Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Roe v. Wade

There was a panel at the law school recognizing the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Among the panelists were the CEO/Director of Planned Parenthood Utah and a family law professor. Everything from the morality of abortion to the current statistical state of abortion in the U.S. was discussed. What was not discussed was the actual case itself.

This drives me crazy. Almost everyone has strong feelings about abortion. For some people those feelings are strong ones of opposition, for others of support, and for others strong feelings of conflict and contradiction. I don't think most people can talk about terminating the unborn and the right of a woman to make decisions about her own body without feeling or thinking something.

But there is a huge difference between supporting or opposing abortion and supporting or opposing Roe v. Wade. I am weary of hearing conservatives talk about "overturning" Roe without a single nod to exactly how that would be done. And what would happen to all the legislation that has been created in reliance on Roe (including legislative limitations on abortion). But the political right aren't the only ones guilty. I'm tired of hearing the left talk about "defending Roe" without acknowledging the expansiveness of the decision or the substantive due process problems the case has created outside of the world of abortion. When advocates, from both sides of the political aisle, speak about Roe, I wonder how many of them have actually read the decision. I know they support the outcome of the case (freedom of choice for women), but if the really read it would they support all the legal implications of the case? And all of the logic? And how many times when people say "I support/oppose Roe," do they actually mean "I support/oppose abortion?"

Because the two are not the same.

I wasn't the only student who left yesterday's panel disappointed. So any of you who want to chime in with awesome insights into the legal correctness of the decision, rather than it's moral correctness, you would be filling a gap in my understanding yesterday's event didn't do much to fill.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Starting fresh ...

It's 2012 and good things are coming.

But I'm too tired to get into all that tonight so here are some other things that are coming -- sloths.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All done and Adoption ...

I'm not sure why, but I've been reading everything I can lately about adoption. There's just something about it that has resonated with me. I've read articles, signed the petition for Glee to stop representing adoption so horribly, and checked out the LDS Family Services site more than I should probably admit. Some of it started when these amazing friends put up their profile. But much of it started long before and the interest hasn't faded. Awhile ago, I found this blog and this blog through a mutual acquaintance. I found them through one of those "help us adopt" banners on another friend's blog. I remember really loving them and wishing I could do more than offer up a silent prayer that they'd be blessed with a baby soon. I stopped reading for awhile, got busy, and awhile ago decided to click over again.

It was awesome to see that they'd been blessed with a beautiful baby girl and I cried when I read their adoption story. The joy practically jumps off the page. Something drew me over there again today, and then I found this. It's a blog written by their little girl's birthmother. I read it all in one sitting, soaking it up. There was a discussion on a feminism blog I follow the other day about adoption and birthmother, birthfather, and adoptive parent rights. It's tricky to come up with policies and laws that adequately deal with such highly emotional and important issues. Many who commented were either birthparents or adoptive parents and they were almost unanimous in this one thing: It's complicated. So it was amazing for me, as an outsider to the process, to see the other side. I've rejoiced with several friends and family members who have adopted. But seeing it from her side made me appreciate how amazing adoption is even more.

When Dave and I first started talking about marriage, the possibility of adoption would often come up when we talked about our plans for children. It's something both of us feel strangely drawn to, even though we have no reason to think that that will be a necessary route for us to build our family. Who knows ... there's still a lot that remains to be seen in that area. For now, I don't anticipate adopting an infant, at least one from the U.S. There are too many amazing couples for whom that is the only way they can have a child for me to feel right about going that route if we have other options. But I can absolutely see us taking in a child of any age for a short time while their own family gets back on their feet through foster care, or maybe adopting an older child that needs a home. We will see. In the meantime, I'm hoping it's not too weird that I still love reading adoption profiles or adoption success stories.

Well, that's the end of the alphabet posting challenge. It only took me 8 months to complete, right?

Briefly now ...

it amazes me that we call 25-page documents in the law "briefs." They are much longer if you include the appendices.

Common courtesy ...

... includes taking your crying child completely out of a movie theatre. I'm still bitter. That is all.

Danger and Dave ...

Danger! Danger!

So a couple cool experiences I will share with you in blogland:
#1 It's the last day of finals. I have one 6-hour examination and the final paragraphs of a 25-page paper between me and freedom. (And by freedom, I mean the opportunity to take two weeks not in classes and write another 30-page paper and work part-time, but whatever. At least there were Christmas carols and ham.) I'm staying at my parents house because it's closer to campus and less than distracting than my apartment. I get up to leave and begin shutting down my computer. Clear as a bell, the thought enters my head "E-mail your work to yourself." I'm not really in the mood to argue and it won't take me very long so I do and rush off. Fast forward many hours and my exhausted self sits down at 8 p.m. to finish the paper which is due no later than 9:59 p.m. I turn on my computer. The folder I keep my paper in is completely missing. I go through Word's "recently used" function and click on my paper. The words "This file does not exist" flash across the screen in one of those dialogue boxes with red letters. I start to panic. The same happens for all of my drafts. The Recycle Bin is empty. It's as if this paper, in any form, had never even existed. Then I remember, I'd e-mailed it to myself! I opened the e-mail and began typing furiously. I was so grateful I listened. There's a possibility I could have recovered the paper, but I needed every second remaining to finish on time. Doubters out there may think I just followed through on common sense. Everyone knows you should back things up. But I am standing by my interpretation that it was a sign from God that my law degree is important to him, too.

