Tag Archives: NY Times

Proposed budget wages War on Women

Just yesterday, I came across the article on the lawmaker who proposed that miscarriage be classified as “prenatal murder” if a woman cannot prove she wasn’t the cause of the pregnancy loss. Nevermind the fact that doctors don’t know what causes the majority of miscarriages.  Nevermind that a woman is already going through enough trauma when their body expels the baby they had every intention of carrying to term.  And God help the woman who lifts something too heavy, or is at fault in a car accident, or falls and hurts herself so badly that she loses her pregnancy.  Because if this law passed, she could be charged with a felony. 

I find this outrageous, and it pisses me off to no end.  But it’s not the only form of attack on women in this country. 

Obviously we are in some economically trying times in this county.  And legislature is coming up with a budget to compensate for money lost.  But, as an editorial piece in the NY Times proclaims, the budget being proposed by the Republican House of Representatives is staging “a war on women”. Because it’s long, I’ll give you the “cliff’s notes” version of the piece. But if you’re concerned about any of this, I urge you to read it for yourself by clicking HERE.

The proposed budget will strip Planned Parenthood of its funding, and eliminate Title X, “the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases.” Without this program, women will go untreated, possibly without even knowing, if they have cancer or an STD. That means they could die.  And the rate of abortions will go up if women don’t have access to birth control.

Speaking of abortions, if a group even talks about abortion at all they will lose federal funding. If a woman has an abortion during her childbearing years, she will be denied insurance coverage. Hospitals that receive federal funds are even allowed to refuse to terminate a pregnancy – even if it’s to save the mother’s life.

Also affected are the WIC program, which will be reduced by 10%, and a $50 million cut from programs that offer healthcare to 31 million low-income children and prenatal healthcare to 2.5 million low-income women a year.

As the editorial piece states, it’s doubtful that all of this will pass without some amendments. But some of this will.  And this attack on women’s reproductive rights and care is shocking, and infuriating.  Do any of these men have mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives?  Are we stepping back in time to 100 years ago, when women were considered mere property of their husbands without the right to any say at all? 

What the hell is going on?

Are best friendships unhealthy?

This last weekend I joined a friend for dinner over at the Union Hotel. I brought my kids with me, all of us dressed up nicely in anticipation for dinner. And when I greeted my friend, it was with a huge bear hug. When we pulled away, I was looking at the same face I had seen 12 years earlier, and one I hadn’t spent any quality time with for almost 20 years. But I had missed that face, and the friend that came along with it, and we settled into elaborate details of our lives as if no time had passed at all. Yes, it had been awhile. And yes, our in-person friendship had been brief. But it didn’t matter. Since 1st grade until the time she had moved away in 6th grade, this had been my best friend. And the bond from that friendship was strong enough to withstand time, marriage, divorce, college, jobs, life, children….everything that had happened to each one of us until we were finally able to meet up again.

As kids we had been inseparable. Almost every weekend I was spending the night over at her house as we watched marathons of the Muppets. We’d terrorize her little sister, annoy her big brother, run around in the field outside, and make use of every single inch of the house. At school we had crushes on the same boys, shared the same interests, kept each other’s secrets, and always ate lunch together. If we were lucky enough to share a class, the teacher was sure to keep our desks far away from each other.

Of course, having a best friend had a couple drawbacks. First off, I admit I experienced a little jealousy. I actually wanted this girl as my friend, and my friend only. Unfortunately, my friend was a very likeable girl, so she had several good friends. And these friends weren’t always fond of me. So sometimes my best friend would be hanging out with her other friends, and I would be left on my own. That was the other problem. Because this girl was my best friend, I didn’t take the time to make other good friends. Sure, there were kids that I was friendly with. And from time to time I would play with them. But I wasn’t close enough to anyone else to be able to go to his or her house or share secrets with them. When my best friend moved away, I naturally went through a little bit of an identity crisis and had to rediscover who I was.

These drawbacks are the very reason that many experts of today are recommending that “best friends” during childhood should be discouraged. “I don’t think it’s particularly healthy for a child to rely on one friend.” Jye Jacobs (a camp counselor) told the NY Times in a recent article. “If something goes awry, it can be devastating. It also limits a child’s ability to explore other options in the world.” At the camp he is at, measures are taken if two friends appear to gravitate towards each other a little too much. They are placed on separate sports teams, seated away from each other at meal times, or a counselor will invite them to participate in an activity with another child they may not have gotten to know yet. The other concern regarding best friends revolves around cliques and bullying. Just the hint of exclusivity creates a fear that some kids will be excluded, while others are being forced to not be friends with other kids.

But this recent turning away from having a best friend has other experts worried, wondering if children will now be denied the strong emotional support that comes with having one really close friend. They argue that close childhood friends increases a child’s self-esteem, and also allows them to develop relational skills that they will use into adulthood. That hurt they might go through over friends? The jealousy over their friend’s time, or letting go of possible possessiveness? All of these feelings and experiences are ones they will be having in their adult years. So doesn’t it make sense that they should be able to learn how to work through them in their childhood years?

So is it better to discourage one best friend in favor of many good friends? Or is it ok for children to claim one friend as their closest friend?

For my friend and me, we were meeting this last Sunday for a very special reason. Her father, the man whose house I used to frequent almost every weekend and who had been so kind and patient in letting us overtake his house, had recently passed away. His funeral service had been in the morning, bringing her from the busy city of LA back to her hometown of Santa Rosa. It was only fitting that we were meeting up again for the first time in years at a dinner meant to honor her father. We looked over old pictures from back in the day when she was the freckle faced kid I once knew. And we laughed over some of the photos that she had discovered of the two of us, ones my kids were now giggling over. A tear or two was shed over his recent passing, but mostly the evening was spent in laughter and great memories. We were reminded of the past that each one of us carried for each other. And in that dinner, we rediscovered that bond of friendship as if no time had passed at all.

So am I against best friends? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t give that friendship up for anything. And I hope my kids are fortunate enough to also grow up with at least one friendship that withstands the length of time.