Abortion needs to be taught in our medical schools

Read this horror story of a failed pregnancy.

I was taking an afternoon nap when the hemorrhaging started while my toddler napped in his room when I woke up to find blood gushing upward from my body. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was experiencing a placental abruption, a complication my doctor had told me was a possibility. My husband was at work, so I had to do my best to take care of me and my toddler on my own. I managed to get to the phone and make arrangements for both of my children before going to a Chicago hospital.

Everyone knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable, that it couldn’t be viable given the amount of blood I was losing, but it still took hours for anyone at the hospital to do anything. The doctor on call didn’t do abortions. At all. Ever. In fact, no one on call that night did. Meanwhile, an ignorant batch of medical students had gathered to study me — one actually showed me the ultrasound of our dying child while asking me if it was a planned pregnancy. Several wanted to examine me while I lay there bleeding and in pain. No one gave me anything for the pain or even respected my request to close the door even though I was on the labor and delivery floor listening to other women have healthy babies as the baby I had been trying to save died in my womb.

Fortunately, a nurse called in a competent doctor to abort the fetus and stop the bleeding — or this woman would have been dead.

My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway. My husband had told them exactly what my regular doctor said, and the ER doctor had already warned us what would have to happen. Yet none of this mattered when confronted by the idea that no one needs an abortion. You shouldn’t need to know the details of why a woman aborts to trust her to make the best decision for herself. I don’t regret my abortion, but I would also never use my situation to suggest that the only time another woman should have the procedure is when her life is at stake. After my family found out I’d had an abortion, I got a phone call from a cousin who felt the need to tell me I was wrong to have interfered with God’s plan. And in that moment I understood exactly what kind of people judge a woman’s reproductive choices.

The story also highlights the subversive strategy the right wing has followed: there is now a serious dearth of doctors trained to do abortions, so when a necessary abortion case shows up in an emergency, you’ve got a muddle of the self-righteous and the ignorant, all incompetent to do anything, milling about with their thumbs up their asses. She might as well have stumbled bleeding into a church and asked for help…which is exactly what the Coathanger Coalition wants them to do.

Imagine if someone showed up in an emergency room having a heart attack, and for religious reasons, no one had any training in using a defibrillator, and the only one available was in an underfunded clinic across town. That’s the direction we’re going, only we’re suppressing information and skills that would help just women’s lives. Which makes it OK, I guess. No men will die of a placental abruption, so it’s a low priority.

Godless talk radio

Minnesota Atheists is trying to raise money to keep their radio program on the air — they have to, because it looks like rich Republican think tanks or gold-sellers aren’t paying for ads, and the woo-infested shows that surround its time slot are selling air time to quack medicine companies, another option not open to an organization of rationalists. Help them out if you can.

They’ve been putting on great programs, too. Tomorrow at 9am central time, they’ll be interviewing Eric MacDonald of Choice in Dying, one of the rising stars of the atheist movement. If you can’t listen to the radio show, you ought to be reading his blog…but then you’ll want to listen to the interview, so I recommend you make time to tune in anyway.

We’ve settled what you are, now we’re just haggling over the price

The scientific animation company, XVIVO, has had their work ‘appropriated’ by creationists before, and I hate to say it, but there is a reason for it. Although their animations of cellular and molecular processes are spectacular and beautiful, they are also annoyingly purposeful: they show tubulin making a beeline across microns of distance to assemble a microtubule, for instance, while kinesins stride determinedly down the cytoskeleton. There isn’t the slightest hint of the stochastic nature of the biochemistry, and they are seriously misleading in that sense — which, no doubt, is why creationists love them so much.

Now XVIVO is really pushing the edge. They are a commercial company, and they have to do this work to make money, but they have accepted a commission from Deepak Chopra to create an animation showing how “healing visualization” can “enhance the immune system’s response to cancer”. It shows no such thing, of course. It seems to show macrophages devouring cancer cells, then blue lymphocytes all zooming in towards an antigen presenting cell and getting energized (they glow on the inside!), and then swooping off in a squadron to touch red cancer cells, which promptly wither and die.

