Abortion Protesters are Bullies

There may not be a more divisive issue today in American than abortion. And look, I’m not advising anyone to have one. I realize I’m about to offend a lot of people but here’s the thing. When I see the protesters outside our local Planned Parenthood clinic in instills in me a rage I can barely explain. I want nothing more than to pull my car over, get out, grab one of them by their smug faces and start punching. I say this as a pacifist for the love of God! It’s an emotion I don’t feel often or readily. It’s an emotion reserved for the greatest of injustices, the most heinous of offenses. So why do these peaceful protesters inspire such feelings in me? Because they are not, in fact, peaceful.

Bear with me a second. There are many ways to hurt another person. You don’t have to lift a finger to wound someone deeply. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that physical pain heals faster and easier than emotional. These protesters who claim to be out there in the name of God are doing horrible things to other people. Yes, they are. They are inflicting deep and vicious psychological wounds on their victims. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was wrong. While there may be woman who take abortion lightly (and I’ve never met one), most are at the lowest point in their lives right then, having been through emotional hell already. Making a decision to end a life growing inside you is not easy, not by a long shot. Imagine for a moment what reasons she must have. I get a feeling that those protesters assume her reasons are that she’s a selfish immoral slut. Those are the kinds of things they say to these women.

First of all, the majority of women going into Planned Parenthood aren’t there for an abortion. They are there for low cost gynecological care and/or birth control. No young woman should end up with cervical cancer due to lack of testing because she was afraid of the bullies in the parking lot. That’s right, I said it. Bullies.

They are attacking vulnerable young women, slinging callous barbs that will take a lifetime to heal, if they ever do. Calling them baby killers and telling them they will burn in Hell. Even if you are an ardent pro-lifer and believe this is murder and a sin, ask yourself this simple question. Is this helping? Has one woman ever responded positively to this? Are they saving anyone? Are they helping anyone?

No one is going to listen to the stranger who is calling them names and bullying them. No one is going to listen to a stranger they have never met after days or weeks of soul searching and sleepless nights filled with tears. The only thing they are going to take away with them from this encounter are the psychic wounds inflicted at the hands of the bullies.

If someone truly cares about those unborn children and those mothers then sitting on comfy lawn chairs in the parking lot on nice, sunny days yelling hateful taunts at vulnerable women needs to stop. Activism and volunteerism needs to start. And yes, I said those unborn children and their mothers. Babies do not exist in a vacuum. You cannot help an infant if you do not help it’s mother.

Teenage girls need mentors and safe places to go after school, adults that they trust and programs that build self esteem in order to decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Expectant mothers in poverty need access to health care, inexperienced mothers need parenting mentors, poor families need help supporting their families. Women in crisis need access to qualify mental health services. Remove the barriers to having a baby and the abortion rate will drop.

It’s time to stop pretending that the issues of abortion, access to healthcare, quality education and  poverty aren’t linked. Stop insisting women produce babies that society has no intention of providing healthcare for. So many people demonize abortion on one hand and then demonize any programs designed to help these very people on the other. We don’t get to have it both ways. If we want to see abortion decrease, then the underlying social issues must be addressed. The hypocrisy of denying birth control to women then demonizing them for abortion has to stop.

I would encourage any abortion clinic protester to spend some time working with at risk women. Or women who have been abused. Or women who have already lost one child to a genetic disorder. Or women who have had an abortion and regret it. Understand the very complicated issues at play and then perhaps volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Do some good in the world, put some positive vibes into it. Be the kind of person that a woman in crisis might listen to.



Please Press 1

I’ve noticed a very popular sentiment lately, the frustration and the righteous indignation of those downtrodden and oppressed Americans who are forced to press “1” for English. The internet is rife with the exhausted and fed up masses lamenting the unfairness of the unnecessary burden that has been thrust upon them. Truly. The pain and suffering caused by this trend has got to be immense judging from the public outrage I’ve seen and heard. Why should they be forced to push “1” for English when this is America? Indeed.

