the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Why any woman who intends to vote for McCain should reconsider

Two of my favorite bloggers in the past couple of days have explained in succinct detail why we (women in particular) should be sickened by John McCain. I implore you to take the time to read these, they’re not just a bunch of liberal propaganda or pro-choice cheerleading. These are stories of people’s lives.

From Alexa at Flotsam:

McCain states that he would deal with the issue of abortion with “courage and compassion.” I quote: “the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.” As if terminating my pregnancy would be the easy way out, the way not requiring his precious “courage.” As if dictating my medical care based upon his religious beliefs is compassionate. And I find it interesting to note that his “compassion” for this newborn does not extend to guaranteeing it health insurance.

And Julie from a little pregnant:

He means us when he holds up his hands and says with that single scornful gesture that we don’t matter. That we are a figment of the “pro-abortion movement’s” imagination. That — what, we’re making this whole “staying pregnant might kill me” thing up?

… even if you’re implacably, unconditionally opposed to abortion, a matter on which reasonable people disagree, I don’t see any way a thinking person can look at those air quotes and see anything but pandering, contempt, and a dangerous willful ignorance.

  • Katelin

    2008/10/17 at 12:29 pm

    they definitely bring up great points and i couldn’t agree more.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2008/10/17 at 12:31 pm

    And yet, the polls are, for the third election in a row, split rather evenly. Single digit differences do not a mandate make. Frightening.

    Can’t we just split of into the United Blue Staters of America?

  • Angelbee

    2008/10/17 at 12:35 pm

    I can hardly believe that I live in a country where there are still (!) people who think it’s okay to have the government control the contents of my womb.

  • Sarahd

    2008/10/17 at 12:35 pm

    You might also want to check out Cecily’s latest post at Uppercase woman.

  • Melissa

    2008/10/17 at 12:37 pm

    I completely agree and I have a hard time understanding the religious and political ideology that would allow the stripping of such important rights for women.

  • dana

    2008/10/17 at 12:38 pm

    I honestly don’t think this air quote thing is as big a deal as people think. I work in the healthcare industry and no one and no legislation is going to put the mother’s care second to the baby’s. Not going to happen.

    I’m part of the ol’ 8% –the undecided vote. And I have a uterus. I don’t like John McCain, but I do tire of hearing how “scared” everyone is of him, as though he’s some complete radical who can single-handedly overturn legislation overnight. But I expect you’ll get a lot of the predictable “he’s scary” comments.

  • Kristen

    2008/10/17 at 12:38 pm

    Yep yep. Great post, great point. I am counting down the days until we can boot this man back to Arizona. (Sorry, Arizona.)

  • Krista

    2008/10/17 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing these, Heather. I was so mad I couldn’t see straight during that part of the debate. I do not consider myself pro-choice or pro-life. I believe in a person’s right to die with dignity, and I believe in a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy if her health or life is in danger. I don’t agree with abortion on demand, but as a woman who lost my child due to complications in a stillbirth and nearly died myself due to the complications, I just wanted to reach through the tv and strangle that bastard!! I don’t need a politician to tell me what I can and can’t do with my own body should I, God forbid, ever go through that horrific experience again. Which is just one more reason THIS Midwestern Republican is voting for Obama this year!

  • momof4

    2008/10/17 at 12:38 pm

    I am voting for McCain for many reasons, one of which is that he is pro life. I know I am an odd girl out around here, but that is fine. I still like the blog even though we couldn’t be more opposite if we tried.

    Disagree, without being disagreeable.

  • kelli

    2008/10/17 at 12:39 pm

    “the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.”

    umm…correct me if i am wrong, but this is the party that feels welfare should not exist, but some how the compassion of civil society will meet her needs?

    maybe he should place all of the uninsured babies on his personal insurance to make sure they are cared for, think he will go for that…

  • Jenna

    2008/10/17 at 12:39 pm

    My father called me this morning and asked if I was voting for McCain… Hoping that maybe in the last 48 hours some experience had altered me into a conservative.
    Too bad he lives in a (very) blue state (Mi.) and I live in a (usually) red state (Co.)

    He tried to tell me that Palin has more experience than Obama because she is the governor of the biggest state in the union. I told him that there are more elk in Alaska than people…

    I can’t wait for our Christmas reunion.

