Analysis people, it’s all about analysis

I began writing this blog for several reasons. I needed a place to process. I have been escorting since 1999 and have a lot of pent up emotion regarding the state of access to reproductive and sexual health care in this city. I wanted a place to discuss the merits of direct action and empowerment as tools for social engagement. And possibly the most important reason is to validate and understand the vast continuum of experiences people have surrounding our reproductive and sexual lives.

There is an interesting comment to Ken’s piece last week that was posted by the father of a regular protester. He has come down to the clinic once or twice to see for himself. He is a local businessman and attends south east christian church (a mega-church in the east end of expansive means, who partially fund the fake clinic across the street). His post is interesting in that it begins with his disagreement of the energy of the protesters:

“As my daughter and her future husband are ‘protesters’, I wanted to see first-hand the experience they were having each Saturday morning at the abortion clinic. What I observed differed from your account in almost all respects. The protesters were peaceful and respectful, as were some of the ‘escorts’.”

He goes on to opine that the difference between the escorts and protesters is our lack of jesus. This is the part of his comment that I will not post.

The escorts as a collective of autonomous people represent a wide continuum of religious and non-religious beliefs. While we are supported by the KY Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a non-denominational coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim partners, we also have Atheists and agnostics who all escort. The clients of the clinic represent an even broader range of belief systems.

This blog will not be a space where religious proselytizing of any sort will be posted.

Our culture is saturated with judo-christian images and influence. This space is for the analysis of Reproductive and Sexual Justice here in Louisville, Ky. Religion has no place in this conversation.

The following is the first have of the post, unedited until he starts getting into the jesus.

“As my daughter and her future husband are ‘protesters’, I wanted to see first-hand the experience they were having each Saturday morning at the abortion clinic. What I observed differed from your account in almost all respects. The protesters were peaceful and respectful, as were some of the ‘escorts’

Before you dismiss me as biased, I must tell you I have known one of the escorts for a number of years through business, and it was only by a chance meeting at a restuarant that I became aware of his involvement. That morning we conversed on the topic of abortion, each from our own perspectives, and we parted having no impact on the other. As I think about your account of that morning, and how differently it read from what I had experienced, the most obvious contradiction in our perspectives eminates from our world views. From your own account you have ‘lived a full life’, and I take that to mean your life experiences have left their mark, or consequences, on you. Interestingly, my world view was once similar to yours, and, believe it or not, every protester at one time shared your view of many of the things of this world. Your comments are laced with vulger adjectives describing the protesters, and yet you seem to have a heart for the horribly personal and traumatic experience the women having abortions are experiencing.

There is only one difference between you and me, and that is one of the heart.”

He goes on to talk about his “hard and cynical heart” and that you know who changed all of that

For three more paragraphs.

He concludes by offering to dialogue about all of these things with Ken.

I am now amending the commenting section to include a specific statement spelling out that religious speech is not appropriate in this forum. To be specific the comments need to be confined to analysis of Reproductive and Sexual Justice, Escorting philosophy and tactics or cultural milieu observations, as was originally stated in the commenting guidelines.

Here goes the analysis.

I want to explore the last sentence from his post, “and yet you seem to have a heart for the horribly personal and traumatic experience the women having abortions are experiencing”. This statement assumes all women will be traumatized by their decision to have an abortion. And that is just not the case. We see women every week who walk right on past those protesters with all the confidence in the world. 1 in 3 U.S. women will have an abortion in her life time, and the majority of those report feeling relief after. Some women are really sad, some are really happy, and many never regret their decision. Research also shows the women who are at the greatest risk for feeling unsure or guilty for their abortions are women who live in communities which stigmatize abortion.

We need to Quit stigmatizing our reproductive and sexual experiences. Then maybe more people could have honest and empowered lives.

In other words, religious inspired speech can be oppressive. There are few paradigms in history that have been more exploitative of subjugated populations than religious doctrine. The church is about conformity and privilege; earning rewards by social compliance. Some churches have done the work in addressing those privileges, and understanding their religious texts from a human rights perspective. But the commenter is in a place where his lack of understanding of what it might be like to be a female bodied person, or a poor person, or a person of color or a queer person colors his view. He is unwilling to explore why it could be intimidating, or why walking past crying women and people chasing you from your car could be interpreted as something other than peaceful. And unless he addresses his lack of scope, he is not likely to validate the broad continuum of experiences people have surrounding abortion.