#2 As mentioned below, I've been doing quite a bit of religious reexamination lately. I like attending meetings with Dave, but going to Relief Society by myself has felt more like a chore than anything. I grudgingly got out of bed today and made my way in, the whole time having an internal dialogue with God that I hope he makes it worth my while this time. As I went to sit down I again had a clear thought, "You should scoot over." So I did. Not two minutes later the baby in front of me started to hiccup. And then in a giant burst, projectile vomited all over the seat I had just been sitting in. Seriously. I would have had to shower and three times over to clean up had I been nailed by that kid. And I probably wouldn't have come back for the rest of the meetings. I couldn't help but laugh. It was as if God was saying, "I want you here badly enough to save you from baby puke." So I stayed. And it turned out we got to spend Sacrament meeting singing our favorite hymns. You could just go up and pick one and then everyone would sing it. I seriously can't think of a church meeting I've liked better. God still hasn't resolved my deep doctrinal questions related to patriarchy ... but he at least gave me some musical relief and saved me from getting slimed.

Dave -- More sleeptalking
#3 Dave wakes up with a start the other night. "Oh no," he mutters. "Oh no!!"

He keeps repeating this over and over and then sits up in the dark, turns around, and looks out the blinds. I'm laughing.

"What on earth are you looking for?"

"Spots," he said. "I think we've got spots!"

He jumps out of bed and yells to me, "Shield your eyes!"

I pretend to do so and he flips on the light. He's panicked and looking everywhere. He surveys the room, sighs with relief, and turns off the light.

"What spots?" I say as he climbs into bed.

"Oh. You know. Blood. Paint. But we don't have any so it's OK."

And he promptly falls back asleep.

Electric eels...

I am determined to finally finish up the alphabet posting I committed to and this was the only thing that I could think of for "E."

These guys totally freaked me out when I was a kid:

Just one more reason to avoid Disney when I have my own kids, right?

Faith ...

I've been absent from this blog for a long time. There are reasons/lame excuses for that, including school, moving, etc. But mostly, I just haven't felt, well, inspired. I had nothing novel or new to say. Or even anything remotely interesting. I needed a forum that could talk back, and a blog is not necessarily the best forum for that.

Inspired is a funny word. It's a word I've always associated with religion and with revelation. Recently I've seen it being thrown about as a word to describe the color of paint in a living room, or the way that a chef used the mint in a particular dish. It's also something I've really been missing.

I was in a pretty hard place this time a couple of years ago. You can read a really vague and kind of depressing reference to it here if you want. It was the kind of experience that I think for most people would result in a "crisis of faith." Somehow my convictions got through it pretty unscathed and I came out of it pretty proud of how well I'd handled things spiritually. Things improved and we all went on our merry way. And then the crisis of faith came back and hit me full force -- almost like a delayed reaction. The questions about my childhood faith in no way relate to the events of two years ago ... they center on completely different topics and issues than what I battled through. But somehow I can't disconnect the two. It's like what happened woke me up and forced me out of my secure world. A harsh reminder that the "fairy tale" version of the gospel isn't the real version and that a testimony and a desire to remain active, like anything worth having, was going to take some real, hard work for the first time in a long time. There was a lot of good that came out of those trials -- not the least of which was a fresh pair of eyes and perspective. And since the Church is such a big part of my life, it got a fresh new look as well.

That was just the beginning. Then came a life-changing feminist legal theory class, the finding of an amazing community of non-conventional LDS women, and more academic and scholarly reading than I care to show here. My childhood faith was no longer enough for me, nor was my missionary zeal. I'm no longer a child and I'm no longer a missionary. It is time for me to find a new way of viewing and thinking about my faith that meets the needs of my new phase in life. It may take a lifetime, maybe only a couple years. If the latter, I have no doubt the "faith of my late 20s" will be insufficient for the life I will have in my mid-30s and I will shortly find myself revisiting this process all over again. It was a good and peaceful realization for me that it's OK if my faith changes since my life has, too.

I've felt lost and in transition at times. But I've also had some wonderful experiences. All through it, though, the thing I craved the most was inspiration. That feeling of light and truth that comes directly into your soul. I missed it desperately when I first began this journey. I just couldn't seem to find answers anywhere. Everything just seemed to lead to more questions. It's one of the reasons I had no desire to write. I didn't want to list a bunch of unanswerable questions. Slowly, the inspiration has returned. And with it, lots and lots of hope. None of my doctrinal questions have been concretely answered. But feelings of inspiration have been present nonetheless. Some questions have gone unanswered, but I have received little insights in how to deal with all the inconsistency I see and ways to cope on a daily basis. Following through on those little promptings have been life-savers and I've found myself less and less frustrated or angry. I'm not sure what's coming, but based on the last couple of weeks I'm liking what I'm seeing. It's exhilarating, actually. I always wondered what it would be like to come into and accept the Church as a convert. I think this is the closest chance I'm going to get and I'm eating it up. Though it doesn't mean I don't still have a right to mourn the security and certainty that has been lost as my view has been expanded. I don't regret losing the narrow-mindedness--but can we all be OK with fact it sure made things simpler?

On a lighter note, "inspiration" has had some pretty practical impacts on my life recently. More on that in the forthcoming "D" post.


... is now only 16 weeks away.

It's insane.

People keep asking me if I'm excited to "be done." In all honesty, "done" feels much longer than 16 weeks away. Following graduation, there will be months of bar prep, one very long exam, and possibly a year (or even two if I get lucky) of clerking before I am "done" and actually a practicing attorney. So it may well be 2014 before I take my first real client. But the fact the formal, sit-in-class, write papers, and edit millions of inane footnotes for one lousy law review credit is almost over is thrilling, however.

Hoffman ...

I have this secret thing for Dustin Hoffman. Don't mock me. I know he's old. And my "thing" for him is more of a fangirl crush than a "if I'd only I'd met him before Dave came along" kind of thing.

A couple of my favorite Hoffman movies to check out sometime:
"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" -- looks like a creepy kids movie but is actually a really beautiful film
"Stranger than Fiction"
"Runaway Jury"