I was going to post the second of my two recipes tested from the Coeliac Australia cookbook today (parmesan, tomato and tuna risotto cake). I was going to write about cooking gluten free meals the whole family would eat. That's what's on my blog plan for this month, and in fact the post is already 3/4 written, sitting in draft, waiting to be completed and published.
It just seems that this post - fun, and useful (hopefully) as it will be - is not the post that needs to be written today.
Not when, like the rest of the world, I'm in shock over this. (16 dead Afghani people, most of them children, killed senseleslly in their homes. Unthinkable, yet, naturally, I lay awake last night thinking of it, imagining the terror and horror of it).
Or trembling with rage about this. Prosecution of women who suffer miscarriages? REALLY? The Handmaid's Tale is just around the corner; fiction and fact are about to collide, and I am still struggling to believe the depth and power of this anti-woman, anti-choice backlash. We do not live in progressive times.
Or incredulous about this. In Arizona, new legislation is on its way through the legislature that may allow doctors to not inform women of health problems affecting them or their babies while they are pregnant, IN CASE this might lead the woman to opt for termination. Women - infantilised, disempowered, child-bearing robots - are not, under this model, capable of being trusted with information about their own bodies - their own lives, for cripes' sake. As one commenter on that article put it, in Arizona, foetuses will now have more legal rights than BORN, ADULT WOMEN.
What I want to say is this -
Respecting life is a core and indivisible part of being an ethical human being, or an ethical society.
Respecting life does not mean that no lives - or lives-in-potential - can ever be ethically ended.
Respecting life means respecting the bodily autonomy of all people and their right to determine, insofar as disease and the rubs of life allow them to, what happens to their own bodies.
It does not mean that abortion is "good" or "desirable." It does not mean that I would choose it for myself (probably - but then I am lucky to have never been in the position where such a choice might become necessary).
It does mean that I respect the personhood - the full humanity - of women enough to say that "this is a choice that must be left to the individual to make, weighing all the circumstances and with all the relevant information."
Because women are human. They are not brood mares or robots. As human beings, they have the right not to have their lives determined by an ethos or philosophy they may not subscribe to, but is, in any case, external to themselves.
Because women matter. Their safety matters, their health (mental as well as physical) matters, their prospects for life matter. The putative desirability of an embryo potentially developing into a human being does not mean that women matter less, or magically vanish from the equation, because they are pregnant.
Because I do not want to live in a society that officiously controls the private lives, and intrudes with horrific legal penalties on the private griefs, of its citizens.
Because although I have never been touched by the need for reproductive intervention in either direction, precedents like this are awfully hard to control, and things that do directly affect people like me - health issues or autonomy issues that touch all women - may be next. (Martin Niemoller's famous words spring to mind).
Yes, it's Arizona, not Melbourne, Australia. Yes, the political climate here is very different, and it's hard to imagine these measures ever having legs in my country.
But that doesn't mean I should say nothing. That doesn't mean it's all OK, because it's not in my backyard.
Because one day it may be. And even if not, it's still not right, and women will suffer for it.
If women are human, treat them as such. If women are adults, treat them as such. Not every decision made by another person will be one that you (from your particular ethical vantage point) agree with or like. But that's life, or at least it should be.
Women are not incubators. And that is all I have to say about that.