Once again, we have the trademark purposeful, directed cells of all XVIVO productions, but this time I guess we’re supposed to imagine magical meditation auras controlling the biochemistry.

Bleh. Sell-outs.

Now that I have them right where I want them…

As you know, we’re having a little contest to raise money for Camp Quest, and we’ve been competing to see who can raise the most money for a good cause. It’s me standing alone against the team of Hemant Mehta, Jen McCreight, JT Eberhard , Digital Cuttlefish, Sikivu Hutchinson, Adam Lee, The Chaplain, C.L. Hanson, Matt Dillahunty, William Bell, and Greta Christina, which, as you can see, is grossly unfair — they needed at least twice as many bloggers more to stand a chance.

Now, though, they’re gambling desperately to triumph in the home stretch — the contest ends on 1 June — and they’re making grand promises about what they’ll do if they win.

You all know what this means now, don’t you?

TIME TO THROW THE FIGHT! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

I want everyone to turn it around and donate to the other team. Now that they’ve set the stakes, let’s work together and push them over the finish line.

Man, these amateurs have a lot to learn about what it really means to be an evil atheist. The master will school them now.

Small town movie theater tech

I was reading Roger Ebert’s lament over the disgraceful decline of quality in theater projection (a function of theater owners who just don’t care anymore and the corrupting influence of bad 3D), and then I remembered that last year I took some pictures of the funky old technology in our local movie house, the Morris Theatre.


This is a classy old place, a bit run down now, but once it was the entertainment center for the whole community. It was built in the 1940s, and it’s very old school: a single screen, so you don’t get many choices here. What’s playing this week is what’s playing this week. That’s fine, though, since you don’t go just for the movie, but for the atmosphere and to sample the different audiences that show up for different movies.

Anyway, my daughter, Skatje worked there until she graduated from college and abandoned us to move hundreds of miles away and leave us desolated and lonely, and so one evening when I was the only customer in the theater (that sometimes happens, and then I get the whole big screen to myself, which is not economically viable, but that’s a whole different matter), I puttered about getting in the way and seeing what was involved. I took a few pictures. I don’t know if they’ll make sense — the room was awesomely cluttered and complicated.

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The power of faith

It’s amazing what religion can do. In this case, it motivated some dim old fart who ought to have been loafing about watching Glenn Beck and drowning his anger with a six-pack of Bud to go out and try to murder gynecologists. He didn’t actually succeed, fortunately: he was playing with his gun in his cheap room at the Motel 6 when it went off and sent a bullet flying into the room next door…so bad-ass that he is, he called up the front desk to mention that he was worried he might have hit someone else.

Then the police came and found out what he was really up to. He didn’t want to accidentally shoot someone, but he definitely intended to march into Planned Parenthood and murder as many people as he could.

Ralph Lang, 63, told a Madison police officer at the Motel 6, 1754 Thierer Road, that he had a gun “to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies,” according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Lang said he planned on shooting the clinic’s doctor “right in the head,” according to the complaint. Asked if he planned to shoot just the doctor or nurses, too, Lang replied he wished he “could line them up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down,” the complaint said.

And he’s proudly confessing all this to the police! These religious excuses do attract the dumb ones, that’s for sure. And yes, he had a vague plan to go on a nationwide shooting spree, and he was driven by his religion.

Sgt. Bernie Gonzalez looked around Lang’s motel room and saw a box that contained several documents, including a map of the U.S. with dots in each state and the handwritten words “some abortion centers.”

Also written on the map was “Blessed Virgin Mary says Hell awaits any woman having an abortion.”

I think someone needs to lock up Ol’ Grandpa Gunman in a nice institution somewhere with a chapel and an absence of firearms and a multituded of locks on the doors, for the safety of society.