners want.  That is what all those who are for slavery want.  They do not want Congress to prohibit slavery from coming into the new territories, and they do not want Popular Sovereignty to hinder it; and as Congress is to say when they are ready to be organized, all that the south has to do is to get Congress to hold off.  Let Congress hold off until they are ready to be admitted as a State, and the south has all it wants in taking slavery into and planting it in all the territories that we now have, or hereafter may have.  In a word, the whole thing, at a dash of the pen, is at last put in the power of Congress; for if they do not have this Popular Sovereignty until Congress organizes them, I ask if it at last does not come from Congress?  If, at last, it amounts to anything at all, Congress gives it to them.  I submit this rather for your reflection than for comment.  After all that is said, at last by a dash of the pen, everything that has gone before is undone, and he puts the whole question under the control of Congress.  After fighting through more than three hours, if you undertake to read it, he at last places the whole matter under the control of that power which he had been contending against, and arrives at a result directly contrary to what he had been laboring to do.  He at last leaves the whole matter to the control of Congress.

There are two main objects, as I understand it, of this Harper’s Magazine essay.  One was to show, if possible, that the men of our revolutionary times were in favor of his popular sovereignty; and the other was to show that the Dred Scott Decision had not entirely squelched out this popular sovereignty.  I do not propose, in regard to this argument drawn from the history of former times, to enter into a detailed examination of the historical statements he made.  I have the impression that they are inaccurate in a great many instances.  Sometimes in positive statement but very much more inaccurate by the suppression of statements that really belong to the history.  But I do not propose to affirm that this is so to any very great extent; or to enter into a very minute examination of his historical statements.  I avoid doing so upon this principle—that if it were important for me to pass out of this lot in the least period of time possible and I came to that fence and saw by a calculation of my known strength and agility that I could clear it at a bound, it would be folly for me to stop and consider whether I could or not crawl through a crack.  [Laughter.]  So I say of the whole history, contained in his essay, where he endeavored to link the men of the revolution to popular sovereignty.  It only requires an effort to leap out of it—a single bound to be entirely successful.  If you read it over you will find that he quotes here and there from documents of the revolutionary times, tending to show that the people of the colonies were desirous of regulating their own concerns in their own way; that the British Government should not interfere; that at one time they struggled with the British Government to be permitted to exclude the African slave trade; if not directly, to be permitted to exclude it indirectly by taxation sufficient to discourage and destroy it.  From these and many things of this sort, Judge Douglas argues that they were in favor of the people of our own territories excluding slavery if they wanted to, or planting it there if they wanted to, doing just as they pleased from the time they settled upon the territory.  Now, however his history may apply, and whatever of his argument there may be that is sound and accurate or unsound and inaccurate, if we can find out what these men did themselves do upon this very question of slavery in the territories, does it not end the whole thing?  If, after all this labor and effort to show that the men of the revolution were in favor of his popular sovereignty and his mode of dealing with slavery in the territories, we can show that these men took hold of that subject, and dealt with it, we can see for ourselves how they dealt with it.  It is not a matter of argument or interference, but we know what they thought about it.

It is precisely upon that part of the history of the country, that one important omission is made by Judge Douglas.  He selects parts of the history of the United States upon the subject of slavery, and treats it as the whole, omitting from his historical sketch the legislation of Congress in regard to the admission of Missouri, by which the Missouri Compromise was established, and slavery excluded from a country half as large as the present United States.  All this is left out of his history, and in nowise alluded to by him, so far as I remember, save once, when he makes a remark, that upon his principle the Supreme Court were authorized to pronounce a decision that the act called the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.  All that history has been left out.  But this part of the history of the country was not made by the men of the Revolution.

There was another part of our political history made by the very men who were the actors in the Revolution, which has taken the name of the ordinance of ’87.  Let me bring that history to your attention.  In 1784, I believe, this same Mr. Jefferson drew up an ordinance for the government of the country upon which we now stand; or rather a frame or draft of an ordinance for the government of this country, here in Ohio; our neighbors in Indiana; us who live in Illinois; our neighbors in Wisconsin and Michigan.  In that ordinance, drawn up not only for the government of that territory, but for the territories south of the Ohio River, Mr. Jefferson expressly provided for the prohibition of slavery.  Judge Douglas says, and perhaps is right, that that provision was lost from that ordinance.  I believe that is true.  When the vote was taken upon it, a majority of all present in the Congress of the Confederation voted for it; but there were so many absentees that those voting for it did not make the clear majority necessary, and it was lost.  But three years after that the Congress of the Confederation were together again, and they adopted a new ordinance for the government of this northwest territory, not contemplating territory south of the river, for the States owning that territory had hitherto refrained from giving it to the general Government; hence, they made the ordinance to apply only to what the Government owned.  In that, the provision excluding slavery was inserted and passed unanimously, or at any rate it passed and became a part of the law of the land.  Under that ordinance we live.