    Also: On the subject of abortion my favorite bumper sticker is “keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”

  • 3baybchicks

    2008/10/17 at 12:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. In addition to the raging abortion issue, there is the frightening reality that by voting for McCain, Sarah Palin could someday be president. Ask yourself, is that really what we want for the US?

  • Sara

    2008/10/17 at 12:40 pm

    I try not to vote for presidents based on abortion beliefs. Mostly because abortion will probably NEVER come in front of the President. It’ll be a judicial issue or something that won’t even make it through congress. But I will vote based on gay marriage rights and the war, which still goes anti-McCain.

  • Songwraith

    2008/10/17 at 12:40 pm

    How very “courageous” of you to dive into politics at the risk of alienating about 39% of your readership. You saved me from tuning in on other facets of the liberal media.
    I think you are a uniquely talented and creative writer–but I’d rather not hear about your politics.

  • Rebecca

    2008/10/17 at 12:41 pm

    I agree with what those other bloggers wrote, but I disagree that we should vote based on one issue. Single issue voting has done nothing but harm for this country. It’s time we used a more nuanced approach when it comes to politics.

  • Don

    2008/10/17 at 12:42 pm

    The notion that women and doctors would game the, ‘if the mother’s life is in danger’ clause to justify an abortion even when the mother life isn’t in danger, is a disgusting insult no matter which side of the abortion issue you are on. Safeguards can certainly be included to reduce abuse. Safeguards MUST be included for the mother’s health/life regardless.

    There is much cruelty afoot.

  • Krista

    2008/10/17 at 12:42 pm

    Dana – I didn’t see your post before I posted mine. I’m glad you work in an atmosphere where the mother’s life is put above the baby’s; however, it’s not that way everywhere. The hospital where my son was born is run by the Catholic church, and throughout their history, they have always chosen the life of the baby over the life of the mother. I can’t say what is in their official protocol these days, but as little as 15-20 years ago, it was official policy to save the child first, then worry about the mom. In my case, Connor was past saving – he had already died when I arrived at the hospital. Otherwise, God only knows what would have happened to me.

  • Amelia Sprout

    2008/10/17 at 12:43 pm

    I love your politics, and the fact that you have featured two of my favorite blogs too. To those who immediately want to dismiss this as just another liberal thing, read the posts. They matter, and I can say that as someone who is not a fan of abortion, but who very much liked living through a life threatening pregnancy.

  • Ann

    2008/10/17 at 12:43 pm

    When McCain gives birth through his penis, I will then be willing to listen to him about legislating MY UTERUS.

  • Kim

    2008/10/17 at 12:44 pm

    Sorry to go against the majority here but McCain’s feelings about abortion are one of the main reasons I am voting for him. Do I think he is going to win? No, I don’t – which makes me very nervous for the future of our country.

  • Loretta

    2008/10/17 at 12:44 pm

    I am terrified of McCain/Palin. I’m definitely Pro-choice. I’ve been a single low-income parent. I’ve had unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. I was so naive, I didn’t even realize abortion was an option. My daughters are grown now, and (thankfully) we have loving, healthy relationships. But I’ve stressed to them the difficulty of having children before they are ready. Teenagers are in no way ready for the demands of parenthood. It limits your choices in life, and makes everything much harder than it should be.

    Palin wants to send women back to the dark ages. The combination of reversing Roe vs Wade and denying girls basic sex education leaves them in an extremely precarious situation.

    I’m apalled at the otherwise intelligent women I know who intend to vote for McCain/Palin.

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/17 at 12:44 pm

    I agree about splitting the U.S. into two countries, too bad we’re so economically interdependent. I love Dooce, but couldn’t disagree more on her politics.

    As a pro-life woman, who has been unable to get pregnant for years now, the complete and utter disrespect for the uniqueness and preciousness of human life continues to astonish me. How a baby being “unwanted” makes it any less of a life, I will never understand.

  • Suzy

    2008/10/17 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for your imput, but no thanks. I’ll be voting for McCain/Palin.