Which is really what this whole blog is about anyway.

13 thoughts on “Analysis people, it’s all about analysis

  1. I stumbled upon this blog tonight and Mr. Nicoson’s comments regarding life, Jesus, reproduction, and sex. I literally laughed out loud at his sanctimonious and holier-than-thou rhetoric. Why? Because I know all about him, even though I have never had the distinct displeasure of meeting him in person. Mr. Nicoson talks about supporting his daughter and her husband, but he fails to mention the three other children that he fathered but has nothing to do with. Mr. Nicoson wants to save everyone else’s unborn children, but he can’t take the time to even speak to one of his living, breathing offspring. Mr. Nicoson talks a good game…I hear that he and his wife are “spiritual counselors” at their church. But does that church know that they had an affair for years before he finally left his wife and cut off contact with his kids, ages 12 to 2? Does that church know that he also cut off contact with his own mother when she expressed concern over his affair, and that he only showed back up again on her deathbed? Does the church know that he did not attend his own mother or father’s funerals? Forgive my anger over this situation, but I happen to love one of Mr. Nicoson’s “forgotten” children, and the damage that he did to her and probably to all of them is unforgivable. So don’t listen or buy into his “world view.” The man is a piece of shit in the truest sense, and if you look up the word “hypocrite” in the dictionary, you will find his photo there.

    If Mr. Nicoson happens to read this, years after the original posting, and he is wondering at all: your daughter is fine. She’s a strong woman, and the damage you did to her didn’t break her.

  2. I agree with Hank and Michelle. i think religion should be part of the conversation because they are the ones who wield it as a weapon against the women who make this choice.

    I would ask them this: what makes them think this isn’t part of your god’s plan? What part of your religious doctrine empowers you to make that judgment? If you believe in a god who is omniscient and omnipotent, then your god’s plan can not be thwarted by any action of a mere mortal. It can not even be comprehended by a mere mortal. To pretend that you know what your god wants, and that you are somehow acting in your god’s name is extremely egotistical. To put it another way: the assumption that your god needs you to enforce his laws is presumptuous. That is between the deity and the people involved.

    As for the baby, in your religion unborn babies get a straight shot to paradise. So, unless you believe that your god would condemn helpless children for something out of their control, aborted babies get to paradise without any risk of the potential sin that life would hold for them, especially a life where they were unwanted or uncared for. The doctor and the mother may still be sinning according to your ethics. But I would think that putting their own eternal souls in peril to save a baby from a life of sin and eternal damnation would be considered heroic. Don’t pretend you are doing this for the soul of that baby. That makes no sense according to your religion. You are doing this for your own reasons, reasons that have nothing to do with your god’s plan or the soul of that baby.

    I honestly don’t see how religion can’t enter into this conversation. It is the tool with which these “protesters” choose to attack, and it is a very weak weapon at that.

  3. Analysis – Is that what my soul and mind are doing to themselves?

    There have been a few times in my life – being emotionally and physically available for my nephew and niece when their father abandoned them and their mother fell apart, becoming primary caregiver for my elderly mother when diabetes rendered her paraplegic – when I just knew I was at the right place at the right time doing the right thing. I found that vocation again three Saturday mornings ago. And like those other times, I hate that it’s necessary.

    But unlike those times, I cannot easily finger why I am doing it. Some of my confidants have thrown out words like compassion, duty, responsibility, chivalry but those all seem pompous, pretentious and more likely to describe firefighters and EMT’s than some middle aged middle class white guy holding out his arms to make a hallway between zealots and patients.

    So I’m analyzing. Lots and lots of analyzing.

    PS – Hank and Bryant please save the inevitable “your soul is tortured because you do not know Jesus”, ok? Having spent 12 years in Catholic School and three years in a Franciscan Seminary, I know Jesus. I just outgrew him.

  4. Lara,

    So you take religion out of the pro-life arguement and what do you have…pro-life = wanting to protect the life of the unborn and pro-choice = wanting to protect the right to kill the unborn. Is pro-life (without religion) offensive to you? You don’t have to be “religious” to believe there is something inherently wrong with a medical procedure that simply put takes away life. So you can say I’m calling the abortion doctor a baby killer…yes. How do you define them? What does science say about life?

