Yes, that is a bit of a shock. He called me up out of the blue 20-odd years ago to see if we were related. No - my family has been in NZ since 1841, and his hasn't - but he was very passionate about the possibility of a shared family history (maybe in Ireland..).
And that sums him up - passionate about his beliefs and enthusiasms, even though I personally found them wrongheaded (and embarrassing because of people who did think we were related). You could not accuse him of not caring about our community.
Well, as a queer non-activist, I find all the focus on marriage hugely irritating. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get married – I’m not monogamous. I’m also not thrilled about the priviliging of certain relationships over others – in the US, you get tax breaks just for being married. Nothing to do with whether you have kids (different tax breaks if you’re a parent/guardian – fair enough).
Yes, it’s a huge symbolic* thing in terms of eroding second-class citizenship in the law, and I’m glad for the Americans. But I think what we achieved in NZ with our equal rights legislation in the 90s had much more of an impact on our lives. For all of us, not just the ones who want to get married. Yes, it took longer for marriage rights, but was untenable in the long term given that legislative bedrock.
Maybe gay marriage will encourage the Americans to illegalise discrimination at the state level, but with the bleating about “state rights” already, I’m not holding my breath.
So maybe I’m not as curmudgeonly as some about this achievement – it’s a start – but there’s a way to go. Even in the US.
Although I have to admit I’m even more irritated by our second-class citizenship in Australia, so there’s that.
*Obviously not that symbolic for those already married in some US states, or those who wanted to elsewhere. I'm now curious about the status of overseas same-sex marriages in the US - are try now recognised?
While I think the Aussie PV system is a bit crap, the great unwashed seems to have no problem at all ranking their preferences. So the "simplicity" argument in favour of MMP doesn't hold up for me.
STV solves all the MMP problems all these manoeuvrings are supposed to fix, but that's obviously not on the table at all right now. Shame.
Yay in-house sub eds.
As for the word "brand", unless it pertains to a mark on a cowhide or corporate/trademark styling, it's just about guaranteed to refer to wank. It's even worse than sports teams being referred to as "franchises".
...general preference for state-funded medical care and progressive taxation rather than my distaste for having to pay for abortions.
I have absolutely the same preference. But given the state of public health offerings for "optional" procedures (like hip replacements), I'd rather the more well-off paid something if the service were more accessible to all.
As for adoption being offered as an alternative, I do think should be a pretty significant part of the counselling process. It's an interesting idea trying to link up people early in the process - and in that instance, if the idea were accepted, offering the pregnant woman financial support would be important.
That would have to be a pretty iron-clad arrangement though. What if the prospective parents decided 6 months in, "no thanks". And of course, the opposite scenario of the mother deciding to keep the baby it's not uncommon now. (Although that has no impact on offering more options in relation to unwanted pregnancies)
If people realised that half the women they know have had abortions, the conversation would change.
And yes, it absolutely would.
I should say that the reason that the process itself was relatively quick and simple was because Marie Stopes is a private service in the UK (it’s a registered charity), and I paid 300 quid because I could afford it (well, I could pay it off on my credit card). I was terrified of any potential delays if I’d done it via the NHS.
So in this instance, I’m actually in favour of there being an income threshold where you have to pay. I’m sure the 300 pounds was not the full cost, so such a service would require some govt funding, and obviously full-funding for those women who don’t meet the income threshold. Maybe if the NZ public health system becomes Swedish-quality, you could rely solely on that.
If you could have seen the sadness and the awfulness of the position my friends found themselves in, and the awfulness of the process. Nobody has an abortion for fun.
Sticking my hand up to say that I HAVE had an abortion and it absolutely was not fun. I’ve always been vehemently pro-choice, but when it came down to it, it was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my adult life.
And this was in London, where, other than running the gauntlet of the Catholic bitches outside the clinic, the process was simple, professional and supportive. Two weeks total from first test to the actual (surgical) appointment. Just around the corner from work. No problem taking a couple of days off for “leave”.
It was horrible. Horrible. Painful, physically and emotionally. Never again, if I can possibly avoid it.
I am still vehemently pro-choice, and the likelihood of getting pregnant again is almost non-existent – I’m 47, and pretty damn queer.
But still, it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Except for the alternative: being responsible for a life that you do not currently feel capable of supporting.
That’s actually all there is to it.
So when people have abstract conversations about ridiculously unlikely scenarios – that women will demand non-medical-reason abortions at awful intervals like 20 weeks, it makes my blood boil. No, if women have access to simple and fast abortion services, I can almost guarantee they will NOT.
For the very very very few who might, I can only assume that they would be so fucked-up (drugs, mental health, abusive relationship, who knows?), they shouldn’t be having kids (then) anyway. Apologies for the confrontational remark, but really, that’s all I can think of.
So can we please stop pissing around with 1 in a million (or whatever) extreme scenarios and simply consider that we should just let women control their own bodies?
I do think counseling should remain mandatory – in the UK, it was handled in the clinic (Marie Stopes). I also think that mandating psychological (rather than social worker) counseling if an abortion is requested after, say, 16 weeks, should be mandated. This, of course, should be free and quickly accessible. The entire process (for any abortion request) should take no more than 2 weeks. Access to pharmaceutical abortion (which has a stringent early time limit) should be pretty much a same-day process. Or perhaps 2-3 days between counseling and treatment.
Same, but that's more than chance rate, given the fact each sample is out of three. I only identified one at 128 kbps.
And I have also learned that Suzanne Vega annoys me just as much as she did back in the day. Vinyl or WAV, it's all the same to me! :-)
I wouldn't touch a pill these days without testing it (I always tested them from new source back in the day).
Tests are cheap: http://ez-test.com.au/
A "Marquis" test can be easily made up if you can get hold of sulphuric acid and formaldehyde. It can test for many things beyond MD(M)A.
And testing in clubs, as they did in Holland, would be nice.