  • McKenzie

    2008/10/17 at 12:45 pm

    This is not an issue I go to the polls for. And the reason for abortion being a non issue for me is because abortions laws vary form state to state. I live in a state where you have to have parental consent to have an abortion however the next state over (I live in the city on the border of both these states) does not enforce the same consent law. 18 state already have legislation that bans partial birth abortions. Also 18 states have a waiting period however only 11 states enforce it.
    So to me Abortion isn’t something a presidental canidate can affect. HOWEVER-it is something that my state law makers can influence. And that is why it is just as important to vote in the state elections and well as the federal.

  • AloeWishus

    2008/10/17 at 12:46 pm

    Any politician or political party who has an agenda that includes trying to strip me of my rights by turning religious doctrine into law is scary. Period.

    Bottom line: VOTE!

    Don’t get lazy just because the polls show a lead for Obama. Use your voice, use your vote.

  • dooce

    2008/10/17 at 12:46 pm

    Please read the posts I linked to before you comment. Otherwise you look dumb.

  • Sarah

    2008/10/17 at 12:47 pm

    Re: 9. momof4:

    Please don’t get it twisted: McCain is NOT pro-life. He is anti-choice. He is pro-unborn fetuses. He is pro-POTENTIAL life. He is pro-life-before-it-actually-needs-resources-in-this-world. After it is born, he ignores its needs, and the needs of its mother.

  • Caren

    2008/10/17 at 12:48 pm

    I was screaming at the TV when he made these comments. This is the man who voted against insurance companies covering birth control, against free rape kits for women who’ve been sexually assaulted, and voted against SCHIP. He’s obviously a man who really cares about women and children.

  • laura

    2008/10/17 at 12:49 pm

    Abortion is the very reason why i cannot ever vote Democrat.

    My family has adopted five children – all special needs. All who might’ve been aborted because they were special needs. They weren’t and now my family is more blessed because of the children we have.

    i’m not particulary fond of McCain but i cannot and will not vote Democrat in this day and age.

  • adrienne

    2008/10/17 at 12:50 pm

    the idea of roe v. wade being overturned is impossible for me to contemplate. however, i have increasing faith in the american people that the right decision will be made on nov 4th.

  • dooce

    2008/10/17 at 12:51 pm

    I REPEAT: Please read the posts I linked to before you comment. Otherwise you look dumb.

  • grace

    2008/10/17 at 12:51 pm

    As someone who has worked in the medical industry for some time now and seeing the things I have seen, I believe in both the miracle of birth and the necessity of abortion.

    I think sometimes people who are pro-life automatically assume pro-choice is a pseudonym for “KILL ALL BABIES” instead of meaning the right to make a choice. I’m pro-choice for the right to choose whether or not to have a baby, whether or not I exercise my right to vote, whether or not to have one more twinkie.

    All I want as a human being is the right to choose what I do to and what happens to my body. I don’t think it is right to let someone else choose that for me. I am no man’s property. I belong to myself.

  • jill

    2008/10/17 at 12:52 pm

    I’m sorry, but NO where in the history of the US does it say, we DESERVE health care. Why do democrats think that everyone is entitled? It’s a judgement call… If you work hard you earn the right, it’s not just to be given to everyone.

    NO guarantees in life baby…

    ps… I am unemployed with NO insurance and still believe this to be. Also, my mom died from heart failure because she stopped taking her high blood pressure medicine because she thought she couldn’t afford it any longer. Her fatal flaw was not asking for help from her family, but never did she think she should be just GUARANTEED health care from the universe. She wasn’t a martyr either.

    People who have money, easily think that everyone should receive as well, as I think I remember Heather stating that she would easily give up some of her hard earned money to help those without. In my opinion though, it’s easy to think you’d give it when you have it. But those who don’t have, shouldn’t have to give as well as they shouldn’t expect to receive!!

    Those of you who think you’re going to get some fantastic tax break because you’re in the Middle Class range, you just better hope your company doesn’t go and lay you off in a year or two because their taxes have risen and they don’t have enough money left to pay for your salary!

    just my opinion of course…

  • bluegirl

    2008/10/17 at 12:52 pm

    Comments like Sara’s prompt me to say: if you think the president’s views on your hot button issues don’t matter, please consider how much the Supreme Court has changed in the last 8 years. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito were nominated by GW Bush, and significantly altered the tenor of the Court. If Justice Stevens (88 years old) retires, SCOTUS will be 4-3 conservative-liberal, with Justice Kennedy as the lone indie.
    The choice we make this election will likely have long-lasting repercussions on issues like abortion, gay marriage, gun control, and habeas corpus for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. If any of those happen to be important to you, please research the candidates and VOTE!