I can only imagine the number of emergency room visits resulting from sprained index fingers and the immense cost in the sheer volume of time lost. After all, it must take fractions of a second to complete this onerous chore! Of all the injustices in the world, what could be worse than this? Far better that those who have the inconsideration of being born to Spanish speaking parents should figure out how to navigate a fully English speaking automated menu. I mean, those things are so simple as it is! It’s not like any other countries use more than one language, you certainly won’t find French being spoken in Canada or English being spoken in France! I mean, imagine, the horror!

I realize this would mean wait times for those calls would likely skyrocket due to the poor souls valiantly trying to navigate the self service menus in a language they don’t understand. But surely you would rather spend an extra hour on the phone than to be forced to push 1?

The Ultimate Meaning of it All

THIS is exactly what I cannot make people understand. That HAPPINESS and not money is how I measure success. Money is great and fine and well and who wouldn’t like more of it? But it is not the end all and be all. I’ve often heard “Do what you love and the money will follow”. The question is, how do you find what you love? I believe that unschooling is the answer. Well, yeah, other than 42 of course! (Excellent reference by the way)

An Unschooled Future

Earlier today I was talking to a friend about why we have chosen to unschool Connor.

She knows that Connor’s mum and I between us could wallpaper a room with our degrees, so we are obviously not totally anti-education.  She also knows that we want Connor to have a highly successful life and that we are prepared to support him in going to any university that is best suited to him and expect this to be an Ivy League university or Cambridge or Oxford.  Connor knows that we expect him to attend university.

So why have we taken this route?

Because we believe that this is the way in which Connor can be provided with the best education possible.  We have no particular arguments with what is taught in school – but I have a large one with how it is taught.  I am a huge believer in self-directed learning…

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Why Homeschool?


Homeschooling is a controversial issue. It evokes in some images of unsocialized, awkward and downright “weird” kids. Of religious extremists and isolationism, of parents bent of shielding their children from the “real world”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course, for others, homeschooling is just a fact of life. By now, many homeschoolers are second generation homeschoolers. It’s a trend that has caught on and it’s still growing.

According to 2007 research, 1.5 million students were being taught at home. The advent of easy and affordable internet access has increased the numbers. The explosion in homeschooling groups makes the idea of the unsocialized homeschooler an obsolete one. There are even homeschooling conferences for families to attend and a plethora of curriculum and materials to be had, often available used at half price books or through a local home school co-op.

Families choose to home school for many reasons. Some to avoid bullying and other problems that are rampant in our public school system. Some simply to give their children a good education because, let’s face it, our public schools just aren’t cutting it anymore. Certainly some families home school for religious reasons and so that they can teach their children the values they want them to have, rather than the ones they learn in public schools which, again let’s face it, aren’t always the ones the teachers are trying to instill. Many families who aren’t very religious choose to home school for many reasons and even families that are often have other reasons for choosing to home school.

There is no doubt that a much more individualized education can be found at home, and a much more hands on, fun one at that. Forget the text books and head to your local museum for some real world learning. Talk about shielding your child from the “real world”, that’s what schools do. The real world is all around us, it’s in watching the squirrels chase each other up the trees and watching the ants build their home. It’s in learning about careers by taking trips to the actual places, a bakery, a fire station etc. It’s in the act of learning by becoming interesting in something then looking it up and learning about it for yourself. That’s an important life skill that often gets missed when we try to spoon feed learning to children.

In the end, the reasons a family chooses to homeschool are many, varied and individual to that particular family. It’s a trend that is likely to continue to grow as our education system continues to fail.

For an excellent book on homeschoolers and socialization, try Rachel Gathercole’s book, “The Well Adjusted Child, the social benefits of homeschooling”.

And I’m Back!

I realize I haven’t posted much lately but it’s not for lack of ideas! No, I’ve been full of those, as always. I was side lined by carpal tunnel syndrome! For a writer I guess that’s a work related hazard. After much thought and consideration I’ve decided that I absolutely, positively cannot let that stop me! I have a lot to say after all.