    In my opinion the abortion debate is about a woman making a choice to end the life inside her–period. If this was just about performing a medical procedure, then why aren’t there more doctors who are willing to perform abortions? It surely is a lucrative business. Why is it so controversial? Why do a lot of women who have abortions regret it later?

  5. Hey Andy!
    Loving the blog! I’m sorry that the comment section has turned into some weirdo back and forth bs, because in my experience with writing online journals the comment arguments get fairly absurd…
    But I love reading what you have to say! It’s inspiring and makes me excited to stand up for what I believe in. And I know that what you write and what you do has had a very positive impact on people!

  6. Hank,

    I don’t understand what you are trying to say. Arguing from a religious basis when that basis is not shared by everyone in the debate is futile. That is why barring religion as argument is a good practice when everyone is welcome at the table, like this blog and our government. If you want to discuss the issue without bringing in your personal religion, then by all means, do so, but stop trying to bully others because they don’t want to play by your rules. If you don’t like it, take your ball and go home.

    Secular humanism is not religion; it is the shared experience of all humans. It is level a playing ground. Caring about other people and working to make our community a better place is not fanatacism, it is compassion in action.

  7. Lara-

    If you’ll read my previous comments, I haven’t been attempting to make any “religious arguments”, nor have I tried to hide behind them. It’s enough to demonstrate the inconsistent and unintellectual nature of your own beliefs to show who is hiding behind something. For a group (as diverse as you may be) who labels themselves as defenders of free choice and individual conscience, it’s telling to the rest of us how unwilling you are to have an open discourse on your own private forum. Perhaps in the public square you “defend” freedoms, but in the private realm is seems as if you’d rather them all go away — or at least you’d rather be the sovereign legislator of Truth. Quite the interesting paradigm you’ve set up…especially for one who believes that truth is relative, and their are no absolutes.

  8. indeed it is your blog, and you’re right, you don’t have to tolerate any “rhetoric” that you don’t approve of. just be honest about your intentions. its not that you object to all “religious fanaticism”, you just object to that religious fanaticism that disagrees with your view of the world. after all, you seem pretty fanatical about your pro-choice opinions. and while you may be unwilling to admit that secular humanism is a religious belief, your adherence to it puts you in the same boat as the rest of the world’s “subjugated populations”…

  9. You’re right, it is your blog…you set the rules and exert control over what someone might like to say…some much for free speech. I wish you had allowed all that I said to be open for your public to read, for I believe that without you putting your spin on what I may have said it might have struck a chord with someone.

    I really feel for you as you look at the world through your experiences because, contrary to what you think my ‘scope’ may be, I have experienced things in my 60 years you could only imagine. I can truly empathize with you because, at one time, we were very much alike. But regardless whether you cannot bring yourself to capitalize the name Jesus, Jesus is real and living today, and He will judge the world someday. When I offer the gospel to someone, I am not proselytizing…I am giving them the hope that all people need in this fallen world.

    But back to your blog and what it stands for… ‘to validate and understand the vast continuum of experiences people have surrounding our reproductive and sexual lives’. Just a couple of simple thoughts for you to consider…reproduction and sex have been around since the beginning of time. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and fill the land (reproduce)…this obviously was accomplished in and through their sexual lives. What more do you need to understand or validate?

  10. Poor Hank. If you take away your religious argument, what do you have left? You want to take away women’s rights to safe, legal medical procedures. Do you want to deny any to men? No? Well, you’re a bigot, and hiding behind your religion doesn’t make it any less so.
    If your only argument is that your personal Sky Fairy says “No,” then that isn’t good enough for there to be a law. And therefore it isn’t a good basis for a discourse when everyone at the table doesn’t share your personal beliefs. Since religion is a personal belief system and not everyone has the same one, it gets left out of the debate here on this blog and in our legal and legislative systems for good reason.
    And by the way, the Constitution only mandates that the government not curb free speech. Whining about your right to free speech in a private forum makes you look ignorant.

  11. i love your commitment to free speech here at the blog…not.

    and i find it quite revealing that you fear “getting into jesus”, but are more than willing to opine on “the church”. seems a bit, how do i put it…hypocritical.

    • It’s my blog dude. And I am not interested in giving you space to spout religious fanaticism. speak all you want in your own space, but don’t come to mine expecting me to tolerate your oppressive rhetoric.

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