  • Sarah

    2008/10/17 at 12:53 pm

    AND, Heather I wish you’d do a post about McCain’s other anti-woman votes, other than the abortion thing. He voted AGAINST the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act! Saying it would open up employers to too many lawsuits! FOR NOT PAYING WOMEN THE SAME AS MEN!!! Even if you are anti-choice, if you are female and in the work force, McCain should still scare the crap out of you.

  • Ellen

    2008/10/17 at 12:54 pm

    My question is: When did being “Pro-Choice” turn into being “Pro-Abortion”?

  • almost vegetarian

    2008/10/17 at 12:55 pm

    He is a scary little man, indeed. But, as scary as he is, Sarah Palin and her asking her local library how, exactly, one goes about banning books makes me positively whimper with fear.

  • Kristy

    2008/10/17 at 12:55 pm

    I was just wondering, after reading your post yesterday, would you vote for McCain had you had the same mindset and values as you did in college?

  • Amy Kate

    2008/10/17 at 12:56 pm

    I always love hearing the term “pro-abortion” – are there really people that are “pro-abortion”? I was visiting family in downstate Illinois a few weeks ago, and honest to god, they (women, in their late teens, early 20s) talked about Obama being “pro-abortion” and democrats in general being so. I had to walk away (my blood pressure had been rising since they proclaimed that they “really really like that Sarah Palin. How great to have a woman that close to the White House!”). I came back and said to them that while I did not want to talk politics because I love them and it would turn ugly as we disagree, that I don’t think there are people around who are PRO abortion, like approaching pregos on the street with a hanger saying, “Hey toots! Wanna have some fun? Let’s rib that sucka outta your ute!” NO ONE LIKES ABORTION. But it is necessary. It needs to be SAFE. LEGAL. RARE. It needs to be an option, you know, a CHOICE for women, families, young girls who are in no position- for reasons that I don’t need to be privy to (nor does John McCain, Barack Obama, or anyone else)- to bring a child into the world. IT HAPPENS. It happens in “innocent” ways (oops, no condom), it happens in ugly ways (incest, rape), it happens in ways that nature just makes happen (health/life of mother, no quality of life for baby once born). So yes, there needs to be a choice available. I know that I’m kind of ranting all over the place, but I just have been on a tirade about it lately.
    And kudos to the other commenter for noting that he wouldn’t provide health care for this kid once it popped out! That’s the other thing – abortion rights – yes, an important issue, but that shouldn’t be THE issue (especially in light of everything else going on in our country) we’re hanging our hats on. There are so many other issues (very intertwind) that have so much more impact on our lives, our children’s lives, and, yes, John, that have more impact on those of us “brave” enough to have children and raise them despite soaring health care costs, high gas prices, poor educational standards, and so on. ARGH!

  • Courtney

    2008/10/17 at 12:57 pm

    What really drove me crazy about that was just mere minutes before making the airquoted comments, he’d railed about being a federalist in the context of healthcare. A federalist, who believes that the government shouldn’t interfere with Americans’ choice regarding their healthcare, it should be a free market not regulated by the government. If the government stepped in, they’d lose their choice! About healthcare! My husband and I were screaming at Obama on the TV screen during the later abortion segment of the debate: TELL HIM HE SHOULD BE A FEDERALIST ABOUT ABORTION THEN TOO! ISN’T THAT CHOICE A PART OF MY OWN PERSONAL DECISION ABOUT “HEALTHCARE”? Augh.

  • Patience St. James

    2008/10/17 at 12:57 pm

    Abortion is the reason I will never, ever vote Republican. I don’t care what your personal beliefs are on the matter–you do not get to choose for others, not what they eat, not what they do sexually, and certainly not what they do medically. It astounds me that the party who claims to be for state’s rights and personal rights and responsibility also are strongly for ‘moral’ legislation to keep others from doing things that make them uncomfortable, and it disturbs me greatly that women would vote for such horrible people.

