Jesurgislac’s Journal

February 24, 2010

Pro-life is what they call themselves, part 3

A woman in Nicaragua is dying of cancer. She’s in hospital, and the doctors are withholding treatment, because if they treat her cancer they kill the fetus: ordinary practice in countries which do not have pro-life legislation would be for the woman to have an abortion so that she can receive the treatment which will save her life.

Depending how far advanced the pregnancy is, it’s possible a woman might choose to refrain from chemotherapy until an early delivery can give both herself and her baby half a chance: but pro-lifers are unwilling to allow women to make that choice. Of course, throughout most of the pregnancy, it would make no difference to “saving the fetus” if the woman chose to have an abortion followed by chemotherapy to save her life, or opted to die of cancer along with the fetus: the fetus is dead either way. Only the pro-lifers think it’s better for the woman to die too.

The government of Nicaragua acknowledges that according to their own official figures this ban on abortion has done nothing but raise the maternal death rate – and they also acknowledge that the maternal death rate is considerably underreported. The ban on abortion in Nicaragua is enforced by a jail sentence on the woman and on the person performing the abortion: if a woman dies as a result of an illegal abortion, her death is unlikely to be recorded as such.

The pro-life law in Nicaragua makes no distinction about whether preventing an abortion will actually do anything to save the fetus: abortion is illegal without exceptions. A woman can go into hospital with an ectopic pregnancy, or dying of eclampsia, and Nicaraguan law – pro-life to the bitter end – says that both she and the fetus must die.

The woman has been in hospital since 12th February. A government commission will report on whether she can receive treatment for her cancer on 1st March. Whether that will be too late to save her life makes no difference under Nicaragua’s pro-life legislation: there are no exceptions for the health and wellbeing of the woman carrying the fetus, not even during the stages of pregnancy when death of the woman means death of fetus. That’s pro-lifer reasoning for you in a nutshell.

Amalia isn’t unique except that her situation is getting international attention. Amalia will die because of pro-life ideas that her life is worthless – she is merely a use-till-broke incubator in their eyes. Her ten-year-old daughter will be left motherless, but why should pro-lifers give a damn about that, either?

Nicaragua has had this rigidly pro-life law since 2006: it is openly acknowledged that Daniel Ortega had the law changed as part of his systematic efforts to get the Catholic Church on his side. Women in this scenario were just in the way, and God in this view of religion is indifferent to or hates women. It’s an ugly view of Christianity that pro-lifers give.

If you believe that women are human and ought not to be treated as slaves, breeding animals, or incubators, there’s a full list of contacts at reality check who might be able to help before it’s too late… if it’s not already.

February 23, 2010

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Real Pizza With Love

Filed under: Food,Tuesday Recipe Blogging — jesurgislac @ 8:25 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Pizza literally means pie. A pizza is, originally, an open-topped pie with a bread-dough crust. Naples claims to have invented the original pizza (and this year had their traditionally-made pizzas trademarked as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) but real pizza really is… a method of finishing up left-over bread dough with a bit of flavour.

(If you don’t make your own bread routinely, of course you can make a batch of dough specially to make pizzas.)

Because you are making your pizzas with left-over dough, the dough won’t be thin and go crispy – but then you probably don’t have a pizza oven, either. Spread out the dough as thin as you can get it using just your hands. I have a couple of 4-at-a-time mini-pie baking trays I use, because I like mini-pizzas. They’re about two and a half inches across and a quarter of an inch deep, and I divide the dough into 4 or 8 pieces, grease the pie trays, and spread the dough into a rough pie-crust shape for each.

Spread the inside of the pizza pie with your sauce: something sharp and full of flavour. (Or you can make a white pizza with no sauce.) Besides the standard tomato sauces, I like salsa or pesto. (Anchovies are perfectly traditional for pizza, if you were wondering.)

Add your bits and pieces, sliced thin. Mushrooms, garlic, baby aubergines… anything you like, really. (I got to this stage of mini-pizza making and asked the child what she wanted – daughter of a friend, an alarmingly picky eater – and finally the only thing she actually agreed to was chips. She grew up quite normal however. Don’t be discouraged.)

Add the cheese! Or skip it, if someone’s allergic to dairy.

Leave to rise for half an hour to an hour: bake till the cheese is melty and the edges are crispy: and then let cool for ten minutes before you eat, because burning your mouth on hot sauce and hot cheese is really going to spoil the whole rest of the evening. If you don’t pay attention to the pizza of my experience, then it helps to have ice-cream in the freezer.

But then of what situation is that not true?

