The Roar

A few months ago, I saw The Chicks were coming to our neck of the woods, and I texted Darling Daughter to see if she’d like to go.

A month or so passed before I heard from her, mainly because she wasn’t sure of her schedule at her old job. In April, she started a new one that’s a lot more flexible and she texted to say she’d like to go.

We settled on it being an early birthday gift for her, and I bought the tickets. I’ve been to a few concerts in the last few years, so I’ve gotten used to the price of tickets and the ridiculous so-called “service” fees they tack on for the pleasure of using their computer program to buy the tickets. I’m not sure where the service comes in because the customers do all the work involved in purchasing them, and then spending the day of the concert hoping nothing goes wrong with our phones or the network because God forbid the concert producers allow a screen shot or a printed ticket.

Nonetheless, I was shocked when the no-service fee for each ticket was over $30.

$30! I know I’m showing my age, but I can remember when the whole ticket cost that much!

Still, although I hate paying an exorbitant fee for nothing, I was happy to buy the tickets and plan an evening with my daughter.

And having now been at that concert, I can tell you every cent was worth it. I just wish more of the money was going to the artists because they deserved it.

Here is where some of you may want to end your reading because I’m about to share some opinions you may not want to hear.

There are a few things I want to say, and as The Chicks say, I’m not ready to make nice.

First up are my reasons for liking The Chicks: They say what they think, they don’t walk it back when things get tough, and from their songs, I know I share many of their opinions.

One of these opinions is that the recent decision by the Supreme Court may not be wrong in terms of its reasoning — after all Ruth Bader Ginsberg disagreed with the way women’s reproductive rights were made into law — it is nevertheless wrong. In my heart I don’t believe that’s the six justices really struck it down because it was not a good decision to begin with.

Rather, it’s the fact that they, like those who put them in power, believe it’s okay to enforce a so-called Christian morality on everyone.

I take issue with this type of thinking for several reasons, and I’m not even talking about the supposed separation of church and state.

First, in my sixty some years walking this earth, I’ve noticed that those who proclaim their morals and beliefs the loudest are often proven to be hypocrites. Our legislators are no exception. Go here and here for examples.

Also, in saying the right to an abortion isn’t a constitutional right so women shouldn’t be allowed to have it as an option is a case of stating the obvious since women aren’t mentioned in the Constitution.

At all.

At least not until the 19th Amendment passed giving us the right to vote. (And wasn’t that just super generous of the powers that be?)

In addition, a decision that refers, even in a footnote in a draft, to the “domestic supply” of infants for adoption sends shivers down my spine. The words “brood mares” and “cattle” come to mind. Especially when says “The number of children and youth waiting for adoption from foster care has increased throughout the last decade.”

I also find it problematic that the people and legislators applauding this decision claim to be pro-life but are perfectly fine with the US not providing paid parental leave.

But, hey, no problem. We’re in good company. After all, the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga also don’t provide this benefit, and look what economic powerhouses they are!

I’m not even going to talk about our government’s shortsightedness in allowing one company to have such a large share of the baby formula market that the result of shutting down of their production facility (with good reason), paired with the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, left parents struggling to feed their babies.

Yes, I know some people will say, “But breast milk is free and a lot healthier for babies!”

First, not every woman is physically able to breast feed. Second, it’s only free if you ignore the time and effort of the mothers.

Yes, feeding your child is part of being a parent. That doesn’t mean it’s quite as simple as people like to imply. I breastfed my daughter for six months, with each feeding taking an hour and spaced every two hours.

I was happy to do so. I was also lucky. I was physically able to feed Darling Daughter, and worked at a job that allowed me to use my sick leave, as well as providing unpaid maternity leave. I was also fortunate we could afford for me to do so.

This is not the case for everyone. So please don’t talk about breast milk being free.

Another issue with the recent SCOTUS decision is the fact that in kicking abortion regulation back down to the states, they knew quite well the decision would immediately trigger many complete bans on the procedure.

In my state (Ohio), the striking down of Roe v Wade was followed by putting the “heartbeat bill” into effect. This means abortion is outlawed from about six weeks into a pregnancy, with exceptions made when “necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” The law also defines what it considers a serious risk.

Having never had a regular menstrual cycle, I wouldn’t have even known I was pregnant at six weeks, yet the legislators of the state of Ohio have decided I would be legally bound to complete a pregnancy from that point on.

No exceptions for rape or incest, apparently, so that’s great too.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. I have been tamping down my anger about these kinds of laws for a long time.

So, here’s where I offer some examples of women I’ve known who experienced unplanned pregnancies.

One of them, in a new relationship, married the sperm provider and had the child. The male progenitor of this union — I can’t call him father — never even came to see his daughter until she was six weeks old, and the married couple was divorced within the year.

Another acquaintance, also in a new relationship, had an abortion. The couple eventually married, and are still married many years later.

A third acquaintance, in a commited relationship, decided to have the child but ultimately ended up raising it herself.

A fourth acquaintance, not in a commited relationship, carried the child to term and gave it up for adoption.

My point is, none of these women and/or couples made their decisions lightly. And no matter which choice they made, it affected them for the rest of their lives.

Surely, the person making the decision should be the one most affected by it. That right doesn’t belong to some legislator or judge who won’t be the one experiencing pregnancy, going through labor, and raising the child (with all the joy and heartache that entails) or giving it for adoption (which I know can result in a different kind of heartache for both the child and the birth parents).

Instead of outlawing abortion, our legislators should be able to hammer out a federal law that provides reasonable limitations on the procedure, while also writing into law both a woman’s right to choose until a certain threshold and exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s health.

While they’re at it, perhaps they could codify paid parental leave and the right to have all methods of birth control paid for by the insurance company provided by our employers (instead of allowing the employer’s beliefs to trump our own).

Those who feel strongly against abortion or birth control don’t have to use it, but neither would they have the right to enforce their own beliefs on others.

It’s clear The Chicks have a similar outlook, and so do many of those who attended their concert. When Natalie Maines mentioned the recent SCOTUS decision throughout the night, the crowd roared. It was the loudest, most enthusiastic group of concertgoers I’ve ever heard.

I roared too.

It was the first time in a very long while that I’ve felt such solidarity with a big group of people. To be able to express our fury at the decisions being made for us was — and I hate this term but no other will do — empowering.

Now it’s up to us to vote our beliefs so we can turn to righting other wrongs those in power want to ignore.

Like climate change.

And why the US has so many mass shootings compared to other countries.

On that subject, I will mention one last thing about the concert. At one point, a series of black and white slides were projected on the screen behind the band. Each slide had the name of a place and the number of people killed.

I was grieved to realize we’ve had so many mass shootings that I couldn’t remember the stories behind most of those numbers, although I know many of them were children doing nothing more than attending school.

Yes, our leaders are great at protecting the unborn. Maybe it’s time to turn their attention to those already here.