  • JO

    2008/10/17 at 12:57 pm

    I won’t vote for John McCain largely because of his views on abortion. However, he does not sicken me in any way. I disagree with him, but he has led a great life and made difficult decisions many times in his life. He is a man, unlike the vast majority of Pro-life men, who has faced decisions and situations worse than an unwanted pregnancy.

    It’s worth noting that Obama said roughly the following in the debate:

    “I fully support making late-term abortions illegal except to save the life or the health of the mother.”

    What did he mean by late-term? Hard to say, completely ambiguous. Did he vote against the bill that would have made so-called partial birth abortions, done almost exclusively to save the life of the mother, illegal, even when the health of the mother was endangered? NO. He voted present.

    Obama is no saint wrt abortion rights either. He is clearly the better choice for those of us who value abortion rights, but he is not passionate about the issue.

  • Phoo-d

    2008/10/17 at 12:58 pm

    For the record, I don’t agree with McCain’s stance on this one, but what I find more horrifying is that people will base their vote on this single issue. How frightening is it that in the face of two failed wars, a global financial crisis, looming problems with Medicare and Social Security, some people are basing their vote ONLY on which way a candidate feels about abortion. That makes me afraid, very afraid.

  • Jodie

    2008/10/17 at 12:59 pm

    Choice is just that. It’s a woman’s choice to have a child or not, in consultation with her spouse, her doctor and her clergy. That’s what Roe v. Wade is about. Just because someone is pro-choice that doesn’t mean that I want everyone to have an abortion. I would like it to be safe, legal and rare. I don’t understand the problem most anti-abortion people have with it. If you’re against abortion then don’t have one. But don’t infring upon my right to choose.

    The scary fact is that if McCain is the next president, then when he appoints one or two new Supreme court justices, then Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned. States would have the option to make abortion illegal again. Resulting in many women choosing illegal abortions and possibly death as a result of them… just like in the bad old days prior to Roe v. Wade.

  • jonniker

    2008/10/17 at 12:59 pm

    When Alexa casually mentioned during the debate that his policies could mean that she’d be dead, I was stopped in my tracks. Seriously. No one puts it in better, more human perspective than she does, and though I sent it to everyone I know before I saw this, I am so grateful that you’re giving her post an even larger audience than I could have.

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/17 at 12:59 pm

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    I was so offended by McCain’s choice of words – calling it the “pro-abortion” movement. As Barack Obama pointed out, no one is pro-abortion. Why can’t we agree that both sides want to reduce the number of abortions? The pro-CHOICE movement wants to keep abortion safe and legal while also investing in prevention such as sex education, family planning, birth control resources and counseling.

    When the pro-life movement actually puts into place plans to help the mother after giving birth – with childcare, education resources, job training, etc – then I might change my tune. But the pro-lifers I have had the pleasure of talking to are only concerned with the birth of the child and don’t expect to put any resources towards these babies or their mothers once they are born.

    And don’t even get me started on McCain’s laugh and roll of the eyes when talking about the mother’s “health” – his quotes, not mine. How any woman can vote for this man is beyond me.

  • cck

    2008/10/17 at 1:00 pm

    It was incredibly insulting. I reacted strongly to what Julie wrote. The idea that anyone can dictate my health care decisions scares me to death.

    Please, keep the hell away from my uterus.

  • Pro, just pro

    2008/10/17 at 1:00 pm

    What I’ve always hated about this issue were the terms used for your stance – you’re either pro-life (can you hear the choirs of angels singing??) or pro-choice (hmmm, I think I’ll flip a coin to see if I’ll get an abortion today…). It’s not like pro-choicer are out there trying to persuade pregnant women to get an abortion (“Oh come on Suzy, everybody’s doing it”), and yet, what, the government thinks that women aren’t smart enough to make this life-changing decision on our own – so they better do it for us? I’m not pro-life, but I’m not pro-death either. I’m pro-making-the-best-decision-for-my-situation.

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/17 at 1:00 pm

    I wonder if McCain’s daughter was raped and got pregnant if he would assume that she would have the “courage and compassion” to have it. Government needs to stay the hell out of my insides.

  • Stacy

    2008/10/17 at 1:01 pm

    Sigh! I will be glad when this election is over so you will go back to being funny.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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