February 17, 2010

Pro-life terrorists: eight murders haven’t been enough

Pro-life terrorists in the US have already murdered eight people for working in clinics that perform abortions, and have attempted to murder 17 more. (cite) Now that the pro-life murderer of George Tiller has been convicted, pro-life terrorists and their supporters are working elsewhere to get more clinic staff killed:

A gynecologist who performs abortions in Tarrant County is the target of a vicious postcard campaign which lists his home and work addresses along with names of five of his staff members.

The postcard is printed in black-and-white and it is unsigned.

On the front is a picture of Dr. Michael S. Phillips next to the question: “Have you seen this person?”

When it’s flipped over, the postcard lists the doctor’s name, and three addresses — including his home.

It goes on to reveal names of five staff members.

When reached at his home, Dr. Phillips said he wouldn’t talk about it. “I’ve been dealing with it for 35 years, that’s all I can say.” (Texas, WFAA)

The card uses familiar pro-life hate rhetoric, calling the clinic staff named on the card “heart-stoppers” and promoting the usual pro-life lie that that the doctor and the clinic staff practice infanticide, claiming “They kill ‘em cheap and stack ‘em deep.”

Chuck Pelletier, apparently the clean face for the pro-lifer movement in Texas, claims that he has nothing to do with producing or passing out this card, but that everything on it is true. (He and his wife run the “Mother & Unborn Baby Care” crisis pregnancy center in Fort Worth: I have no idea what links this particular crisis pregnancy center may have to the coercive adoption industry, but “follow the money” is a good rule anywhere – and the adoption industry in the US is huge and has nothing to do with respecting women as mothers.)

It is, as always, ironic and worth noting that not only is the pro-life movement a terrorist anti-life movement… it is also deeply against provision of services which prevent abortions.

February 16, 2010

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Pancake Day!

When I was a kid, Saturday evening meant pancakes for supper. Not what you probably think of when you think “pancakes” – these were thick, almost savoury cakes made with cream-cracker crumbs and cottage cheese and eggs, served with fruit sauce. Though I have not made them in years, the recipe is fixed in my mind:

Ingredients per person: 1 ounce of cream crackers, crushed or ground to fine crumbs; 1 ounce of smooth cottage cheese; 1 egg. Beat the cottage cheese and the eggs together to form a thick yellowish paste, then add the cream crackers “to a dropping consistency”, meaning that when I picked up a spoonful and dropped it into the hot oil, it fell cleanly from the spoon. We always fried them in shallow oil till they were dark brown, layered them on a plate with paper towel to catch the excess fat, and ate them with fruit sauce as soon as possible after they had been made.

The sauce was made with two tins of fruit – over the years I think my two favourite mixtures were pineapple and apricot, or mandarin oranges and pears, and usually preserved in fruit juice rather than syrup. But really, any kind was good – I think the only sort I ever regretted was a tin of fruit salad mix with glace cherries. It was always made in a cast-iron red pot that had been a wedding present: save a little fruit juice in a small bowl, and tip the two tins into the pot, turn up the heat under the fruit, and mix the juice with a tablespoon of cornflour. Add the mixture to the fruit in the pan, and stir: magically, to me when I was a child, the white mixture would disappear and the liquid juice in which the fruit rested would thicken into a sauce. This could be eaten hot or cold, so the sauce could be made hours or even a day before the pancakes. These were delicious and filling, and as I remember no one usually managed more than three. There were always leftovers, which were eaten cold as snacks.

Nowadays when I make pancakes I usually make them with a cup of flour, or more depending on how many people I am feeding, and a pinch of salt: make a well in the middle of the flour, stir in an egg, and then up to a pint of milk, or milk and water, or beer, (or cream if you want thicker, richer pancakes) to make a thin batter, which makes a large thin cake in a thin layer of hot grease in a pan or on a griddle.

But I also sometimes make sourdough batter, which is egg-free: I take some sourdough starter from the fridge, add some more flour and water, beat it into a thin liquid with a plastic whisk (metal isn’t good for the yeast) and leave it to quicken for an hour or so in a warm place. When it’s bubbly, it’s ready to be used as I would basic pancake batter.

I eat pancakes plain, or with maple syrup, or lemon juice and sugar, or with a spice like cinnamon whisked into the batter, or with curry…

How do you make your pancakes? How do you eat your pancakes?

February 6, 2010

Classic right-wing Christianity: Jesus Christ, shut up and die!

A left-wing socialist namby-pamby liberal: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

Right-wing Christians will answer: “Lord, I suppose if some people are not able to afford a swimming pool, everybody should be prohibited from owning one. If some people cannot afford to go to a private university, then all private universities should be shut down. I prefer to live in a country where people are free to make as much money as they are able to, and then can spend their money on the best products and services that they can afford.”

He will reply: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

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