Commentary #119: Abortion

Image Credit: South OC Beaches

I’ve been through every single emotion since yesterday. On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court made a decision that has plunged the nation into darkness, fear, and uncertainty.

I’m rethinking everything about my own life, even though I do want to have children. I’ve always wanted to have children. But now, I’m not sure I want to bring a child or children into this world.


Many of you know that I was raised in the United Methodist Church. Overall, I had a good church experience. I was never abused or traumatized, nothing drastic like that.

At the same time, I was taught to not have sex before marriage. Abortion was frowned upon, but not even really mentioned or discussed.

However, I had to educate myself today on the stance of the church on abortion.

What is the UM position on abortion?


I am staunchly pro-choice. And one singular event made me that way.

I was a freshman in college at Longwood. I don’t remember which class it was, or which semester, but it was either the fall of 2007 or the spring of 2008.

An anti-abortion protest took place on campus, between the Student Union and Stubbs Hall. Our professor asked us to attend, to witness it. We could leave at any time, but we had to check in with our professor before we left. I think I lasted maybe 10-15 minutes tops. I felt like I was going to throw up on the grass.

The protestors had graphic photos on signs, poster board and foam board, with Bible verses. There was a man with one of those portable loudspeakers with a megaphone that made think of the protests of the Vietnam War. They quoted Scripture constantly. Most of these people were adults, older than us. I don’t remember how many there were.

I could barely walk after leaving the Student Union. I don’t remember much of that day after that. I was horrified.

I knew, from that day forward, that I was not going to support any of that.

This was when I was 19 years old, I turned 20 in the summer of 2008. I was very naïve. I was always the good girl, the goody-two-shoes. I wanted to be the perfect child for my parents, the good Christian girl who studied hard and got good grades.

I’m trying to unlearn so many things now. I’m grateful for various counselors and therapists.

That protest altered me forever. I continued to attend church, because that’s what I had always done, but that protest was burned into my memory.


Also in college, I was in a relationship that I thought was love. I was with John from July 2006 through July 2010. July 17th, just a few weeks from now, marks 12 years since I was able to escape from him. Alive.

Now, years later, I’m fully convinced that he wanted to get me pregnant, so that we needed to get married and he could control me forever. Coercive control is real.

I remember looking up Planned Parenthood for the first time in my life, incredibly afraid, sometime in 2009. It was one of the few times that John wasn’t watching me.

I’m fortunate that I didn’t get pregnant then. I refused to have sex with him for the first two years, because I wanted to save it for marriage. I thought we were going to get married. I still remember my mom’s face when I told her that we were thinking about getting married after graduation.

He controlled me sexually. He sexually assaulted me more than once. In early, 2009, he nearly raped me. Thankfully, I was able to get him to listen to the word “No,” finally, after screaming it over and over. Once wasn’t enough.

I’m so glad I was able to get out.

I’m so glad that I have a wonderful man in my life, Al, who supports me (and women) 200 percent.


Moving Forward

I’m ready to fight like hell.

I’m donating to Planned Parenthood.

I’m ready to vote, like tomorrow.

If you’re not registered to vote in the U.S., I beg you to do so!

I’m screaming. It might be from a keyboard right now, but I have a voice. And I’m not afraid anymore.

And to those in Washington, D.C., you just pissed off so many people.

I’m still a Christian. But I will always be pro-choice.


Resources

Bans Off Our Bodies

How to Register to Vote

Planned Parenthood

safe2choose

We Won’t Go Back

Women’s March


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #91: “Appalachia has a new story to tell, and it’s not an elegy” (Editorial)

Ridgeview High School Robotics Team

This is the championship Ridgeview High School robotics team from Southwest Virginia. Way to go! Image Credit: Dickenson County Public Schools

This was a fascinating editorial that one of my good friends, Mr. Lin, shared on Facebook a while ago. Mr. Lin used to be a teacher at my local elementary school, but has since created an impressive career in school administration. He has been an assistant principal and a principal in the Roanoke County Schools, Floyd County Schools, and now in Pennsylvania.

Here’s the link to the original post:


On The Roanoke Times’ website, the caption with the photo I used states: “The first team from Ridgeview High School in Dickenson County to win a state championship was its robotic team in 2018. That team went on to the world championship in Detroit, where it placed 9th out of 64 teams. Our editorial at left looks at how J.D. Vance’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ perpetuates negative stereotypes of Appalachia. There’s a different story the region ought to tell, and the engineering skills of students in one of the state’s most rural localities ought to be part of that new narrative.”

Every time I read something new about Appalachia, whether it’s an editorial or not, I always learn new things or discover something different. This editorial was no exception.


When I first heard about Hillbilly Elegy on NPR’s Fresh Air, I was immediately intrigued. I kept telling myself I was going to read it, but here we are, in July 2019, and I haven’t read it yet. Maybe that’s a good thing.

I didn’t realize Ron Howard is planning to make a movie about the memoir, either. I admire Howard immensely. However, I’m hesitant to see it, whenever it is released. I don’t appreciate negative stereotypes, whether they’re implied or not.


Maybe my feathers are ruffled because of my own Appalachian “history.” Much of my mom’s extended family hails from West Virginia. I have fond memories of many family reunions in Ripley and Beckley. I loved visiting my great-grandmother, Laura Bethany Powers, whom I am named after. She lived to be 102!

In addition, I started researching Appalachia on my own in high school and throughout college.

This editorial opened my eyes to the progress that has been made and seen in Southwest Virginia. Since it is the Roanoke newspaper, I understand why they focused on their own region. Still, seeing the positive statistics made me happy, and hopeful.


I still plan to read Hillbilly Elegy, eventually. I have another 15 or so books I want to read first.

But, after I read Hillbilly Elegy, I’ll likely look up the other two books that were mentioned in the editorial:

  1. What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, by Elizabeth Catte
  2. Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, a collection of essays by scholars and community activists in the region, edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll

I found one other part of the editorial to be striking:

“Given all this talent, technology companies ought to be competing to locate in Appalachia, not acting as if it didn’t even exist. These are the stories we need to be telling the world — that we are a topographically-challenged and economically-challenged part of the country that is populated by smart, hard-working people.”

An interesting thought, and that needs to be explored much further.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