First here in Ohio you were a territory, then an enabling act was passed authorizing you to form a constitution and State government, provided it was republican and not in conflict with the ordinance of ’87.  When you framed your constitution and presented it for admission, I think you will find the legislation upon the subject will show that, “whereas you had formed a constitution that was republican and not in conflict with the ordinance of ’87,” therefore you were admitted upon equal footing with the original States.  The same process in a few years was gone through with in Indiana, and so with Illinois, and the same substantially with Michigan and Wisconsin.

Not only did that ordinance prevail, but it was constantly looked to whenever a step was taken by a new Territory to become a State.  Congress always turned their attention to it, and in all their movements upon this subject, they traced their course by that ordinance of ’87.  When they admitted new States they advertised them of this ordinance as a part of the legislation of the country.  They did so because they had traced the ordinance of ’87 throughout the history of this country.  Begin with the men of the Revolution, and go down for sixty entire years, and until the last scrap of that territory comes into the Union in the form of the State of Wisconsin—everything was made to conform with the ordinance of ’87 excluding slavery from that vast extent of country.

I omitted to mention in the right place that the Constitution of the United States was in process of being framed when that ordinance was made by the Congress of the Confederation; and one of the first acts of Congress itself under the new Constitution itself was to give force to that ordinance by putting power to carry it out in the hands of the new officers under the Constitution, in place of the old ones who had been legislated out of existence by the change in the government from the Confederation to the Constitution.  Not only so, but I believe Indiana once or twice, if not Ohio, petitioned the general government for the privilege of suspending that provision and allowing them to have slaves.  A report made by Mr. Randolph of Virginia, himself a slaveholder, was directly against it, and the action was to refuse them the privilege of violating the ordinance of ’87.

This period of history which I have run over briefly is, I presume, as familiar to most of this assembly as any other part of the history of our country.  I suppose that few of my hearers are not as familiar with that part of history as I am, and I only mention it to recall your attention to it at this time.  And hence I ask how extraordinary a thing it is that a man who has occupied a position upon the floor of the Senate of the United States, who is now in his third term, and who looks to see the government of this whole country fall into his own hands, pretending to give a truthful and accurate history of the slavery question in this country, should so entirely ignore the whole of that portion of our history—the most important of all.  Is it not a most extraordinary spectacle that a man should stand up and ask for any confidence in his statements, who sets out as he does with portions of history calling upon the people to believe that it is a true and fair representation, when the leading part, and controlling feature of the whole history, is carefully suppressed?

But the mere leaving out is not the most remarkable feature of this most remarkable essay.  His proposition is to establish that the leading men of the revolution were for his great principle of non-intervention by the government in the question of slavery in the territories; while history shows that they decided in the cases actually brought before them, in exactly the contrary way, and he knows it.  Not only did they so decide at that time, but they stuck to it during sixty years, through thick and thin, as long as there was one of the revolutionary heroes upon the stage of political action.  Through their whole course, from first to last, they clung to freedom.  And now he asks the community to believe that the men of the revolution were in favor of his great principle, when we have the naked history that they themselves dealt with this very subject matter of his principle, and utterly repudiated his principle, acting upon a precisely contrary ground.  It is as impudent and absurd as if a prosecuting attorney should stand up before a jury, and ask them to convict A as the murderer of B, while B was walking alive before them.  [Cheers and laughter.]

I say again, if Judge Douglas asserts that the men of the Revolution acted upon principles by which, to be consistent with themselves, they ought to have adopted his popular sovereignty, then, upon a consideration of his own argument, he had a right to make you believe that they understood the principles of government, but misapplied them—that he has arisen to enlighten the world as to the just application of the principle.  He has a right to try to persuade you that he understands their principles better than they did, and therefore he will apply them now, not as they did, but as they ought to have done.  He has a right to go before the community, and try to convince them of this; but he has no right to attempt to impose upon any one the belief that these men themselves approved of his great principle.  There are two ways of establishing a proposition.  One is by trying to demonstrate it upon reason; and the other is, to show that great men in former times have thought so and so, and thus to pass it by the weight of pure authority.  Now, if Judge Douglas will demonstrate somehow that this is popular sovereignty—the right of one man to make a slave of another, without any right in that other, or any one else, to object—demonstrate it as Euclid demonstrated propositions—there is no objection.  But when he conies forward, seeking to carry a principle by bringing to it the authority of men who themselves utterly repudiate that principle, I ask that he shall not be permitted to do it.  [Applause.]

I see, in the Judge’s speech here, a short sentence in these words, “Our fathers, when they formed this government under which we live, understood this question just as well and even better than we do now.”  That is true; I stick to that.  (Great cheers and laughter.)  I will stand by Judge Douglas in that to the bitter end.  (Renewed laughter.)  And now, Judge Douglas, come and stand by me, and truthfully show how they acted, understanding it better than we do.  All I ask of you, Judge Douglas, is to stick to the proposition that the men of the revolution understood this subject better than we do now, and with that better understanding they acted better than you are trying to act now.  [Applause and laughter.]


Speech at Columbus, Ohio

September 16th, 1859

And, if you are not a bird, then beware of coming to rest upon an abyss.